The Percentile is against the screenplays in our library.
|At least one Character Changes in the scene||6.3||66|
|Story Moves Forward||8.3||83|
|Internal Goal Score||8.3||77|
|External Goal Score||8.5||97|
Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here
Note: This is the synthesis. See scene by scene analysis here
|External Goal||8.49||95||Back to the future: 8.45||The Wizard of oz: 8.49|
|Characters||8.6||88||Everything Everywhere All at Once: 8.5||Titanic: 8.6|
|Conflict Level||8.7||86||Silence of the lambs: 8.6||Dr. Strangelove: 8.7|
|High Stakes||8.4||84||Stranger things: 8.3||LA confidential - draft: 8.4|
|Pacing||8.65||83||The Wolf of Wall Street: 8.64||LA confidential - draft: 8.65|
|Plot||8.4||81||Everything Everywhere All at Once: 8.3||Knives Out: 8.4|
|Overall||8.5||80||Thor: 8.4||Inception: 8.5|
|Emotional Impact||7.8||78||Narcos: 7.7||American beauty: 7.8|
|Story Forward||8.3||77||Breaking bad, episode 306: 8.2||Black panther: 8.3|
|Internal Goal||8.30||74||Squid Game: 8.29||The Good place release: 8.30|
|Concept||8.0||69||Narcos: 7.9||Avatar: 8.0|
|Formatting||9.05||65||Shaun of the Dead: 9.03||LA confidential - draft: 9.05|
|Dialogue||7.9||63||Amadeus: 7.8||heathers : 7.9|
|Character Changes||6.3||62||Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: 6.2||Black panther: 6.3|
|Engagement||8.67||58||What we do in the shadows: 8.64||LA confidential - draft: 8.67|
|Structure||8.42||58||The Wolf of Wall Street: 8.38||LA confidential - draft: 8.42|
|Originality||6.49||40||Severance: 6.47||LA confidential - draft: 6.49|
|Story Content||Character Development||Scene Elements||Audience Engagement||Technical Aspects|
|Scene Number||Full Analysis||Tone||Overall Grade||Concept||Plot||Originality Score||Characters||Character Changes||Internal Goal||External Goal||Conflict||Opposition||High stakes||Story forward||Twist||Emotional Impact||Dialogue||Engagement||Pacing||Formatting||Structure|
|1||L.A. Confidential Scene 1: The City of Angels||"serious"||8.5||8||8||7||9||5||0||8||6||0||7||7||0||5||8||7||7||8||9|
|2||Christmas Eve Violence||"Dark"||9||8||9||7||9||1||9||9||10||0||7||8||0||9||8||10||9||10||10|
|4||Liquor Store Bust||"tense"||8||9||8||7||9||6||8||9||9||0||9||8||0||7||8||7||8||9||8|
|5||A Police Officer's Moral Compass||"serious"||9||9||7||7||9||6||8||7||7||0||6||5||0||8||10||9||8||10||10|
|7||Bud White's Dismissal and Exley's Rise||"serious"||8||7||8||9||8||6||8||9||8||0||7||9||0||7||8||9||9||8||8|
|8||Exley and Jack Discuss Testifying||"suspenseful"||8||7||8||7||9||4||10||9||9||0||8||7||0||6||8||9||8||9||8|
|9||Offer and Loyalty||"serious"||8.5||8||9||6||9||8||8||8||9||0||9||9||0||8||8||9||9||10||8|
|10||Police and Criminals||"tense"||7||7||8||6||7||5||8||9||8||0||9||8||0||6||6||9||9||8||8|
|11||Ad Vice and Narco||"tense"||8||7||8||6||9||6||8||7||9||0||7||8||0||8||8||9||9||10||8|
|12||Nite Owl Massacre||"intense"||9||9||9||8||8||6||8||9||10||0||10||10||0||9||8||10||10||9||9|
|13||The Interrogation and Morgue Visit||"tense"||8||8||7||5||9||6||9||8||9||0||9||8||0||9||7||8||9||10||9|
|14||Identification and briefing||"intense"||9||8||9||6||9||7||9||8||9||0||10||9||0||8||8||7||9||9||8|
|16||Investigative Work Continues||"serious"||8||7||8||4||8||6||0||8||8||0||8||8||0||9||7||9||9||7||8|
|17||Meeting Lynn Bracken||"Tense, mysterious, flirtatious"||8||9||8||9||8||6||8||9||8||0||6||7||0||7||9||9||9||8||8|
|19||Interrogation and Revelation||"intense"||8||7||8||7||9||6||8||9||10||0||10||8||0||9||7||9||8||9||8|
|20||The Nite Owl Killers||"tense"||8||9||8||6||7||4||8||9||10||0||10||9||0||7||7||9||9||9||8|
|21||Shootout and Funeral||"intense"||8||8||9||6||7||6||8||9||9||0||10||8||0||8||6||10||9||9||8|
|23||Badge of Honor Fundraiser||"dark"||8||7||8||4||8||6||8||7||7||0||6||7||0||7||8||7||9||8||9|
|25||Aftermath and Reflection||"Somber"||8||7||8||4||9||6||9||8||7||0||7||7||0||8||8||8||8||10||9|
|28||Uncovering Clues||"reflective, intense"||8||8||8||4||9||7||8||7||7||0||7||8||0||8||7||8||9||9||9|
|30||Bud White Confronts Stompanato and Discovers Buzz Meeks' Fate||"tense"||8||9||8||6||8||8||8||10||9||0||8||8||0||7||7||9||9||8||8|
|31||Lies and Revelations||"tense"||9||8||9||8||8||7||9||9||10||0||9||9||0||8||8||9||10||10||9|
|32||Underestimation and Revelations||"tense"||8||7||9||7||8||6||9||8||8||0||7||8||0||7||9||8||8||9||7|
|33||Secrets and Confessions||"intense"||9||8||9||9||10||7||10||8||7||0||7||8||0||8||9||9||8||9||7|
|34||Revelations and Betrayals||"tense"||9||8||9||7||9||7||9||9||9||0||9||9||0||8||8||10||9||8||8|
|35||Betrayal and Blackmail at Victory Motel||"intense"||10||9||9||6||10||8||9||10||11||0||11||10||0||10||9||8||9||9||9|
|36||Betrayal and Violence||"dark"||9||9||10||3||9||8||8||8||10||0||10||10||0||11||9||7||9||9||8|
|37||The Truth Comes Out||"intense"||10||8||9||6||10||9||9||9||10||0||10||10||0||9||10||10||8||10||9|
|39||Confronting Loew||"tense, violent"||9||8||9||8||9||8||8||9||10||0||10||10||0||8||8||9||9||10||9|
|40||The Meeting at the Victory Motel||"tense"||9||8||9||9||9||7||8||7||10||0||10||10||0||8||8||9||8||8||7|
|41||The Final Showdown||"Intense"||8||7||8||6||9||6||8||9||10||0||10||9||0||8||8||9||9||9||8|
|42||Confrontation and Consequences||"intense"||9||8||9||6||9||8||9||8||10||0||10||8||0||8||8||9||9||10||8|
|43||Goodbye and Moving On||"bittersweet"||9||8||8||6||9||8||8||8||6||0||7||7||0||9||8||9||8||10||10|
Based on the novel by James Ellroy
November 16, 1995
OVER the opening strains of "I LOVE YOU, CALIFORNIA," a
MONTAGE: a mixture of headlines, newsreel footage and
live action. Economy Booming! Postwar Optimism! L.A.:
City of the Future! But most prominent among them:
GANGLAND! Police photographers document crime scenes.
The meat wagon hauls ex-button men to the morgue. Where
will it end?
EXT. L.A. SKYLINE - SUNSET
Palm trees in silhouette against a cherry sky. City
lights twinkle. Los Angeles. A place where anything is
possible. A place where dreams come true. As the sky
darkens, triple-kleig lights begin to sweep back and
EXT. MANSION (HANCOCK PARK) - NIGHT
The KLEIG LIGHTS are out front. Valets hurry to park a
line of elegant cars.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you
the future of Los Angeles!
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The MAYOR yanks a cloth to reveal a MODEL of L.A. criss-
crossed by an elaborate FREEWAY SYSTEM. The CROWD oohs.
A COUNCILMAN claps. A SOCIETY MATRON nods her approval.
PIERCE PATCHETT, 50, tuxedoed, watches off to one side.
A behind-the-scenes power broker, Patchett exudes
authority much more so than the Mayor does.
The Arroyo Seco freeway is just
the beginning. We're planning
freeways from Downtown to Santa
Monica, from the South Bay to the
San Fernando Valley. Twenty
minutes to work or play is the
longest you'll have to travel.
More applause. One REPORTER asks a little too loudly...
How many bodies you think Mickey
Cohen'll be able to hide in all
The Mayor wears a plastic smile, ignores it.
INT. THE MOCAMBO - NIGHT
A CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER pops snapshots, but the real action
is on the floor where MICKEY COHEN does a wicked "Lindy
Hop" with THREE different GIRLS at once. A fireplug of a
man, he hardly seems a public menace. Nearby is his
bodyguard JOHNNY STOMPANATO. Over it all:
Meyer Harris Cohen, Mickey C to
his fans. He's the big moocher,
local L.A. color to the nth
degree. You know Mickey. He runs
dope, rackets and prostitution.
He kills a dozen people a year.
But who you may not know is
bodyguard Johnny Stompanato.
His hair in a slick pompadour, Stompanato keeps an eye on
Cohen and comes onto a CIGARETTE GIRL at the same time.
Johnny's handsome, ladies, but the
real attraction is below the belt.
Second only to Steve Cochran, he's
sometimes known as 'Oscar' because
of his Academy Award-size
Mickey works a sweat on the dance floor. A bottle of
champagne pops; Stompanato reacts, nearly draws a pistol
from his shoulder holster. As he laughs at himself...
INT. HUSH-HUSH MAGAZINE OFFICE - DAY
Lurid page one headlines cover the wall where SID
HUDGEONS types. The essence of sleaze, Sid is the
publisher-photographer-writer of Hush-Hush magazine and
keeper of inside dirt supreme. As he continues...
Remember, dear readers, you heard
it here first, off the record, on
the Q.T. and very Hush-Hush.
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The party continues. The Mayor has moved off to the side
with the power brokers. Patchett is a presence.
We're selling an image, gentlemen.
Beautiful weather. Affordable
Trouble-free transportation. And
the best police department in the
world to keep it all running
EXT. STOREFRONT - NIGHT
A dozen people watch a display windoe TELEVISION as it
rolls the opening of the hit show "Badge of Honor." Over
familiar THEME MUSIC, "Sgt. Joe Reno" (actor BRETT CHASE)
walks the streets of Los Angeles.
My name? Joe Reno. The city?
Los Angeles. A big town. Full of
all sorts of people. It's my job
to help them. I like what I do.
I'm a cop.
INT. HANCOCK PARK MANSION - BALLROOM - NIGHT
The Mayor continues.
But with a second rate Al Capone
out there, L.A. looks like Chicago
in the '30s. Something has to be
As Pierce Patchett nods sagely.
INT. OLYMPIC AUDITORIUM - NIGHT
Wrestler GORGEOUS GEORGE primps and poses before flatten-
ing an opponent with a drop kick.
INT. MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT
An enthusiastic crowd adjusts their 3-D glasses.
EXT. COHEN MANSION (BEVERLY HILLS) - DAY
In monogrammed silk pajamas, Mickey Cohen answers the
door, his pet BULLDOG Mickey Jr. at his feet. The police
are waiting. REPORTERS' flashbulbs pop.
Mr. Cohen, you're under arrest.
Bullshit. What's the charge?
Non-payment of federal income tax.
JOHN WAYNE gets his hand prints in the sidewalk.
EXT. WESTCHESTER BEAN FIELD - DAY
MIGRANT WORKERS hurry to finish the harvest. We PAN
TO CONSTRUCTION WORKERS who wait impatiently with bull-
dozers under a "Spirit of the Future" BANNER. As the
last picker leaves the field, the bulldozers move in,
leveling the bean rows to make way for a housing tract.
EXT. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE - STEPS - DAY
Flashbulbs pop as Mickey Cohen exits and starts down
the steps. Accompanied by his LAWYERS, bodyguard
Stompanato and mob lieutenants DEUCE PERKINS and NATE
JANKLOW, Cohen ignores REPORTERS' shouts.
How's your bullshit now, Mickey?!
As Cohen gets into a waiting car, the media turn their
attention to District Attorney ELLIS LOEW. A singularly
ambitious man, Loew loves the spotlight.
Today is an auspicious one for the
city of Los Angeles. Mickey Cohen
has just been sentenced to ten
years in federal prison for
failure to pay income tax.
As the District Attorney for Los
Angeles County, it is my pleasure
to declare our great city
organized crime free. It is truly
the dawning of a new day.
The SONG ENDS and so does the MONTAGE.
INT. PACKARD (ACROSS FROM BULLOCKS WILSHIRE) - NIGHT
December 24th. Wendell "BUD" WHITE, 30, stares at the
enormous Christmas tree on the deco platform over
Bullocks' entrance. An LAPD cop, Bud's rep as the
toughest man on the force has been well earned. In the
back seat, with cases of Walker Black and Cutty Sark, is
Bud's partner -- DICK STENSLAND. Older, but also a tough
hump, "Stens" sucks on a pint of Old Crow.
The passenger door opens and Mickey Cohen bodyguard
Johnny Stompanato slides in. Guinea handsome, Johnny
wears his curls in a tight pompadour. With his boss
behind bars, he's out of work. Bud just stares at him.
Officer White. I heard you got a
hard-on for wife beaters.
And you fuck people up for a
living. That don't make me you.
Stompanato smiles. Nervous. Through the window, Bud
watches a Salvation Army Santa palm coins from a kettle.
Bud ain't in the mood for small
Look, Mickey C's doing time and
half the other guys who'd hire me
are dead or left town. I need
money. If your snitch-fund's
green, I'll get you some fucking-A
Impatient, Bud tugs at a finger, CRACKS a KNUCKLE.
There's this guy. He's blond and
fat, about forty. Likes the
ponies. Been pimping his wife to
cover his losses. Knocks her
around to keep her in line.
Bud's eyes narrow at this last bit of info. Stompanato
holds up a slip of paper.
I figure the address is worth
Bud digs into his wallet, pulls out twenty bucks,
exchanges it with Stompanato. Stompanato smiles smugly,
grabs a bottle of Scotch from the back.
Yuletide cheer, fellas.
Without warning, Bud grabs Stompanato's tie and yanks,
slamming his forehead into the dash.
Happy New Year, greaseball.
EXT. 1486 EVERGREEN - NIGHT
A stucco job in a row of vet prefabs. A neon Santa
sleigh has landed on the roof. Through the front window,
we see a fat guy browbeating a woman. Puff-faced, 35-
ish, she backs away as he rages at her.
The Packard pulls up out front. Stensland could care
Leave it for later, Bud. We got
to pick up the rest of the booze
and get back to the precinct.
Bud KILLS the IGNITION, picks up the radio.
Central, this is 4A-31. Send a
prowler to 1486 Evergreen. White
male in custody. Code 623 point
one. Domestic assault and
battery. I won't be here, but
they'll see him.
EXT. 1486 EVERGREEN - BUD - NIGHT
steps to the house. Inside, we hear SLAPS, MUFFLED
CRIES. Bud grips an outlet cord coming off the roof and
yanks. The sleigh crashes to the ground with REINDEER
EXPLODING around it. A beat. The fat guy runs out to
investigate, trips over Rudolph.
Bud pounces. Fat guy takes a swing, misses. Grabbing
fat guy's hair, Bud smashes his face to the pavement.
Once, twice. Teeth skitter down the walk.
Touch her again and I'll know
about it. Understand? Huh?
Another face full of gravel. Fat guy's WIFE watches with
apprehension from the steps as Bud cuffs her husband's
hands behind his back, empties his pockets. A cash roll
and car keys. Bud looks over at her.
You got someplace you can go?
She nods. Bud hands her the keys and the cash.
Go get yourself fixed up.
Merry Christmas, huh?
Bud watches as she gets into a pre-war Ford in the drive.
She backs over a blinking reindeer as she goes.
You and women, partner. What's
next? Kids and dogs?
The "Badge of Honor" set. A Christmas party in full
swing. Eating, drinking, and dancing. Star Brett Chase,
seen earlier on television, is holding court.
LAPD Sgt. "Trashcan" JACK VINCENNES, late 30s with slick,
good looks, dances with a young ACTRESS. Grinding their
way through a ballad, they're obviously hitting it off.
Brett Chase told me you're the cop
who busted Bob Mitchum.
These 'Badge of Honor' guys like
to pretend, but being the real
thing must be a thrill.
Let's go someplace quiet. I'll
give you the low-down on Mitchum.
You got your handcuffs with you?
I'll get my coat.
They're interrupted by Sid Hudgeons.
Big V Jack Vincennes! May I have
Karen, this is Sid Hudgeons from
I know who he is.
The Actress storms off. Jack looks to Sid.
We did a piece last year.
'Ingenue Dykes In Hollywood.' Her
name got mentioned.
Beats me. Look, Jackie-Boy, a
friend of mine just sold some
reefer to Matt Reynolds. He's
tripping the light fantastic with
Tammy Jordan at 2245 Maravilla,
Hollywood Hills. It's right
around the corner.
You lost me, Sid. Who?
Contract players at Metro. You
pinch 'em. I do you up feature in
the next issue. Plus the usual
fifty cash. Tell me, am I fucking
I need an extra fifty. Two
patrolmen at twenty apiece and a
dime for the watch commander at
Jack! It's Christmas!
No. It's felony possession of
EXT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
WITH a VIEW of Grauman's Chinese. Jack and two uniformed
patrolmen wait on the darkened street. An arc light has
been set up. Hudgeons creeps back over from the house.
They're sitting in the dark,
goofing on the Christmas tree.
Stand there with your camera.
I'll stop here so you get
Grauman's Chinese in the
I like it! I like it!
INT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
The arc light floods the living room about the same time
that Jack kicks the door in. The room is caught flush:
Christmas tree, a bag of weed on the couch, two kids
necking in their BVDs. MATT REYNOLDS and TAMMY JORDAN.
EXT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
Jack exits, hauling Jordan and Reynolds by the neck.
Jack stops with Grauman's FRAMED behind him and Hudgeons
CLICKS off several shots with his CAMERA.
Cut! Wrap it!
Windows light up. Rubberneckers appear. Jack hands the
kids to the patrolmen, heads back in with Hudgeons in
INT. 2245 MARAVILLA - NIGHT
Jack scoops the pot, flips through an address book. A
card falls out. "Fleur-de-Lis. Whatever you desire..."
Jack looks from the card out the window at the kids being
loaded into a black and white. They're both crying now.
It's Christmas morning in the City
of Angels, and while decent
citizens sleep the sleep of the
righteous, hopheads prowl for
marijuana, not knowing that a man
is coming to stop them. The free-
wheeling, big-time Big V,
celebrity crime-stopper, Jack
Vincennes, the scourge of
grasshoppers and junk fiends
everywhere. You like it, Jackie-
Yeah, it's subtle.
Sid hands him a President Grant 50.
Remember: you heard it first here,
off the record, on the Q.T. and
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - DISPATCH DESK - NIGHT
Suspects, mostly drunk and disorderly, are ushered
through. Sgt. ED EXLEY, 30, bespectacled, is at the desk
with a YOUNG OFFICER. Exley is an up-and-comer. Burning
with ambition. The faster he rises through the ranks,
the more resentment he leaves in his wake.
What's on the call sheet?
A guy dressed as Santa has been
exposing himself to kids in Los
Feliz. Apparently, sir, he's
With tinsel and plastic icicles
and... on his penis, sir.
I get the idea. You got a
Of his penis, sir?
Tinsel-trimmed photos of movie stars look down from the
walls as the OWNER takes an order from LYNN BRACKEN.
A case each of gin, Scotch, and
rum. Everything top shelf. None
of that watered-down stuff you
push on Errol Flynn.
Sounds like a helluva party.
Her hair kerchiefed, Lynn waits as the Owner writes it
up. There's glamour, a cat-girl grace about Lynn. She
seems like she belongs up on the wall with the movie
stars. Lynn looks across as Bud White heads toward the
counter. Spotting her, Bud doesn't look so tough for a
You want it delivered?
Before five tomorrow.
The Owner spots Bud. A big smile turns to a frown.
I'll be right with you, Lynn.
The Owner begins indiscriminately loading hard liquor
into a cardboard box, leaving Bud and Lynn to look at
each other. Bud says the only thing he can think of.
Merry Christmas yourself, Officer.
That obvious, huh?
It's practically stamped on your
As the Owner bangs a case of liquor on the counter...
EXT. HOLLYWOOD LIQUOR - NIGHT
Bud exits with his booze, heads for the car. Something
catches his eye. A woman in the rear passenger seat of a
new Cadillac. SUSAN LEFFERTS. Both her eyes are black.
Bud starts over. The case on his hip, he motions for her
to roll down the window. The driver's side door opens
and bodyguard TURNER "BUZZ" MEEKS menaces his way out.
Get lost why don't you?
Meeks stops short as Bud shoves his badge in Meeks' face.
Setting the case on the car's hood, Bud spins Meeks
around, pats him down. He finds a .38 in a shoulder
I got a license for that.
Bud removes Meeks' wallet, checks the ID.
Cut me some slack. I used to be a
Turner Meeks? Never heard of you.
We just call him Buzz.
Bud raps on Susan's window with his badge. It comes
Beside her, a man leans over. Pierce Patchett, seen
before at the freeway unveiling, is a man used to being
chauffeured. Like FDR, he smokes his cigarette in a
I'm not asking you.
Patchett has no idea he's walking on thin ice. As he
stares impatiently at Bud, Bud looks back to Susan.
Somebody hit you?
It's not what you think.
Bud looks to see Lynn Bracken moving to the driver's
What is it then?
You got the wrong idea, Mister.
Susan laughs. Patchett eases back into the shadows.
(getting in the car)
But it's nice to know you care.
Bud considers Meeks' gun license, then hands him back the
.38 and wallet. Lifting his booze, Bud watches Meeks get
back in the car.
Stensland steps up as the cabbie starts to pull away.
What's going on?
For an odd moment, Stensland and Meeks lock eyes.
You know him?
Seen him around. He used to be a
CLOSE ON DUDLEY SMITH
Fifty, handsome in his police captain's uniform. Singing
"Silver Bells" in a beautiful low tenor. Tough,
respected, Dudley goes to bed as a cop every night of his
life. He's a department power to be reckoned with.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
An L.A. Herald Express REPORTER and photographer listen
along with the gathered patrolmen as Dudley finishes to
applause. Dudley joins the press.
Captain Smith, I --
Drop the formalities; it's
Christmas Eve. Call me Dudley.
Dudley, I came up with a title for
the story. I'm calling it "Silent
Night with the L.A.P.D."
Excellent. How's this?
The sanctity of the night is an
invitation to the darker criminal
element. Our vigilance will not
As the Reporter scribbles down the quote...
That's Smith with an S.
They laugh. Dudley points the way out.
This way, gentlemen.
Dudley's the last one out the door. As he goes, he turns
back to give the men a wink. He's no sooner out the door
when the first case of Johnny Walker is brought in.
Ed Exley gets another report from the Young Officer.
Two police officers were assaulted
in a bar. Brown and Helenowski.
He hands the report to Exley. It's now that Dudley comes
through on his press junket.
This is Sergeant Ed Exley. Son of
the legendary Preston Exley. He's
the watch commander tonight and a
damn fine job.
As the photographer snaps Exley's picture...
I was fortunate enough to be
partnered with his father when I
was a rookie. It makes a man feel
old. That's a fact.
Feel free to get a feel for the
As the Reporter and photographer wander off, Dudley turns
to Exley a bit more serious.
A word with you, lad.
INT. DUDLEY SMITH'S OFFICE - DAY
Dudley pours two drinks, hands one to Exley.
To the memory of your father.
They drink. Exley looks to a photo on the wall.
Himself as a ten-year-old standing between Dudley and his
father Preston, both in police uniform.
The day he got the Medal of Valor.
A simpler time.
Remembering, Exley invokes his father's favorite toast.
To the solving of crimes that
require absolute justice.
Exley raises his glass, but Dudley just watches him.
That was his favorite toast.
I saw the test results on the
lieutenant's exam. You placed
first out of twenty-three.
The youngest applicant by eight
You'll make lieutenant inside a
year. Patrol division?
I was thinking Detective Bureau.
We can see Dudley doesn't approve.
You don't have the eye for human
weakness to be a good detective.
Or the stomach. You're a
political animal, Edmund.
The criticism stings, but Dudley's a straight shooter.
Am I...? Would you be willing to
plant corroborative evidence on a
suspect you knew was guilty in
order to ensure an indictment?
Dudley, we've been over this.
Answer yes or no.
Would you be willing to rig crime
scene evidence to support a
prosecuting attorney's working
hypothesis...? Yes or no, Edmund.
Would you be willing to beat
confessions out of suspects you
knew to be guilty?
Would you be willing to shoot
hardened criminals in the back to
offset the chance --
Then for God's sake, don't be a
detective. Stick to assignments
where you won't have to make those
choices. Patrol, Internal
Affairs, but not the Bureau.
I know you mean well, Dudley, but
I don't need to do it the way you
did. Or my father.
At least get rid of the glasses.
I can't think of one Bureau man
who wears them.
INT. PRECINCT HOUSE - MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
A large impromptu bar has been set-up. The party is in
full swing, the floor packed with nightwatch blues. A
PHONOGRAPH SPEWS DIRTY CHRISTMAS CAROLS.
Stensland pours eggnog and Old Crow into the water cooler
as Bud elbows his way in with another case.
Hey, partner. Grab a cup.
I got to write my report first.
PASSING COP #1
Hear about Helenowski and Brown?
They got into a helluva scrap with
six taco benders at some bar.
Helenowski lost six pints of
blood. Brown's in a coma.
PASSING COP #2
We ought to teach Paco and his
friends a lesson.
More cops vocie their agreement. Bottles are passed.
Only Bud doesn't seem as caught-up as the rest.
Jack Vincennes at his desk. Holding the Fleur-de-Lis
card, Jack dials the number. A corkboard on the wall is
posted with press clippings. "Dope Crusader Wounded in
Shootout." "Actor Mitchum Seized in Marijuana Shack
Raid." That one includes a shot of Jack ushering Mitchum
(over phone, like
Whatever you desire.
Hi... I'd like to get a delivery
to Beverly Hills.
I don't think I know you.
CLICK. The line goes dead. Jack redials.
Whatever you desire.
Look, a friend of mine gave me
this number. I just --
The line goes dead again. Jack dials a new number.
Pacific Coast Bell.
This is Sgt. Vincennes.
Requesting a name and address on a
phone number. Hollywood zero-one-
Please hold the line... No such
number is assigned.
I just called it.
No, Sergeant. I checked twice.
(realizes, hangs up)
INT. MUSTER ROOM - NIGHT
Exley surveys the carousing rowdies. Raising his
All right, men. You've had your
fun. Time to break it up.
The party continues undiminished. From across the room,
Stensland eyes Exley with disdain.
Fucking Exley. Guy's got a pole
so far up his ass, every time he
farts the flag waves.
WATCH COMMANDER'S OFFICE
The command not really his, Exley reads a report, ignores
the party, though his window looks into the thick of it.
Suddenly a ripple goes through the room. The men begin
to push out through a rear door. Exley stands, stops a
What's going on?
They got the spics who japped
Helenowski and Brown. Helenowski
lost an eye and Brown's got brain
I have the report right here.
They're home with bruises and
muscle pulls -- Oh shit...
Exley starts out after them.
INT. CELL BLOCK - NIGHT
Stensland in the lead. Pulling out a blackjack, he
enters Cell #4, begins wailing on one of the Mexicans --
For ours, Pancho. And you're
getting off easy.
Cheered on by drunks in the tank and his fellow officers,
Stensland goes wild. He's joined by Lentz, Crumley and
Tristano. Shaking his head, Jack Vincennes moves away.
INT. SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Bud types his report with one finger. Jack looks in.
White, you better get a lease on
Stens before he kills someone.
INT. CELL BLOCK - NIGHT
Followed by Jack, Bud forces his way through the crowd.
The men who see it's him quickly clear a path.
Swigging from a pint of gin, Stensland works skinny
GARCIA. Head saps. The kid drops to his knees drooling
Bud grabs Stensland, hauls him off of Garcia who looks
Fuck you, pendejo.
And fuck your mother too.
Bud sees red. Letting go of Stensland, Bud White picks
up Garcia by the neck. There are cheers, "Attaboys" and
"Holy Fucks" as Bud bangs Garcia's head on the ceiling.
Stop, Officer! That's an order!
Cops block Exley's way. As Bud looks over, Garcia kicks
him in the balls. A dangling shot. Bud keels into the
bars, Garcia stumbles out of the cell, smack into Jack.
Jack looks down aghast at blood on his cashmere blazer,
then puts Garcia down with a left-right.
Exley pulls a pad of paper and pen form his pocket.
You're going in my report! All of
Exley has just started taking names when Bud grabs him by
the scruff of the neck and hauls him off balance into...
As Exley struggles, a cop opens the door to the store
room. Bud slings Exley inside, then slams the door
tight. Exley is locked in. As Bud moves off, we hear
Let me out! That's an order!
The Herald Reporter and photographer enter unchaperoned
and unnoticed. Stensland swings like a madman. That's
when a flashbulb goes off. Freezing everyone in black
The CHIEF sits behind a desk in a four-star uniform.
Dudley Smith sits to his left, D.A. Ellis Loew to his
right. Seen earlier at the Mickey Cohen press
conference, Loew is the only civilian. Bud White stands
across from them. There to be judged.
Officer White, you've refused to
cooperate with Internal Affairs.
But you should know this is bigger
than a police board. Indictments
may be handed down. Quite
frankly, we need police witnesses
to offset the damage done to the
Department's image. Will you
Bud glances to a gray tinted mirror, then to the Chief.
No, sir. I won't.
The Chief sighs, looks to Loew.
District Attorney Loew.
Loew steps to Bud, holds up a newspaper with the cell
block photo. The headline: "BLOODY CHRISTMAS."
Bloody Christmas. The press love
to label. You and Officer
Stensland brought the liquor into
the precinct. Stensland was
already drunk. Do you see how
appearing as a voluntary witness
against him could offset the
damage you've done to yourself?
I won't do it.
(staring at mirror)
I won't testify against my partner
or anyone else.
This man is a disgrace.
Your badge and gun, Officer.
Bud sets them on The Chief's desk.
This is the new L.A.P.D., White.
You're suspended from duty and
Turning, White shoots the mirror a stiff middle finger as
he makes his way out. Dudley Smith hides a smile.
OTHER SIDE OF GLASS
Exley watches, involuntarily leans back as Bud passes on
the other side of the glass.
THE CHIEF'S OFFICE
Dudley, Loew and The Chief wait as Exley enters.
Ed, your observations have been
astute. What's your assessment of
The public demands justice, sir.
This was a full-fledged riot of
policemen. Shift the guilt to men
whose pensions are secured. Force
them to retire. But someone has
to swing. Indict, try and convict
Stensland and Bud White. Secure
them jail time. Feed them to the
sharks, sir. Protect yourself;
protect the department.
Dudley gives Exley a look. He's angry with him.
Stensland's a disgrace. Straight
D fitness reports from every C.O.
he ever served under. But White
is a valuable officer.
White's a mindless thug.
No, Edmund. He's a man who can
answer yes to those questions I
ask you from time to time.
The Chief interrupts with his own concern.
I want to know who we give the
public in contrast? The
department needs role models.
Clean-cut, forthright men the
public can admire.
I'll testify, sir. I'm not afraid
to do what's right.
And I'll promote you. You'll be a
Exley seizes the moment, going over Dudley's head.
The Chief and Dudley exchange a look. Neither approves.
Ed, you're 30. Your father didn't
make lieutenant until he was 33.
I know that, sir. I also know
that when he made lieutenant, it
was as a detective.
Before we start polishing our
laurels, it would look better if
we had a corroborative witness.
That'll be hard to come by. The
men hate a turncoat.
Jack Vincennes. He's the
technical advisor on 'Badge of
Honor,' sir. He lives for it.
That's the way to get him.
All right, Ed.
Call Sergeant Vincennes.
As Exley starts out, Dudley pulls him aside, speaks low.
You'll reap the benefits, but are
you truly prepared to be despised
within the department?
Yes, Dudley. I am.
So be it.
Looking sharp, he strides down the hall, enters the...
Round two. Centred on Jack. Exley is gone.
Sergeant, we'll get right to it.
Nine civilian witnesses have
identified you as hitting Ezekiel
But my office has a stellar
witness who will tell the grand
jury that you hit back only after
What do I have to do?
Testify against the three officers
who have already earned their
pensions. Our key witness will
testify roundly, but you can plead
ignorance to questions directed at
the other men.
I'll guarantee you a slap on the
wrist. A brief suspension
followed by a temporary transfer
from Narcotics to Ad Vice.
When you transfer out of Vice,
you'll be back on the show.
The show, sir?
Badge of Honor, Vincennes. We
need to tone down your profile for
The Chief just got Jack where he lives.
John, I doubt you've ever drawn a
stupid breath. Don't start now.
Okay. I'll do it.
Smiles all around. Loew smiles at the two-way. A move
not lost on Jack who wonders who might be on the other
Jack leaves. The Chief steps to the mirror, looks
So be it. Detective Lieutenant.
OTHER SIDE OF GLASS
Exley clenches his fist in victory. The Chief continues.
Ace them at the grand jury
tomorrow, son. Wear the smart-
looking suit and ace them. And,
Ed? Lose the glasses.
Glasses off, Exley waits, looks up as Jack enters.
You're the key witness?
I should've known. What's the
Chief throwing you?
Yeah, Exley. What's the payoff?
You're the payoff expert. I'm
just doing my duty.
You're playing an angle, college
boy. You're getting something out
of this so you don't have to
hobnob with the fucking rank and
file cops who'll hate your guts
for snitching. If they're making
you a detective, watch out. Some
Bureau guys are gonna burn in this
and you're gonna have to work with
friends of theirs.
What about you?
I'm snitching three old timers
who'll be fishing in Oregon next
week. Next to you I'm clean. And
At that, a CLERK steps in from the hallway.
Edmund J. Exley to chambers.
As Exley's about to go...
Just remember, Bud White'll fuck
you for this if it takes the rest
of his life. They already
suspended him. Just pray he cops
a deal and stays on the Department
because that is one civilian you
do not want on your case.
An old black guy in a frayed, threadbare tux plays piano.
Bud, nursing a highball at the bar, steps over to a
REDHEAD with too much make-up on too many miles.
That an old fashioned you're
(as she nods)
My name's Bud.
Nobody was born with the name Bud.
They stick you with a name like
Wendell, you look for an alias.
What do you do, Bud?
I'm sorta between jobs. Look,
what do you say we, uh...
A hand on Bud's shoulder. He turns to see Dudley Smith.
Lad, may I have a word with you?
This business, Captain?
Say goodnight to your friend and
join me by those back tables.
Dudley starts off. Bud turns back to Redhead, but she's
already talking to a sailor.
Dudley sits at a table. A newspaper is opened, a little
mound underneath. Bud joins Dudley.
Does that paper say we've been
indicted? Does it say Exley's a
hero for squealing me and
He made his play amd he got what
he wanted. They're making him a
Captain, what do you want?
Call me Dudley.
Dudley, what do you want?
Lad, I admire your refusal to
testify and your loyalty to your
partner. I admire you as a
policeman, particularly your
adherence to violence as a
necessary adjutant to the job.
And I am most impressed with your
punishment of wife beaters. Do
you hate them, Wendell?
Yeah, I hate them.
And for good reason judging from
what I know of your background.
Bud looks back over. Dudley's getting too personal.
What's going to happen to
Stensland? He'll give himself
cirrhosis over this. He's one
year from his pension.
It would've happened years ago if
you hadn't carried him. Why the
He helped me out once. That's all.
Your partner's through.
Department scapegoat on the
Chief's orders. He's been billed,
he'll be indicted and he'll swing.
Him and me both. Fucking Exley.
Don't underestimate his skills.
As a politician he exceeds even
myself. But the department needs
smart men like Exley and... direct
men like yourself
What do you want?
Wendell, I want you to come to
work for me.
Doing what? Mowing your fucking
Smith yanks the newspaper revealing Bud's badge & .38
Special. Bud can't believe his eyes.
They're yours. Take them.
I knew you had juice, but...
There's no goddamn bill on me?
Four of the defendants recanted
Dudley dismisses the question with a wave of his hand.
I need you for an assignment the
Chief's given me the go-ahead on.
A duty few men are fit for, but
you were born for. You'll be
working out of Homicide.
Homicide? A detective?
Your talents lie elsewhere,
Wendell. It's a muscle job and
shooting job. You'll do what I
say and not ask questions. Do you
follow my drift?
Will you work for me?
Of course... But how?
How what, Wendell?
How'd you get them to retract?
Dudley lays brass knuckles on the table. They're
chipped, caked with blood.
Over the pop song "STRANGER IN PARADISE."
A) EXT. GRAUMAN'S CHINESE - NIGHT
Frank Sinatra at the premiere of From Here to
B) INT. KLUB ZAMBOANGA - NIGHT
Charlie "Bird" Parker makes magic before an
appreciative, mostly black crowd.
C) TORCH SONG TAVERN (RIVERSIDE) - NIGHT
Nate Janklow exits with his latest flame. A mob
lieutenant, Nate was last seen with Mickey Cohen
outside the Federal Courthouse in the opening
montage. A CAR SCREECHES up. TWO GUNS aim and Nate
and his date do down in a proverbial HAIL OF LEAD.
D) EXT. FREEWAY - DAY
A groundbreaking. The Mayor scrapes at the ground
with a gold shovel. Pierce Patchett is among the
END OF MONTAGE
The marquee gushes: "Today Sgt. Joe Reno: Badge of
Honor Star Brett Chase."
INT. HOLLYWOOD HIGH SCHOOL - AUDITORIUM - DAY
A nerdy 14-YEAR-OLD asks Brett Chase:
Why'd you become a policeman?
I'm not a policeman. I just play
one on television. But I think I
can answer for them. To help
people. That's why I do the show.
Chase looks over and winks at Jack who waits in the
To protect and serve. It's not
just a motto.
As the kids applaud, Chase joins Jack who gives him a
quick drag of a cigarette. A nervous PA joins them.
Chase points out a fetching girl in the second row.
That one. In the sweater.
They also serve who only stand and
Chase and Jack watch the PA ask "Sweater" a question
while pointing to Chase. Maybe sixteen, she nods "yes"
Jack, I'll see you Monday on set.
I won't be there. They're toning
down my profile.
The latest issue of Hush-Hush flies through. On the
cover: "Gail Russell Caught In Love Nest. Nymph or
INT. CITY JAIL - DAY
Bud White flips through today's booking slips, finds one
that's interesting. Reading to himself...
Domestic. Assault and battery.
Containment Squad strong-arms, BREUNING and CARLISLE
pause as they pass.
Ready to go, Bud?
I'll be there in five minutes.
CITY JAIL - HALLWAY
Bud walks to a door covered in sheet metal. He opens it
to reveal a holding tank with a burly, jumpsuited
I hear you like to hit women.
My wife. She's dropping charges
so it's none of your business.
Bud enters, closes the door behind him. A beat, we hear
the sounds of FISTS ON FLESH. It's Bud's business now.
INT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION - STUDY - NIGHT
Deuce Perkins (the Mickey Cohen narcotics lieutenant seen
earlier) stands at the bookshelf. He pulls down books to
reveal a shoe box. He sets it on his desk, pulls back
the cover to reveal several bags of white powder.
A BRANCH SNAPS outside. Perkins opens a drawer, fishes a
revolver. Turning off the light, he heads to the window.
His finger parts the curtains. At that instant, he
staggers, falls as GUNFIRE rips into him.
The heroin just sits there on the desk.
EXT. McNEIL PENITENTIARY - DAY
Grim-faced guards scan the yard from machine-gunned
INT. McNEIL PENITENTIARY - VISITOR BOOTH - DAY
Mickey Cohen sits across from visitor Johnny Stompanato.
Cohen is going off the handle.
What do you mean Deuce Perkins got
clipped last night?!
They shot him in his library.
I don't want a floor plan; I want
to know who! Who's taking the
ticket for this, Johnny?
Nobody. At least not yet.
And what about the merchandise
Deuce was holding for me?
Gone. Not a trace.
Some ferstunkener is moving in and
we don't know who?! Maybe we
should ask Hedda Hopper!
As "STRANGER IN PARADISE" ENDS, so does the MONTAGE.
Addressing the squad, a no-nonsense VICE CAPTAIN picks up
a stack of magazines.
Picture-book smut, gentlemen.
There's been a bunch of it found
at collateral crime scenes lately.
Mostly narcotics and prostitution
As the Vice Capt. hands it out for the men to examine,
new member Jack Vincennes arrives late.
Look who's back from suspension.
We're honored, Sergeant Jack.
The men laugh. Jack sits, flips a magazine. Men and
women. Men and men. Girls and girls. Girls and horses.
Gee. The Great Jerk-Off Book
Caper of 1953.
Vincennes, is there someplace
you'd rather be?
Yeah, Cap. Back in Narcotics.
Oh? Anyplace else?
Working whores with squad two.
Maybe you should have thought of
that before you made Bloody
Christmas page one.
Vice Capt. retrieves the magazines, hands them to Jack.
They're yours. Make a major case,
Sergeant. It's the only way
you're getting out of here.
Exaggerated "oohs" and "aahs" from the men.
As they go, Jack sees the books are stamped: "Fleur-de-Lis
Whatever you desire." Jack takes the matching
business card from his wallet, the one he found on
Roll, Vincennes. No sidetracks.
This is Ad Vice, not Narco.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - NARCO PEN - DAY
Jack Vincennes is at his desk. Holding the Fleur-de-Lis
card, magazines spread before him, Jack dials the number.
INT. HUSH-HUSH MAGAZINE OFFICE - DAY
Sid Hudgeons sits behind his desk, answers the phone.
Hush-Hush. Off the record and on
Sid, it's Vincennes.
Jackie, are you back on Narco? I
INTERCUT WITH Jack at his desk:
No. But I've got something going
with Ad Vice.
Don't know. I'm chasing picture
books. Fuck shots, but the posers
don't look like junkies. It's
well done stuff. I thought you
might have heard something.
Hudgeons reaches into a stack of papers, pulls out a
magazine like the one Jack has.
Not a word.
What about Fleur-de-Lis? Their
slogan's 'Whatever you desire.'
No. No, I've heard bupkis. Jack,
I'll talk to you later. Call me
when you get something I can use.
Smut's from hunger. For sad sacks
who can't get their ashes hauled
The LINE CLICKS off. Jack hesitates a moment before
cradling the receiver. Something's not right here.
EXT. HOLYWOOD STATION - PARKING LOT - TWILIGHT
As Exley pulls in, his two-way drones:
Park Rangers report three Negro
youths discharging shotguns into
the air in Griffith Park.
Suspects are driving a late model
purple Mercury Coupe.
As the report ends, Exley switches off the two-way and
gets out of his car.
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Accompanied by Bud, Dick Stensland crams the contents of
his desk into a box. Well-wishing cops pat him on the
back, offer words of encouragement, but Stensland looks
like he's going to cry.
It's very bad timing as Exley enters, comes face-to-face
with them. This is hatred.
Acting on impulse, Bud goes after Exley. It's a mauling.
Four vicious body shots. A potentially lethal head shot
sails wide as Exley falls to the ground.
As four men move to hold Bud back, Exley looks up at him.
You're just a thug, White. That's
all you'll ever be.
Dudley steps into the fray. He helps Exley to his feet.
You should stay away from a man
when his blood is up.
His blood's always up.
Four cops are genuinely having trouble holding Bud back.
Dudley watches with something bordering on admiration.
Then maybe you should stay away
from him all the time.
Accompanied by Bud, Stensland reaches his car, loads his
box of stuff into the trunk. Bud is moody, pensive.
Don't look so down in the mouth,
Bud. You nailed him good.
Yeah, sure... I got a couple of
hours before I have to be at the
Victory. Want to grab a beer?
Rain check me, partner. I got
something big going on tonight.
What? That new mystery girl
you've been seeing?
No. I'll tell you sometime. Not
now. Don't want to jinx it. But
it could take the edge off that
jail time I got coming.
What are you talking about?
It's confidential, Bud. Like that
magazines Vincennes scams for.
I'll see you tomorrow. And hey,
if it works out, you'll get a
piece of it.
Stensland gets in the car, drives off. Bud is left
INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
Exley sits alone in a sea of desks. The SQUAWK BOX
DRONES. Exley squints at the clock on the wall, can't
make it out. He takes his glasses from the inside of his
jacket. 2:00 A.M. Finally, something to do. He walks
to the wall calendar, tears off Feb. 28 to reveal Mar. 1.
As Exley sits, the call SQUAWK BOX booms to life.
Squad call! Nite Owl Coffee Shop
Multiple homicides! Multiple
homicides! Code three!
EXT. HOLLYWOOD AND CHEROKEE - NIGHT
Patrol cars. Blues setting up a crime scene blockade.
Exley pulls up, DOUSES his SIREN. PATROLMAN #1 runs
Loads of people down. Men.
Women. I stopped for coffee --
Exley pushes him aside, heads for the door. It's wide
INT. NITE OWL - NIGHT
Exley takes mental snapshots. Ten stools front a
counter. The side wall mural-papered: winking owls
perched on street signs. On the right a string of
tables. Three in disarray. Food spilled, dishes broken.
A high-heel pump by an upended chair.
Heel drag marks across the linoleum floor heading back
toward the kitchen. Exley follows. Past an open, empty
cash register. Outside -- SIRENS.
Crisscrossed drag marks connect, lead to a walk-in...
Blood-soaked bodies on the floor. Five, maybe six in a
tangle. Dozens of shotgun shells float in the pools of
blood. As Exley struggles to maintain his composure...
Holy shit fuck...
Exley looks at a green-faced ROOKIE in the locker
S-s-sir, there's a captain outside
wants to see you.
Don't get sick! Not in here!
Exley shoves the Rookie, puking, out the door.
EXT. NITE OWL - NIGHT
Patrolmen hold back a swarm of reporters and rubber-
neckers. HORNS BLAST. Motorcycles run interference for
meat wagons cut off by the crown. As Ed emerges,
reporters surge, shout questions. Exley hurries past,
finds Dudley in command and barking orders.
Sir, I took the call. It's my
Edmund, you don't want it and you
can't have it.
Yes, I do, sir.
It's mine. I'll make you my
second in command.
Exley spots a photographer moving in. He looks properly
serious as the flash bulb pops.
INT. NIGHT OWL - NIGHT
Forensics Chief RAY PINKER walks Exley and Dudley
We got a total of forty-five spent
12-gauge Remington shotgun shells.
Three men with five-shot-capacity
pumps. All of them reloading
Hold on... We need to canvass.
See if a purple Mercury was seen
around here tonight.
We got a call earlier on three
Negro youths. Firing shotguns in
Griffith Park from a late-model
purple Mercury Coupe.
(to his adjutant)
Get on it.
A FORENSICS COP approaches Pinker.
We got an I.D. on one of the
victims, sir... I think it's Dick
Exley and Dudley react, look at each other.
EXT. VICTORY MOTEL - DAWN
Set in a no-man's-land of bulldozed homes. A sign
proudly announces the impending arrival of the freeway.
The motel is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence.
Abandoned but for a pair of LAPD cars and a light burning
in room 6.
An unmarked pulls up and Exley and Dudley step out. They
start forward, but a SCREAM inside 6 stops Exley short.
With Mickey Cohen in prison, Los
Angeles is organized crime free.
The Chief wants it to stay that
way, Edmund. The means are not
for the weak-hearted.
Bare. A table and chair bolted to the floor. A tough
FLAT-NOSED GANGSTER is cuffed to the hot seat. On the
table are a .45 and a fat roll of $100 bills.
Breuning and Carlisle watch as Bud White delivers a
couple of short, stiff body shots. Flatnose is not used
to being on the receiving end. All the same, we get the
idea Bud's a bit reluctant.
Bud's back is to Dudley and Exley who enter behind him.
Come, Wendell, you can do better
Bud turns, sees Exley and Dudley. A beat. As Bud looms
over Flatnose, the gangster babbles. Snitch-frenzied.
I know things. I hear things.
Like with the Mick inside, things
are on this weird slowdown.
These shooter teams, bang bang
bang, they're 86-ing Mickey
We know all that, lad. Tell us,
who do these shooters work for?
I don't know. No one knows.
Maybe they're mavericks. You want
a prostie roust? Huh? Some narco
What do you want?!
We want you to go home.
Uncuff him, Michael.
Dudley turns to Exley.
Mr. Sifakis is a known loan shark
from San Francisco. He arrived
this afternoon at Union Station.
Looking for business opportunities
in our fair city. An organized
crime associate in need of re-
education in the ways of polite
Uncuffed, Flatnose rubs his wrists. Wary. As Breuning
steps back, Flatnose snatches the .45 off the table.
Exley dives for cover, but the other four cops just stand
there. Dudley looks down on the floor at Exley.
It's part of the play, Edmund. A
Flatnose looks at the gun a beat, then squeezes the
TRIGGER. CLICK CLICK. No bullets.
Sit him back down.
CLICK, CLICK. They shove Flatnose back in the hot seat.
Dudley offers a hand to Exley, helps him to his feet.
Wendell, you need to accompany
Detective Lieutenant Exley on
official police business. I'll
finish up here.
INT. EXLEY'S PLYMOUTH - DAY
They drive in silence. No love lost here. Finally.
Where are we going?
It's a surprise. You like
surprises, don't you, White?
EXT. COUNTY MORGUE - DAY
Exley pulls up. Bud looks to him. Really curious now.
INT. COUNTY MORGUE - HALLWAY - DAY
Exley and Bud walk. An orderly wheels a covered corpse
toward them from the other end of the hall. Bud's
spooked. The orderly wheels the body in to the
As Bud and Exley pass, the CORONER pulls back the sheet,
is surprised at the sight of a woman who we don't quite
Call me crazy, but for a second I
thought it was Rita Hayworth.
MORGUE MEAT LOCKER
Exley and Bud walk past a wall of drawers to where a
coroner's assistant waits.
We need you to I.D. the body.
There's no next of kin and you
knew him best. So tell me...
The assistant pulls open drawer 12. A naked man.
A tag on his toe and half his face blown off.
Is that Dick Stensland?
Stunned, Bud stares at what's left of his old partner.
Yeah, that's Stens.
Hell of a way to avoid a prison
Bud's torn between wanting to smash Exley and finding out
why Stensland is dead. He squeezes out the words.
Someone held up a coffee shop,
panicked and killed six people.
Then, from the hall...
Not my baby! Not my little girl!
HILDA LEFFERTS, 50, enters with the coroner to ID the
body of her daughter, Susan.
There's stray buckshot in the upper chest and shoulders,
but a sheet hides the real damage. It's the girl Bud saw
outside Hollywood Liquor. Without the black eyes, she
does look like Rita hayworth.
As Bud and Exley appear, Mrs. Lefferts looks confused.
Is this your daughter, Mrs.
I -- I don't know.
We know this is difficult. Just
take your time and look again.
Exley doesn't realize, but Bud recognizes the deceased.
It seems like my Susan, but...
When was the last time you saw
her, Mrs. Lefferts?
At Christmas. We had fought. I
didn't like her boyfriend. I --
she has a birthmark on her hip.
The Coroner lifts the sheet. Mrs. Lefferts gasps.
It's her. My baby. Dear God...
As Mrs. Lefferts swoons, Bud and Exley both hold her up.
INT. LAPD HEADQUARTERS - BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
The room buzzes, jammed to the rafters with every
detective standing ready. The Chief waits as Dudley
Smith takes the mike, holds up an L.A. Times headline.
'Nite Owl Massacre.' Hyperbole
aside, this is a heinous crime
that requires a swift resolution.
The public will demand it and this
department will provide it. Six
victims. One of them, one of our
own -- Dick Stensland.
(as the cops react)
As it happens, he was a Nite Owl
regular. In the wrong place at
the wrong time.
Bud White listens, not too sure. Stensland said he had
something big going on...
Robbery looks like the motive. We
have rubber glove prints on the
register and preliminary forensics
strongly lean toward a trio of
gunmen. We do have one hot lead,
so listen well. Three Negro
youths were seen last night
discharging shotguns in the air at
A park ranger I.D.ed them as
driving a 1948 to 1950 Mercury
Coupe, purple in color. An hour
ago, a canvassing crew found a
news vendor who saw a purple Merc
Coupe parked across from the Nite
Owl around 3:00 A.M.
The room goes loud, a big rumbling. Dudley holds up a
The D.M.V. worked all night to get
us a registration list on '48 to
'50 purple Mercs. There are 142
registered to Negroes in L.A.
County. Fifty two-man teams will
shake three names apiece. Hot
suspects you'll bring here.
Interrogation rooms have been set
up. They'll be run by Lieutenant
Edmund Exley. Hollywood Squad.
Catcalls. Boos. The Chief steps to the mike.
Enough on that. Gentlemen, just
go out and get them. Use all
necessary force. The people of
Los Angeles demand it.
The men exchange knowing looks. The real message: kill
them clean. Exley doesn't approve. As the men hurry
He might as well have put a bounty
INT. SQUAD ROOM - DAY
Detectives pairing up and moving out. Scanning his three
name list, Bud joins his PARTNER for the day.
Can you take them? I got
I got something I gotta do.
Christ, I don't know. What if one
of these names...
What I gotta do is for Stensland.
The guy looks at him a beat, nods. As Bud heads off...
watches everyone go. Wishes he could be part of the
action. He spots Jack talking to his REDNECK partner for
for the day.
JACK AND REDNECK
Redneck chews tobacco, has a Texas drawl.
Where to, Trash?
If we go by the list, we have
about zero chance of making the
collar. But I know a guy who
knows what's going on south of
Jefferson. I'm betting he could
put us at 50/50.
I don't know...
As Redneck thinks, Exley steps up. He's overheard.
I'll take those odds.
Take off. We got it from here.
Jack stares. Redneck shrugs, spits tobacco juice in a
Between the two of you guys, you
should bring along a photographer.
INT. HOLLYWOOD LIQUOR - DAY
Last time we saw the Owner was Christmas Eve. He looks
up from a customer as Bud strides in, badge out front.
I need an address on a customer of
yours. Her name was Lynn.
That's all I have to go on?
Yeah. And I think you already
know who I mean, so cough it up.
Lynn Bracken. There's a billing
address and a delivery address.
Give me both. Billing first.
A big, pink Spanish mansion with lots of tile. Also last
seen outside Hollywood Liquor on Christmas Eve, Pierce
Patchett is in the front yard, chipping golf balls over a
koi pond. They land in a tight grouping. As he tees up:
You must slay 'em at the country
Bud's halfway up the walk. Patchett sees the cuffs
hooked to his belt. Patchett is cool as can be.
Are you Pierce Patchett?
I am. Are you soliciting for
police charities? The last time,
you people called at my office.
I'm a homicide detective. Where
were you last night?
I was here, hosting a party. Who
was killed and why do you think I
I don't know him. Mr...
Officer White. How about Susan
Lefferts? You know her?
You know I do or you wouldn't be
here. How did you find me?
We met outside Hollywood Liquors
on Christmas Eve. This is where
Lynn Bracken's booze bills go.
Sue Lefferts died at the Nite Owl.
Patchett studies Bud a beat, weighing his options.
Patchett's burly BODYGUARD starts over from the house.
Everything alright, Mr. Patchett?
(waves him off)
Fine, Philip. Thank you.
Where's the other guy? Buzz.
He no longer works for me.
Find Susan's killer, Mr. White.
I'll give you a handsome reward.
Whatever you desire.
If only Jack had been around to hear that.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Against your code?
I don't have one. Lefferts looked
beat-up Christmas Eve, but didn't
act it. How come?
Do you care about criminal matters
peripheral to Susan's murder?
Then you wouldn't feel obligated
to report them?
Then listen closely, because I'll
only say this once and if it gets
repeated, I'll deny it. I run
call girls. Lynn Bracken is one
of them and so was Susan Lefferts.
I treat my girls very well. I
have grown daughters, myself, and
I don't like the thought of women
being hurt. I sense you share
Why were Lefferts' eyes black?
I think she'd been hit in the face
with a tennis racket. She is --
was -- a big doubles fan.
You wanna go downtown and discuss
Wait. Our deal still holds?
Bud nods, his patience running thin.
I needed a Rita Hayworth to fill
out my little studio.
What little studio?
There's Gardner, Hepburn, Grable,
Turner. Lynn Bracken is my
Veronica Lake. I use girls who
look like movie stars. Sometimes
I employ a plastic surgeon.
That's why her mother couldn't
I.D. her... Jesus fucking Christ.
No, Mr. White. Pierce Morehouse
Patchett. Now, I sense you're on
your best behavior, but that's all
I'll give you. If you persist,
I'll meet you with my attorney.
Now, would you like Miss Bracken's
address? I doubt she knows
anything, but --
I got her address.
Of course... this is personal with
you, isn't it, Mr. White?
Bud turns, heads down the walk. Patchett hits his golf
ball. It lands just past the koi pond, with the rest.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM, LOS FELIZ (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
A modern-looking triplex. A projector's flicker strobes
against the closed curtains. We hear a PHONE RING.
The film is This Gun For Hire with Alan Ladd and Veronica
Lake. It's projected on a wall in front of which stands
Lynn Bracken and an OLDER GENTLEMAN, in his underwear.
Lynn's long, blonde hair hangs down over one eye. She
looks more like Veronica Lake than Veronica Lake. The
film flashes over them as they kiss.
The PHONE RINGS. Lynn ignores it as long as she can
before breaking away to go answer it.
Is it the cops?
She waves him off. As he practices pointing his finger
like Ladd points a gun, Lynn reacts to the news on the
EXT. 9781 SOUTH DUQUESNE - DAY
A South Central plywood and tar-paper dive. A BLACK
BOXER pounds a heavy bag/speed bag combo bolted to the
porch. Wiry, a welterweight, he doesn't see Jack and
Exley till they're almost on top of him.
The Boxer leans on the bag to catch his breath. Looking
them over, he finally nods.
How's the left these days?
What's it to you?
I saw you fight Kid Gavilan. I
like your style.
What do you want, Mr. Policeman?
You got a brother up in Folsom. I
know because I put him there.
How'd you like to make it 1960? I
know the judge and Sergeant Exley
here is friends with hte D.A.
Exley nods, this is true. The Boxer's still listening.
We're looking for three colored
guys who like to pop off shotguns.
One of 'em owns a purple Merc
You wanna get me a fuckin' snitch
You wanna buy your brother ten
years...? You don't have to say
anything. Just look at this list
and point. Here.
Jack holds the DMV list out to the Boxer, who waves it
He's bad, so I'll just tell you.
Sugar Ray Coates. Drives a '49
coupe, a beautiful ride. Don't
know about shotguns, but he gets
his thrills killing dogs. He is
Jack and Exley scan the list. Jack's finger stabs down
on, "Coates, Raymond, 9611 South Central, Room 414."
That's five minutes from here.
EXT. 1736 NOTTINGHAM (LYNN BRACKEN'S) - DAY
Lynn does her best to usher the slightly disheveled
Older Gentleman out the door.
I don't understand, doll, we just
I'm sorry, but I'll make it up
to you. I promise.
Gosh, kitten, I don't know...
As he begins to mash up against her...
Hit the road, gramps.
Bud's standing at the bottom of the stairs. The Older
Gentleman strikes a pose. He still thinks he's Alan
Alright. This time I'll go, but
next time --
L.A.P.D., shitbird. Get the fuck
out of here or I'll call your wife
to come get you.
Sputtering, the Older Gentleman exchanges a look with
Lynn then hurries away, giving Bud a wide berth.
I've been expecting you. Pierce
called. Told me what happened
A nice breezy feel. The perfect place to shack up.
It's Officer White, isn't it?
Bud nods, eyeballs the place.
Can I get you a drink?
Yeah, plain scotch.
Bud watches her move to the bar. God, she's beautiful.
I was friendly with Sue Lefferts,
but we weren't really friends.
You know what I mean?
Are you sorry she's dead?
Of course I am. What kind of
question is that?
She steps back with a scotch for both of them.
Have you ever heard of Dick
No I haven't. Do you know why
Pierce is humoring you?
You use words like that, you
might make me mad.
Yes. But do you know?
Yeah I know. Patchett's running
whores and judging by his address,
probably something bigger on the
side. He doesn't want any
That's right. Our motives are
selfish, so we're cooperating.
Why was Susan Lefferts at the
I don't know. I never heard of
the Nite Owl till today.
Did Lefferts have a boyfriend?
Like I said we were friendly,
How'd she meet Patchett?
Pierce meets people. Sue came
on the bus with dreams of
Hollywood. This is how they
turned out. Thanks to Pierce,
we still get to act a little.
Tell me about Patchett.
He's waiting for you to mention
You want some advice, Miss
Miss Bracken, don't ever try to
fucking bribe me or threaten me
or I'll have you and Patchett
in shit up to your ears.
Lynn smiles again. She likes Bud. A beat.
I remember you from Christmas
Eve. You have a thing for
helping women, don't you,
Maybe I'm just fucking curious.
You say 'fuck' a lot.
You fuck for money.
There's blood on your shirt. Is
that an integral part of your job?
Do you enjoy it?
When they deserve it.
Did they deserve it today?
I'm not sure.
But you did it anyway.
Yeah, just like the half dozen
guys you screwed today.
Actually, it was two. You're
different, Officer White. You're
the first man in five years who
didn't tell me I look like
Veronica Lake inside of a minute.
You look better than Veronica
Lake. Now, Pierce Patchett.
He takes a cut of our earnings
and invests it for us. He makes
us quit the life at thirty. He
doesn't let us use narcotics and
he doesn't abuse us. Can your
policeman's mentality grasp
He had you cut to look like
No. I'm really a brunette, but
the rest is me. And that's all
the news that's fit to print.
Lynn starts toward the door. Bud watches her a moment,
then follows. She takes his glass at the door.
It was nice meeting you, Officer.
Out the door, Bud turns back. Blurts:
Look. I want to see you again.
Are you asking me for a date or
I don't know.
If it's a date I think you'd
better tell me your first name
because I --
Forget I asked. It was a
Lynn watches thoughtfully after Bud as he walks away.
He opens his car door like he's going to tear ir off.
A last glance back at Lynn and as he gets in the car...
An L-shaped walk-up. Jack coasts the car to the curb.
He leaps out with Exley. Exley holds up at the sight
of a late model sedan. He leans down to look in the
window at the two-way on the dash.
Shit. Someone beat us here.
VOICES from the carport ahead. We see a chrome bumper,
the purple fender of a '49 Mercury coupe. A door slams.
Drawing a .45, Jack starts over with Exley, .38 in hand.
Toting shotguns, Dudley's boys from the Victory Motel,
Breuning and Carlisle, stand by the purple Mercury. Jack
and Exley come around the corner, lower their guns.
Breuning wheels, pumps a round into the chamber. He very
nearly fires before he sees who it is.
What the fuck are you guys doing
Think of us as back-up.
What do you got?
As Jack moves to peer through the Merc's window.
Three Ithaca pumps, an empty box
of double-ought buck and cash.
Jack spots them. Three shotguns on the passenger side
floor, an empty box of shells and loose dollar bills.
So long, Vice. Badge of Honor,
here I come.
Fuck you, Vincennes. It's our
Breuning actually has to restrain his partner.
Quiet. I'm ranking officer here.
We go as a team. End of story.
INT. CORRIDOR - TEVERE HOTEL - DAY
Breuning and Carlisle lead the way with Jack and Exley
bringing up the rear. Squinting, Exley reaches to his
pocket for something. Not there.
Just don't shoot me.
The door to 414. Two men on either side. Breuning rears
back. Jack rears back. They kick at the same instant.
The door flies off its hinges to reveal two young black
men, LARRY FONTAINE and TY JONES, waking from a couple
of flop mattresses.
Fontaine jumps up. Entering, Carlisle aims, but Exley
grabs his arm. The BLAST rips the ceiling. Jack aims.
Fontaine freezes. Jones doesn't dare get up.
Ace him, Jack.
Shut up, Carlisle!
Jack and Exley burst into a...
Another black, RAY COATES, passed out on mattress, sur-
rounded by empty beer cans. Jack sticks his .38 in his
back, starts to cuff him. As the cuff ratchets down...
INT. OBSERVATION ROOM - DAY
Dudley watches intently as Ed Exley skims a report,
memorizing names and dates. Jack and other brass are
also here along with a stenographer. So's Bud. One of
these guys killed Stensland. Through tinted glass, the
three suspects in three different rooms.
Casitas Youth Camp... Coates
twenty-two, a boxer... Manager
saw them burning clothes.
Satisfied, Exley sets the report down.
Ed, I want confessions.
I'll break them, sir.
As Exley steps into the #1 room, Jack joins Dudley.
You think golden boy can handle
I think you'll be surprised what
Edmund's capable of.
Exley closes the door. Ray Coates is cuffed to a chair,
dressed in baggy County denims. One eye swollen shut,
lip split, a smashed nose with one nostril split.
Exley unlocks his cuffs. drops cigarettes and amtches
on the table. As Coates rubs his wrists...
They call you Sugar Ray because
of Ray Robinson?
They say Robinson can throw a
four punch combination in one
second. Do you believe that?
Coates just stares at him.
You're twenty-two, aren't you, Ray?
Say what and so what.
Did one of the officers work you
over a little?
No bite. Coates just stares back.
You look like Robinson after
that last LaMotta fight. 'Course
LaMotta looked a lot worse. So
you're twenty-two, right?
Man, why do you keep asking me
Just getting my facts straight.
Twenty-two makes it a gas chamber
You should have pulled this caper
a couple of years ago. Get life,
do a little Youth Authority jolt,
transfer to Folsom a big man.
Orbit on some of that good prison
brew, get yourself a sissy --
I never truck with no sissies!
That fucking Larry. I almost
That Larry, he's a pisser. You
did the Casitas Youth Camp with
him, didn't you?
Man, why're you talkin' about
Larry? His business is his
Unseen by Coates, Exley reaches under the table, takes
hold of one of three toggle switches.
Sugar, Larry told me you went
sissy up at Casitas. You
couldn't do the time so you
found yourself a big white boy
to look after you. He said
they call you 'Sugar' because
you gave it out so sweet.
Exley flips the toggle.
The speaker over Larry Fontaine's head crackles to life.
Larry gave it at Casitas! Man,
I was the fuckin' boss jocker on
my dorm! Larry's the sissy!
Larry gave it for candy bars!
Exley flips up the second toggle.
Ray, you protected Ty and Larry
up in Casitas, didn't you?
You ain't woofin' I did. Stupid
down home niggers got no more
sense than a fuckin' dog.
Exley flips the switches off.
I heard you like to shoot dogs.
Dogs got no reason to live.
Oh? you feel that way about
Man, what're you saying?
Ray, we got the shotguns.
I don't own no shotguns.
Why were you throwing clothes
in the building incinerator?
You guys were arrested this
morning, but none of you have
last night's clothes. You were
seen burning them. Add to that
the fact that you hid the car
you were cruising around in
last night and it doesn't look
I got nothin' more to say till
I see a judge.
Were you on hop? You were passed
out when you got arrested. Were
you hopped up, Ray?
Ty and Larry fuck with that
shit, not me.
Where do they get their stuff?
Come on. Give me one to feed
the D.A. Just a little one.
Coates nods. Exley flips up the toggles as he leans
Roland Navarette. Lives on
Bunker Hill. He runs a hole-up
for parole absconders and sells
Exley flips down the switches, stands.
I'm going to take a break.
Exley opens the door, looks back in afterthought.
You know, Ray, I'm talking about
the gas chamber and you haven't
even asked me what this is all
about. You got a big guilty
sign around your neck.
Masterful, Edmund. Your father
would've been proud.
This one's on the verge.
Exley looks through the glass into #2. Larry Fontaine
is weeping. A piss puddle on the floor by his chair.
Fontaine next, but give Jones
the newspaper. I want him
Fontaine tries to control his sniffles as Exley enters.
Larry, Ray Coates ratted you
off. He said the Nite Owl was
your idea. You want to tell me
I think it was Ray's idea. Talk
and I think I can save your life.
Larry, this is a gas chamber job.
If you don't talk, you'll be dead
in six months.
Son, six people are dead and
somebody has to pay. It can be
you or it can be Ray.
Larry, he called you queer. He
said at Casitas you took it up
the ass. He said --
I DIDN'T KILL NOBODY!
The voice is strong, full of conviction. Exley
glances at the mirror. Then...
Why'd you burn the clothes?
I just wanted to lose my cherry.
I didn't mean to hurt her.
Exley can't hide his surprise at this.
Hurt who? Was she a hooker?
But Fontaine is gone. Head lolling, eyes squeezing
Exley steps out of the interrogation room. Dudley
Don't get sidetracked. Stay with
the Nite Owl.
She may still be alive, whoever
Bud's all ears.
Reading, Jones has his feet on the table. Exley
This newspaper shit ain't shit.
Where's the girl? Did you kill her?
No answer, but Jones looks nervous.
You wanted Larry to lose his
cherry, but things got out of
hand. Is that right?
Everyone's attention is riveted, particularly Bud's.
They watch, listen over the speaker.
Kick loose, Jones. I know you
made her bleed, but that doesn't
mean you killed her.
No answer, but Jones is squirming.
If that girl's alive, you've
still got a chance on this one.
I think she's alive.
Jack turns to Dudley.
He's good. I'll give him that.
They don't notice as the chair back begins to splinter
in Bud's hands.
Exley sits across from him, tries to wrap it up.
Where is she now?
Did you leave her someplace?
Did you sell her out? Give her
to some of your buddies? Tell
me where the girl is!
The door blasts open. Bud slams Jones up against the
wall. As Exley stands, he bangs his knee on the table.
Pulling a .38, Bud breaks the cylinder, drops 5 shells
on the floor.
One in six. Where's the girl?
Officer White, put down that
weapon and --
Bud shoves the barrel into Jones' mouth, pulls the
trigger twice. CLICK, CLICK. Jones starts to slide
down the wall. Bud jerks him back up, roars.
Two more clicks. Jones spills.
S-sylvester F-fitch one-o-nine
and Avalon gray corner house...