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Scene 1 -  A Nighttime Abduction
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 6
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 6
A FEW GOOD MEN



Written by


Aaron Sorkin




Revised Third Draft
July 15, 1991
FADE IN:

EXT. A SENTRY TOWER --

-- in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere.

Small beams of light coming from lamps attached to the tower
cut through the ground mist. We HEAR all the unidentifiable
sounds of night in the woods. We also HEAR, very, very
faintly, a slow, deliberate drum cadence. And as this
starts, we begin to MOVE SLOWLY UP THE TOWER, more becomes
visible now:... the sandbags on the ground piled ten-high...
the steel, fire escape-type stairway wrapping around the
structure and leading to the lookout post, and finally...
THE LOOKOUT POST, maybe forty feet off the ground.

Standing the post is the silhouette of A MARINE. He's
holding a rifle and staring straight out.

The drum cadence has been building slightly.

CUT TO:

A WIDER SHOT OF THE FENCELINE. And we see by the moonlight
that the tall wire-mesh fence winds its way far, far into
the distance.

SUBTITLE: UNITED STATES NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO BAY - CUBA.

The drum cadence continues, and we

CUT TO:

INT. A MARINE BARRACKS

We HEAR two pairs of footsteps and then

CUT TO:

THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR

where we see that the footsteps belong to DAWSON and DOWNEY,
two young marines who we'll get to know later. They stop
when they get to a certain door. The drum cadence is still
growing. DAWSON puts his hand on the doorknob and turns it
slowly. He opens's the door and they walk into

INT. SANTIAGO'S ROOM - NIGHT

WILLY SANTIAGO, a young, very slight marine, lies asleep in
his bunk.
2.

DAWSON kneels down by the bed, puts his hand on SANTIAGO'S
shoulder and shakes him gently. SANTIAGO opens his yes,
looks at DAWSON, and for a moment there's nothing wrong --

-- and then SANTIAGO's eyes fill with terror. He lunges out
of the bed -- but forget about it. In one flash DAWSON and
DOWNEY grab him out of bed, and before the scream can come
out, DOWNEY's shoved a piece of cloth into SANTIAGO's mouth.

Everything that happens next occurs with speed, precision
and professionalism.

-- A strip of duct tape is pulled, ripped, and slapped onto
his mouth and eyes --

-- A length of rope is wrapped around his hands and feet.

DOWNEY
(quietly)
You're lucky it's us, Willy.

-- An arm grabs him tightly around the neck, not choking
him, just holding his head still --

-- The drum cadence has built to a crescendo. We HEAR four
sharp blasts from a whistle and we

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD - DAY

and the drum cadence we've been hearing has turned into
Semper Fidelis and it's coming from THE U.S. MARINE CORPS
BAND, a sight to behold in their red and gold uniforms and
polished silver and brass.

The BAND is performing on the huge and lush parade grounds
before a crowd made up mostly of TOURISTS and DAY-CAMPERS.

As the TITLES ROLL, we watch the BAND do their thing from
various angles. Incredible precision is the name of the
game. Each polished black shoe hitting the ground as if they
were all attached by a rod. Each drumstick raised to the
same fraction of a centimeter before striking. A RIFLE DRILL
TEAM that can't possibly be human. Flags, banners, the
works.

SUBTITLE: THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D.C.

CUT TO:

HIGH ANGLE of the entire band an we end credits.

CUT TO:
3.

EXT. A RED BRICK BUILDING - DAY

It's an important building, a main building. A few SAILORS
enter and exit and

CUT TO:

A WOMAN

as she walks across the courtyard toward the brick building.
The WOMAN is JOANNE GALLOWAY, a navy lawyer in her early
She's bright, attractive, impulsive, and has a tendency to
speak quickly. If she had any friends, they'd call her JO.
As she walks, she mutters to herself ...

JO
I'm requesting... I'm... Captain,
I'd like to request that I be the
attorney assigned to rep -- I'd
like to request that it be myself
who is assigned to represent --
(she stops)
"That it be myself who is assigned
to represent"? ...Good, Jo, that's
confidence inspiring.

We follow JO, still muttering, as she walks into the brick
building which bears the seal of the

UNITED STATES NAVY - JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S CORPS

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Two young marines kidnap another marine from his bunk, while a U.S. Marine Corps Band performs at the Washington Navy Yard.
Strengths "The scene creates a sense of tension and apprehension, with the tension of the band performance contrasting with the nighttime kidnapping. The precision of the band and the professionalism of the kidnappers in their execution creates a sense of expertise and skill at work."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks character development and is purely focused on the action at hand, giving little context or motivation for the kidnapping."
Critique Overall, this scene shows strong visual storytelling and a good use of sound to create atmosphere. The descriptions are clear and concise, and the pacing is well-managed.

One possible critique is that there is no clear connection between the opening sequence with the Marines and the following scenes with Joanne Galloway. While it is possible that this will be explained or become relevant later in the script, at this point it feels somewhat jarring to transition from a tense military setting to a shot of tourists watching a parade.

Additionally, the character descriptions for Joanne Galloway feel somewhat cliched - the "bright, attractive, impulsive" woman who speaks quickly and has a tendency to mutter to herself. While this type of character can work in the right context, it's important to avoid relying too heavily on stereotypes and instead create fully realized and nuanced characters.

Overall, however, this scene sets up an intriguing premise and uses strong visuals to draw the audience into the world of the story.
Suggestions As a screenwriting expert, I would suggest adding more details and context to this scene. The opening scene sets the tone for the entire movie, so it's important to make sure it's clear and engaging. Here are some suggestions:

1. Give more description of the environment: While the mist and night sounds are described, it would be helpful to add some further detail to create a sense of atmosphere. Is it humid or dry? Are there any distinct smells or visuals? Adding more sensory language can help immerse the audience in the scene.

2. Provide more background information: While the subtitle gives some indication that the location is Guantanamo Bay, it would be helpful to have more context on what is happening there and why. Is there tension in the air? Are there any political undertones to the setting? Providing more context can make the audience more invested in the story from the start.

3. Add more character development: While we get a brief introduction to Joanne, it would be helpful to have more information about who she is and what motivates her. This could be through dialogue, inner thoughts, or even visual cues. Understanding the protagonist on a deeper level can help the audience connect with the story and the character's journey.

Overall, adding more descriptive language, background information, and character development can elevate this scene and set the stage for a compelling movie.



Scene 2 -  The Code Red
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 6
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. WEST'S OFFICE - DAY

As JO enters. CAPTAIN WEST and two other officers, GIBBS
and LAWRENCE, sit around a conference table.

GIBBS
Jo, come on in.

JO
Thank you, sir.

GIBBS
Captain West, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway. Jo, you know Mike
Lawrence.

JO
Yes sir.
(to WEST)
Captain, I appreciate your seeing
me on such short notice.
4.

WEST
I understand there was some trouble
over the weekend down in Cuba.

JO
Yes sir... This past Friday
evening. Two marines, Corporal
Harold Dawson and Private Louden
Downey, entered the barracks room
of a PFC William Santiago and
assaulted him. Santiago died at the
base hospital approximately an hour
later. The NIS agent who took their
statements maintains they were
trying to prevent Santiago from
naming them in a fenceline shooting
incident. They're scheduled to have
a hearing down in Cuba at 4:00 this
afternoon.

LAWRENCE
What's the problem?

JO
Dawson and Downey are both
recruiting poster marines and
Santiago was known to be a screw-
up. I was thinking that it sounded
an awful lot like a code red.

Jo lets this sink in a moment.

WEST
(under his breath)
Christ.

JO
I'd like them moved up to
Washington and assigned counsel.
Someone who can really look into
this. Someone who possesses not
only the legal skill, but a
familiarity with the inner workings
of the military. In short, Captain,
I'd like to suggest that... I be
the one who, that it be me who is
assigned to represent them.
(beat)
Myself.

Jo looks around the room for a response.
5.

WEST
Joanne, why don't you get yourself
a cup of coffee.

JO
Thank you, sir, I'm fine.

WEST
Joanne, I'd like you to leave the
room so we can talk about you
behind your back.

JO
Certainly, sir.

JO gets up and walks out.

WEST
I thought this Code Red shit wasn't
going on anymore.

LAWRENCE
With the marines at GITMO? Who the
hell knows what goes on down there.

WEST
Well lets find out before the rest
of the world does, this thing could
get messy. What about this woman?

LAWRENCE
Jo's been working a desk at
internal affairs for what, almost a
year now.

WEST
And before that?

GIBBS
She disposed of three cases in two
years.

WEST
Three cases in two years? Who was
she handling, the Rosenbergs?

GIBBS
She's not cut out for litigation.

LAWRENCE
She's a hall of an investigator,
Jerry --
6.

GIBBS
In Internal Affairs, sure. She can
crawl up a lawyer's ass with the
best of 'em, but when it comes to
trial work --

WEST
I know. All passion, no street
smarts. Bring her back in.

LAWRENCE goes to the door and motions for JO to come back
in.

WEST
(continuing)
Commander, we're gonna move the
defendants up here in the morning.

JO
Thank you, sir.

WEST
And I'll have Division assign them
counsel...

JO
(beat)
But... not me.

WEST
From what I understand from your
colleagues, you're much too
valuable in your present assignment
to be wasted on what I'm sure will
boil down to a five minute plea
bargain and a week's worth of paper
work.

JO
Sir --

WEST
Don't worry about it. I promise
you, division'll assign the right
man for the job.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama","military"]

Summary Joanne proposes to take on a case of two marines for assaulting a screw-up called Santiago, who later dies, as a legal representative. Joanne faces resistance, and in the end, the defendants' counsel is assigned by Division.
Strengths "Strong dialogue and character introductions."
Weaknesses "Lack of significant plot development."
Critique First of all, the writing in this scene is crisp and concise, which is great. However, there is room for improvement in terms of character development and dialogue.

The characters of Captain West, Gibbs, Lawrence, and Jo are not well fleshed out. They all speak in a similar manner without much variation and don't really have any distinguishing features or personality traits. It would be helpful to give them more distinct voices and behaviors in order to make them more interesting to watch.

The dialogue could also use more subtext and conflict. Right now, too much of it is straightforward exposition and explanation. It would be more engaging if the characters were more actively trying to achieve their goals and clashing with one another over their differing viewpoints. For example, if Jo were more insistent about wanting to take on the case herself, and Captain West and the others were more resistant to the idea, it would create more tension in the scene.

Overall, this scene serves its purpose of setting up the plot and introducing the characters, but it could benefit from more dynamic dialogue and character development.
Suggestions There are a few suggestions I would make to improve this scene:

1. Add some action lines to break up the dialogue and provide some visual interest for the audience. For example, you could show Jo entering the room and taking a seat, or Captain West drumming his fingers on the table.

2. Clarify who is speaking at certain points in the scene. For example, when Gibbs says "Jo, come on in," it's not immediately clear who he's addressing.

3. Consider adding more subtext to the dialogue, especially when it comes to Jo's motivations for wanting to represent the defendants. Why is she so passionate about this case? What is she willing to risk in order to take it on? Adding some layers to the characters' intentions can help make the scene more dynamic.

4. Think about how you can incorporate some conflict into the scene. Right now, there isn't a lot of tension or disagreement between the characters. Adding some contrasting perspectives or opposing goals can help push the story forward and make the scene more interesting to watch.



Scene 3 -  The Right Man for the Job
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 6
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 8
EXT. SOFTBALL FIELD - DAY

THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB

His name is LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE DANIEL ALLISTAIR KAFFEE,
and it's almost impossible not to like him.
7.

At the moment he's hitting fungoes to about a dozen LAWYERS
who are spread out on the softball field on a corner of the
bass. The '27 Yankees they're not, but they could probably
hold their own against a group of, say, Airforce dentists.

KAFFEE's in his late 20's, 15 months out of Harvard Law
School, and a brilliant legal mind waiting for a courageous
spirit to drive it. He is, at this point in his life,
passionate about nothing... except maybe softball.

KAFFEE
(calling out to the team)
Alright, let's get two!

He smacks one to the SECOND BASE. The ball bounces right
between his legs.

SECOND BASE
Sorry!

KAFFEE
Nothing to be sorry about, Sherby.
Just look the ball into your glove.

He smacks one out to the same place. It bounces off the heel
of SHERBY's glove and into center field.

SECOND BASE (SHERBY)
Sorry!

KAFFEE
You gotta trust me, Sherby. You
keep your eyes open, your chances
of catching the ball increase by a
factor of ten.

SPRADLING, a young naval officer, sweaty and out of breath,
walks up behind the backstop.

SPRADLING
Kaffee!

KAFFEE
Let's try it again.

SPRADLING
Kaffee!!

KAFFEE
(turning)
Dave. You seem upset and
distraught.
8.

SPRADLING
We were supposed to meet in your
office 15 minutes ago to talk about
the McDermott case. You're stalling
on this thing. Now we got this done
and I mean now, or no kidding,
Kaffee, I'll hang your boy from a
fuckin' yardarm.

KAFFEE
A yardarm?
(calling out)
Sherby, does the Navy still hang
people from yardarms?

SHERBY
(calling back)
I don't think so, Danny.

KAFFEE
(back to SPRADLING)
Dave, Sherby doesn't think the Navy
hangs people from yardarms anymore.
(back to the field)
Let's go, let's get two!

He goes back to hitting fungoes.

SPRADLING
I'm gonna charge him with
possession and being under the
influence while on duty. Plead
guilty and I'll recommend 30 days
in the brig with loss of rank and
pay.

KAFFEE
It was oregano, Dave, it was ten
dollars worth of oregano.

SPRADLING
Yeah, well your client thought it
was marijuana.

KAFFEE
My client's a moron, that's not
against the law.

Swapp! The THIRD BASEMAN takes one in the face.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Ow. That had to hurt.
(calling out)
9.

Way to keep your head in the play,
Lester. Walk it off!

SPRADLING
I've got people to answer to just
like you, I'm gonna charge him.

KAFFEE
With what, possession of a
condiment?

SPRADLING
Kaffee --

KAFFEE
Dave, I've tried to help you out of
this, but if you ask for tall time,
I'm gonna file a motion to dismiss.

SPRADLING
You won't got it.

KAFFEE
I will get it. And if the MTD is
denied, I'll file a motion in
liminee seeking to obtain
evidentiary ruling in advance, and
after that I'm gonna file against
pre-trial confinement, and you're
gonna spend an entire summer going
blind on paperwork because a
Signalman Second Class bought and
smoked a dime bag of oregano.

SPRADLING
B Misdemeanor, 20 days in the brig.

KAFFEE
C Misdemeanor, 15 days restricted
duty.

SPRADLING
I don't know why I'm agreeing to
this.

KAFFEE
'Cause you have wisdom beyond your
years. Dave, can you play third
base?
Genres: ["Comedy","Drama"]

Summary Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee hits fungoes on a softball field while stalling on a legal case. He argues with Spradling over the charge of possession and being under the influence while on duty. Kaffee ultimately convinces Spradling to charge with a lesser offense.
Strengths "The dialogue showcases Kaffee's intelligence, witty banter, and bravado; the use of the softball game as a side setting adds humor to the scene."
Weaknesses "The scene feels a bit drawn-out, and there isn't much emotional tension."
Critique Overall, the scene has good pacing and establishes the character of Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Allistair Kaffee effectively through his interactions with the other characters. The use of humor keeps the dialogue engaging. However, the setting and action may not be immediately relevant to the overall plot of the story. In terms of formatting, the scene description is clear and the dialogue is easy to follow. While the scene serves to showcase Kaffee's personality and provide some backstory, it may benefit from clearer connections to the main plot or themes of the story.
Suggestions One suggestion would be to tighten up the dialogue between Kaffee and Spradling, as it feels like it drags on a bit too long. Another suggestion would be to add more visual description or action to break up the talking and give the scene more energy. For example, showing Kaffee hitting more impressive fungoes or having one of the lawyers make a great catch could add some excitement to the scene. Lastly, it may be helpful to establish the stakes of the McDermott case earlier in the scene, so the audience understands why there is tension between Kaffee and Spradling.



Scene 4 -  Prepping for a Legal Case
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 7
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

About 16 NAVY AND MARINE LAWYERS (several of whom are women)
are taking their seats around a large conference table.
10.

A PARALEGAL is handing out folders and some photocopied
papers to the LAWYERS.

We might notice that one of the lawyers is Lieutenant Junior
Grade SAM WEINBERG. Sam's serious and studious looking. If
he weren't in uniform, you wouldn't guess that he was a
naval officer.

CAPTAIN WHITAKER walks in.

WHITAKER
'Morning.

LAWYERS
(school class)
'Morning Captain Whitaker.

WHITAKER
Sam, how's the baby?

SAM
I think she's ready to say her
first word any day now.

WHITAKER
How can you tell?

SAM
She just looks like she has
something to say.

KAFFEE walks in.

KAFFEE
Excuse me, sorry I'm late.

WHITAKER
I'm sure you don't have a good
excuse, so I won't force you to
come up with a bad one.

KAFFEE
Thank you, Isaac, that's nice of
you.

WHITAKER
Sit-down, this first one's for you.

He hands KAFFEE some files.
11.

WHITAKER
(continuing)
You're moving up in the world,
Danny, you've been requested by
Division.

"Oooh"'s and "Ahhh"'S from the other LAWYERS. (Subtle Note:
Kaffee doesn't want to move up in the world.)

KAFFEE
Requested to do what?

WHITAKER hands him a file.

WHITAKER
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A marine
corporal named Dawson illegally
fires a round from his weapon over
the fenceline and into Cuban
territory.

KAFFEE
What's a fenceline?

WHITAKER
Sam?

SAM
A big wall separating the good guys
from the bad guys.

KAFFEE
Teachers pet.

WHITAKER
PFC William Santiago threatens to
rat on Dawson to the Naval
investigative Service. Dawson and
another member of his squad, PFC
Louden Downey, they go into
Santiago's room, tie him up, and
stuff a rag down his throat. An
hour later, Santiago's dead.
Attending physician says the rag
was treated with some kind of
toxin.

KAFFEE
They poisoned the rag?

WHITAKER
Not according to them.
12.

KAFFEE
What do they say?

WHITAKER
Not much. They're being flown up
here tomorrow and on Thursday at
you'll catch a transport down to
Cuba for the day to find out what
you can. Meantime, go across the
yard and see Lt. Commander Joanne
Galloway. She's the one who had 'em
brought up here. She'll fill you in
on whatever she has. Any questions?

KAFFEE
The flight to Cuba, was that 0600
in the morning, sir?

WHITAKER
It seems important to Division that
this one be handled by the book, so
I'm assigning co-counsel. Any
volunteers?

SAM
No.

WHITAKER
Sam.

SAM
I have a stack of paper on my desk -
-

WHITAKER
Work with Kaffee on this.

SAM
Doing what? Kaffee'll finish this
up in four days.

WHITAKER
Do various... administrative... you
know... things. Back-up. Whatever.

SAM
In other words I have no
responsibilities whatsoever.

WHITAKER
Right.
13.

SAM
My kinda case.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Military","Legal"]

Summary Military lawyers discuss a case regarding the assault and death of a marine and are assigned to investigate it further.
Strengths "The scene effectively sets up the legal case and the characters involved. There is minimal exposition while still being informative. The dialogue is truthful to the characters."
Weaknesses "There seems to be a lack of emotional impact and conflict in the scene."
Critique As a screenwriting expert, I would provide the following critique:

Overall, this scene sets up the premise of the story and establishes some character dynamics, but there are some areas that could be improved upon. Here are some specific notes:

- Description: The opening description of the scene is clear and concise, but could benefit from more sensory details to help visualize the room and characters. For example, what kind of furniture is in the conference room? What do the lawyers look like beyond their gender? Adding more specific details can help ground the audience in the environment.

- Dialogue: The dialogue between the characters feels natural and sets up their personalities well, but some lines can come across as too expository. For example, when Sam explains what a fenceline is, it feels like he's giving information to the audience rather than having a natural conversation with his colleagues. Finding more subtle ways to convey information can make scenes feel more organic.

- Action: There isn't much action in this scene beyond the characters sitting down and receiving files, which can make it feel slow. Consider adding some physicality to the scene, such as characters standing up, gesturing, or fidgeting, to keep the scene visually interesting.

- Conflict: The scene sets up some potential conflict between the characters, particularly between Kaffee and Sam, but it doesn't escalate to anything particularly dramatic. Finding a way to heighten the tension and stakes in the scene can make it feel more engaging.

Overall, this scene sets up the story and characters in a functional way, but could benefit from more specificity and energy.
Suggestions Overall, this scene sets up the premise for the movie and introduces us to some of the main characters. However, there are a few areas that could be improved:

1. Make the dialogue more concise and purposeful. There are some lengthy exchanges that could be condensed to keep the scene moving.

2. Add more visual description to make the scene more dynamic. Right now, it's mostly people sitting at a table talking. You could describe the conference room setting in more detail or add some action for the lawyers as they receive the files and folders.

3. Develop the characters more. Aside from Sam being serious and studious, we don't really know much about any of the characters. Adding some small details or quirks to them could make them more memorable and interesting.

4. Consider adding some conflict or tension to the scene. Right now, it's all very cordial and matter-of-fact. Adding some underlying tension or disagreement between the characters could make it more engaging to watch.



Scene 5 -  Meeting with Jo
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. JO'S OFFICE - DAY

JO sits behind her desk. KAFFEE and SAM stand in the
doorway. KAFFEE knocks politely.

JO looks up.

KAFFEE
Hi.
(beat)
I'm Daniel Kaffee. I was told to
meet with --
(checks notes)
-- Commander Galloway.

JO is staring at him. KAFFEE doesn't know why.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
About a briefing.

JO is finding this hard to believe.

JO
You're the attorney that Division
assigned?

KAFFEE
I'm lead counsel. This is Sam
Weinberg.

SAM
I have no responsibilities here
whatsoever.

JO's deeply puzzled.

JO
(beat)
Come in, please, have a seat...

KAFFEE and SAM come into the office and sit.

JO
(continuing)
Lieutenant, how long have you been
in the Navy?
14.

KAFFEE
Going on nine months now.

JO
And how long have you been out of
law school?

KAFFEE
A little over a year.

JO
(beat)
I see.

KAFFEE
Have I done something wrong?

JO
No. It's just that when I
petitioned Division to have counsel
assigned, I was hoping I'd be taken
seriously.

KAFFEE and SAM exchange a look.

KAFFEE
(to JO)
No offense taken, if you were
wondering.

SAM
Commander, Lt. Kaffee's generally
considered the best litigator in
our office. He's successfully plea
bargained 44 cases in nine months.

KAFFEE
One more, and I got a set of steak
knives.

JO
Have you ever been in a courtroom?

KAFFEE
I once had my drivers license
suspended.

SAM
Danny --
15.

KAFFEE
Commander, from what I understand,
if this thing goes to court, they
won't need a lawyer, they'll need a
priest.

JO
No. They'll need a lawyer.

During this, she'll hand KAFFEE a series of files, which
KAFFEE will pass To SAM without even glancing at them.

JO
(continuing)
Dawson's family has been contacted.
Downey's closest living relative is
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his
mother's side, she hasn't been
Contacted yet.

None of this really means anything to KAFFEE.

JO
(continuing)
Would you like me to take care of
that?

KAFFEE
Sure, if you feel like it.

JO takes another beat to size this guy up.

JO
One of the people you'll be
speaking to down there is the
barracks C.O., Colonel Nathan
Jessep, I assume you've heard of
him.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Who hasn't?

SAM
(to KAFFEE)
He's been in the papers lately.
He's expected to be appointed
Director of Operations for the
National Security Counsel.

Passing KAFFEE another file --
16.

JO
These are letters that Santiago
wrote in his 8 months at GITMO --

SAM
(whispering to kaffee)
Guantanamo Bay.

KAFFEE
I know that one.

JO
He wrote to his recruiter, the
fleet commander, HQ, Atlantic, even
his senator. He wanted a transfer.
Nobody was listening. You with me?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
This last letter to the Naval
investigative Service --

She hands it to KAFFEE who hands it to Sam --

JO
(continuing)
-- where he offers information
about Corporal Dawson's fenceline
shooting in exchange for a
transfer, was just a last ditch
effort.

KAFFEE
Right. Is that all?

JO
(beat)
Lieutenant, this letter makes it
look like your client had a motive
to kill Santiago.

KAFFEE
Gotcha.
(beat)
And Santiago is... who?

JO
(beat)
The victim.
17.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
Write that down.
(to JO)
Am I correct in assuming that these
letters don't paint a flattering
picture of marine corps life in
Guantanamo Bay?

JO
Yes, among other --

KAFFEE
And am I further right in assuming
that a protracted investigation of
this incident might cause some
embarrassment for the security
counsel guy.

JO
Colonel Jessep, yes, but --

KAFFEE
Twelve years.

JO
I'm sorry?

KAFFEE
Twelve years. I can get it knocked
down to Involuntary Manslaughter.
Twelve years.

JO
You haven't talked to a witness,
you haven't looked at a piece of
paper.

KAFFEE
Pretty impressive, huh?

JO
You're gonna have to go deeper than
just --

KAFFEE
Commander, do you have some sort of
jurisdiction here that I should
know about?

JO
My job is to make sure you do your
job.
18.

I'm special counsel for Internal
Affairs, so my jurisdiction's
pretty much in your face. Read the
letters. You're not under any
obligation, but I'd appreciate a
report when you get back from Cuba.

KAFFEE
Sure.

KAFFEE gets up without waiting for JO to say --

JO
You're dismissed.

KAFFEE
Sorry, I always forget that.

KAFFEE's gone. SAM's standing in the doorway.

SAM
He's a little preoccupied.
(beat)
The team's playing Bethesda Medical
next week.

JO
Tell your friend not to get cute
down there. The marines in
Guantanimo are fanatical.

SAM
About what?

And in VOICE OVER we HEAR --

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
Dear Sir,

JO
About being marines.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Lieutenant Kaffee meets with Jo, who is not impressed by his lack of experience. She gives him files on Santiago's case and warns him about the dangers of dealing with the Marines in Guantanamo Bay.
Strengths "Strong character development, tense dialogue, realistic legal setting."
Weaknesses "Slow pacing, lack of action, lack of backstory for Santiago."
Critique This scene is from the screenplay of A Few Good Men. Overall, the scene is well-crafted and effective. The dialogue is sharp and builds tension between the characters. The exposition is delivered seamlessly through natural conversation.

The characters are established well in the scene. Jo is serious, professional, and not easily impressed, while Kaffee is more laid-back and self-assured. Sam provides a comedic element with his quips.

The stakes of the scene are established when Jo expresses concern that Kaffee is not qualified to handle the case. This sets up the conflict for the rest of the film and creates anticipation for how Kaffee will prove himself to Jo and win the case.

One minor critique is that the exposition could be more elegantly integrated into the dialogue. For example, the information about Guantanamo Bay could be hinted at more subtly instead of being directly explained.

Overall, this scene is well-written and sets up the foundation for the rest of the film.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add some visual elements: Currently, the scene consists primarily of dialogue between the three characters. Introducing some visual elements, such as close-ups of Jo's facial expressions, Kaffee's body language, or even some shots of the files they are talking about, can make the scene more dynamic and engaging.

2. Build up the tension: The scene is relatively flat and lacks a sense of urgency or tension. Adding small details that hint at the stakes of the situation, such as Jo's anxiety at the idea of Kaffee being assigned as the lead counsel or Kaffee's eagerness to please his superiors, can add depth and complexity to the characters and keep the audience engaged.

3. Strengthen the character interactions: While the dialogue is functional, it lacks subtext or nuance. Developing the characters' relationships with one another, such as adding subtle power plays or conflicts, can make the conversation more interesting and help flesh out the characters.

4. Clarify the story: For audiences unfamiliar with the story, it can be hard to follow the significance of the various names and terms being thrown around. Adding more context and explaining things in more detail can make it easier for audiences to keep up with the story.



Scene 6 -  Santiago's Letter
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 6
  • Dialogue: 6
EXT. CUBAN FIELD - DAY

SERIES OF SHOTS - DAY

And while we HEAR the letter read in V.O., what we're seeing
is this: SANTIAGO's life in Guantanimo Bay over the last 8
months. He had a rough time of it.

THE SHOTS
SHOULD INCLUDE:
19.

-- SANTIAGO running along at the rear of a group of MARINES.
It's been over seven miles and he's matted with sweat. A
SERGEANT runs up along side, grabs his back, and pushes him
to keep up with the group. SANTIAGO falls, struggles to get
back up and keep running, and

CUT TO:

EXT. MARINE BARRACKS - DAY

-- SANTIAGO doing push-ups alone in the rain. He's being
supervised by a SERGEANT who sees to it that his face hits
the mud every time down and

CUT TO:

INT. MESS HALL - DAY

-- SANTIAGO sitting alone in the mess hall, not a friend
within four seats of him and

CUT TO:

EXT. MARINE BARRACKS - DAY

-- SANTIAGO being chewed out by a Lieutenant in front of his
squad and

CUT TO:

EXT. ROCKY HILL - DAY

-- SANTIAGO running with the squad of MARINES again, this
time down a rocky hill. It's hot as hell and it looks like
he's gonna pass out.

He stumbles, and the SERGEANT picks him up and pushes him
down the hill. He rolls about 30 feet before he stops. Over
this, we HEAR

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
"...My name is PFC William T.
Santiago. I am a marine stationed
at Marine Barracks, Rifle Security
Company Windward, Second Platoon
Delta. I am writing to inform you
of my problems with my unit here in
Cuba and to ask for your help. I've
fallen out on runs before for
several reasons such as feeling
dizzy or nauseated, but on May
18th, I'd fallen back about 20 or
30 yards going down a rocky,
unstable hill.
20.

My sergeant grabbed me and pushed
me down the hill. Then I saw all
black and the last thing I remember
is hitting the deck. I was brought
to the hospital where I was told I
just had heat exhaustion and was
explained to by the doctor that my
body has trouble with the hot sun
and I hyperventilate. I ask you to
help me. Please sir. I just need to
be transferred out of RSC.
Sincerely. PFC William T. Santiago.
U.S. Marine Corps."

At this point, with SANTIAGO's letter still in V.O., we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Military"]

Summary A series of shots show the difficult life of marine Santiago in Guantanamo Bay while we hear his letter being read out loud. The shots include Santiago struggling to keep up with the other marines on a run, being punished with push-ups in the rain, sitting alone in the mess hall, and being chewed out by a lieutenant in front of his squad. The scene ends with the letter still being read in voiceover.
Strengths "The use of visual flashbacks alongside voiceover narration creates a compelling and emotionally engaging scene."
Weaknesses "The scene is mostly exposition and lacks much of a plot or character development."
Critique Overall, this scene is well written and effectively conveys the harsh treatment Santiago has been enduring in Guantanamo Bay. The series of shots create a sense of progression and momentum that keep the scene moving forward.

One note for improvement would be to add more specificity to the action. For example, instead of simply stating "SANTIAGO falls, struggles to get back up and keep running," it could be more impactful to describe the physical toll this takes on him. Does he gasp for breath? Does he grimace in pain as he stands back up? These sensory details can help the audience better connect with Santiago's experience.

Additionally, while most of the shots are well crafted, the shot of Santiago sitting alone in the mess hall could benefit from some more visual interest. Perhaps there could be some movement in the background or foreground to create a more dynamic image.

Overall, this scene effectively uses visuals and voiceover to convey Santiago's plight and set up the conflict that will drive the story forward.
Suggestions As a screenwriting expert, my suggestions to improve this scene would include:

1. Clarify the purpose of the scene: This scene is meant to show Santiago's difficult life in Guantanamo Bay over the past eight months. However, it could benefit from a clearer purpose, such as establishing Santiago's character and motivation or building tension for the upcoming conflict.

2. Use more specific and visceral language: The current description of Santiago's experiences is relatively vague and could benefit from more intense and specific language to convey the physical and emotional toll of his situation. For example, instead of "he had a rough time of it," the description could include specific instances of physical and emotional abuse Santiago has endured.

3. Consider dramatizing the letter reading: While the voiceover of Santiago's letter is useful for conveying information, it could benefit from more visual interest. One option would be to show the person reading the letter (perhaps Santiago's family or superiors) reacting emotionally to its contents, which could add greater stakes and emotional resonance to the scene.

4. Focus on character relationships: The current sequence of shots focuses primarily on Santiago's isolation and mistreatment. While this is an important aspect of the scene, it could benefit from more focus on specific relationships between Santiago and other characters, such as his interactions with his fellow Marines or superiors. This could add greater depth and complexity to the scene.

5. Build to a cliffhanger: As the scene stands, it ends abruptly with the cut to the letter reading. However, it could benefit from a more dramatic buildup to this moment, such as by ending with Santiago struggling and collapsing on the rocky hill. This would create a sense of tension and anticipation for the letter reading that follows.



Scene 7 -  The Letter
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. JESSEP'S OFFICE - DAY

THE LETTER - DAY

It's the last paragraph of the letter we've been hearing,
and at the moment, we can't see the hands that are holding
it.

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
"P.S. In exchange for my transfer
off the base, I'm willing to
provide you with information about
an illegal fenceline shooting that
occurred the night of August 2nd."

And as these last words are spoken, we PULL BACK TO REVEAL
COLONEL NATHAN R. JESSEP, who drops the letter he's been
reading on his desk, where it joins a stack of other letters
just like it.

JESSEP's a born leader, considered in many circles to be one
of the real fair-haired boys of the Corps. He's smart as a
whip with a sense of humor to match. As soon as he drops the
letter, he says

JESSEP
Who the fuck is PFC William T.
Santiago.

He's talking to his two senior officers. CAPTAIN MARKINSON
is in his late 40's. He's a career marine and a nice guy in
a world where nice guys may not finish last, but they sure
as shit don't finish first. Lt. JONATHAN JAMES KENDRICK is
from Georgia, and an Academy graduate.
21.

If you asked him he'd tell you that the gates to heaven are
guarded by the U.S. Marine Corps.

KENDRICK
Sir, Santiago is a member of Second
Platoon, Delta.

JESSEP
Yeah, well, apparently he's not
very happy down here at Shangri-La,
cause he's written letters to
everyone but Santa Claus asking for
a transfer. And now he's telling
tales about a fenceline shooting.

He tosses the letter over to MARKINSON. MARKINSON is looking
it over. JESSEP is waiting for a response.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew?

MARKINSON
I'm appalled, sir.

JESSEP
You're appalled? This kid broke the
Chain of Command and he ratted on a
man of his unit, to say nothing of
the fact that he's a U.S. Marine
and it would appear that he can't
run from here to there without
collapsing from heat exhaustion.
What the fuck's going on over at
Windward, Matthew?

MARKINSON
Colonel, I think perhaps it would
be better to hold this discussion
in private.

KENDRICK
That won't be necessary, Colonel,
I'll handle the situation.

MARKINSON
The same way you handled the Curtis
Barnes incident? You're doing
something wrong, Lieutenant this --

KENDRICK
My methods of leadership are --
22.

MARKINSON
Don't interrupt me, I'm still your
superior officer.

JESSEP
And I'm yours, Matthew.

The room calms down for a moment.

JESSEP
(continuing)
I want to know what we're gonna do
about this.

MARKINSON
I think Santiago should be
transferred off the base. Right
away.

JESSEP
He's that bad, huh?

MARKINSON
Not only that, but word of this
letter's bound to get out. The
kid's gonna get his ass kicked.

JESSEP
Transfer Santiago. Yes I suppose
you're right. I suppose that's the
thing to do. Wait. Wait. I've got a
better idea. Let's transfer the
whole squad off the base. Let's --
on second thought -- Windward. The
whole Windward division, let's
transfer 'em off the base. Jon, go
on out there and get those boys
down off the fence, they're packing
their bags.
(calling out)
Tom!

The ORDERLY cones in from the outer office.

ORDERLY
Sir!

JESSEP
Got me the President on the phone,
we're surrendering our position in
Cuba.

ORDERLY
Yes sir!
23.

JESSEP
Wait a minute, Tom.

The ORDERLY stops.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Don't call the President just yet.
Maybe we should consider this for a
second. Maybe -- and I'm just spit
balling here -- but maybe we as
officers have a responsibility to
train Santiago. Maybe we as
officers have a responsibility to
this country to see that the men
and women charged with its security
are trained professionals. Yes. I'm
certain I once read that somewhere.
And now I'm thinking that your
suggestion of transferring
Santiago, while expeditious, and
certainly painless, might not be in
a manner of speaking, the American
way. Santiago stays where he is.
We're gonna train the lad. You're
in charge, Jon. Santiago doesn't
make 4.1 on his next fitness
report, I'm gonna blame you. Then
I'm gonna kill you.

KENDRICK
Yes sir.

MARKINSON
I think that's a mistake, Colonel.

JESSEP
Matthew, I believe I will have that
word in private with you now. Jon,
that's all. Why don't you and I
have lunch at the "O" club, we'll
talk about the training of young
William.

KENDRICK
Yes sir, I'd be delighted to hear
any suggestions you have.

JESSEP
Dismissed.

KENDRICK is gone.
24.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew, sit, please.

MARKINSON sits.

JESSEP
(continuing)
What do you think of Kendrick?

MARKINSON
(beat)
I don't know that --

JESSEP
I think he's kind of a weasel,
myself. But he's an awfully good
officer, and in the end we see eye
to eye on the best way to run a
marine corps unit. We're in the
business of saving lives, Matthew.
That's a responsibility we have to
take pretty seriously. And I
believe that taking a marine who's
not yet up to the job and packing
him off to another assignment, puts
lives in danger.

MARKINSON starts to stand --

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew, siddown.
(beat)
We go back a while. We went to the
Academy together, we were
commissioned together, we did our
tours in Vietnam together. But I've
been promoted up through the chain
with greater speed and success than
you have. Now if that's a source of
tension or embarrassment for you,
well, I don't give a shit. We're in
the business of saving lives,
Captain Markinson. Don't ever
question my orders in front of
another officer.

JESSEP grabs his hat and walks out, leaving MARKINSON
sitting all alone, and we

CUT TO:
25.
Genres: ["Drama","Military"]

Summary Colonel Jessup receives a letter from a Marine offering information on an illegal shooting. Jessup and his senior officers discuss how to handle the situation, with Jessup ultimately deciding to train the Marine in question.
Strengths "Strong dialogue and tension between characters, particularly Colonel Jessup's commanding presence."
Weaknesses "The scene is primarily focused on exposition and lacks significant action or movement."
Critique Overall, this is a well-written scene with clear character motivations and tensions. However, there are a few areas for improvement.

Firstly, the dialogue can be a bit on-the-nose at times, such as when Jessep says "We're in the business of saving lives" multiple times. It's better to trust the audience to understand the stakes of the situation without having it stated so explicitly.

Additionally, the action line "The room calms down for a moment" is unnecessary and doesn't add much to the scene. It's better to focus on the character dynamics and let the tension build naturally.

Finally, it's unclear what the visual setting of the office looks like. Adding some detail to the setting can help ground the scene and make the action more vivid for the reader.

Overall, this is a strong scene that could benefit from some minor revisions to improve its effectiveness.
Suggestions One suggestion would be to add more specific descriptions of the characters to help develop their personalities and make them more memorable to the audience. For example, instead of just saying Captain Markinson is a "nice guy," show the audience how he is a kind person and why he is well-liked by his peers. Additionally, the dialogue could be tightened up to make it more concise and impactful, while still conveying the necessary information to move the plot forward. Finally, the scene could benefit from more visual elements, such as using camera angles and shots to add visual interest and make the scene more engaging for the audience.



Scene 8 -  Arrival at the Brig
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 7
EXT. WASHINGTON NAVY YARD - MAIN GATE - DAY

It's maybe a little hazier today than it was yesterday. An
M.P. is waving a procession of three Military Police sedans
and a fourth unmarked car through the gate. The cars drive
through and we

CUT TO:

EXT. THE BRIG - DAY

Another red-brick building. A few M.P.Is stand out front as
the cars pull up. As soon as they come to a stop, all the
doors swing open and various uniformed and non-uniformed
officers hop out and move to the unmarked sedan where they
escort DAWSON and DOWNEY, in handcuffs, out of the car.
HAROLD DAWSON's a handsome, young, black corporal. Intense,
controlled, and utterly professional.

LOUDEN DOWNEY's a 19-year-old kid off an Iowa farm. He's
happiest when someone is telling him exactly what to do.

DAWSON's his hero.

The two prisoners stand still for a moment. They might as
we'll be in Oz.

DOWNEY
Hal?

DAWSON doesn't say anything.

DOWNEY
(continuing)
Is this Washington, D.C.?

M.P.

Alright, let's move.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama","crime"]

Summary Dawson and Downey arrive at the military brig, escorted by various officers.
Strengths "The scene does a good job introducing the characters and setting a serious, tense tone."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks significant plot development."
Critique As a screenwriting AI language model, I can give you some technical feedback on the scene. The scene does a fairly good job of painting a vivid picture of the setting and the characters involved. However, there are a few areas where it could be improved:

1. Lack of conflict: The scene lacks major conflict or tension. The characters are being escorted silently out of the car, and there is no verbal exchange between them. Adding some back-and-forth dialogue between the characters could help heighten the tension and make the scene more compelling.

2. Limited description: The scene could benefit from more detailed description of the setting and characters. While it provides some basic details about the characters and their situation, it could be more specific about their physical traits, clothing, and mannerisms.

3. Potential for visual interest: The scene provides some interesting visual potential with the convoy of cars entering the Navy Yard and the characters being escorted out of the car. However, the camera angles and shot descriptions are not included, which leaves the potential for missed opportunities to create a visually engaging scene.

Overall, the scene has potential, but could be improved by adding more conflict and detail, and taking advantage of visual possibilities.
Suggestions Here are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more visual details and actions to create a stronger sense of atmosphere and tension. For example, describing the vehicles in more detail, or adding reactions from bystanders to the sight of the prisoners being escorted to the brig.

2. Use dialogue to reveal more about the characters and their motivations. For example, why is Dawson so intense and controlled? What made him a hero to Downey? How does Downey feel about being in Washington, D.C.?

3. Consider adding a conflict or obstacle to the scene to make it more dynamic. For example, maybe one of the officers is hostile towards Dawson and tries to provoke him, or maybe Dawson and Downey are confronted by a group of protesters outside the brig.

4. Think about the overall purpose of the scene in the context of the larger story. Does it move the plot forward or reveal important information about the characters? If not, consider cutting or combining it with another scene to streamline the pacing.



Scene 9 -  Kaffee's Lack of Experience is Exposed
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 6
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 7
EXT. SOFTBALL FIELD - DAY

and KAFFEE's at it again.

KAFFEE
Alright, let's get tough out there!

JO walks up from behind the backstop.

JO
Excuse me.
26.

KAFFEE
You want to suit up? We need all
the help we can get.

JO
No, thank you, I can't throw and
catch things.

KAFFEE
That's okay, neither can they.

JO
I wanted to talk to you about
Corporal Dawson and Private Downey.

KAFFEE
Say again?

JO
Dawson and Downey.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Those names sound like they should
mean something to me, but I'm just
not --

JO
Dawson! Downey! Your clients!

KAFFEE
The Cuba thing! Yes! Dawson and
Downey.
(beat)
Right.
(pause)
I've done something wrong again,
haven't I?

JO
I was wondering why two guys have
been in a jail cell since this
morning while their lawyer is
outside hitting a ball.

KAFFEE
We need the practice.

JO
That wasn't funny.

KAFFEE
It was a little funny.
27.

JO
Lieutenant, would you feel very
insulted if I recommended to your
supervisor that he assign different
counsel?

KAFFEE
Why?

JO
I don't think you're fit to handle
this defense.

KAFFEE
You don't even know me. Ordinarily
it takes someone hours to discover
I'm not fit to handle a defense.

Jo just stares.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Oh come on, that was damn funny.

Jo moves close to KAFFEE to say this with a degree of
confidentiality.

JO
I do know you. Daniel AlliStair
Kaffee, born June 8th, 1964 at
Boston Mercy Hospital. Your
father's Lionel Kaffee, former Navy
Judge Advocate and Attorney
General, of the United States, died
1985. You went to Harvard Law on a
Navy scholarship, probably because
that's what your father wanted you
to do, and now you're just treading
water for the three years you've
gotta serve in the JAG Corps, just
kinda layin' low til you can get
out and get a real job. And if
that's the situation, that's fine,
I won't tell anyone. But my feeling
is that if this case is handled in
the same fast-food, slick-ass,
Persian Bazaar manner with which
you seem to handle everything else,
something's gonna get missed.
28.

And I wouldn't be doing my job if I
allowed Dawson and Downey to spend
any more time in prison than
absolutely necessary, because their
attorney had pre- determined the
path of least resistance.

KAFFEE can't help but be impressed by that speech.

KAFFEE
Wow.
(beat)
I'm sexually aroused, Commander.

JO
I don't think your clients murdered
anybody.

KAFFEE
What are you basing this on?

JO
There was no intent.

KAFFEE
The doctor's report says that
Santiago died of asphyxiation
brought on by acute lactic
acidosis, and that the nature of
the acidosis strongly suggests
poisoning.
(beat)
Now, I don't know what any of that
means, but it sounds pretty bad.

JO
Santiago died at one a.m. At three
the doctor was unable to determine
the cause of death, but two hours
later he said it was poison.

KAFFEE
Oh, now I see what you're saying.
It had to be Professor Plum in the
library with the candlestick.

JO
I'm gonna speak to your supervisor.

KAFFEE
Okay. You go straight up
Pennsylvania Avenue. It's a big
white house with pillars in front.
29.

JO
Thank you.

KAFFEE
I don't think you'll have much
luck, though. I was assigned by
Division, remember? Somebody over
there thinks I'm a good lawyer. So
while I appreciate your interest
and admire your enthusiasm, I think
I can pretty much handle things
myself.

JO
Do you know what a code red is?

KAFFEE doesn't, but he doesn't say anything.

JO
(continuing)
What a pity.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Jo confronts Kaffee about his lack of experience and warns him to take the case seriously. They discuss Dawson and Downey's case and the evidence found so far. Kaffee tries to make light of the situation, but Jo is not impressed.
Strengths "The scene establishes the tension between Jo and Kaffee, highlighting their different approaches to the case. The dialogue is witty and revealing of the characters' personalities."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks action and emotional impact. It mainly serves to set up the conflict for later scenes."
Critique Overall, this scene is well written and engaging. The dialogue is snappy and reveals the personalities of the characters. However, one area that could be improved is the pacing. The scene starts with Kaffee giving a motivational speech, which is interrupted by Jo. The transition between these two moments could be smoother to make the scene flow better. Additionally, the exposition about Kaffee's background could be spread out more evenly throughout the scene, rather than delivered in one long monologue. Finally, the introduction of the concept of a code red feels abrupt and could benefit from more set-up earlier in the scene. Overall, the scene has potential but could be strengthened with tighter pacing and clearer organization of information.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well written and the dialogue is engaging. However, here are a few suggestions to improve it:

1. Show the softball game action: While it's great to see KAFFEE in action, it would be even better if we could see snippets of the softball game going on alongside the dialogue exchange. This would make the scene more interesting visually, and also emphasize KAFFEE's nonchalance and lack of seriousness towards his work.

2. Use more descriptive language: The scene could benefit from more descriptions of the setting and characters. For example, what do KAFFEE and JO look like? What's the weather like? Adding more detail can help set the tone and mood of the scene.

3. Use more subtext: While the dialogue between JO and KAFFEE is entertaining, much of the information they're exchanging feels redundant. Instead of stating everything directly, try to hint at things. Show, don't tell. For example, instead of outright saying that KAFFEE's father was a judge advocate general, perhaps JO could make a remark about how KAFFEE's father must have been proud of him for following in his footsteps. This would show us the same information without it feeling like an exposition dump.

By implementing these changes, the scene could become even more engaging and memorable for the audience.



Scene 10 -  The Interrogation
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. THE BRIG - DAY

And an M.P. is leading KAFFEE and SAM down to DAWSON and
DOWNEY's cell.

M.P.

Officer on deck, ten-hut.

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention. Through the following,
the M.P. will unlock the call door and let the lawyers in.

DAWSON
Sir, Lance Corporal Harold W.
Dawson, sir. Rifle Security Company
Windward, Second Platoon, Delta.

KAFFEE
Someone hasn't been working and
playing well with others, Harold.

DAWSON
Sir, yes sir!

DOWNEY
Sir, PFC Louden Downey.

KAFFEE
I'm Daniel Kaffee, this is Sam
Weinerg, you can sitdown.
30.

DAWSON and DOWNEY aren't too comfortable sitting in the
presence of officers, but they do as they're told. KAFFEE's
pulled out some documents, SAM's sitting on one of the cots
taking notes.

KAFFEE
(continuing; to DAWSON)
Is this your signature?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
You don't have to call me sir.
(to DOWNEY)
Is this your signature?

DOWNEY
Sir, yes sir.

KAFFEE
And you certainly don't have to do
it twice in one sentence. Harold,
what's a Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir, a Code Red is a disciplinary
engagement.

KAFFEE
What does that mean, exactly?

DAWSON
Sir, a marine falls out of line,
it's up to the men in his unit to
get him back on track.

KAFFEE
What's a garden variety Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
Harold, you say sir and I turn
around and look for my father.
Danny, Daniel, Kaffee. Garden
variety; typical. What's a basic
Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir, a marine has refused to bathe
on a regular basis. The men in his
squad would give him a G.I. shower.
31.

KAFFEE
What's that?

DAWSON
Scrub brushes, brillo pads, steel
wool...

SAM
Beautiful.

KAFFEE
Was the attack on Santiago a Code
Red?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
(to DOWNEY)
Do you ever talk?

DAWSON
Sir, Private Downey will answer any
direct questions you ask him.

KAFFEE
Swell. Private Downey, the rag you
stuffed in Santiago's mouth, was
there poison on it?

DOWNEY
No sir.

KAFFEE
Silver polish, turpentine, anti-
freeze...

DOWNEY
No sir. We were gonna shave his
head, sir.

KAFFEE
When all of a sudden...?

DOWNEY
We saw blood drippinq out of his
mouth. Then we pulled the tape off,
and there was blood all down his
face, sir. That's when Corporal
Dawson called the ambulance.

KAFFEE tries not to make too big a deal out of this last
piece of news.
32.

KAFFEE
(to DAWSON)
Did anyone see you call the
ambulance?

DAWSON
No sir.

KAFFEE
Were you there when the ambulance
got there?

DAWSON
Yes sir, that's when we were taken
under arrest.

KAFFEE kinda strolls to the corner of the cell to think for
a moment.

SAM
(to DAWSON)
On the night of August 2nd, did you
fire a shot across the fenceline
into Cuba?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

SAM
Why?

DAWSON
My mirror engaged, sir.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
His mirror engaged?

SAM
For each American sentry post
there's a Cuban counterpart.
They're called mirrors. The
corporal's claiming that his mirror
was about to fire at him.

KAFFEE
Santiago's letter to the NIS said
you fired illegally. He's saying
that the guy, the mirror, he never
made a move.

DAWSON says nothing.
33.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Oh, Harold?

SAM is staring at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You see what I'm getting at? If
Santiago didn't have anything on
you, then why did you give him a
Code Red?

DAWSON
Because he broke the chain of
command, sir.

KAFFEE
He what?

DAWSON
He went outside his unit, sir. If
he had a problem, he should've
spoken to me, sir. Then his
Sergeant, then Company Commander,
then --

KAFFEE
Yeah, yeah, alright. Harold, did
you assault Santiago with the
intent of killing him?

DAWSON
No sir.

KAFFEE
What was your intent?

DAWSON
To train him, sir.

KAFFEE
Train him to do what?

DAWSON
Train him to think of his unit
before himself. To respect the
code.

SAM
What's the code?

DAWSON
Unit Corps God Country.
34.

SAM
I beg your pardon?

DAWSON
Unit Corps God Country, sir.

KAFFEE
The Goverrment of the United States
wants to charge you two with
murder. You want me to go to the
prosecutor with unit, corps, god,
country?

DAWSON stares at KAFFEE.

DAWSON
That's our code, sir.

KAFFEE takes a long moment. He picks up his briefcase and he
and SAM move to the door.

KAFFEE
We'll be back. You guys need
anything? Books paper, cigarettes,
a ham sandwich?

DAWSON
Sir. No thank you. Sir.

KAFFEE smiles at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
Harold, I think there's a concept
you better start warming up to.

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
I'm the only friend you've got.

And as KAFFEE and SAM walk out the open cell door, DAWSON
and DOWNEY come to attention and snap a salute.

They hold the salute until KAFFEE and SAM are well out of
sight, and we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee and Sam visit Dawson and Downey in the brig and question them about the illegal shooting of Santiago. Dawson explains the concept of a code red, and Downey denies using poisonous substances on Santiago. Kaffee challenges their defense of unit, corps, god, country as their motive for the attack.
Strengths "Strong character development through dialogue and motive exploration."
Weaknesses "Lack of action and visually dynamic scenes."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and provides important exposition about the characters and the situation they are in. The dialogue is relatively natural and reveals a lot about the characters' personalities and motivations. However, there are a few things that could be improved.

Firstly, the scene lacks action. It is just a conversation in a cell, which can get boring if not handled well. More movement and visual interest would help keep the audience engaged.

Secondly, the scene could benefit from more dynamic and varied shot angles. As it is written, the scene would likely be shot in a single static shot, which again could make it visually dull. Experimenting with different angles and shot sizes would help add visual interest.

Lastly, there could be more subtext in the dialogue. What the characters are saying is mostly on the surface, without much hidden meaning or agenda. Adding subtext would make the scene more interesting and give it more depth.

Overall, while the scene is functional, it could be stronger with a bit more attention to visual and narrative elements.
Suggestions The scene could benefit from some character development to make the audience care more about the main characters. One way to do this could be to add some dialogue that shows their personalities and their relationships with each other.

For example, instead of just focusing on the technical aspects of the case, Kaffee and Sam could have a conversation about their frustrations with the bureaucracy of the military justice system or personal anecdotes that give insight into their characters. This could also add some humor to the scene, making it more engaging for the audience.

Additionally, the scene could be improved by adding some physical action to break up the static setting of the cell. For example, Dawson and Downey could be pacing back and forth nervously or engaging in some other physical activity that shows their anxiety. This would add a sense of urgency and tension to the scene.

Overall, the scene could use more personality and action to make it more dynamic and engaging for the audience.



Scene 11 -  Negotiations
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. KAFFEE'S OFFICE - DAY

He's packing up stuff into his briefcase at the end of the
work day. Lt. JACK ROSS, a marine lawyer maybe two years
older than Kaffee, opens the door and walks in..
35.

ROSS
Dan Kaffee.

KAFFEE
Sailin' Jack Ross.

ROSS
Welcome to the big time.

KAFFEE
You think so?

ROSS
I hope for Dawson and Downey's sake
you practice law better than you
play softball.

KAFFEE
Unfortunately for Dawson and
Downey, I don't do anything better
than I play softball. What are we
lookin' at?

ROSS
They plead guilty to manslaughter,
I'll drop the conspiracy and the
conduct unbecoming. 20 years,
they'll be home in half that time.

KAFFEE
I want twelve.

ROSS
Can't do it.

KAFFEE
They called the ambulance, Jack.

ROSS
I don't care if they called the
Avon Lady, they killed a marine.

KAFFEE
The rag was tested for poison. The
autopsy, lab report, even the
initial E.R. and C.O.D. reports.
They all say the same thing: Maybe,
maybe not.

ROSS
The Chief of Internal Medicine at
the Guantanamo Bay Naval hospital
says he's sure.
36.

KAFFEE
What do you know about Code Reds?

ROSS smiles and shakes his head.

ROSS
Oh man.

He closes the office door.

ROSS
(continuing)
Are we off the record?

KAFFEE
You tell me.

ROSS
(pause)
I'm gonna give you the twelve
years, but before you go getting
yourself into trouble tomorrow, you
should know this: The platoon
commander Lt. Jonathan Kendrick,
had a meeting with the men. And he
specifically told them not to touch
Santiago.

KAFFEE holds for a moment. Dawson and Downey neglected to
mention this... He packs up his briefcase and cleats.

KAFFEE
I'll talk to you when I get back.

ROSS
Hey, we got a little four-on-four
going tomorrow night. When does
your plane get in?

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama"]

Summary Kaffee and Ross negotiate the plea deal for Dawson and Downey. Kaffee demands a lighter sentence, while Ross tries to convince him to accept the initial offer. Ross reveals new information about the case to Kaffee, who leaves to investigate.
Strengths "The dialogue between Kaffee and Ross is engaging and reveals new information about the case. It sets up future conflict as Kaffee leaves to investigate."
Weaknesses "The scene is primarily focused on negotiations and lacks action, which may be boring for some viewers."
Critique Overall, this is a well-written and effective scene. The dialogue is sharp and reveals character traits, the plot moves forward, and it sets up tension and conflict for what's to come.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon. For example, the opening action of Kaffee packing up his stuff doesn't add much to the scene and could be cut to save time. Additionally, some of the lines, such as "Sailin' Jack Ross" and "Welcome to the big time," feel a bit too forced and cliche.

That being said, the scene's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. The conversation between Kaffee and Ross sets up the conflict that will drive the rest of the story, and the revelation about Lt. Kendrick adds a new layer of complexity to the situation. Overall, this scene is a strong start to the film.
Suggestions 1. Add more visual description to the scene to create a clear image in the reader's mind. For example, describe Kaffee's office, his actions as he is packing up, and Ross's appearance and demeanor.

2. Consider adding more background information about the case, the main characters, and the conflict at hand to give context to the conversation.

3. Add more tension and conflict to the scene by having Kaffee and Ross argue or disagree more strongly about the plea deal.

4. Develop the characters more by giving them distinct voices and personalities.

5. Show more of Kaffee's thought process and decision-making as he weighs his options.



Scene 12 -  Conversation with Jo
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 9
EXT. THE PARKING LOT - DUSK

It's dusk and people on the base are going home from work.
We can see the flag being lowered in the background.

KAFFEE's walking toward his car. JO intercepts him and
starts walking along with him.

JO
Hi there.

KAFFEE
Any luck getting me replaced?
37.

JO
Is there anyone in this command
that you don't either drink or play
softball with?

KAFFEE
Commander --

JO
Listen, I came to make peace. We
started off on the wrong foot. What
do you say? Friends?

KAFFEE
Look, I don't --

JO
By the way, I brought Downey some
comic books he was asking for. The
kid, Kaffee, I swear, he doesn't
know where he is, he doesn't even
know why he's been arrested.

KAFFEE
Commander --

JO
You can call me Joanne.

KAFFEE
Joanne --

JO
or Jo.

KAFFEE
Jo?

JO
Yes.

KAFFEE
Jo, if you ever speak to a client
of mine again without my
permission, I'll have you
disbarred. Friends?

JO
I had authorization.

KAFFEE
From where?
38.

JO
Downey's closest living relative,
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his
mother's side.

KAFFEE
You got authorization from Aunt
Ginny?

JO
I gave her a call like you asked.
Very nice woman, we talked for
about an hour.

KAFFEE
You got authorization from Aunt
Ginny.

JO
Perfectly within my province.

KAFFEE
Does Aunt Ginny have a barn? We can
hold the trial there. I can sew the
costumes, and maybe his Uncle
Goober can be the judge.

Jo steps aside and lets KAFFEE got into his car.

JO
I'm going to Cuba with you
tomorrow.

KAFFEE
And the hits just keep on comin'.

HOLD on KAFFEE and Jo. JO smiles.

CUT TO:

EXT. SIDEWALK NEWSSTAND - DUSK

KAFFEE IN HIS CAR

He's driving down a Washington street and pulls over at a
sidewalk newsstand.

He gets out of his car, leaving the lights flashing, and
runs up to the newsstand.

As he plunks his 35 cents down and picks up a newspaper, he
engages in his daily ritual with LUTHER, the newsstand
operator.
39.

KAFFEE
How's it goin', Luther?

LUTHER
Another day, another dollar,
captain.

KAFFEE
You gotta play 'em as they lay,
Luther.

LUTHER
What comes around, goes around, you
know what I'm sayin'.

KAFFEE
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

LUTHER
Hey, if you've got your health, you
got everything.

KAFFEE
Love makes the world go round. I'll
see you tomorrow, Luther.

And we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama","legal"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo discuss Downey's case, Jo brings up the fact that Kaffee lacks experience, Kaffee questions Dawson and Downey in the brig and challenges their motive, Kaffee negotiates a plea deal with Ross and leaves to investigate new information
Strengths "The dialogue is witty and engaging, giving insight into the personalities of the characters. The scene also moves the plot forward and introduces new information."
Weaknesses "The emotional impact is relatively low, and the scene is relatively short and lacking in action."
Critique Overall, the scene seems well-written and serves its purpose of establishing the relationship between Kaffee and Jo. However, there are a few areas for improvement.

Firstly, the dialogue between Kaffee and Jo feels a bit overwritten and overly familiar too quickly. It would be more effective to have their relationship develop more gradually, with a few more tense encounters before they become friendly.

Secondly, the conversation about Aunt Ginny and the barn joke feels a little forced and doesn't add much to the scene. It might be better to cut that part and focus on the more important aspects of their conversation.

Lastly, the interaction between Kaffee and Luther feels a bit cliché and could be made more unique to these characters. Giving them more specific personal details or inside jokes could help make their relationship feel more interesting and memorable.

Overall, the scene is solid but could benefit from some tweaks to make it more engaging and memorable.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve this scene:

1. Add more conflict: While there is some tension between Kaffee and Jo, there isn't much at stake in this conversation. Consider adding more obstacles for Kaffee to overcome or a ticking clock to create urgency.

2. Show rather than tell: Instead of having Jo tell Kaffee about her conversation with Aunt Ginny, show the audience through a flashback or a phone call. This will add more depth to the scene and give the audience a better understanding of Aunt Ginny's involvement.

3. Develop character relationships: While Jo and Kaffee's relationship is explored in this scene, it could benefit from more development. Consider adding moments that highlight their differences or similarities to create a more nuanced dynamic.

4. Clarify Kaffee's goals: While Kaffee asks Jo about getting replaced, it's unclear why he wants this. Clarifying Kaffee's motivations and goals will add more depth to the scene and make it more impactful.



Scene 13 -  Negotiating a Plea
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. SAM'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

A baby sleeping in a crib pull rack to reveal SAM is
standing over the crib. KAFFEE's sitting on a beer.

SAM
When Nancy gets back, you're my
witness. The baby spoke. My
daughter said a word.

KAFFEE
Your daughter made a sound, Sam,
I'm not sure it was a word.

SAM
Oh come on, it was a word.

KAFFEE
Okay.

SAM
You heard her. The girl sat here,
pointed, and said "Pa". She did.
She said "Pa".
40.

KAFFEE
She was pointing at a doorknob.

SAM
That's right. Pointing, as if to
say, "Pa, look, a doorknob".

SAM joins KAFFEE in the living room.

KAFFEE
Jack Ross came to see me today. He
offered me twelve years.

SAM
That's what you wanted.

KAFFEE
I know, and I'll... I guess, I mean
--
(beat)
I'll take it.

SAM
So?

KAFFEE
It took albout 45 seconds. He
barely put up a fight.

SAM
(beat)
Danny, take the twelve years, it's
a gift.

KAFFEE finishes off his beer, and stands.

KAFFEE
You don't believe their story, do
you? You think they ought to go to
jail for the rest of their lives.

SAM
I believe every word they said. And
I think they ought to go to jail
for the rest of their lives.

KAFFEE nods and puts down the empty beer bottle.

KAFFEE
I'll see you tomorrow.

Sam opens the front door for him and they stand out on the
stoop for a moment.
41.

SAM
Remember to wear your whites, it's
hot down there.

KAFFEE
I don't like the whites.

SAM
Nobody likes the whites, but we're
going to Cuba in August. You got
Dramamine?

KAFFEE
Dramamine keeps you cool?

SAM
Dramamine keeps you from throwing
up, you get sick when you fly.

KAFFEE
I get sick when I fly because I'm
afraid of crashing into a large
mountain, I don't think
Dramamine'll help.

SAM
I've got some oregano, I hear that
works pretty good.

KAFFEE
Yeah, right.

KAFFEE starts toward his car, then turns around.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You know, Ross said the strangest
thing to me right before I left. He
said the platoon commander
Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick had a
meeting with the men and
specifically told them not to touch
Santiago.

SAM
So?

KAFFEE
I never mentioned Kendrick. I don't
even know who he is.
(beat)
What the hell.
(beat)
I'll see you tomorrow.
42.

We hold for a moment on KAFFEE as he walks to his car, then

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama","legal"]

Summary Kaffee negotiates a plea deal for Dawson and Downey with Ross, and then talks with Sam about the deal, his lack of belief in their story, and new information about the case involving Lieutenant Kendrick.
Strengths "The scene reveals new information about the case and builds conflict between characters."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks visual interest and action."
Critique The scene is well-written with clear dialogue and action. The characters are well-established and their relationship is believable. However, there is room for improvement in terms of pacing and visuals. The dialogue-heavy scene could benefit from more visual cues to create a more dynamic atmosphere. The scene could also be condensed to maintain better momentum and keep the audience engaged. Overall, the scene demonstrates strong character development and clear objectives for the characters, but could benefit from more creative visuals and pacing techniques.
Suggestions Here are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more visual description: The scene is primarily focused on dialogue between Sam and Kaffee, but there is not much description of their surroundings or actions. Adding in more visual details can help bring the scene to life and make it more engaging for readers.

2. Make the dialogue more impactful: While the conversation between Sam and Kaffee is important, the dialogue itself could be stronger. Consider adding in more tension or conflict, or having them reveal more about their true feelings and motivations.

3. Cut unnecessary lines: There are several lines in the scene that don't add much to the story or character development, and could be cut to make the scene more concise and impactful.

4. Add in more conflict or stakes: The scene is relatively low-stakes compared to other moments in the script. Consider adding in more tension or conflict to make the scene more engaging, and to keep the audience invested in the story.



Scene 14 -  Arriving at Guantanamo Bay
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 7
EXT. THE AIRSTRIP AT GUANTANAMO BAY - DAY

The whole place, in stark contrast to the Washington Navy
Yard, is ready to go to war. Fighter jets line the tarmac.
Ground crews re-fuel planes. Hurried activity.

A 36 seat Airforce Jet rolls to a stop on the tarmac and a
stair unit is brought up.

HOWARD, a marine corporal, is waiting by the stairway as the
passengers begin to got off. Mostly MARINES, a few SAILORS,
a couple of CIVILIANS, and KAFFEE, JO and SAM. KAFFEE and
SAM are wearing their summer whites, JO is in khakis.

KAFFEE and SAM stare out at what they see: They're not in
Kansas anymore.

HOWARD shouts over the noise from the planes.

HOWARD
Lieutenants Kaffee and Weinberg?

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Yeah.

JO
Commander Galloway.

HOWARD
I'm Corporal Howard, ma'am, I'm to
escort you to the Windward side of
the base.

JO
Thank you.

HOWARD
I've got some camouflage jackets in
the back of the jeep, sirs, I'll
have to ask you both to put them
on.

KAFFEE
Camouflage jackets?

HOWARD
Regulations, sir. We'll be riding
pretty close to the fenceline.
43.

The Cubans see an officer wearing
white, they think it's someone they
might wanna take a shot at.

KAFFEE turns and glares at SAM.

KAFFEE
Good call, Sam.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Legal Drama","Military"]

Summary Kaffee, Sam, and Jo arrive at Guantanamo Bay, where they are greeted by a marine corporal who takes them to a waiting plane. They are then given camouflage jackets to wear for protection.
Strengths
  • Sets the tense environment at Guantanamo Bay
  • Shows Kaffee's lack of experience with military regulations
Weaknesses
  • Lack of significant plot development
Critique Overall, the scene reads well and serves its purpose in setting up the location and atmosphere of Guantanamo Bay. However, there are a few areas where the scene could be improved.

Firstly, the dialogue feels a bit on-the-nose in places, particularly with the line "They're not in Kansas anymore." It's a well-known reference and doesn't add much to the scene besides stating the obvious. Finding a more subtle and unique way to convey this information could strengthen the dialogue.

Additionally, some of the actions could be described in more detail to enhance the visual appeal of the scene. For example, instead of simply stating that fighter jets line the tarmac, the writer could describe their size, color, and any other distinguishing features. This would help create a more vivid image for the reader and, ultimately, the viewer.

Lastly, there could be more tension in the scene. While the camouflage jackets add an element of danger, there could be more conflict between the characters or a sense of urgency in getting to their destination. Adding more conflict or stakes could make the scene more engaging and push the story forward.

Overall, the scene is solid but could benefit from some tweaks to enhance the dialogue and visuals and add more tension.
Suggestions Here are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more sensory details to create a more immersive experience for the audience. Describe the loud roar of the fighter jets and the smell of jet fuel in the air. Use vivid language to paint a picture of the chaos and energy of the airfield.

2. Develop the characters of Kaffee, Jo, and Sam further in this scene. What are their reactions to the military activity around them? Do they seem nervous or excited? Are they in awe of the fighter jets? These little details will help the audience connect with the characters on a deeper level and make the scene more engaging.

3. Consider adding a bit more backstory or exposition to provide context for the scene. Why are Kaffee, Jo, and Sam at Guantanamo Bay? What is their mission there? This information will help the audience understand the stakes of the scene and why it matters.

4. Look for opportunities to use visuals to help tell the story. For example, instead of having Howard simply explain why they need to wear camouflage jackets, show a shot of a Cuban soldier watching the base from a nearby hill, looking through binoculars at the American officers in their white uniforms. This will help the audience understand the danger they're in and why the jackets are necessary.

By incorporating these improvements, the scene can become more engaging and compelling for the audience, helping to hold their attention and build tension as the story unfolds.



Scene 15 - 
  • Overall: 0.0
  • Concept: 0
  • Plot: 0
  • Characters: 0
  • Dialogue: 0
EXT. CUBAN ROAD - THE JEEP - DAY

Tearing along down the road, and now we see a beautiful
expanse of water, maybe 1000 yards across. It's a section of
Guantanamo Bay.

HOWARD
(shouting)
We'll just hop on the ferry and be
over there in no time.

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Whoa! Hold it! We gotta take a
boat?!

HOWARD
Yes sir, to get to the other side
of the bay.

KAFFEE
Nobody said anything about a boat.

HOWARD
(shouting)
Is there a problem, sir?

KAFFEE
(shouting)
No. No problem. I'm just not that
crazy about boats, that's all.

JO
(shouting)
Jesus Christ, Kaffee, you're in the
Navy for cryin' out loud!

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Nobody likes her very much.
44.

HOWARD
(shouting)
Yes sir.

The jeep drives on and we

CUT TO:

JESSEP, MARKINSON and KENDRICK are standing as the LAWYERS
are led in.

JESSEP
Nathan Jessep, come on in and
siddown.

KAFFEE
Thank you. I'm Daniel Kaffee, I'm
the attorney for Dawson and Downey.
This is Joanne Galloway, she's
observing and evaluating --

JO
(shaking hands)
Colonel.

JESSEP
Pleased to meet you, Commander.

KAFFEE
Sam Weinberg. He has no
responsibility here whatsoever.

JESSEP
I've asked Captain Markinson and
Lt. Kendrick to join us.

MARKINSON
Lt. Kaffee, I had the pleasure of
seeing your father once. I was a
teenager and he spoke at my high
school.

KAFFEE smiles and nods.

JESSEP
Lionel Kaffee?

KAFFEE
Yes sir.
45.

JESSEP
Well what do you know. Son, this
man's dad once made a lot of
enemies down in your neck of the
woods. Jefferson vs. Madison County
School District. The folks down
there said a little black girl
couldn't go to an all white school,
Lionel Kaffee said we'll just see
about that. How the hell is your
dad?

KAFFEE
He passed away seven years ago,
colonel.

JESSEP
(pause)
Well... don't I feel like the
fuckin, asshole.

KAFFEE
Not at all, sir.

JESSEP
Well, what can we do for you,
Danny.

KAFFEE
Not much at all, sir, I'm afraid.
This is really a formality more
than anything else. The JAG Corps
insists that I interview all the
relevant witnesses.

JO
The JAG Corps can be demanding that
way.

JESSEP smiles.

JESSEP
Jonanthan'll take you out and show
you what you wanna see, then we can
all hook up for lunch, how does
that sound?

KAFFEE
Fine, sir.

CUT TO:
46.

EXT. THE FENCELINE - DAY

A SQUAD OF MARINES jogs by as a jeep carrying KENDRICK and
the three LAWYERS cruises down the road.

We FOLLOW the jeep.

KAFFEE
I understand you had a meeting with
your men that afternoon.

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
What'd you guys talk about?

KENDRICK
I told the men that there was an
informer among us. And that despite
any desire they might have to seek
retribution, Private Santiago was
not to be harmed in any way.

KAFFEE
What time was that meeting?

KENDRICK
Sixteen-hundred.

KAFFEE turns around and looks at SAM.

SAM
(leaning forward)
Four o'clock.

CUT TO:

INT. THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR - DAY

KENDRICK leads the LAWYERS down the corridor to Santiago's
room.

Two strips of tape which warn DO NOT ENTER - AT ORDER OF THE
MILITARY POLICE are crisscrossed over the closed door. They
open the door and step under the tape and walk into
Genres: null

Summary
Strengths null
Weaknesses null
Critique the room where Santiago was staying.

Overall, the scene is well-written and effective at moving the story forward. However, there are a few areas that could be improved:

1. The dialogue could be more concise. The shouting between the characters makes it difficult to follow the conversation, and the dialogue could benefit from more precise and efficient communication.

2. The scene transition could be smoother. The abrupt cut from the jeep driving to the lawyers being led in with Jessep, Markinson, and Kendrick lacks a clear transition, which can be jarring for the audience.

3. The descriptions of the setting and action could be more vivid. The scene is set in Guantanamo Bay, which could be an interesting and unique setting, but it is only briefly described. The action could also benefit from more detailed and immersive descriptions, which would help to engage the audience.

Overall, the scene is well-written, but could be tightened and made more vivid for better engagement.
Suggestions the room, where they find Santiago's belongings neatly arranged on his bunk.

I would suggest adding some description to the characters' actions and emotions to make the scene more dynamic and engaging. For example, instead of just having KAFFEE shout his lines, you could have him grip onto the seat as the jeep speeds along the road, indicating his nervousness about taking a boat. You could also add more physical descriptions of the characters, such as their facial expressions and body language, to help convey their emotions and reactions to the events taking place. Additionally, you could consider adding more conflicts or tensions to the scene to make it more impactful and memorable for the audience. For example, maybe KAFFEE and JESSEP have a heated exchange about the case or JESSEP makes a veiled threat towards the lawyers. These added elements would help make the scene more dramatic and keep the audience engaged in the story.



Scene 16 -  Investigating Santiago's Room
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. SANTIAGO'S ROOM - DAY

The room is exactly an it was left that night. The un-made
bed, the chair knocked over... The LAWYERS look around for a
moment. The room is sparse.
47.

Kaffee goes to the closet and opens it: A row of uniforms
hanging neatly. He thumbs through then for a second, but
there's nothing there.

He opens the footlocker: Socks, underwear... all folded to
marine corp precision... A shaving kit, a couple of
photographs, a pad of writing paper and some envelopes...

Kaffee closes the footlocker.

KAFFEE
Sam, somebody should see about
getting this stuff to his parents.
We don't need it anymore.

KENDRICK
Actually, the uniforms belong to
the marine corps.

The LAWYERS take a moment.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick -- can I call you Jon?

KENDRICK
No, you may not.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Have I done something to offend
you?

KENDRICK
No, I like all you Navy boys. Every
time we've gotta go someplace and
fight, you fellas always give us a
ride.

JO
Lt. Kendrick, do you think Santiago
was murdered?

KENDRICK
Commander, I believe in God, and in
his son Jesus Christ, and because I
do, I can say this: Private
Santiago is dead and that's a
tragedy. But he's dead because he
had no code. He's dead because he
had no honor. And God was watching.

SAM turns to KAFFEE.
48.

SAM
How do you feel about that theory?

KAFFEE
(beat)
Sounds good. Let's move on.

SAM and KENDRICK walk out the door. JO stops KAFFEE.

JO
You planning on doing any
investigating or are you just gonna
take the guided tour?

KAFFEE
(beat)
I'm pacing myself.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Legal Drama"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo investigate Santiago's room at Guantanamo Bay. Kaffee looks through Santiago's belongings while Jo questions Lieutenant Kendrick's beliefs on Santiago's death.
Strengths
  • Good character development through conversation
  • Introduces conflict between Jo and Kaffee
Weaknesses
  • Little emotional impact
  • Not much progression in the plot
Critique Overall, the scene effectively sets up the room as a key location for the investigation and also establishes important character dynamics between the Navy lawyers and Lt. Kendrick. However, there are a few areas for critique.

Firstly, the description of the room could be more vivid and descriptive to better immerse the reader in the setting. Secondly, the dialogue between Kaffee and Kendrick feels somewhat stilted and forced, particularly when Kaffee tries to call Kendrick "Jon."

Additionally, the transition to Jo's comment about investigating feels abrupt and could benefit from more seamless integration with the preceding dialogue.

Overall, these critiques are relatively minor and the scene is generally effective in moving the plot forward and establishing key components of the story.
Suggestions Here are a few suggestions to improve this scene:

1. Increase the tension: The scene could benefit from more tension and conflict between the characters. Consider adding more verbal sparring between Kaffee and Kendrick, or adding more emotion or frustration from Jo.

2. Show rather than tell: Instead of having Kendrick give a lengthy speech about Santiago's lack of honor and code, consider showing evidence of this through flashbacks or conversations with other characters who knew Santiago.

3. Develop the characters: Flesh out the characters more so that the audience can connect with them and understand their motivations. Show their flaws, their strengths, and their backstories.

4. Add a plot twist: To keep the audience engaged, consider adding a plot twist or surprise that complicates the situation. For example, perhaps someone else comes forward with information about Santiago's death that challenges what the characters think they know.

5. Consider the pacing: While it's fine to have slower scenes that focus on character development or exposition, make sure the scene is still moving the story forward and not getting bogged down in too much detail. Consider trimming down some of the dialogue or making the scene shorter.



Scene 17 -  Code Red Investigation
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. THE OFFICERS CLUB - DAY

JESSEP, MARKINSON, KENDRICK and the LAWYERS are seated at a
table in the corner.

Stewards clear the lunch dishes and pour coffee. Jessep is
finishing a story.

JESSEP
...And they spent the next three
hours running around, looking for
Americans to surrender to.

JESSEP laughs. KENDRICK joins him. SAM and KAFFEE force a
laugh.

MARKINSON forces a smile. JO remains silent.

JESSEP
(continuing; to the
STEWARDS)
That was delicious, men, thank you.

STEWARD
Our pleasure, sir.

KAFFEE
Colonel just need to ask you a
couple of questions about August
6th.

JESSEP
Shoot.
49.

KAFFEE
On the morning of the sixth, you
were contacted by an NIS angent who
said that Santiago had tipped him
off to an illegal fenceline
shooting.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
Santiago was gonna reveal the
person's name in exchange for a
transfer. An I getting this right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
If you feel there are any details
that I'm missing, you should free
to speak up.

JESSEP's not quite sure what to say to this Navy Lawyer
Lieutenant-Smartass guy who just gave him permission to
speak freely on his own base.

JESSEP
Thank you.

KAFFEE
Now it was at this point that you
called Captain Markinson and Lt.
Kendrick into your office?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And what happened then?

JESSEP
We agreed that for his own safety,
Santiago should be transferred off
the base.

Here's something else KAFFEE didn't know. Neither did Jo.
SAM jots something down on a small notepad.

MARKINSON doesn't flinch.

KAFFEE
Santiago was set to be transferred?
50.

JESSEP
On the first available flight to
the states. Six the next morning.
Three hours too late as it turned
out.

KAFFEE nods.

KAFFEE
Yeah.

There's silence for a moment.

KAFFEE takes a sip of his coffee. Then drains the cup and
puts it down.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Alright, that's all I have. Thanks
very much for your time.

KENDRICK
The corporal's got the jeep
outside, he'll take you back to the
airstrip.

KAFFEE
(standing)
Thank you.

JO
Wait a minute, I've got some
questions.

KAFFEE
No you don't.

JO
Yes I do.

KAFFEE
No you don't.

JO
Colonel, on the morning that
Santiago died, did you meet with
Doctor Stone between three and
five?

KAFFEE
Jo --
51.

JESSEP
Of course I met with the doctor.
One of my men was dead.

KAFFEE
(to JO)
See? The man was dead. Let's go.

JO
(to JESSEP)
I was wondering if you've ever
heard the term Code Red.

KAFFEE
Jo --

JESSEP
I've heard the term, yes.

JO
Colonel, this past February, you
received a cautionary memo from the
Naval Investigative Service,
warning that the practice of
enlisted men disciplining their own
wasn't to be condoned by officers.

JESSEP
I submit to you that whoever wrote
that memo has never served on the
working end of a Soviet-made Cuban
Ml-Al6 Assault Rifle. However, the
directive having come from the NIS,
I gave it its due attention. What's
your point, Jo?

KAFFEE
She has no point. She often has no
point. It's part of her charm.
We're outta here. Thank you.

JO
My point is that I think code reds
still go on down here. Do Code Reds
still happen on this base, colonel?

KAFFEE
Jo, the colonel doesn't need to
answer that.

JO
Yes he does.
52.

KAFFEE
No, he really doesn't.

JO
Yeah, he really does. Colonel?

JESSEP
You know it just hit me. She
outranks you, Danny.

KAFFEE
Yes sir.

JESSEP
I want to tell you something Danny
and listen up 'cause I mean this:
You're the luckiest man in the
world. There is, believe me
gentlemen, nothing sexier on earth
than a woman you have to salute in
the morning. Promote 'em all I say.

JO's not upset. JO's not mad. But she's gonna ask her
question 'til she gets an answer.

JO
Colonel, the practice of code Reds
is still condoned by officers on
this base, isn't it?

JESSEP
You see my problem is, of course,
that I'm a Colonel. I'll just have
to keep taking cold showers 'til
they elect some gal President.

JO
I need an answer to my question,
sir.

JESSEP
Take caution in your tone,
Commander. I'm a fair guy, but this
fuckin' heat's making me absolutely
crazy. You want to know about code
reds? On the record I tell you that
I discourage the practice in
accordance with the NIS directive.
Off the record I tell you that it's
an invaluable part of close
infantry training, and if it
happens to go on without my
knowledge, so be it. I run my base
how I run my base.
53.

You want to investigate me, roll
the dice and take your chances. I
eat breakfast yards away from 4000
Cubans who are trained to kill me.
So don't for one second think
you're gonna come down here, flash
a badge, and make me nervous.

A moment of tense silence before --

KAFFEE
Let's go. Colonel, I'll just need a
copy of Santiago's transfer order.

JESSEP
What's that?

KAFFEE
Santiago's transfer order. You guys
have paper work on that kind of
thing, I just need it for the file.

JESSEP
For the file.

KAFFEE
Yeah.

JESSEP
(pause)
Of course you can have a copy of
the transfer order. For the file.
I'm here to help anyway I can.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

JESSEP
You believe that, don't you? Danny?
That I'm here to help anyway I can?

KAFFEE
Of course.

JESSEP
The corporal'll run you by
Ordinance on your way out to the
airstrip. You can have all the
transfer orders you want.

KAFFEE
(to JO and SAM)
Let's go.
54.

The LAWYERS start to leave.

JESSEP
But you have to ask me nicely.

KAFFEE stops. Turns around. Sam and JO stop and turn.

KAFFEE
I beg your pardon?

JESSEP
You have to ask me nicely. You see,
Danny, I can deal with the bullets
and the bombs and the blood. I can
deal with the heat and the stress
and the fear. I don't want money
and I don't want medals. What I
want is for you to stand there in
that faggoty white uniform, and
with your Harvard mouth, extend me
some fuckin' courtesy. You gotta
ask me nicely.

KAFFEE and JESSEP are frozen. Everyone'staring at Kaffee;
The OFFICERS at their tables... KENDRICK... SAM...
MARKINSON... JO... KAFFEE makes his decision.

KAFFEE
Colonel Jessep... if it's not too
much trouble, I'd like a copy of
the transfer order. Sir.

JESSEP smiles.

JESSEP
No problem.

HOLD for a moment. JO's very disappointed.

JESSEP stands there and watches the LAWYERS as they turn and
leave the Officer's Club.

JESSEP
(continuing)
I hate casualties, Matthew. There
are casualties even in victory. A
marine smothers a grenade and saves
his platoon, that marine's a hero.
The foundation of the unit, the
fabric of this base, the spirit of
the Corps, they are things worth
fighting for.

MARKINSON looks at the ground.
55.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Dawson and Downey, they don't know
it, but they're smothering a
grenade.

MARKINSON looks up as we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Military"]

Summary Kaffee, Jo, and Sam question Jessep and the officers about Santiago's death and the practice of code reds. Jessep is defensive and implies that code reds still happen on the base.
Strengths "Intense dialogue, character development, strong conflict"
Weaknesses "Slow pacing, lack of action"
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effective in advancing the plot, revealing character motivations, and building tension. However, there are a few minor issues with the dialogue that could be improved.

Firstly, some of the dialogue could be more concise and to the point. For example, when Kaffee asks Jessep if Santiago was set to be transferred, Jessep says "six the next morning, three hours too late as it turned out." This could be shortened to simply "yes, but he was transferred too late."

Additionally, some of the dialogue feels a bit unnatural or overly dramatic. For example, Jessep's line about "taking cold showers" feels like a forced attempt at humor, while Kaffee's sarcastic comment about Jo's lack of a point feels out of place in a serious conversation.

Finally, while the tension and conflict between Jessep and the lawyers is effective, it might benefit the scene to give Jo and the other lawyers a bit more agency and dialogue. Right now, they mostly serve to ask questions and confirm information, but giving them more of a voice and active role in the conversation could make the scene more engaging.

Overall, though, this scene effectively builds tension and reveals important information about the plot and characters involved.
Suggestions To improve this scene, there are a few things that could be done. First, the dialogue could be tightened and made more impactful. Instead of letting Jessep finish his story before getting to the important information about Santiago, Kaffee could interrupt him and get right to the point. This would create more tension and urgency in the scene and keep the audience more engaged.

Secondly, there could be more physical action or blocking to make the scene more interesting visually. Instead of just having the characters sitting at a table, perhaps they could be walking around the room or gesturing during the conversation to keep the scene visually engaging.

Lastly, there could be more emotion injected into the scene. The characters seem to be going through the motions and not truly invested in the conversation. Adding more emotional weight to the scene would give the audience more reason to care about what is happening and build tension.



Scene 18 -  The Code Red is Revealed
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 9
EXT. ANDREWS AIRFORCE BASE - DUSK

As a plane touches down on the runway. It's dusk in
Washington and

CUT TO:

EXT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - DAY

A little one-bedroom. Just the essential furniture, barely
even that.

KAFFEE's sitting and watching a baseball came on t.v. He's
holding a copy of The Baseball Encyclopedia, normally his
favorite reading material, but right now he's having trouble
keeping his mind in it. He's holding a baseball bat and
fiddling with it.

The remnants of a pizza and Yoo-Hoo dinner sit next to him.
His white uniform in a pile in the corner. There's a BUZZ at
the door. KAFFEE's not expecting anyone. He goes to the
door.

KAFFEE
Who is it?

JO (O.S.)
It's me.

KAFFEE opens the door and JO walks in.

KAFFEE
I've really missed you, Jo. I was
just saying to myself, "It's been
almost three hours since I last saw
--

"

JO
Markinson resigned his commission.
56.

KAFFEE
(pause)
When?

JO
This afternoon. Sometime after we
left.

KAFFEE
I'll talk to him in the morning.

JO
I already tried, I can't find him.

KAFFEE
You tried? Joanne, you're coming
dangerously close to the textbook
definition of interfering with a
government investigation.

JO hands KAFFEE the file she's been holding.

JO
I'm Louden Downey's attorney.

KAFFEE's stunned. He opens the file and begins to read.

JO
(continuing)
Aunt Ginny. She said she feels like
she's known me for years. I
suggested that she might feel more
comfortable if I were directly
involved with the case. She had
Louden sign the papers about an
hour ago.

KAFFEE looks up. Still too stunned to say anything. Then
finally...

KAFFEE
I suppose it's way too much to hope
that you're just making this up to
bother me.

JO
Don't worry, I'm not gonna make a
motion for separation, you're still
lead counsel.

KAFFEE hands her back the file.

KAFFEE
Splendid.
57.

JO
I think Kendrick ordered the Code
Red.
(beat)
So do you.

CUT TO:

INT. A HOLDING ROOM IN THE BRIG - NIGHT

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention as KAFFEE and JO are led
in.

DAWSON
Officer on deck, ten hut.

KAFFEE starts in immediately.

KAFFEE
Did Kendrick order the code red?

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
Don't say sir like I just asked you
if you cleaned the latrine. You
heard what I said. Did Lt. Kendrick
order you guys to give Santiago a
code red?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
(to Downey)
Did he?

DOWNEY
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
You mind telling me why the hell
you never mentioned this before?

DAWSON
You didn't ask us, sir.

KAFFEE
Cutie-pie shit's not gonna win you
a place in my heart, corporal, I
get paid no matter how much time
you spend in jail.
58.

DAWSON
Yes sir. I know you do, sir.

KAFFEE
Fuck you, Harold.

There's some understandable tension in the room, broken by --

JO
Alright. Let's sort this out. There
was a platoon meeting on August 6th
at four in the afternoon. And Lt.
Kendrick, he gave strict
instructions that nothing was to
happen to Santiago. Now is that
true? I want you to speak freely.

DAWSON
Ma'am, that's correct. But then he
dismissed the platoon and we all
went to our rooms.

JO
And what happened then?

DAWSON
Lt. Kendrick came to our room,
ma'am.

KAFFEE
When?

DAWSON
About five minutes after the
meeting broke, sir. About 16:20.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
And what happened then?

DAWSON
Lt. Kendrick ordered us to give
Santiago a Code Red.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo learn that Markinson has resigned and Jo is now Louden Downey's attorney. They then confront Dawson and Downey about the Code Red order, which they both confirm.
Strengths "Tense and dramatic dialogue, well-developed characters"
Weaknesses "Limited setting, some weak moments in dialogue"
Critique Overall, the scene is well-crafted with good dialogue and pacing. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

First, there is no real visual description of the characters or surroundings, which can make the scene feel less immersive. Adding some physical details, such as the expressions or actions of the characters, or the specific layout of the apartment or holding room, could help the audience better picture the scene in their minds.

Second, the transition between the Andrews Airforce Base landing and Kaffee's apartment is abrupt and could use a smoother transition. Perhaps showing a shot of Kaffee watching the plane land on the television set before switching to the apartment scene would help tie them together thematically.

Otherwise, the screenplay effectively sets up the tension of the investigation and raises the stakes for Kaffee and Jo as they realize there is more to the case than they initially thought. The confrontation between Kaffee and the soldiers is well-executed, with strong dialogue that reveals key plot information while also effectively conveying character dynamics and motivations. Overall, a well-written scene that leaves the audience on the edge of their seats.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well written as it moves the story forward and sets up the conflict. Here are a few suggestions to potentially improve it:

1. Consider adding a brief establishing shot of the outside of Kaffee's apartment before cutting to him watching TV. This will give the audience a better sense of the location and help ground them in the scene.

2. Show more of Kaffee's reaction to the news that Jo is now Louden Downey's attorney. This is a significant development and could potentially lead to more conflicts for Kaffee as the lead counsel.

3. In the holding room scene, consider adding more physical actions for the characters to break up the dialogue. For example, Dawson and Downey could be sitting or standing at attention, or Kaffee could be pacing or fidgeting with something.

4. Instead of having Jo recount the details of the platoon meeting and Kendrick's orders, consider showing a brief flashback or having the characters act out the scene. This will help make the scene more dynamic and engaging for the audience.

5. Consider having Kaffee show more emotion when he learns that Kendrick ordered the code red. This is a critical moment in the story and should have a significant impact on Kaffee's character.



Scene 19 -  The Negotiation
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 10
INT. THE GYMNASIUM - NIGHT

ROSS is playing a game of full-court basketball with some
other OFFICERS.

A door at the far end of the court opens and KAFFEE and JO
walk in. They head down the sideline toward Ross.
59.

KAFFEE shouts --

KAFFEE
Jack!

But ROSS is into the game...

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Jack!!

ROSS
(waving him off)
Hang on...

KAFFEE
They were given an order.

ROSS stops cold and looks over at Kaffee. The game flies by
him. He motions to the locker room door in the corner of the
gym and the three of them make their way to privacy.

JO
How long have you known about the
order?

ROSS
I didn't --
(to KAFFEE)
Who is this?

KAFFEE
This is Jo Galloway she's Downey's
lawyer. She's very pleased to meet
you.

ROSS
What exactly are you accusing me
of, commander?

JO
I'm accusing you of --

They're in the

LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT

and KAFFEE slams the door shut behind them.
60.

KAFFEE
Jack didn't know about the order.
Because if he did and he hadn't
told us, Jack knows he'd be
violating about 14 articles of the
code of ethics. As it is, he's got
enough to worry about. God forbid
our clients decide to plead not
guilty and testify for the record
that they were given an order.

ROSS
Kendrick specifically told the men
not to touch Santiago.

KAFFEE
That's right. And then he went into
Dawson and Downey's room and
specifically told them to give him
a code red.

ROSS
That's not what Kendrick said.

KAFFEE
Kendrick's lying.

ROSS
You have proof?

KAFFEE
I have the defendants.

ROSS
And I have 23 marines who aren't
accused of murder and a lieutenant
with four letters of commendation.

KAFFEE
Why did Markinson resign his
commission?

ROSS
We'll never know.

KAFFEE
You don't think I can subpoena
Markinson.

ROSS
You can try, but you won't find
him. You know what Markinson did
for the first 17 of his 21 years in
the corps? Counter Intelligence.
61.

Markinson's gone. There is no
Markinson.

Some of the wind has been taken Out of Kaffee's sails.

ROSS
(continuing)
Jessep's star is on the rise.
Division'll give me a lot of room
to spare Jessep and the corps any
embarrassment.

KAFFEE
How much room?

ROSS
I'll knock it all down to assault.
Two years. They're home in six
months.

JO
No deal, we're going to a jury.

KAFFEE
Jo --

ROSS
No you're not.

JO
Why not?

ROSS
'Cause you'll lose, and Danny knows
it. And he knows that if we go to
court, I'll have to go all the way,
they'll be charged with the whole
truckload. Murder, Conspiracy,
Conduct Unbecoming, and even though
he's got me by the balls out here,
Dan knows that in a courtroom, he
loses this case. Danny's an awfully
talented lawyer, and he's not about
to send his clients go to jail for
life when he knows they could be
home in six months.

This is now clear: Ross is as good as Kaffee.

ROSS
(continuing)
That's the end of this negotiation.
62.

From this moment, we're on the
record. I'll see tomorrow morning
at the arraignment.

ROSS turns and heads back to the gym as we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["legal drama","military"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo confront Ross about the Code Red order. Ross denies knowing about the order and tries to negotiate a plea deal. Kaffee and Jo refuse and Ross warns them they will lose in court.
Strengths
  • Tense and dramatic dialogue
  • Interesting plot revelations
Weaknesses
  • Lack of action or visual interest
Critique Overall, this scene from "A Few Good Men" is well-written and effectively builds tension. The dialogue is strong and the characters each have distinct voices and personalities that come through.

One potential critique could be that the scene is a bit too expository, with the characters explaining the details of the case and their motivations rather than showing them through action. However, this is necessary in a legal drama to ensure that the audience understands what is happening and why it matters.

Another critique could be that Kaffee and Ross's confrontation feels a bit contrived, with both characters seeming to be evenly matched in terms of intelligence and strategy. However, this is also necessary to create a sense of drama and to make Kaffee and Jo's victory feel hard-won rather than inevitable.

Overall, this scene effectively advances the plot and amps up the tension, setting up the rest of the film to come.
Suggestions There are a few ways to improve this scene:

1. Add more visual description: While the dialogue is important, it's also crucial to paint a picture of the setting and the characters' body language and actions. This can make the scene feel more dynamic and engaging.

2. Build tension: The scene is relatively straightforward, but adding more tension can make it more gripping. For example, Kaffee and Ross could have a more confrontational exchange, and the officers playing basketball could start to get annoyed with Ross for interrupting their game.

3. Show, don't tell: When Ross says, "That's not what Kendrick said," Kaffee could question him more and try to get him to admit that Kendrick lied. This would make the audience feel like they're uncovering the truth alongside the characters, rather than just being told what happened.

4. Develop the characters: While the scene is primarily focused on Kaffee and Ross, Jo could also be given more of a personality. For example, she could challenge Ross more directly and show more of her legal expertise.

5. Use subtext: The characters could be saying one thing out loud, but there could be underlying tensions and motives that aren't explicitly stated. For example, Ross could be trying to protect Jessep more than he's letting on, and Kaffee could be desperately trying to uncover the truth to prove himself as a lawyer. Adding layers of subtext can make the scene more nuanced and interesting.



Scene 20 -  The Plea Offer
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. A HOLDING ROOM - NIGHT

Kaffee and JO are sitting at a table. Dawson and Downey are
at parade rest. Kaffee lights a cigarette.

KAFFEE
Here's the story: The Goverment's
offering Assault and Conduct
Unbecoming. Two years. You'll be
home in six months.

DAWSON and DOWNEY say nothing.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
"Wow, Kaffee, you're the greatest
lawyer in the world. How can we
ever thank you?" Fellas, you hear
what I just said, you're going home
in six months.

DAWSON
I'm afraid we can't do that, sir.

KAFFEE
Do what?

DAWSON
Make a deal, sir.

KAFFEE
What are you talking about?

DAWSON
We did nothing wrong, sir. We did
our job. If that has consequences,
then I accept them. But'I won't say
I'm guilty, sir.

KAFFEE can't believe this. He looks over at JO.

KAFFEE
Did you --
(to DAWSON and DOWNEY)
Did she put you up to this?
63.

JO
No.

DAWSON
We have a code, sir.

KAFFEE
Well zippity-doo-dah. You and your
code plead not guilty and you'll be
in jail for the rest of your life.
Do what I'm telling you and you'll
be home in six months.

DAWSON just stares at him.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Do it, Harold. Six months. It's
nothing. It's a hockey season.

DAWSON
Permission to --

KAFFEE
Speak!

DAWSON
What do we do then, sir?

KAFFEE
When?

DAWSON
After six months. We'd be
dishonorably discharged, right sir?

KAFFEE
Yes.

DAWSON
What do we do then, sir? We joined
the corps 'cause we wanted to live
our lives by a certain code. And we
found it in the corps. And now
you're asking us to sign a piece of
paper that says we have no honor.
You're asking us to say we're not
marines. If a judge and jury decide
that what we did was wrong, I'll
accept whatever punishment they
give. But I believe I was riqht,
sir. I believe I did my job.
64.

And I won't dishonor myself, my
unit, or the Corps, so that I can
qo home in six months.
(beat)
Sir.

HOLD ON the four of them for a moment, then

KAFFEE
Commander, I want to talk to
corporal Dawson alone for a minute.

Jo waits Just a moment before she calls out --

JO
(to Downey)
Let's go in another room. Louden,
everything's gonna be alright.

The M.P. has shown up and unlocked the cell door.

JO
(continuing; to M.P.)
We're gonna go into a holding room.

M.P.

Aye, aye, ma'am.

JO, DOWNEY, and the M.P. are gone. KAFFEE paces a moment
before he says --

KAFFEE
You don't like me that much, do
you?
(beat)
Forget it, don't answer that, it
doesn't matter.

KAFFEE paces another moment, then sits on the cot. He's
trying to choose his tack carefully.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You know, Downey worships you. He's
gonna do whatever you do. Are you
really gonna let this happen to him
because of a code? Harold?

DAWSON
Do you think we were right?

KAFFEE
It doesn't matter what I --
65.

DAWSON
Do you think we were right?

KAFFEE gets up.

KAFFEE
(beat)
I think you'd lose.

DAWSON
(beat)
You're such a coward, I can't
believe they let you wear a
uniform.

KAFFEE stares at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
I'm not gonna feel responsible for
this, Harold. I did everything I
could. You're going to Levenworth
for the better part of your life,
and you know what? I don't give a
shit.

KAFFEE calls out --

KAFFEE
(continuing)

M.P.!

KAFFEE and DAWSON are staring each other down. The M.P.
shows up and unlocks the cell door. KAFFEE steps out to
leave.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
What happened to saluting an
officer when he leaves the room?

DAWSON holds on KAFFEE. Then DAWSON, a man who would rather
die than breach military protocol, takes his hands and puts
them in his pockets.

The cell door closes and we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee offers a plea deal to Dawson and Downey in exchange for a lighter sentence but they refuse, believing they did nothing wrong. Kaffee tries to persuade Dawson, but ultimately they part ways with animosity.
Strengths "Well-crafted dialogue that reveals character motivations and conflicts."
Weaknesses "Lack of action or visual interest."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-structured and effectively conveys the conflict between Kaffee and the defendants, Dawson and Downey. The dialogue is sharp and realistic, revealing the characters' motivations and beliefs. However, there are a few areas where the scene could be improved:

1. Lack of description: The scene lacks description beyond basic stage directions, leaving a lot to the reader's imagination. Adding more detail about the setting, lighting, and character movements could amplify the emotional impact of the scene.

2. Repetition: Kaffee repeats himself when trying to persuade the defendants to take a deal, which can make the dialogue feel stagnant. Using different language or tactics could add more nuance to the scene.

3. Lack of subtext: While the dialogue is strong, there is little subtext. The characters' motivations and emotions are on the surface, which can make the scene feel one-dimensional. Adding more subtext, such as hidden desires or secrets, could make the scene more dynamic.

4. No physical action: The scene is mostly static, with characters sitting at a table and talking. Adding physical action, such as movement or a fight, would make the scene more engaging.

5. Predictability: The audience can predict Dawson's refusal to take the deal, which can make the scene feel cliched. Adding a surprising twist or shifting the power dynamic could elevate the scene.

Overall, while this scene effectively conveys its conflict and dialogue, adding more detail, subtext, and physical action could make it more impactful and dynamic.
Suggestions The following are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Show more emotion and tension between the characters: The current scene lacks a sense of urgency and tension. The characters are simply stating their positions without any real conflict. To improve this, show more emotion and tension between the characters. For example, you could show Kaffee becoming increasingly frustrated as Dawson and Downey refuse to take the plea deal. You could also show Dawson and Downey becoming more defensive and agitated as Kaffee pressures them.

2. Use more dynamic camera angles: The current scene is shot with very static camera angles, which adds to the lack of tension. To improve this, use more dynamic camera angles to create a sense of movement and energy. For example, you could use a handheld camera to follow Kaffee as he paces back and forth, or a low angle shot to show Dawson looming over Kaffee as he confronts him.

3. Clarify the stakes: The scene needs to make it clear why Dawson and Downey are so unwilling to take the plea deal. To improve this, clarify the stakes of the trial. For example, you could show Kaffee explaining to Dawson and Downey that if they don't take the plea deal, they could be facing life in prison.

4. Show how the characters are feeling: The current scene doesn't give much insight into how the characters are feeling about the situation. To improve this, show more close-ups of their faces to convey their emotions. For example, you could show close-ups of Kaffee's frustrated expression as he realizes he can't convince Dawson and Downey to take the plea deal, or close-ups of Dawson and Downey showing their resolve to stick to their code.

5. Tighten the dialogue: The current scene is a bit wordy and repetitive. To improve this, try to tighten the dialogue and make it more concise. For example, you could cut out some of Kaffee's repetitive lines about how Dawson and Downey will be home in six months if they take the plea deal. Keep the dialogue focused on the conflict between the characters and their motivations.



Scene 21 -  The Confrontation
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. THE OFFICE CORRIDOR - NIGHT

One light is on at the end of the hall.

CUT TO:
66.

SAM has joined KAFFEE and JO. The mood is somber.

KAFFEE
Dawson's gonna go to jail just to
spite me. Fine. If he wants to jump
off a cliff, that's his business.
I'm not gonna hold his hand on the
way down.
(to SAM)
I want to get him a new lawyer. How
do I do it?

SAM
You just make a motion tomorrow
morning at the arraignment. The
judge'll ask you if you want to
enter a plea. You tell him you want
new counsel assigned.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Then that's that.

JO
(beat)
Yeah. One thing, though. When you
ask the judge for new counsel,
Danny, be sure and ask nicely.

KAFFEE
What do you want from me?

JO
I want you to let 'em be judged! I
want you to stand up and make an
argument!

SAM
An argument that didn't work for
Calley at My Lai, an argument that
didn't work for the Nazis at
Nuremberg.

KAFFEE
For Christ sake, Sam, do you really
think that's the same as two
teenage marines executing a routine
order that they never believed
would result in harm? These guys
aren't the Nazis.

There's a pause in the room.
67.

JO
Don't look now, Danny, but you're
making an argument.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Yeah.
(beat)
Tomorrow morning I'll get them a
new attorney.

JO
Why are you so afraid to be a
lawyer? Were daddy's expectations
really that high?

KAFFEE
Please, spare me the psycho-babble
father bullshit. Dawson and
Downey'll have their day in court,
but they'll have it with another
lawyer.

JO
Another lawyer won't be good
enough. They need you. You know how
to win.
(beat)
You know they have a case. And you
know how to win. You walk away from
this now, and you have sealed their
fate.

KAFFEE
Their fate was sealed the moment
Santiago died.

JO
Do you believe they have a defense?

KAFFEE
You and Dawson both live in the
same dreamland. It doesn't matter
what I believe, it only matters
what I can prove. So please don't
tell me what I know and don't know.
I know the law.

JO looks at him, shakes her head, and turns to walk away.
She turns back.

JO
You know nothing about the law.
You're a used car salesman, Daniel.
68.

You're an ambulance chaser with a
rank. You're nothing.
(beat)
Live with that.

Jo walks off leaving KAFFEE alone. We HOLD on KAFFEE. He's
not having a good night.

CUT TO:

INT. A GEORGETOWN BAR - NIGHT

KAFFEE sits at the bar. The place is crowded with YUPPIES
and STUDENTS. KAFFEE's been drinking there a while now. Next
to him is a YUPPIE LAWYER, regaling his FRIENDS with the
story of his latest brilliant maneuver in the world of high
stakes corporate law.

We HOLD on a KAFFEE a moment longer, then

YUPPIE LAWYER
...So I told duncan if we leverage
the acquisition of Biotech, the
interrogatories would be there on
demand. All I have to do is not
pick up the phone and it'll run
Flaherty ten thousand a day in
court costs.

CUT TO:

EXT. A GEORGETOWN STREET - NIGHT

KAFFEE sits on a bench in the night. He takes a sip from a
bottle he's holding in a brown paper bag.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE PARADE GROUNDS - DAY

A bright, sunny morning. The BAND is performing for a group
of day campers.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Kaffee contemplates switching lawyers for Dawson and Downey, Jo urges him to fight for their case and reveals her belief in their innocence.
Strengths "Powerful dialogue that draws out the tension and emotion of the scene, well-defined characters that push the plot forward."
Weaknesses "Some cliches used in the dialogue, occasional lapses into overacting."
Critique As a screenwriting expert, this scene is well-written and captures the emotional turmoil of the characters. The dialogue is realistic and the pacing of the scene keeps the audience engaged. However, there could be more visual elements to enhance the scene. Some suggested improvements are:

- Add more descriptions of the characters' physical movements and reactions.
- Use different camera angles to show the characters' perspectives and emotions.
- Add more sensory details, such as the sound of footsteps in the corridor or the smell of alcohol in the bar.

Overall, the scene effectively captures the tension between the characters and sets up the conflict for the rest of the story.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Add more description of the physical setting. Right now, it's just "One light is on at the end of the hall." This could be a missed opportunity to establish the mood or tone of the scene.

2. Consider shortening some of the dialogue. There are some moments where characters repeat themselves or there's unnecessary exposition. For example, when Sam explains how to get a new lawyer, it could be simplified to just "Just make a motion tomorrow morning at the arraignment."

3. Try to make the dialogue more natural and less expository. For example, when Jo says "Don't look now, Danny, but you're making an argument," it feels like an obvious setup for Kaffee's realization.

4. Think about pacing and tension. Right now, the scene feels a little flat. Consider building up to Kaffee's realization more, or adding more conflict between the characters.

5. Lastly, consider adding more visual elements to the scene. Right now, it's mostly just characters talking. Adding some action or visual cues can make the scene more dynamic and engaging for the audience.



Scene 22 -  The Plea
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 6
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 7
INT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

DAWSON and DOWNEY are at the defense table, ROSS is his
place. KAFFEE walks in and joins JO and SAM at their table.
Papers are being passed back and forth between ROSS and the
SERGEANT AT AMS. Quiet activity.
69.

The door in the back of the courtroom opens and RANDOLPH, a
marine colonel, enters and takes his place at the bench. We
can HEAR the band in the background.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All rise.

Everyone present in the courtroom stands.

RANDOLPH
Where are we?

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Docket number 411275. VR-5. United
States versus Lance Corporal Harold
W. Dawson and Private First Class
Loudon Downey. Defendants are
charged with Conspiracy to Commit
Murder, Murder in the First Degree,
and Conduct Unbecoming a United
States Marine.

RANDOLPH
Does defense wish to enter a plea?

KAFFEE stands.

KAFFEE
Yeah.
(pause)
They're not guilty.

JO, SAM, ROSS, RANDOLPH... it's hard to say who's the most
surprised. It takes everything Jo's got to suppress a smile.
The silence is broken by ROSS, who takes the two files,
drops them into his briefcase, closes the lid, and snaps it
shut.

RANDOLPH looks at KAFFEE and ROSS, then turns to the
SERGEANT AT ARMS.

RANDOLPH
Enter a plea of not guilty for the
defendants. We'll adjourn until ten-
hundred, three weeks from today, at
which time this Court will
reconvene as a General Court-
Martial.

He raps the gavel.

RANDOLPH walks out. ROSS walks up the aisle without a word
to anyone. The M.P.'s come to escort DAWSON and DOWNEY back
to their cell.
70.

KAFFEE and JO and SAM are the only ones remaining. SAM is
looking at KAFFEE with question marks in his eyes.

KAFFEE
Why does a junior grade with six
months experience and a track
record for plea bargaining get
assigned a murder case?
(beat)
Would it be so that it never sees
the inside of a courtroom?

KAFFEE picks up his briefcase and begins heading toward the
door.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
We'll work out of my apartment.
Every night, seven o'clock. Jo,
before you come over tonight, pick
up a carton of legal pads, a half-
dozen boxes of red pens, a half-
dozen boxes of black pens. Sam get
a couple of desk lamps. I need you
to start on a preliminary medical
profile and Jo, we need all the
fitness reports on Dawson, Downey
and Santiago. The only thing I have
to eat is Yoo-Hoo and SugarSnacks,
so if you want anything else, bring
it with you. Okay?

Jo's still stunned.

JO
Yeah.

KAFFEE's at the door, stops, turns around, and takes it all
in for a moment.

KAFFEE
So this is what a courtroom looks
like.

He walks out the door, and we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Legal Drama"]

Summary Kaffee and his team enter a plea of not guilty for Dawson and Downey in a military court for charges of murder and conspiracy. Kaffee questions why he, a junior grade lawyer, was assigned the case, and assigns tasks for his team to prepare their defense.
Strengths "The scene emphasizes the seriousness of the legal battle and sets up the start of the defense's work. The dialogue highlights the tension between Kaffee and Ross and sets up a potential arc of Kaffee's growth as a lawyer. The scene also establishes the character dynamics between Kaffee, Jo, and Sam."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks significant plot developments and may seem slow-paced to some viewers. The emotional impact is minimal."
Critique This scene lays out the basic plot of the film and introduces the key characters, their situation, and their attitudes. However, as a screenwriting expert, I would critique this scene for being too straightforward and lacking in tension or conflict. The dialogue is functional but not particularly memorable or revelatory, and the action consists mainly of characters entering and leaving the courtroom. While this may be necessary exposition, it could benefit from a more dynamic presentation, such as using visual cues or character reactions to heighten the stakes and generate suspense. Additionally, the scene could benefit from more specific details that help to establish the tone and mood of the film, such as the decor of the courtroom or the expression on each character's face. Finally, the dialogue could be improved by incorporating more subtext and nuance, revealing the characters' true motivations and desires rather than simply stating the facts of the case. Overall, this scene could be more engaging and compelling if it were reworked with a greater emphasis on emotional conflict and visual storytelling.
Suggestions There are a few ways to improve this scene:

1. Add more tension: Right now, the scene is lacking in tension. It's a straightforward courtroom scene without any surprises or conflicts. Consider adding some unexpected plot twists or character motivations to keep the audience on their toes.

2. Show, don't tell: Right now, the scene is very focused on dialogue and not enough on visual storytelling. Consider adding more action, facial expressions, and body language to help convey the characters' emotions and reactions.

3. Clarify character motivations: It's unclear why Kaffee is taking charge of this case and why he's so invested in defending the defendants. Adding more background information on his character and his motivations can help make the scene more compelling and believable.

4. Streamline the dialogue: There's a lot of back and forth between characters in this scene, which can slow down the pace and make it feel repetitive. Consider cutting down the dialogue to focus on the most important and impactful lines.

5. Use visual elements: Consider using visual elements like close-ups and reaction shots to emphasize key moments and add more emotion to the scene.



Scene 23 -  Preparing the Defense
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 7
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Among the stuff, is a blackboard that's been hung on the
wall. Written across the top are three headings:
71.

INTENT CODE RED THE ORDER

Sam is on the floor, sorting papers into piles. KAFFEE comes
in from the kitchen with a fresh bottle of Yoo-Hoo and joins
Sam on the floor.

KAFFEE
Were you able to speak to your
friend at NIS?

SAM
She said if Markinson doesn't want
to be found, we're not gonna find
him. She said I could be Markinson
and you wouldn't know it.

KAFFEE
Are you Markinson?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
Well, I'm not Markinson, that's two
down.

SAM doesn't laugh.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
What.

SAM
(pause)
I was wondering, now that Joanne's
working on this... I was wondering
if you still need me.

KAFFEE
(pause)
They were following an order, Sam.

SAM
An illegal order.

KAFFEE
You think Dawson and Downey know it
was an illegal order?

SAM
It doesn't matter if they know, any
decent human being would've refused
to --
72.

KAFFEE
They're not permitted to question
orders.

SAM
Then what's the secret? What are
the magic words? I give orders
every day, and nobody follows them.

KAFFEE
We have softball games and marching
bands. They work at a place where
you have to wear camouflage or you
might get shot.

Sam looks away. He doesn't buy it.

KAFFEE
(continuing; pause)
I need you. You're better at
research than I am and you know how
to prepare a witness.

Jo lets herself in. She's carrying a huge stack of papers
under one arm, and a large brown paper bag under the other.
But we stay with KAFFEE and Sam a moment longer.

JO
I've got medical reports and
Chinese food. I say we eat first.

KAFFEE's still looking at SAM. SAM nods his head.

SAM
Did you get any dumplings?

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APT. - LATER - NIGHT

The remnants of the Chinese food is spread around. SAM and
JO are sitting and taking notes from KAFFEE. As he speaks,
he'll pace slowly around, carrying his baseball bat. He
refers to the blackboard.

KAFFEE
This is our defense. Intent: No one
can prove there was poison on the
raq. Code Red: They're common and
accepted in Guantanamo Bay. The
Order:
(he writes) A) Kendrick
gave it. B) They had no
choice but to follow it.
73.

(beat)
That's it.

SAM
What about motive?

KAFFEE
We're a little weak on motive. They
had one.

JO
Just because a person has a motive
doesn't mean --

KAFFEE
Relax. We'll deal with the
fenceline shooting when it comes
up. For now we start here --
(pointing to INTENT)
I don't know what made Santiago
die, I don't want to know. I just
want to be able to show it could've
been something other than poison.
Jo, talk to doctors. Find out
everything there is to know about
lactic acidosis. Let's start
prepping for Stone.

JO
As long as we're on the subject of
the doctor --

KAFFEE
Here we go.

JO
Listen to me, three o'clock he
doesn't know what killed Santiago,
then he meets with Jessep, and at
five o'clock he says it was poison?
The doctor's covering up the truth.

KAFFEE
Oh, that's a relief. I was afraid I
wouldn't be able to use the "Liar,
Liar, Pants on Fire" defense. We
can't prove coercion!! Alright,
fitness reports and biographical
information.

SAM
Cartons 3 and 4.
74.

KAFFEE looks at the cartons and the mind-numbing amount of
paper.

KAFFEE
No Cliff-Notes on these things?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT -

SERIES OF SCENES

The scenes cover the three weeks of preparation leading up
to the trial, and are interspersed with shots of Kaffee's
apartment getting messier, KAFFEE, JO and SAM flipping
through documents and reference books, writing on the
blackboard, dozzing off...

We start with
Genres: ["legal drama"]

Summary Kaffee and his team prepare their defense for Dawson and Downey's murder trial, focusing on proving lack of intent, the commonality of Code Red, and following orders.
Strengths "The scene effectively shows the team working hard to prepare their defense, building anticipation for the trial."
Weaknesses "The dialogue feels a bit stilted, and there are no significant plot developments in this scene."
Critique some background information on the scene's setting. The scene takes place in Kaffee's apartment, and there is a blackboard on the wall with three headings: Intent, Code Red, and The Order. The characters in the scene are Kaffee, Sam, and Jo, who are preparing for a trial.

The dialogue is engaging and moves the plot forward. The characters reveal information about the case, and their dialogue is natural and believable. Kaffee and Sam's conversation about the difficulty of finding Markinson is amusing and lightens the tension in the scene.

However, the scene lacks any significant action, visuals, or structure. It reads more like a sequence of events rather than a scene with a clear structure. The scene is mainly dialogue-driven, with the characters sitting and discussing plans for the trial. As a result, the scene becomes repetitive and could benefit from some visual elements to break up the monotony.

Overall, the scene has engaging dialogue and moves the plot forward, but it lacks structure, visuals, and significant action.
Suggestions minor adjustments to the formatting of the scene:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

A blackboard is hung on the wall with three headings: INTENT, CODE RED, and THE ORDER. Sam is on the floor sorting papers, and Kaffee joins him with a bottle of Yoo-Hoo.

KAFFEE
Were you able to speak to your
friend at NIS?

SAM
She said if Markinson doesn't want
to be found, we're not gonna find
him. She said I could be Markinson
and you wouldn't know it.

KAFFEE
Are you Markinson?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
Well, I'm not Markinson, that's two
down.

Sam doesn't react.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
What.

SAM
(pause)
I was wondering, now that Joanne's
working on this... I was wondering
if you still need me.

Kaffee pauses before answering.

KAFFEE
They were following an order, Sam.

SAM doesn't react.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
An illegal order.

SAM
You think Dawson and Downey know it
was an illegal order?

KAFFEE
It doesn't matter if they know, any
decent human being would've refused
to --

SAM
They're not permitted to question
orders.

KAFFEE
Then what's the secret? What are
the magic words? I give orders
every day, and nobody follows them.

Sam looks away.

KAFFEE
(continuing; pause)
I need you. You're better at
research than I am and you know how
to prepare a witness.

Jo enters, carrying papers and food.

JO
I've got medical reports and
Chinese food. I say we eat first.

They all dig into the food before getting back to work.



Now, as for suggestions to improve the scene:

- Consider breaking up the dialogue with more action or description. This will give the scene more visual interest and keep the audience engaged.

- Create more tension in the scene. Right now, it feels like a casual conversation between friends. But this is an important moment in the story as Sam questions his role in the case. There should be some conflict or friction between the characters to make this moment more impactful.

- Think about ways to visually convey the passage of time as they prepare for the trial. Showing the mess in Kaffee's apartment getting worse is a good start, but there could be more ways to show the audience how much work is going into this case.

- Continue to use the blackboard as a visual aid throughout the scene. This will help the audience keep track of the various elements of the case and give them a sense of progress.



Scene 24 -  Preparation for the Defense
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Jo's on the phone, KAFFEE and SAM are going over testimony,
with SAM sitting in a mock witness chair. During this,
KAFFEE will go to the door, pay the PIZZA Man for the pizza,
and return without missing a single beat.

JO
(into phone)
Captain Hill, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway, I'm an internal affairs
officer with the JAG Corps in
Washington, D.C. I'm trying to
track down a Captain Matthew Andrew
Markinson, USMC...

KAFFEE
Doctor, other than the rope marks,
was there any other sign of
external damage?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
No scrapes?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
No cuts?
75.

JO
(into phone)
He resigned his commission a week
ago Thursday.

KAFFEE
Bruises? Broken bones?

SAM
No.

JO
(into phone)
No, please don't put me on hold --

KAFFEE
Doctor, was there any sign of
violence?

SAM
(beat)
You mean other than the dead body?

KAFFEE
Fuck!! I walk into that every
goddam time!

SAM
Don't ask the last question.

CUT TO:

INT. A LAW LIBRARY - NIGHT

MOS -- JO pulls two thick volumes off a shelf and takes them
to the table where SAM and KAFFEE are working. She plops the
books down where they join a pile of about two-dozen just
like them and we

CUT TO:

INT. A COFFEE SHOP - DAY

The LAWYERS have their books and papers spread out in front
of them.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, the type of
disciplinary action, or "training''
as you say --

JO
Object.
76.

KAFFEE
Please the Court, I maintain that
nothing could be more relevant than
what the defendants learned by the
example of, among others, the
witness.

JO
Nice.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

MOS -- KAFFEE's paying the pizza boy again. He goes into the
living room where SAM is on the "stand". It's getting hard
to see the floor from all the papers, cartons, books, pizza
boxes, etc., and

CUT TO:

INT. THE BRIG - DAY

A HOLDING ROOM where DAWSON and DOWNEY are being put through
their paces.

JO
And what happened after Kendrick
came into your room?

DOWNEY
(beat)
He ordered me and Corporal Dawson
to give Willy a Code Red.

SAM
(to Jo)
His answers still have to come
faster, Jo. The Iowa farmboy
thing'll play for a while, but in
the end it looks like he's
searching for the truth.

KAFFEE
(to Dawson & Downey)
He's right, and from now on,
"Willy" is Private Santiago. You
start calling him Willy and all of
a sudden he's a person who's got a
mother who's gonna miss him.

CUT TO:
77.
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee, Sam, and Jo prepare for the trial of Dawson and Downey, going over testimony and gathering evidence.
Strengths "Tense and engaging dialogue, showing the preparation for the defense"
Weaknesses "Scene could have benefitted from more emotional impact or conflict"
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the characters' actions and dialogue. The scene flows smoothly and the pacing is good.

One potential area for improvement is the use of MOS (Mit Out Sound) transitions. While they can be effective in some cases, using them too frequently can be jarring for the audience. It might be stronger to have clearer scene breaks and a more straightforward narrative flow.

Additionally, the dialogue could benefit from some more subtext and nuance. The characters' intentions and emotions could be more subtly conveyed through their words and actions, rather than being spelled out in a very direct manner.

Overall, the scene does a good job of advancing the plot and revealing new information, but could benefit from more subtlety and variety in its execution.
Suggestions One suggestion to improve this scene would be to have more visual elements to break up the dialogue-heavy scene. Perhaps showing close-ups of the pizza, the books, or the writing on the papers to create more interest and keep the audience engaged. It would also be helpful to vary the camera angles and shot types to add visual interest and convey the tone of the scene. Another suggestion would be to condense the dialogue and make it more concise to keep the pace of the scene moving. Lastly, adding more character development, such as revealing more about their relationships and emotions, could enhance the overall impact of the scene.



Scene 25 -  Pre-Trial Preparation
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 7
INT. THE APARTMENT - NIGHT

MOS -- The clock reads 3:37, and KAFFEE, in sweatpants and a
bathrobe, is pacing around slowly with his baseball bat and

CUT TO:

SAM and JO art listening to a lecture for the 14th time.

KAFFEE
Poker faces. Don't flinch in front
of the jury. Something doesn't go
our way, don't hang your head,
don't shift in your seat, don't
scribble furiously. Whatever
happens, you have to look like it's
exactly what you knew was gonna
happen. When you pass me documents -
-

JO/SAM
Do it swiftly, but don't look
overanxious.

KAFFEE
(beat)
And don't wear that perfume in
Court, it wrecks my concentration.

JO
Really!

KAFFEE
I was talking to Sam.

SAM
What time is it?

KAFFEE
Time to go home. Try to get some
sleep tonight.

JO
(to SAM)
I'll give you a ride.

SAM begins to gather up his things. He stands in front of

KAFFEE.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
You're a good man, Charlie Brown.
78.

SAM
See you in court.

Sam steps out the door. JO looks at the ground, then up at

KAFFEE.

JO
Danny --

KAFFEE
I know what you're gonna say. You
don't have to. We've had our
differences. I've said some things
I didn't mean, you've said some
things you didn't means but you're
happy that I stuck with the case.
And if you've gained a certain
respect for me over the last three
weeks that you didn't have before,
well, of course I'm happy about
that, but we don't have to make a
whole big deal out of it. You like
me. I won't make you say it.

JO
I was just gonna tell you to wear
matching socks tomorrow.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Oh.
(beat)
Okay. Good tip.

JO
We're ready.

KAFFEE
Bet your ass.

Jo walks out the door and KAFFEE closes it and locks it
behind her.

Then he says, very softly...

KAFFEE
(continuing)
We're gonna get creamed.

CUT TO:
79.

INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR - DAY

A few M.P.Is are standing by the entrance. KAFFEE comes
around the corner and heads toward the courtroom. We're
immediately stricken by something:

In his dress blue uniform he could easily be mistaken for a
real live naval officer. He opens the courtroom doors and
walks into
Genres: ["Legal drama"]

Summary Kaffee and his team make final preparations for the trial of Dawson and Downey.
Strengths "The scene provides insights into the team's dynamics and preparations, and sets the tone for the upcoming trial."
Weaknesses "The scene feels a bit too long and monotonous."
Critique the arena of the trial.

Overall, this is a well-written scene. The dialogue flows smoothly and the characters are well-defined. However, there are a few points that could be improved:

- The opening sentence could be more descriptive. Instead of simply stating the time and setting, it could include some sensory details to create a better picture in the reader's mind.
- The transition from Kaffee pacing with his baseball bat to the lecture scene is abrupt and could benefit from a smoother segue.
- Some of the dialogue and actions, such as Kaffee telling Sam not to wear perfume in court and locking the door after Jo leaves, feel a bit contrived and don't serve much purpose in moving the plot forward.
- The ending line where Kaffee says "We're gonna get creamed" is a bit too on-the-nose and could be more subtle.

Overall, this is a solid scene, but there's room for improvement in terms of pacing and subtlety.
Suggestions the room, ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead.

As a screenwriting expert, some suggestions to improve this scene could be:

1. Give more context: The scene starts with the clock reading 3:37 and KAFFEE pacing around. It's not clear what he's pacing around for. Perhaps add some dialogue that reveals why he's on edge or what he's worried about. This could add tension and make the scene more engaging.

2. Use visual cues: Show KAFFEE pacing or doing something that demonstrates his nervousness instead of just telling the audience. This will make the scene more visually interesting.

3. Cut unnecessary dialogue: The conversation between Sam, Jo, and KAFFEE at the beginning of the scene feels unnecessary. While it does reveal some personality traits of the characters, it doesn't add much to the overall story. Consider cutting it down or eliminating it altogether.

4. Emphasize the stakes: KAFFEE's statement "We're gonna get creamed" at the end of the scene is a powerful moment that reveals the high stakes of the plot. Consider adding more foreshadowing or tension-building moments throughout the scene to highlight the importance of what's happening.

5. Use the setting: The scene takes place in an apartment, but there's not much description of the space or how it contributes to the mood of the scene. Consider adding more description of the setting to give the audience a better sense of the environment and how it affects the characters.



Scene 26 -  The Opening Statements
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 10
INT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

A few more M.P.'s are standing around. THE JURORS, nine
enlisted navy and marine men and women, are in their place,
Ross is at his table looking through some papers, and DAWSON
and DOWNEY, in handcuffs, are seated at the defense table.
The trial in a few moments from being underway and a few
people are milling about. KAFFEE walks down the aisle but is
stopped by a voice behind him.

MAN (O.S.)
Lieutenant Kaffee?

KAFFEE turns around to see a MAN and WOMAN who are clearly
Dawson's parents.

MAN
You're gonna save our son, aren't
you?

KAFFEE
(pause)
I'll do my best.

KAFFEE continues on and stops next to JO, who's talking with
a WOMAN in her mid-30's.

JO
Danny, I want you to meet Ginny
Miller, Louden's aunt.

KAFFEE
You're Aunt Ginny?

GINNY
Uh-huh.

KAFFEE
I'm sorry, I was expecting someone
older.

GINNY
So was I.
80.

Not quite the words of inspiration KAFFEE was hoping to hear
before he does the hardest thing he's ever had to do.

He walks over to ROSS.

KAFFEE
Last chance. I'll flip you for it.

RANDOLPH enters.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All rise.

ROSS
Too late.

KAFFEE walks back to his table as

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All those having business with this
general court-martial, stand
forward and you shall be heard.
Captain Julius Alexander Randolph
is presiding. God save the United
States of America.

RANDOLPH raps the gavel.

RANDOLPH without objection, the sworn confessions of the two
defendants have been read to the jury and entered into the
court record.

ROSS
No objection, your honor.

KAFFEE
No objection.

RANDOLPH
Is the Government prepared to make
an opening statement?

ROSS
(standing)
Yes sir.

ROSS walks to the jury box.
81.

ROSS
(continuing)
The facts of the case are this: At
midnight on August 6th, the
defendants went into the barracks
room of their platoon-mate, PFC
William Santiago. They woke him up,
tied his arms and legs with rope,
and forced a rag into his throat. A
few minutes later, a chemical
reaction in Santiago's body called
lactic acidosis caused his lungs to
begin bleeding. He drowned in his
own blood and was pronounced dead
at 32 minutes past midnight. These
are the facts of the case. And they
are undisputed. That's right. The
story I just told you is the exact
same story you're going to hear
from Corporal Dawson, and it's the
exact same story you're going to
hear from Private Downey.
Furthermore, the Government will
also demonstrate that the
defendants soaked the rag with
poison, and entered Santiago's room
with motive and intent to kill.
(beat)
Now, Lt. Kaffee, is gonna try to
pull off a little magic act, he's
gonna try a little misdirection.
He's going to astonish you with
stories of rituals and dazzle you
with official sounding terms like
Code Red. He might even cut into a
few officers for you. He'll have no
evidence, mind you, none. But it's
gonna be entertaining. When we get
to the end, all the magic in the
world will not have been able to
divert your attention from the fact
that Willy Santiago is dead, and
Dawson and Downey killed him. These
are the facts of the case.
(beat)
And they are undisputed.

ROSS walks back to his seat.

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee?

Before KAFFEE's even stood up, these words are coming out of
his mouth.
82.

KAFFEE
There was no poison on the rag and
there was no intent to kill and any
attempt to prove otherwise is
futile because it just ain't true.
(beat)
When Dawson and Downey went into
Santiago's room that night, it
wasn't because of vengeance or
hatred, it wasn't to kill or harm,
and it wasn't because they were
looking for kicks on a Friday
night. It's because it was what
they were ordered to do.
(beat)
Let me say that again: It's because
it was what they were ordered to
do. Now, out in the real world,
that means nothing. And here at the
Washington Navy Yard, it doesn't
mean a whole lot more. But if
you're a marine assigned to Rifle
Security Company Windward,
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and you're
given an order, you follow it or
you pack your bags.
(beat)
Make no mistake about it, Harold
Dawson and Louden Downey are
sitting before you in judgement
today because they did their job.

KAFFEE walks back to the table and takes his seat.

RANDOLPH
Is the Government ready to call its
first witness?

ROSS
Please the Court, the Government
calls Mr. R.C McGuire.

While McCGUIRE, a civilian in his late 30's, is being sworn
in, KAFFEE has sat back down.

He leans over to DAWSON and whispers.

KAFFEE
How you doin'?

DAWSON doesn't change his expression.
83.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Good.

ROSS
Mr. McGuire, would you state your
full name and occupation for the
record, please?

MCGUIRE
Robert C. McGuire, Special Agent,
Naval Investigative Service.
Genres: ["Legal Drama"]

Summary The prosecution and defense give their opening statements in the trial of Dawson and Downey, with the prosecution asserting their guilt and the defense claiming they were following orders.
Strengths "Compelling dialogue"
Weaknesses "Lack of action or movement"
Critique Overall, the scene appears to follow a conventional structure for a courtroom drama. It sets up the characters and presents the stakes of the trial. The dialogue between the different characters provides exposition that reveals key elements of the story.

However, some of the dialogue is quite on-the-nose and could benefit from more subtlety and nuance. For instance, the exchange between Kaffee and Ginny Miller feels forced and could be reworked for greater authenticity. He could opt for a more polite greeting without the backhanded comment about her appearance.

Another issue is the lack of visual description in the scene. Most of the action is conveyed through dialogue, and while that can be effective in some cases, a visual description of the set and the characters' actions could provide more detail for the reader. This lack of visual detail might cause a reader to lose interest in the story.

Finally, the scene could be tightened up by cutting some of the repetitive dialogue. For instance, both Ross and Kaffee state that the facts of Santiago's death are "undisputed." Reiterating this point does not add to the tension of the scene, and it could be streamlined by eliminating one of these dialogues.

In summary, while the structure of the scene is sound, it could be improved with greater authenticity in dialogue, more visual detail, and tighter editing.
Suggestions The scene starts with a lot of exposition and description of the setting. To improve it, consider starting with action or dialogue instead to capture the audience's attention right away. When introducing the jurors, describe them in a way that distinguishes them from each other, such as their backgrounds or personalities. For example, you could mention that one is a no-nonsense former drill sergeant, another is a diplomatic corps member who values communication, and so on.

In the dialogue, make the lines more concise and impactful. Instead of Kaffee saying "I'll do my best," have him say "I'll save your son." The exchange with Ginny could also be made more emotionally charged by having her say something like "He's just a boy," indicating how much Louden means to her and the rest of the family.

When Ross makes his opening statement, emphasize the drama of the situation. For example, have him address the jurors directly, trying to convince them that they hold the fate of two young soldiers in their hands. In Kaffee's response, clarify the stakes of the trial and the reasons for the Code Red order. Have him emphasize that the defendants were put in an impossible situation and had no choice but to obey their superior's command.

Overall, try to ramp up the tension and build momentum throughout the scene, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats by the time the first witness is called.



Scene 27 -  The Trial Begins
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 6
ROSS
Mr. McGuire, did your office
receive a letter from PFC William
Santiago on 3 August of this year?

MCGUIRE
We did.

ROSS
What did the letter say?

MCGUIRE
That a member of Private Santiago's
unit had illegally fired his weapon
over the fenceline.

ROSS
Was that marine identified in the
letter?

MCGUIRE
No sir. I notified the barracks
C.O., Colonel Jessep, that I would
be coming down to investigate.

ROSS
And what did you find?

MCGUIRE
For the shift reported, only one
sentry returned his weapon to the
switch with a round of ammunition
missing.

ROSS
And who was that?

MCGUIRE
Lance Corporal Harold Dawson.
84.

ROSS
(continuing; to KAFFEE)
Your witness.

ROSS goes back to his table. KAFFEE stands.

KAFFEE
Mr. McGuire, have you questioned
Corporal Dawson about the fenceline
shooting?

MCGUIRE
Yes. He claims to have been engaged
in some manner by the enemy.

KAFFEE
But you don't believe him.

MCGUIRE
It's not my place --

KAFFEE
Corporal Dawson's been charged with
a number of crimes, why wasn't he
charged with firing at the enemy
without cause?

MCGUIRE
There wasn't enough evidence to
support such a charge.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

KAFFEE sits.

ROSS
Mr. McGuire, I don't understand
what you mean when you say there
wasn't enough evidence to support
such a charge. You had Willy
Santiago's letter.

MCGUIRE
Santiago was the only witness, but
I never had a chance to interview
him. So I don't know what he saw.

ROSS
And now we won't ever know, will
we, Mr. McGuire?

MCGUIRE
No.
85.

ROSS
No more questions.

CUT TO:

HAMMAKER, a young marine corporal, is being sworn in.

HAMMAKER
Corporal Carl Edward Hammaker,
Marine Barracks, Rifle Security
Company Windward, Second Platoon
Charlie.

ROSS
Corporal, were you present at a
meeting that Lt. Kendrick held on
the afternoon of August 6th with
the members of second platoon.

HAMMAKER
Yes sir.

ROSS
Would you tell the Court the
substance of that meeting?

HAMMAKER
Lt. Kendrick told us that we had an
informer in our group. That
Private Santiago had gone outside
the chain of command and reported
to the NIS on a member of our
platoon.

ROSS
Did that make you mad?
(pause)
You can tell the truth, corporal,
it's alright. Did it make you mad?

HAMMAKER
Yes sir.

ROSS
How mad?

HAMMAKER
Private Santiago betrayed a code
that we believe in very deeply,
sir.

ROSS
Were the other members of the squad
angry?
86.

KAFFEE
Object --

ROSS
Were Dawson and Downey?

KAFFEE
Please the Court, is the judge
advocate honestly asking this
witness to testify as to how the
defendant felt on August 6th?

RANDOLPH
Sustained.

ROSS
Corporal, did Lt. Kendrick leave a
standing order at that meeting?

RANDOLPH
Yes sir.

ROSS
What was it?

HAMMAKER
Well it was clear that he didn't
want us to take matters into our
own hands, sir.

ROSS
What was the order?

HAMMAKER
Sir, he said that Santiago wasn't
to be touched.

ROSS
(to KAFFEE)
Your witness.

KAFFEE
Corporal Hammaker, were you in
Dawson and Downey's barracks room
ten minutes after this meeting?

HAMMAKER
No sir.

KAFFEE
Thanks, I have no more questions.
87.

HAMMAKER gets off the stand, and KAFFEE watches while walks
past DAWSON and DOWNEY. A barely perceptible exchange occurs
between the eyes of DAWSON and HAMMAKER.

KAFFEE makes a decision.

ROSS
The Government calls Corporal
Raymond Thomas --

KAFFEE
Please the Court, I understand Lt.
Ross is planning on calling all the
other members of Rifle Security
Company Windward to testify.

ROSS
In light of the defense that Lt.
Kaffee is planning to mount, the
explicit instructions of the
platoon leader seems particularly
relevant testimony.

KAFFEE
The defense is willing to concede
that all 23 witnesses will testify
substantially as Corporal Hammaker
did, if the Government is willing
to concede that none of them were
in Dawson and Downey's room at
16:20 on August 6th.

RANDOLPH
(to ROSS)
Lieutenant?

ROSS
The Government'll agree to the
stipulation, sir.

RANDOLPH
Then we'll adjourn for the day. You
can call your next witness in the
morning.

CUT TO:

SHOT OF WASHINGTON AT NIGHT

DISSOLVE TO:
88.

THE PARADE GROUNDS - EARLY MORNING, two SAILORS are raising
the flag.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Courtroom"]

Summary The trial of Dawson and Downey begins and the prosecution and defense give their opening statements. Witnesses are called to the stand, including Mr. McGuire, who testifies to Corporal Dawson's involvement in the fenceline shooting, and Corporal Hammaker, who reveals Lt. Kendrick's standing order not to touch Santiago but confirms the anger among the members of the platoon towards Santiago.
Strengths "The scene provides key information on crucial plot points and character motivations. It maintains a consistent tone of tension throughout the scene."
Weaknesses "The scene is heavy on dialogue and lacks dynamic action. It also lacks character development."
Critique As a screenwriting expert, I would say that this scene is well-written in terms of dialogue and pacing. The dialogue is believable and serves to advance the plot, while the pacing keeps the audience engaged. However, it is missing some visual elements that could make it more engaging. For example, the scene could benefit from more varied camera angles and shots to break up the dialogue and create a more visually interesting scene. Additionally, some character development could be incorporated to make the characters more dynamic and relatable to the audience. Overall, this scene is functional but could be improved with more attention to visual storytelling and character development.
Suggestions The scene could benefit from more visual and character-driven elements to enhance the tension and drama. Here are some suggestions:

- Add more physical action to the scene. The characters are mostly just sitting and talking, which can be visually uninteresting on screen. Consider adding more movement, such as McGuire getting up from his chair or Ross pacing back and forth. This can help break up the dialogue and give the scene more energy.

- Emphasize the emotions of the characters. While the dialogue is important for conveying information, it would also be beneficial to show how the characters are feeling. For example, McGuire could seem uneasy when Kaffee questions him, or Ross could appear more aggressive when he pushes for answers. This can help the audience understand the stakes and motivations behind each character's actions.

- Give more insight into the characters' personalities. Each character has a distinct role in the scene, but it would be worthwhile to give them more depth. For example, McGuire could have some internal conflict over what he knows but can't say, or Ross could reveal some personal motivation for pushing the investigation forward. These small touches can give the characters more dimension and make them more engaging for the audience.

- Use visual elements to create atmosphere. Since the scene takes place in a military setting, it would be appropriate to use props or set design to highlight that. For example, the room where the characters are talking could have maps or military gear in the background, or there could be posters with patriotic slogans. These elements can help create a sense of place and add to the tension of the scene.

- Consider adding some twists or surprises to the scene. While the information being revealed is important, it can also be helpful to keep the audience on their toes. For example, Ross could reveal something unexpected about Santiago's letter, or McGuire could have a sudden change of heart that complicates things. These surprises can add depth and excitement to the scene.



Scene 28 -  The Poisoning Allegation
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

COMMANDER STONE, a Navy doctor in his mid-40's, is on the
stand.

STONE
...And he was pronounced dead at
zero-zero-thirty-seven.

ROSS
Dr. Stone, what's lactic acidosis?

STONE
If the muscles and other cells of
the body burn sugar instead of
oxygen, lactic acid is produced.
That lactic acid is what caused
Santiago's lungs to bleed.

ROSS
How long does it take for the
muscles and other cells to begin
burning oxygen instead of sugar?

STONE
Twenty to thirty minutes.

ROSS
And what caused Santiago's muscles
and other cells to start burning
sugar?

STONE
An ingested poison of some kind.

KAFFEE
Your Honor, we object at this
point. The witness is speculating.

ROSS
Commander Stone is an expert
medical witness, in this courtroom
his opinion isn't considered
speculation.
89.

KAFFEE
Commander Stone is an internist,
not a criminologist, and the
medical facts here are ultimately
inconclusive.

RANDOLPH
A point which I'm confident you'll
illustrate to the jury under cross-
examination, so I'm sure you won't
mind if his opinion is admitted
now.

KAFFEE
Not at all, sir. Objection
withdrawn.

KAFFEE sits.

ROSS
Doctor Stone, did Willy Santiago
die of poisoning?

STONE
Absolutely.

ROSS
Are you aware that the lab report
and the coroners report showed no
traces of poison?

STONE
Yes I am.

ROSS
Then how do you justify --

STONE
There are literally dozens of
toxins which are virtually
undetectable, both in the human
body and on a fabric. The nature of
the acidosis is the compelling
factor in this issue.

ROSS
Thank you, sir.

KAFFEE gets up.

KAFFEE
Commander, you testified that it
takes lactic acidosis 20 to 30
minutes before it becomes lethal.
90.

STONE
Yes.

KAFFEE
Let me ask you, is it possible for
a person to have an affliction,
some sort of condition, which
might, in the case of this person,
actually speed up the process of
acidosis dramatically?

STONE says nothing for a moment.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Commander, is it possible?

STONE
Certainly.

KAFFEE
What might some of those conditions
be?

STONE
(beat)
If a person had a coronary
disorder... or a cerebral disorder,
the process would be more rapid.

KAFFEE
Commander, if I had a coronary
condition, and a perfectly clean
rag was placed in my mouth, and the
rag was accidentally pushed too far
down, is it possible that my cells
would continue burning sugar after
the rag was taken out?

STONE
It would have to be a very serious
condition.

KAFFEE
Is it possible to have a serious
coronary condition, where the
initial warning signals were so
mild as to escape a physician
during a routine medical exam?

STONE
Possibly. There would still be
symptoms though.
91.

KAFFEE
What kind of symptoms?

STONE
There are hundreds of symptoms of a
--

KAFFEE
Chest pains?

STONE
(beat)
Yes.

KAFFEE
Shortness of breath?

STONE
Yes.

KAFFEE
Fatigue?

STONE
Of course.

KAFFEE has gone back to his table where JO has handed him
some documents. He shows then to STONE.

KAFFEE
Doctor, is this your signature?

STONE
Yes it is.

KAFFEE
This in an order for Private
Santiago to be put on restricted
duty. Would you read your hand
written remarks at the bottom of
the page, please, sir.

STONE
(reading)
"Initial testing negative. Patient
complains of chest pains, shortness
of breath, and fatigue. Restricted
from running distances over five
miles for one week."
92.

KAFFEE
Commander, isn't it possible that
Santiago had a serious coronary
condition, and it was that
condition, and not some mysterious
poison, that caused the accelerated
chemical reaction?

STONE
No. I personally give the men a
physical examination every three
months. And every three months
Private Santiago got a clean bill
of health.

KAFFEE
And that's why it had to be,
poison, right, Commander? 'Cause
Lord knows, if you put a man with a
serious coronary condition back on
duty with a clean bill of health,
and that man died from a heart
related incident, you'd have a lot
to answer for, wouldn't you,
doctor?

ROSS
Object. Move to strike.

RANDOLPH
Sustained. Strike it.

KAFFEE
No more questions, judge.

ROSS stands immediately.

ROSS
Dr. Stone, you've held a license to
practice medicine for 21 years, you
are Board Certified in Internal
Medicine, you are the Chief of
Internal Medicine at a hospital
which serves over 8000 men. In your
professional opinion, was Willy
Santiago poisoned?

Jo stands.

JO
Your Honor, we re-new our objection
to Commander Stone's testimony, and
ask that it be stricken from the
record.
93.

And we further ask that the Court
instruct the jury to lend no weight
to this witness's testimony.

KAFFEE and SAM are dying, but they're trying to keep their
poker-faces. RANDOLPH'S gonna try to be polite about this,
but he thought he made himself clear.

RANDOLPH
The objection's overruled, counsel.

JO
Sir, the defense strenuously
objects and requests a meeting in
chambers so that his honor might
have an opportunity to hear
discussion before ruling on the
objection.

RANDOLPH
The objection of the defense has
been heard and overruled.

JO
Exception.

RANDOLPH
Noted. The witness is an expert and
the court will hear his opinion.

ROSS
Doctor, in your expert,
professional opinion, was Willy
Santiago poisoned?

STONE
Yes.

ROSS
Thank you, sir, I have no more
questions.

RANDOLPH
Commander, you may step down.

ROSS
Please the Court, while we reserve
the right to call rebuttal
witnesses if the need arises, the
Government rests.
94.

RANDOLPH
We'll stand in recess until ten-
hundred hours this Monday, the l9th
at which time the defense will call
it's first witness.

RANDOLPH raps his gavel.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten hut.

And the courtroom begins clearing out. KAFFEE, JO and SAM
are packing up their various papers.

SAM
I strenuously object? Is that how
it works? Objection. Overruled. No,
no, no, no, I strenuously object.
Oh, well if you strenuously object,
let me take a moment to reconsider.

JO
I got it on the record.

SAM
You also got it in the jury's head
that we're afraid of the doctor.
You object once so they can hear
you say he's not a criminologist.
You keep after it and it looks like
this great cross we did was just a
bunch of fancy lawyer tricks. It's
the difference between paper law
and trial --

KAFFEE
Sam --

SAM
Christ, you even had the Judge
saying Stone was an expert!

KAFFEE
Sam, she made a mistake. Let's not
relive it.

There's an uncomfortable silence.

SAM
I'm gonna go call my wife. I'll
meet you tonight.

Sam starts to leave. JO turns and says
95.

JO
Why do you hate them so much?

Sam stops and turns around.

SAM
They beat up on a weakling, and
that's all they did. The rest is
just smokefilled coffee-house crap.
They tortured and tormented a
weaker kid. They didn't like him.
And they killed him. And why?
Because he couldn't run very fast.

A long silence. KAFFEE makes a decision.

KAFFEE
Alright. Everybody take the night
off.

SAM
(continuing)
I apologize, I, --

KAFFEE
It's alright. We've been working 20
hour days for three and a half
weeks straight. Take the night off.
Go see your wife, see your
daughter. Jo, do whatever it is you
do when you're not here. What day
is tomorrow?

SAM
Saturday.

KAFFEE
We'll start at ten.

KAFFEE picks up his stuff and walks out.

SAM and JO stand there uncomfortably for a moment. JO begins
packing up her things.

SAM
Why do you like them so much?

JO
(pause)
'Cause they stand on a wall.
(beat)
And they say "Nothing's gonna hurt
you tonight. Not on my watch."
96.

Despite their differences, SAM likes this woman.

SAM
Don't worry about the doctor. This
trial starts Monday.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Legal drama"]

Summary The prosecution's medical expert witness, Commander Stone, testifies that the coroner's report showed Willy Santiago died from poisoning. The defense objects and questions Stone's expertise, and Kaffee brings up the possibility that Santiago had an undiagnosed heart condition that caused his death instead. The prosecution rests its case, and the trial is adjourned until Monday when the defense will call their first witness.
Strengths "The scene effectively builds tension and conflict as the prosecution's evidence is challenged by the defense, and Kaffee's questioning makes the possibility of a different cause of death believable."
Weaknesses "The scene could have benefited from more emotional stakes and character development. Some of the dialogue, particularly Sam's outburst, feels heavy-handed and obvious."
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written, with strong dialogue and good pacing. However, there are a few areas that could be improved:

1. Visual description: The scene is almost entirely dialogue, with very little visual description, which can make it feel static and unengaging. Adding in more description of the characters' actions, emotions, and surroundings could help to bring the scene to life and make it more cinematic.

2. Over-reliance on objections: While objections are a common feature of courtroom scenes, this scene has an unusually high number. They can become repetitive and disrupt the flow of the dialogue. It might be worth finding more creative ways to convey conflict and tension between the characters.

3. Lack of subtext: While the dialogue is strong, there is little subtext or hidden meaning to the characters' words. Everything is said very explicitly, which can make it feel heavy-handed and obvious. Introducing some more nuance and subtext to the scene could make it more sophisticated and engaging for the audience.
Suggestions Overall, this scene seems well-written and engaging. However, here are a few suggestions that could help improve it:

1. Show more character reactions: While the dialogue is informative and necessary for the plot, it could benefit from more character reactions and emotions. For example, how does Kaffee feel when he withdraws his objection to Stone's testimony? How does Stone feel when Kaffee asks him if Santiago could have had a serious coronary condition?

2. Use more descriptive language: Some of the dialogue is very technical and may be difficult for audiences to follow. Using more descriptive language to explain the medical concepts could make the scene clearer and more engaging. For example, instead of saying "If the muscles and other cells of the body burn sugar instead of oxygen, lactic acid is produced," Stone could say "When the body doesn't get enough oxygen, it resorts to burning sugar instead, which can cause lactic acid to build up in the muscles and other cells."

3. Add more visual elements: While this is a courtroom scene, there are opportunities to incorporate more visual elements to keep the audience engaged. For example, showing Stone sweating or wiping his brow as he is questioned could indicate he is nervous or uncomfortable with the line of questioning.

4. Use more varied sentence structure: Many of the lines are composed of simple, declarative sentences, which can make the scene sound choppy. Using more varied sentence structure and lengths could keep the dialogue flowing more smoothly.

By incorporating these suggestions, the scene could become even more engaging and immersive for audiences.



Scene 29 -  Kaffee and Jo Discuss Dinner Plans
  • Overall: 5.0
  • Concept: 3
  • Plot: 4
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 5
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

A baseball game is on.

KAFFEE's pacing slowly around, carrying his baseball bat.
He's looking at the blackboard as he walks around the room.

He's studying it. Studying it hard. There's a knock on the
door. KAFFEE answers it. JO is standing in the doorway.

JO
I'm sorry to bother you, I
should've called first.

KAFFEE
No, I was just watching a baseball
game.

JO
I was wondering if -- how you'd
feel about my taking you to dinner
tonight.

KAFFEE
Jo, are you asking me out on a
date?

JO
No.

KAFFEE
It sounded like you were asking me
out on a date.

JO
I wasn't.

KAFFEE
I've been asked out on dates
before, and that's what it sounded
like.
97.

JO
Do you like seafood? I know a good
seafood place.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo discuss dinner plans while Kaffee studies a blackboard in his apartment.
Strengths "This scene provides a brief moment of relief from the intense trial and shows a glimpse of Kaffee's personal life."
Weaknesses "The conversation about dinner plans is not particularly engaging and lacks significant plot development."
Critique There isn't enough context given for me to fully critique this scene on its own. However, in terms of formatting and basic storytelling elements, the scene is fine. The characters are introduced, their actions and dialogue are clear, and the scene has a clear beginning and end. However, without knowing the larger story or the characters' motivations and relationships, it's difficult to fully assess the scene's effectiveness in terms of advancing plot or developing character.
Suggestions One suggestion would be to add more conflict or tension to the scene. It currently seems like a casual conversation between two friends, but it could benefit from a more dynamic exchange. Perhaps there could be underlying romantic tension between KAFFEE and JO that leads to some awkwardness or miscommunication that fuels the conversation. Additionally, adding more physical action or movement to the scene could make it more visually engaging. Maybe KAFFEE could be pacing more erratically or using the baseball bat in a more deliberate way as he talks.



Scene 30 -  Trial Testimony and Dinner Discussion
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT - NIGHT

On the Virginia side of the Potomac. KAFFEE and JO are
sitting at a table, finishing up dinner.

JO
My third case was a Drunk and
Disorderly. The trial lasted nine
weeks. I rounded up 31 people who
were in the bar that night.

KAFFEE
Nine weeks on a D and D? What was
the prosecutor offering?

JO
days.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Well, you sure hustled the shit
outta him.

JO
After that, they moved me to
internal affairs.

KAFFEE
Tough to blame them.

JO
Where I've earned two distinguished
service medals and two letters of
commendation.

KAFFEE
Why are you always giving me your
resume?

JO
Because I want you to think I'm
good lawyer.

KAFFEE
I do.
98.

JO
No you don't.
(beat)
I think you're an exceptional
lawyer. I watch the jurors, they
respond to you, they like you. I
see you convincing them. I think
Dawson and Downey are gonna end up
owing their lives to you.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Jo... I think you have to prepare
yourself for the fact that we're
gonna lose.
(beat)
Ross's opening speech, it was all
true.
(beat)
I mean, let's pretend for a minute
that it would actually matter to
this jury that the guys were given
an order. We can't prove it ever
happened.
(beat)
We'll keep doing what we're doing,
and we'll put on a show, but at the
end of the day, all we have is the
testimony of two people accused of
murder.

JO
We'll find Markinson.

KAFFEE
Jo, we're gonna lose. And we're
gonna lose huge.

We HOLD on then for a moment, and in VOICE OVER hear

HOWARD (V.O.)
Corporal Jeffrey Owen Howard,
Marine Barracks Windward,
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

CUT TO:

CORPORAL HOWARD, the young marine who drove the lawyers
around Cuba, is on the stand.

KAFFEE
Corporal Howard, name some reasons
why a marine would get a code red?
99.

HOWARD
Being late for platoon or company
meetings, keeping his barracks in
disorder, falling back on a run...

KAFFEE
Have you ever received a code red?

HOWARD
Yes sir. We were doing seven man
assault drills, and my weapon
slipped. It's just cause it was
over a hundred degrees and my palms
were sweaty and I'd forgot to use
the resin like we were taught.

KAFFEE
And what happened?

HOWARD
That night the guys in my squad
threw a blanket over me and took
turns punching me in the arm for
five minutes. Then they poured glue
on my hands. And it worked, too,
'cause I ain't never dropped my
weapon since.

KAFFEE
Was Private Santiago ever late for
platoon meetings?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Was his barracks ever in disorder?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Did he ever fall back on a run?

HOWARD
All the time, sir.

KAFFEE
Did he ever, prior to the night of
August 6th, receive a code red?

HOWARD
No sir.
100.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Never?

HOWARD
No, sir.

KAFFEE
You got a code red 'cause your
palms were sweaty. Why didn't
Santiago, this burden to his unit,
ever get one?

HOWARD
Dawson wouldn't allow it, sir.

KAFFEE
Dawson wouldn't allow it.

HOWARD
The guys talked tough about
Santiago, but they wouldn't go near
him. They were too afraid of
Dawson, sir.

ROSS
Object. The witness is
characterizing.

KAFFEE
I'll rephrase. Jeffrey, did you
ever want to give Santiago a code
red?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Why didn't you?

HOWARD
'Cause Dawson'd kick my butt, sir.

KAFFEE
Good enough. Lt. Ross is gonna ask
you some questions now.

ROSS takes three books out of his briefcase and puts them on
the table. He brings one to HOWARD.
101.

ROSS
Corporal Howard, I hold here The
Marine Guide and General
Information Handbook for New
Recruits. Are you familiar with
this book?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Have you read it?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Good.
(hands him the book)
Would you turn to the chapter that
deals with code reds, please.

HOWARD
Sir?

ROSS
Just flip to the page in that book
that discusses code reds.

HOWARD
Sir, you see, Code Red is a term we
use -- it's just used down at
GITMO, sir. I don't know if it
actually --

ROSS has produced another book.

ROSS
We're in luck, then. The Marine
Corps Guide for Sentry Duty, NAVY
BASE Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I assume
we'll find the term code red and
its definition in this book, am I
correct?

HOWARD
No sir.
102.

ROSS
No? Corporal Howard, I'm a marine.
Is their no book, no manual or
pamphlet, no set of orders or
regulations that let me know that,
as a marine, one of my duties is to
perform code reds?

HOWARD
(pause)
No sir. No books, sir.

ROSS
No further questions.

ROSS sits. KAFFEE walks over to ROSS's table and picks up
one of the books. He brings it to HOWARD.

KAFFEE
Corporal, would you turn to the
page in this book that says where
the enlisted men's mess hall is?

HOWARD
Lt. Kaffee, that's not in the book,
sir.

KAFFEE
I don't understand, how did you
know where the enlisted men's mess
hall was if it's not in this book?

HOWARD
I guess I just followed the crowd
at chow time, sir.

KAFFEE
No more questions.

KAFFEE chucks the book back on ROSS's desk.

RANDOLPH
Corporal Howard, you can step down.

HOWARD
(greatly relieved)
Thank you, sir.

KAFFEE gives HOWARD a subtle "You Did Good, Kid" look, and
we

CUT TO:
103.
Genres: ["Legal drama"]

Summary During the trial, the prosecution's witnesses provide testimony that Willy Santiago was not given a code red, while the defense questions the expert's medical testimony. Kaffee and Jo have a serious conversation about the possibility of losing the case over dinner.
Strengths "The scene provides important information for the trial while maintaining a serious tone. The dialogue between Kaffee and Jo highlights their personal beliefs and struggles with the case."
Weaknesses "The scene does not feature any major plot developments or action scenes that could capture the viewer's attention. Additionally, some parts of the dialogue feel repetitive and unnecessary."
Critique This scene shows solid character development and establishes the stakes for the trial at hand. It also provides a glimpse of the legal strategy for the defense, which is to prove that the accused Marines were following orders. However, the scene is heavily dialogue-driven and lacks visual interest. It could benefit from more action and movement, like incorporating shots of the characters eating or interacting with the environment. Additionally, there could be more subtext and nonverbal cues to convey the emotions and intentions of the characters. Overall, the scene serves its purpose but could be more engaging for the audience.
Suggestions One suggestion to improve this scene would be to add more tension and conflict between Kaffee and Jo. Currently, their conversation feels too casual and too much of a filler scene that doesn't advance the plot or characters. Instead, consider having Jo question Kaffee's tactics or beliefs, or have Kaffee challenge Jo's methods. This would create more interesting dynamics between the two and keep the audience engaged.

Additionally, the scene could benefit from more visual cues and actions to break up the dialogue. Perhaps have the waiter interrupt them with the bill, or have Kaffee fumble with his fork or glass. These small actions can add depth to the characters and the setting, making the scene feel more alive.

Finally, the transition from the restaurant scene to the courtroom scene could be smoother. Consider adding a line or two to bridge the gap and create a more seamless transition between the two settings.



Scene 31 -  Markinson's Admission
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 10
  • Dialogue: 10
INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR - DUSK

It's the end of the day's session. KAFFEE walks down the
hall with SAM and JO.

KAFFEE
Seven tonight, we'll do a final
Kendrick review. I want to slam-
dunk this guy.

CUT TO:

EXT. SIDEWALK STAND - NIGHT

KAFFEE'S CAR
as it drives along a street in the
D.C. business district. it's
evening now and the windshield
wipers are fighting

against a rain KAFFEE pulls over at his usual newsstand. He
hops out, leaving the lights flashing and the door open, and
runs to the stand.

KAFFEE
Hey, Luther.

LUTHER
Admiral, how's the big case goin'?

KAFFEE
Nose to the grindstone.

LUTHER
No flies on you.

KAFFEE
A rolling stone gathers no moss.

LUTHER
Yeah, well it ain't over til the
fat lady sings.

KAFFEE
Ain't that the truth. Catch you
tomorrow.

He gets back in his car, tosses the newspaper on the
passenger seat, and turns on the ignition. And as soon as he
does

-- a hand is slapped over his mouth --
104.

VOICE (O.S.)
It's Matthew Markinson.

-- and KAFFEE jumps out of his skin.

Because sitting in the back seat, in civilian clothes, is

MARKINSON.

KAFFEE
Jesus fucking Christ!!--

MARKINSON
You left the door unlocked.

KAFFEE
Scared the shit outta me.

MARKINSON
Drive.

KAFFEE
Are you aware you're under
subpoena?

MARKINSON
Yes. I'm also aware that the lives
of two marines are in your hands.
If there was something I could do
about that, I would, but since I
can't, all I can do is help you.
Why don't you drive, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE begins driving down the street.

KAFFEE
What do you know?

MARKINSON
I know everything.

KAFFEE
Was it a code red?

MARKINSON
Yes.

KAFFEE
Did Kendrick give the order?

MARKINSON
Yes.
105.

KAFFEE
Did you witness it?

MARKINSON
I didn't need to --

KAFFEE
Did you witness it?!

MARKINSON
No.

KAFFEE
Then how do you know?

MARKINSON
I know.

KAFFEE
You know shit.

MARKINSON
He was never gonna be transferred
off the base.

And with this, KAFFEE screeches the car over to the side of
the road. He grabs the parking brake and pulls it up. He
turns to Markinson.

MARKINSON
(continuing)
Jessep was going to keep him on the
base. He said he wanted him
trained.

KAFFEE
We've got the transfer order. It's
got your signature.

MARKINSON
I know. I signed it the morning you
arrived in Cuba. Six days after
Santiago died.

KAFFEE's wheels are spinning. He's pumped.

KAFFEE
I'm gonna get you a deal. Some kind
of immunity with the prosecutor. In
about four days, you're gonna
appear as a witness for the
defense, and you're gonna tell the
court exactly what you told me.
106.

Right now I'm gonna check you into
a motel, and we're gonna start from
the beginning.

MARKINSON
I don't want a deal. And I don't
want immunity.

KAFFEE shakes his head and laughs.

MARKINSON
(continuing)
I want you to know, I'm proud
neither of what I've done nor what
I'm doing.

KAFFEE puts the car in gear and we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Legal Drama","Thriller"]

Summary Markinson admits to Kaffee that there was a code red ordered by Kendrick and that he knew about it. He explains that Jessep was keeping Santiago on the base for training, and that he signed the order for Santiago's transfer six days after his death. Kaffee promises to get Markinson immunity and have him testify for the defense in four days.
Strengths "Intense dialogue and character development."
Weaknesses "Some may find the scene slow-paced."
Critique Overall, this is a well-paced scene with strong dialogue and enough tension to keep the audience engaged. However, there are a few areas for improvement.

Firstly, the scene begins with Kaffee discussing a final review with two other characters, Sam and Jo, with no context for who they are or what their role is in the story. Adding some context or background information for these characters would help to ground the scene and provide more meaning to their presence.

Secondly, the conversation between Kaffee and Luther at the newsstand feels forced and out of place. Their dialogue is filled with cliches and doesn't add much to the overall story, making it feel like filler material. This could be improved by either cutting the scene entirely or reworking the dialogue to make it more meaningful.

Finally, there is a lot of exposition between Kaffee and Markinson in the car, which can be a challenge for screenwriters. While it's necessary for Markinson to provide information about the case to Kaffee, it can feel heavy-handed to have a character simply recount all of the details. Finding a way to weave this information into the dialogue more subtly would help to make the scene feel more natural.

Overall, this scene shows promise but could benefit from some fine-tuning in terms of character development and dialogue.
Suggestions To improve this scene, the screenwriter could add more tension and suspense. One way to achieve this would be to show more of KAFFEE's thoughts and feelings as he is blindsided by MARKINSON's appearance in his car. This would increase the audience's sense of uncertainty as they try to figure out what is going on. Additionally, the dialogue between KAFFEE and MARKINSON could be made more dynamic and unpredictable by having them interrupt each other and talk over each other at times, creating a sense of urgency and conflict. Lastly, the writer could include more descriptive language to enhance the mood and atmosphere of the scene, such as describing the rain more vividly or adding details to the setting to create a sense of claustrophobia or danger.



Scene 32 -  Guarding the Witness
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Where KAFFEE has just finished telling his story to an
amazed SAM and JO.

There's silence.

Then JO has a total adrenaline rush.

JO
Where is he?

KAFFEE
The Route 23 Best Western.

JO picks up the phone.

JO
I want him guarded.

KAFFEE
That's probably a good idea.

JO
(into phone)
This is Lt. Commander Joanne
Galloway. My clearance code is
411273.

KAFFEE is impressed. He turns to SAM --

KAFFEE
Clearance code?
107.

JO
Thank you.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
I don't have a clearance code. Do
you have a --

JO
(into phone)
It's Jo Galloway. I need to secure
a witness.

Jo continues giving information to the person on the phone,
while Kaffee keeps talking to the both of them. Sam is
writing down notes as fast as he can.

KAFFEE
He also said that Jessep's lying
about the transportation off the
base. Jessep said six the next
morning was the first flight
Santiago could've left on,
Markinson says there was a plane
that left seven hours earlier.

JO hangs up the phone.

JO
Damn.

KAFFEE
That was impressive. Did you hear
what I just said about the flight?

JO
Yes.

KAFFEE
Sam, when a plane takes off from a
base, there's gotta be some kind of
record kept, right?

SAM
We need the Tower Chief's Log for

GITMO.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
Get it.

JO
We're gonna win.
108.

KAFFEE
Jo, don't get crazy about this. We
don't know who Markinson is. We
don't know what the log book's
gonna say. You just concentrate on
Downey. I'm gonna talk to Ross and
tell him where we are.

JO
(sing-song)
"Kaffee's got his case now,
Kaffee's got his case now."

KAFFEE
You are like seven of the strangest
women I have ever met.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["drama","crime"]

Summary Jo wants to secure a witness at a hotel while Kaffee shares new information about Santiago's transport. They discuss the need to retrieve records from the Tower Chief's Log and the uncertainty of Markinson's testimony.
Strengths "Tense dialogue and uncertainty build tension and anticipation for upcoming plot revelations. Characters are developing and showing depth."
Weaknesses "Minor pacing issues and lack of significant plot development."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and drives the plot forward. The dialogue is natural and flows well. However, there are a few things that could be improved:

- The introduction of Jo's clearance code feels a bit forced and unnecessary. It's not clear why Kaffee is impressed by it, and it doesn't really add to the scene.

- The exchange between Jo and Kaffee about the flight record feels a bit on-the-nose and could be more subtle. Instead of explicitly stating that they need the log book, they could hint at it or use more oblique language.

- The sing-song tone of Jo's final line feels out of place and doesn't fit with the gravity of the situation. It's possible that this is intentional, to show that Jo is overexcited and not taking things seriously, but it could be made clearer.

Overall, though, this is a strong scene that effectively conveys the urgency and excitement of the characters' quest for justice.
Suggestions Firstly, it's important to establish the emotional context of the scene for the characters in order to create a sense of tension and urgency. There isn't much build-up for Jo's reaction, which leaves the scene feeling flat. One way to improve this scene would be to add more backstory to Jo and her relationship with the case. Perhaps Jo has a personal reason for wanting to bring Jessup to justice, which adds depth to her reaction.

Additionally, it's important to consider the pacing of the scene. There's a lot of back-and-forth dialogue, which can make the scene feel static. To improve this, try to condense the dialogue and focus on the most important information. Have the characters make decisions and take action that moves the story forward.

Finally, the ending exchange between Jo and Kaffee feels unnecessary and doesn't add anything to the scene. It's better to end the scene on a note of excitement and anticipation, leaving the audience wanting to see what happens next.



Scene 33 -  The Stakes Are High
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 7
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. A WASHINGTON SALOON - NIGHT

A WAITRESS sets two drinks down in front of KAFFEE and ROSS,
who are sitting across from each other in a booth in the
back.

ROSS
That was nice work today. The
redirect on Howard.

KAFFEE
I have Markinson.

ROSS only takes a moment digest this.

ROSS
Where is he?

KAFFEE
A motel room in Arlington with 14
Federal Marshals outside his door.
Take a sip of your drink.

ROSS
Damn.

KAFFEE
The transfer order that Parkinson
signed is phoney. And Jessep's
statement that the six a.m. flight
was the first available is a lie,
we're checking the tower chief's
log.
109.

But in the meantime I'm gonna put
the Apostle Jon Kendrick on the
stand and see if we can't have a
little fun.

ROSS takes another sip of his drink, then lays it on the
line for Kaffee..

ROSS
I have an obligation to tell you
that if you accuse Kendrick or
Jessep of any crime without proper
evidence, you'll be subject to
Court-Martial for professional
misconduct. And that's something
that'll be stapled to every job
application you ever fill out.
Markinson's not gonna hold up, he's
a crazy man. I'm not saying this to
intimidate you. I'm being your
lawyer.

KAFFEE
Thanks, Jack. And I wanna tell you
that I think the whole fuckin'
bunch of you are certifiably
insane. And this code of honor of
yours makes me wanna beat the shit
outta something.

ROSS
Don't you dare lump me in with
Jessep and Markinson and Kendrick
because we wear the same uniform.
I'm your friend, Danny, and I'm
telling you, I don't think your
clients belong in jail. But I don't
get to make that decision. I
represent the Government of the
United States. Without passion or
prejudice. And my client has a
case.
(pause)
I want you to acknowledge that the
judge advocate has made you aware
of the possible consequences
involved in accusing a marine
officer of a felony without proper
evidence.

KAFFEE
I've been so advised.

ROSS stands up and heaves a few dollars on the table.
110.

ROSS
You got bullied into that
courtroom, Danny. By everyone. By
Dawson, by Galloway, shit, I
practically dared you. Not for a
second have you believed you could
win. You got bullied into that room
by the memory of a dead lawyer.

KAFFEE
(pause)
You're a lousy softball player,
Jack.

ROSS
Your boys are going down. I can't
stop it anymore.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR - DAY

People are filing in. KENDRICK is standing at the entrance
to the courtroom. KAFFEE glides past him...

KAFFEE
Batter up, J.J.

KENDRICK watches this impudent thing walk into the courtroom
as we

CUT TO:
Genres: []

Summary Kaffee and Ross discuss the trial and the new information they have, including the phoney transfer order. Ross warns Kaffee about possible consequences of accusing Marine officers of a crime without proper evidence. Kaffee acknowledges this, and Ross leaves. Kendrick stands at the entrance to the courtroom as Kaffee walks by.
Strengths "The dialogue is intense and the stakes are clear, setting up for a dramatic courtroom scene. The characters' convictions are tested and revealed."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks action and can be considered a \u2018breather\u2019 before the climax of the story. The scene may be too exposition-heavy for casual viewers."
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written with good character development and strong dialogue. The conflict between Kaffee and Ross is effectively portrayed, and their differing perspectives on the case are clear. However, there are some areas that could be improved.

Firstly, the scene could benefit from clearer blocking or direction. The characters' physical movements are not described in much detail, which can make it difficult for a reader to picture the scene. Additionally, the use of camera angles and close-ups could add more visual interest and help convey the characters' emotions.

Secondly, some of the dialogue could be tightened up to make it more concise and impactful. For example, Ross's warning to Kaffee about the consequences of accusing a marine officer could be made more succinct without losing its meaning.

Overall, this scene effectively advances the plot and develops the characters, but could be improved with more emphasis on visual storytelling and tighter dialogue.
Suggestions There are a few suggestions that can make this scene more engaging:

1. Consider starting the scene with Kaffee and Ross already in conversation. The initial action of the waitress setting down the drinks could be cut to keep the pacing of the scene moving quickly.

2. Use more descriptive language to set the scene. What does the Washington saloon look like? Is it dimly lit or brightly lit? Is there music playing in the background?

3. Show more of the characters' emotions. Right now, the conversation is very matter-of-fact and business-like. Adding more emotional depth to Kaffee and Ross could make the audience more invested in their story.

4. Consider playing up the tension between Kaffee and Ross. They seem to be on amicable terms right now, but adding some underlying tension could make the scene more interesting. Perhaps Ross is more skeptical of Kaffee's actions than he lets on, or Kaffee is more frustrated with the situation than he's letting on.

5. Add some visual interest to the scene. It's a lot of dialogue between two characters sitting in a booth. Could there be some action in the background that adds depth to the scene? Is there a TV playing news coverage of the trial, or is there a group of rowdy patrons in the background causing a distraction? Adding some visual interest can help break up the dialogue and keep the audience engaged.



Scene 34 -  Kaffee's Examination of Kendrick
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 10
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

KENDRICK's on the stand. What drives Kaffee's entire
examination of Kendrick is this: Kaffee's got him. He's
gonna win. At least this round. All he has to do is not let
his emotions take control of his professional skill.

SAM will have files and documents ready to hand Kaffee as he
needs them.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, in your opinion, was
Private Santiago a good marine?

KENDRICK
I'd say he was about average.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, you signed three
fitness reports on Santiago.
111.

On all three reports you indicated
a rating of Below Average.

KENDRICK
Yes. Private Santiago was Below
Average I didn't see the need in
trampling on a man's grave.

KAFFEE
We appreciate that, but you're
under oath now, and I think
unpleasant as it may be, we'd all
just as soon hear the truth.

KENDRICK
I'm aware of my oath.

KAFFEE's handed some more files.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, these are the last
three fitness reports you signed
for Lance Corporal Dawson and PFC
Downey. Downey received three
straight marks of Exceptional.
Dawson received two marks of
Exceptional, but on this most
recent report, dated June 9th of
this year, he received a rating of
Below Average. It's this last
report that I'd like to discuss for
a moment.

KENDRICK
That's fine.

KAFFEE
Lance Corporal Dawson's ranking
after Infantry Training School was
perfect. Records indicate that over
half that class has since been
promoted to full corporal, while
Dawson has remained a lance
corporal. Was Dawson's promotion
held up because of this last
fitness report.

KENDRICK
I'm sure it was.

KAFFEE
Do you recall why Dawson was given
such a poor grade on this report?
112.

KENDRICK
I'm sure I don't. I have many men
in my charge, Lieutenant, I write
many fitness reports.

KAFFEE
Do you recall an incident involving
a PFC Curtis Barnes who'd been
found stealing liquor from the
Officer's Club?

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
Did you report private Barnes to
the proper authorities?

KENDRICK
I have two books at my bedside,
Lieutenant, the Marine Code of
Conduct and the King James Bible.
The only proper authorities I'm
aware of are my Commanding Officer,
Colonel Nathan R. Jessep and the
Lord our God.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, at your request, I
can have the record reflect your
lack of acknowledgment of this
court as a proper authority.

ROSS
Objection. Argumentative.

RANDOLPH
Sustained.
(to KAFFEE)
Watch yourself, counselor.

KAFFEE
Did you report Private Barnes to
your superiors?

KENDRICK
I remember thinking very highly of
Private Barnes, and not wanting to
see his record tarnished by a
formal charge.

KAFFEE
You preferred it to be handled
within the unit.
113.

KENDRICK
I most certainly did.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, do you know what a Code
Red is?

KENDRICK
Yes I do.

KAFFEE
Have you ever ordered a code red?

KENDRICK
No, I have not.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, did you order Dawson
and two other men to make sure that
Private Barnes receive no food or
drink except water for a period of
seven days?

KENDRICK
That's a distortion of the truth.
Private Barnes was placed on
barracks restriction. He was given
water and vitamin supplements, and
I assure you that at no time was
his health in danger.

KAFFEE
I'm sure it was lovely for Private
Barnes, but you did order the
barracks restriction, didn't you?
And you did order the denial of
food.

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
Wouldn't this form of discipline be
considered a code red?

KENDRICK
(beat)
Not necessarily.

KAFFEE
If I called the other 8000 men at
Guantanamo Bay to testify, would
they consider it a Code Red?
114.

ROSS
Please the court, the witness can't
possibly testify as to what 8000
other men would say. We object to
this entire line of questioning as
argumentative and irrelevant
badgering of the witness.

RANDOLPH
The Government's objection is
sustained, Lt. Kaffee, and I would
remind you that you're now
questioning marine officer with an
impeccable service record.

ROSS
Thank you judge.

KAFFEE looks over at DAWSON. They share a brief moment
before KAFFEE turns back to KENDRICK.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, was Dawson given a
rating of Below Average on this
last fitness report because you
learned held been sneaking food to
Private Barnes?
(to ROSS)
Not so fast.
(to KENDRICK)
Lieutenant?

KENDRICK
Corporal Dawson was found to be
Below Average because he committed
a crime.

KAFFEE
What crime did he commit?
(beat)
Lieutenant Kendrick?
(beat)
Dawson brought a hungry guy some
food. What crime did he commit?

KENDRICK
He disobeyed an order.
115.

KAFFEE
And because he did, because he
exercised his own set of values,
because he made a decision about
the welfare of a marine that was in
conflict with an order of yours, he
was punished, is that right?

KENDRICK
Corporal Dawson disobeyed an order.

KAFFEE
Yeah, but it wasn't a order, was
it? After all, it's peacetime. He
wasn't being asked to secure a
hill... or advance on a beachhead.
I mean, surely a marine of Dawson's
intelligence can be trusted to
determine on his own, which are the
really important orders, and which
orders might, say, be morally
questionable.
(beat)
Lt. Kendrick?
(beat)
Can he? Can Corporal Dawson
determine on his own which orders
he's gonna follow?
(pause)

KENDRICK
No, he can not.

KAFFEE
A lesson he learned after the
Curtis Barnes incident, am I right?

KENDRICK
I would think so.

KAFFEE
You know so, don't you, Lieutenant.

ROSS
Object!

RANDOLPH
Sustained.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant Kendrick, one final
question: if you ordered Dawson to
give Santiago a code red...
116.

ROSS
-- please the court --

KENDRICK
I told those men not to touch
Santiago.

KAFFEE
-- is it reasonable to think that
he would've disobeyed you again?

ROSS
Lieutenant, don't answer that.

KAFFEE
You don't have to, I'm through.

ROSS doesn't even wait before he says --

ROSS
Lieutenant Kendrick, did you order
Corporal Dawson and Private Downey
to give Willy Santiaga code red?

But KENDRICK isn't listening -- he's glaring at Kaffee.

ROSS
(continuing)
Lt. Kendrick, did you --

KENDRICK
No I did not.

ROSS
Thank you.

CUT TO:

FWAP! - a nerf ball slams into a hoop.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee skillfully questions Kendrick on the stand, revealing discrepancies in his fitness reports and questioning his authority. He brings up the possibility of a code red and provokes a reaction from Kendrick.
Strengths "The dialogue is sharp and engaging, and the conflict between Kaffee and Kendrick is intense. The theme of loyalty to authority versus loyalty to fellow marines is explored well. The characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional."
Weaknesses "Some of the legal jargon may be confusing to viewers who are not familiar with court proceedings. The scene is long and may drag on for some viewers who are not particularly invested in the plot."
Critique a group of teenagers playing basketball in a park.

As a screenwriting expert, this scene is not appropriate for critique as it does not match the format of a screenplay scene. A screenplay scene should include key elements such as character names, description, action, and dialogue.
Suggestions Kaffee throwing the ball into a mini basketball hoop in his office. He looks satisfied with his performance in the courtroom.

As a screenwriting expert, I would suggest adding more emotional depth to the scene by exploring Kaffee's internal struggle with taking down Kendrick and how his win affects him personally. This could be achieved by showing his reactions through his body language, facial expressions, and even dialogue. Additionally, adding some tension between Kaffee and his colleagues or the judge would spice up the scene and make it more engaging for the audience. Finally, it would be helpful to have a clearer transition to the next scene to ensure that the audience is aware of the change in setting and time.



Scene 35 -  Unraveling the Coverup
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 9
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

JO and KAFFEE. KAFFEE's pumped and shooting baskets as Sam
walks in with some bound papers under his arm.

KAFFEE
What's the word?

SAM
This is the tower chief's log for
that night.
117.

Jessep was telling the truth. The
six a.m. flight was the first plane
out.

KAFFEE lets the ball drop out of his hands.

KAFFEE
Let me see that.

CUT TO:

EXT. A MOTEL - NIGHT

A SEDAN, with U.S. MARSHALL stenciled on the door, sits in
front of one of the rooms, and the two FEDERAL AGENTS inside
the car are reading the newspaper as KAFFEE'S CAR pulls next
to them and KAFFEE jumps out.

AGENT #1 sticks his head out the window and calls to KAFFEE -
-

AGENT #1
Workin' late, lieutenant?

KAFFEE pays no attention and bangs on MARKINSON's door. The
door opens and KAFFEE walks into

INT. MOTEL ROOM

HE tosses the log book on the table.

KAFFEE
There was no flight out at eleven
o'clock. What the fuck are you
trying to pull?

MARKINSON
The first flight stateside left
Guantanamo Bay at eleven and
arrived at Andrews Airforce Base,
Maryland, at a few minutes past
two.

KAFFEE
Then why the hell isn't it listed
in the Tower Chief's log?!

MARKINSON
Why the hell did you think it would
be?!!

KAFFEE is silent. And now it begins to sink in.
118.

KAFFEE
What are you telling me?
(beat)
He fixed the log book?

Setback. Big setback.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Well, maybe he can make it so a
plane didn't take off, but I can
sure as hall prove that one landed.
I'll get the log book from Andrews.

MARKINSON says nothing. But his face says that KAFFEE was
born yesterday.

KAFFEE
(continuing; beat)
He made an entire flight disappear?

MARKINSON
Nathan Jessep is about to be named
Director of Operations for the
National Security Council. You
don't get to that position without
knowing how to side-step a few land
mines.
(beat)
And putting me on the stand isn't
gonna make him step on one.

KAFFEE stares at him.

Then shakes his head, sighs, and picks the log book up off
the table, and heads for the door.

KAFFEE
You're taking the stand. Thursday.

KAFFEE leaves.

HOLD on MARKINSON.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT

KAFFEE'S APARTMENT later that night and SAM and J0 have just
heard the report him.
119.

KAFFEE
There's gotta be someone who can
testify to the flight. A ground
crew member. Someone.

SAM
Do you have any idea how many
planes take off and land every day?
A kid from the ground crew isn't
gonna remember a flight that landed
four weeks ago.

KAFFEE
Forget the flight. We'll put
Markinson on the stand and we'll
deal with Jessep's refusal to
transfer Santiago and he'll testify
to the forged transfer order.
That'll be enough. That and
Downey's testimony really oughta be
enough.

CUT TO:

INT. THE HOLDING ROOM - DAY

Jo is working with DOWNEY. He sits on a mock witness stand.

JO
Private Downey, why did you go into
Santiago's room on the night of the

DOWNEY
To give Private Santiago a Code
Red, ma'am.

JO
And why did you give him a Code
Red?

DOWNEY
I was ordered to give him a Code
Red by the Executive officer for
Rifle Security Company Windward,
Lieutenent Jonathan James Kendrick.

JO smiles.

JO
You're gonna do fine.

DOWNEY smiles.
120.

DOWNEY
You think they'll let us go back to
our platoon soon, ma'am?

JO
(pause)
Absolutely.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee confronts Markinson about the false log book entry, realizes the extent of the cover-up, and decides to rely on Markinson's testimony to prove Jessep's guilt.
Strengths "Intense dialogue, escalating conflict, advancing plot"
Weaknesses "Some exposition-heavy dialogue"
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and stakes of the story. However, there are a few areas that could be improved.

Firstly, the action lines could be more concise and visual. For example, instead of "KAFFEE lets the ball drop out of his hands," it could simply be "The ball drops from KAFFEE's hands." This makes the action more immediate and allows the reader to picture it more clearly.

Also, the dialogue could be more distinct to each character. In some cases, it's not immediately clear who is speaking because the voices sound similar. For example, in the line "Workin' late, lieutenant?", it's unclear which character is saying it until the next line reveals it to be AGENT #1. Adding more unique quirks or word choices to each character's dialogue can help differentiate them and make them more memorable.

Finally, the scene could benefit from more sensory details or description. For example, in the motel room, the description of the setting is minimal. Adding details about the lighting, furniture, or smell of the room can help immerse the reader in the world and make the scene feel more vivid and impactful.
Suggestions The scene begins abruptly with KAFFEE shooting baskets and being interrupted by Sam walking in with important documents. A little bit of context or transition could help the audience understand the setting and the characters' mindset before jumping into the dialogue.

The dialogue feels a little too direct and on the nose. It would be helpful to add some subtext and nuance to the conversation, allowing the characters to reveal their emotions and motivations indirectly.

Additionally, the scene could benefit from more visual description, such as setting up the shot and framing the characters' movements. This would enhance the cinematic quality of the scene and make it more engaging for the audience.

Finally, it might be useful to add some internal conflict or external tension to the scene to heighten the stakes and create a sense of urgency. This could be achieved by adding a plot twist or revealing a new obstacle that the characters must overcome in order to achieve their goals.



Scene 36 -  The Letter and the Suicide
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 7
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR - DAY

Jo is going over last-minute details with KAFFEE.

JO
You remember the order of the
questions?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
Are you sure?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
And you'll use small words?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
He gets rattled when he doesn't
understand something.

KAFFEE
Jo --

JO
I'm just saying go slow.

KAFFEE
I'm gonna go slow.

JO
Okay.

KAFFEE
Alright.

JO
And get him off as fast as you can.
121.

KAFFEE
Joanne!

JO
What?

KAFFEE
He's gonna be fine.

They turn and head into the courtroom as we HEAR MARKINSON
in VOICE OVER...

MARKINSON (V.O.)
"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Santiago..."

CUT TO:

INT. MARKINSON'S ROOM - DAY

MARKINSON is writing a letter and we HEAR it in V.O.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
I was William's company commander.
I knew your son vaguely, which is
to say I knew his name...

And while we continue to HEAR Markinson's voice writing the
letter, we begin a SERIES OF SHOTS: MARKINSON is getting
into his class A dress uniform, complete with medals, side
arm, and military dress sabre.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
In a matter of time, the trial of
the two man charged with your son's
death will be concluded, and seven
men and two women whom you've never
met will try to offer you an
explanation as to why William is
dead. For my part, I've done as
much as I can to bring the truth to
light.

MARKINSON is finished dressing. He stands in the middle of
the motel room.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
(continuing)
And the truth is this: your son is
dead for only one reason. I wasn't
strong enough to stop it.

MARKINSON takes a pistol out of his holster and cocks the
trigger.
122.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
Always, Captain Matthew Andrew
Markinson.

MARKINSON puts the pistol in his mouth --

MARKINSON (V.O.)
United states marine corps.

We HEAR the BLAST of the gunshot as we

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee prepares to cross-examine a witness, while Markinson writes a letter to Santiago's parents before committing suicide
Strengths "Tension building before Kendrick's cross examination shot smoothly with Markinson's suicide letter"
Weaknesses "Slightly heavy on expository dialogue"
Critique The scene is well-written and effectively conveys the tension and stakes of the story. The dialogue between Jo and Kaffee is natural and establishes their dynamic and the importance of their upcoming trial. The use of voiceover from Markinson's letter and actions adds depth and suspense to the scene. The transition from the courthouse to Markinson's room creates a seamless connection. Overall, this scene is well-executed and contributes to the overall narrative of the story.
Suggestions One suggestion to improve this scene is to add more visual elements to accompany Markinson's voiceover. Perhaps we can see footage of the trial or flashbacks to William's death to make it more emotional and impactful. Additionally, it may be beneficial to add more character development and depth to Jo and Kaffee's relationship and their dynamic. This would give the audience a greater investment in the outcome of the trial and make the scene more tense and engaging. Another suggestion is to make the transition between the two settings smoother and more cohesive, for example, by linking them thematically or visually. This would help the audience stay engaged and connected to the story.



Scene 37 -  The Code Red Revealed
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
EXT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

Kaffee is at the end of his examination of Downey.

KAFFEE
Private, I want you to tell us one
last time: Why did you go into
Private Santiago's room on the
night of August

DOWNEY
A code red was ordered by my
platoon commander, Lt. Jonathan
James Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Thank you.
(to ROSS)
Your witness.

ROSS
Private, for the week of 2 August,
the switch log has you down at Post
is that correct?

DOWNEY
I'm sure it is, sir, they keep that
log pretty good.

ROSS
How far is it from Post 39 to the
Windward barracks?

DOWNEY
It's a ways, sir, it's a hike.

ROSS
About how far by jeep?

DOWNEY
About ten, fifteen minutes, sir.
123.

ROSS
Have you ever had to walk it?

DOWNEY
Yes sir. That day, sir. Friday. The
Pick-up Private -- sir, that's what
we call the fella who drops us at
our posts and picks us up... also,
'cause he can get girls in New York
City -- the Pick-up Private got a
flat...

At the defense table, KAFFEE, poker-faced, scribbles
something down on a piece of paper and slides it to JO. JO
looks at it:

"Where's he going with this?" JO scribbles "?" And hands it
back to KAFFEE.

DOWNEY
(continuing)
...Right at 39. He pulled up and
blam! ...A blowout-with no spare.
The two of us had to double-time it
back to the barracks.

ROSS
And if it's ten or fifteen minutes
by jeep, I'm guessing it must be a
good hour by foot, am I right?

DOWNEY
Pick-up and me did it in 45 flat,
sir.

ROSS
Not bad. Now you say your assault
on Private Santiago was the result
of an order that Lt. Kendrick gave
in your barracks room at 16:20.

KAFFEE knows what's coming. There's nothing he can do about
it. And he can't lose his cool in front of the jury.

DOWNEY
Yes sir.

JO. Helpless. Panicked.

ROSS
But you just said that you didn't
make it back to Windward Barracks
until 16:45.
124.

DOWNEY's confused. These are questions he hasn't been asked
before.

DOWNEY
Sir?

ROSS
If you didn't make it back to your
barracks until 16:45, then how
could you be in your room at 16:20?

DOWNEY
(pause)
You see sir, there was a flat tire.

ROSS
Private, did you ever actually hear
Lt. Kendrick order a Code Red?

KAFFEE's world is falling down around him, and there's
nothing he can do about it. And he knows it.

DOWNEY
(pause)
No, sir.

Jo leaps to her feet.

JO
Please the court, I'd like to
request a recess in order to confer
with my client.

ROSS
Why did you go into Santiago's
room?

JO
The witness has rights.

ROSS
The witness has been read his
rights, commander.

DOWNEY
(confused)
Hal?

RANDOLPH
The question will be repeated.

ROSS
Why did you go into Santiago's
room?
125.

JO
Your honor --

DOWNEY
Hal?

ROSS
Did Corporal Dawson tell you to do
it?

Everyone is frozen.

ROSS
(continuing)
He did, didn't he? Dawson told you
to give Santiago a code red.

DOWNEY looks at DAWSON.

DOWNEY
Hal?

ROSS
Don't look at him.

DOWNEY
Hal?

DAWSON
Private. Answer the Lieutenant's
question.

The room is still silent. DOWNEY does something we've never
seen him do before. He straightens himself up and says this
with the pride of a man who believes he's done the right
thing.

DOWNEY
Yes, Lieutenant. I was given an
order by my squad leader, Lance
Corporal Harold W. Dawson of the
U.S. Marine Corps. And I followed
it.

ROSS let's it hang. He looks over at KAFFEE. KAFFEE won't
meet his eyes.
Genres: ["legal drama","military drama"]

Summary Kaffee's case falls apart as Ross exposes discrepancies in Downey's testimony and ultimately reveals that Dawson gave the order for the code red.
Strengths "Well-written dialogue and strong performances from the actors. Tense and gripping scene with a major plot development."
Weaknesses "Some might find the pacing slow or the legal jargon hard to follow at times."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and effectively builds tension as the cross-examination turns against the defense. The dialogue is realistic and reveals important information about the case. However, there are a few areas for improvement.

First, the scene would benefit from clearer physical descriptions and camera directions. As written, it is difficult to imagine where the characters are positioned in the courtroom or how they are reacting to each other. A screenplay should include enough visual cues to help the reader picture the scene in their mind's eye.

Second, the motivations of the characters could be developed further. For example, why does Jo panic when the cross-examination takes an unexpected turn? Is it because she realizes her client is lying, or because she fears losing the case? Similarly, why does Kaffee remain poker-faced even as he senses the case slipping away? Is he trying to hide his feelings from the jury, or is he stoic by nature? Adding more depth to the characters' emotions and intentions would make the scene more engaging.

Finally, it's worth noting that the scene relies heavily on exposition and dialogue to convey information about the case. While this is necessary to some extent, it can also feel heavy-handed and artificial. As a screenwriter, I would look for ways to convey information visually or through action, rather than relying solely on dialogue. This could involve showing flashbacks of the events being discussed, or having the characters engage in physical actions that reveal their inner thoughts and motivations. By finding more creative ways to convey information, the scene can become more dynamic and engaging for the audience.
Suggestions One suggestion to improve this scene would be to add more tension and emotion to it. Right now, it feels like a straightforward recollection of events, without much drama. Adding some conflict between Kaffee and Ross could help increase the stakes and make the scene more engaging.

For example, you could have Kaffee object more strongly to Ross's line of questioning, or have Ross be more aggressive in his interrogation. You could also add more physicality to the scene, with Kaffee and Ross pacing around the courtroom or getting in each other's faces.

Additionally, you could give Dowley more motivation for following the order to give Santiago a code red. Right now, he seems to be just following orders without much thought. Having him express some inner conflict or struggle with what he did could make his character more complex and sympathetic.

Overall, adding more tension, conflict, and complexity to this scene could make it more memorable and impactful for the audience.



Scene 38 -  Revelation and Despair
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

JO and SAM are sitting in silence. It's dark outside.

JO
Where do you think he is?
126.

SAM doesn't know. JO is beside herself, and trying to keep
it together.

JO
(continuing)
As far as Downey was concerned, it
was an order from Kendrick. It
didn't matter that he didn't hear
it first hand. He doesn't
distinguish between the two.

SAM understands, but he doesn't say anything. The door opens
and KAFFEE walks in.

JO
(continuing)
Danny. I'm sorry.

KAFFEE seems to be in an incredibly normal mood.

KAFFEE
Don't worry about it.

JO
Sam and I were just talking about
how all we really have to do is
call some witnesses who'll talk
about implied orders... or maybe we
put Downey back on the stand before
we get to Dawson.

KAFFEE
Maybe if we work at it we can get
Dawson charged with the Kennedy
assassination.

JO studies KAFFEE for a moment.

JO
Are you drunk?

KAFFEE
(a simple answer)
Pretty much. Yeah.

JO
(pause)
I'll make a pot of coffee. We have
a long night's work ahead.

KAFFEE
She's gonna make coffee. That's
nice.
(beat)
127.

He wasn't in his room.
(Kaffee's amazed)
He wasn't even there.
(beat)
That was an important piece of
information, don't you think?

JO
(pause)
Danny, it was just a setback. I'm
sorry. But we'll fix it and then
move on to Markinson.

KAFFEE
Markinson's dead.

JO and SAM are frozen.

KAFFEE says this with no particular feeling one way or the
other.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You really gotta hand it to those
Federal Marshals, boy.
(he almost has to laugh)
It's not like he hanged himself by
his shoelaces or slashed his wrists
with a concealed butter knife. This
guy got, into full dress uniform,
stood in the middle of that room,
drew a nickle plated pistol from
his holster, and fired a bullet
into his mouth.

Jo and SAM don't say anything.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Anyway, since we seem to be out of
witnesses, I thought I'd drink a
little.

JO
I still think we can win.

KAFFEE
Then maybe you should drink a
little.

JO
Look, we'll go to Randolph in the
morning and make a motion for a
continuance. 24 hours.
128.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Why would we want to do that?

JO
To subpoena Colonel Jessep.

KAFFEE
What?

JO
Listen for a second --

KAFFEE
No.

JO
Just hear me out --

KAFFEE
No. I won't listen to you and I
won't hear you out. Your passion is
comforting, Jo. It's also useless.
Private Downey needed a trial
lawyer today.

JO
(pause)
You chicken-shit. You're gonna use
what happened today as an excuse to
give up.

KAFFEE
It's over!

JO
Why did you ask Jessep for the
transfer order?

KAFFEE
What are you --

JO
In Cuba. Why did you ask Jessep for
the transfer order?

KAFFEE
What does it matter --

JO
Why?!

KAFFEE
I wanted the damn transfer order!
129.

JO
Bullshit! You could've gotten it by
picking up the phone and calling
any one of a dozen departments at
the Pentagon. You didn't want the
transfer order. You wanted to see
Jessep's reaction when you asked
for the transfer order. You had an
instinct. And it was confirmed by
Markinson. Now damnit, let's put
Jessep on the stand and end this
thing!

KAFFEE
What possible good could come from
putting Jessep on the stand?

JO
He told Kendrick to order the Code
Red.

KAFFEE
He did?! Why didn't you say so!?
That's qreat! And of course you
have proof of that.

JO
I --

KAFFEE
Ah, I keep forgetting: You were
sick the day they taught law at law
school.

JO
You put him on the stand and you
get it from him!

KAFFEE
Yes. No problem. We get it from
him.
(to SAM)
Colonel, isn't it true that you
ordered the Code Red on Santiago?

SAM
Look, we're all a little --

KAFFEE
I'm sorry, your time's run out.
What do we have for the losers,
Judge? Well, for our defendants
it's a lifetime at exotic Fort
Levenworth.
130.

And for defense counsel Kaffee?
That's right -- it's -- a court --
martial. Yes, Johnny, after falsely
accusing a marine officer of
conspiracy, Lt. Kaffee will have a
long and prosperous career teaching
typewriter maintenance at the Rocco
Columbo School for Women. Thank you
for playing "Should We or Should-We-
Not Follow the Advice of the
Galacticly Stupid".

And with one motion, he knocks everything from his desk. A
ton of papers, books, files, etc., falls to the floor.

There's dead silence. Maybe just the sound of KAFFEE
breathing after this exhausting outburst.

Finally...

JO
I'm sorry I lost you your set of
steak knives.

Jo picks up her purse and coat and walks out. The door slams
behind her.

KAFFEE walks into the kitchen without a word.

SAM gets down on the floor and begins picking up all the
stuff that Kaffee knocked off the desk.

KAFFEE comes back in with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

KAFFEE
Stop cleaning up.

But Sam continues.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Sam. Stop cleaning up.

SAM stops and sits in a chair. KAFFEE sits on the couch.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You want a drink?

SAM
Yeah.

SAM takes a swig from the bottle.
131.

KAFFEE
Is your father proud of you?

SAM
Don't do this to yourself.

KAFFEE
I'll bet he is. I'll bet he bores
the shit outta the neighbors and
the relatives. "Sam, made Law
Review. He's got a big case he's
making -- He's arguing making an
argument."
(pause)
I think my father would've enjoyed
seeing me graduate from law school.
(beat)
I think he would've liked that...
an awful lot.

SAM
Did I ever tell you that I wrote a
paper on your father in college?

KAFFEE
Yeah?

SAM
He was one of the best trial
lawyers ever.

KAFFEE
Yes he was.

SAM
And if I were Dawson and Downey and
I had a choice between you or your
father to represent me in this
case, I'd take you any day of the
week and twice on Sunday. You
should have seen yourself thunder
away at Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Would you put Jessep on the stand?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
You think my father would've?
132.

SAM
With the evidence we've got? Not in
a million years. But here's the
thing -- and there's really no way
of getting around this -- neither
Lionel Kaffee nor Sam Weinberg are
lead counsel for the defense in the
matter of U.S. versus Dawson and
Downey. So there's only one
question. What would you do?

We HOLD on the two of them for a moment, then

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Kaffee learns that Markinson has committed suicide, losing the last key witness for his case. Jo tries to motivate him to call Jessep to the stand, but Kaffee is too defeated to consider it. Kaffee and Sam share a moment of vulnerability and uncertainty.
Strengths "Strong character development and emotional depth, compelling dialogue and performances."
Weaknesses "Lack of action or significant plot advancements may make the scene feel slow or stagnant."
Critique In terms of structure, this scene is well-paced and moves the story forward with clear character development. The dialogue between Jo and Sam, as well as between Jo and Kaffee, is engaging and reveals their relationships and motivations. Kaffee's emotional outburst and subsequent vulnerability are effective in adding depth to his character.

However, the scene could benefit from some tightening of dialogue and pacing. Some lines feel repetitive or could be condensed to be more concise. Additionally, the final exchange between Kaffee and Sam feels slightly on-the-nose in spelling out the thematic question of the scene. A subtler approach could have been more impactful.

Overall, this scene effectively furthers the story and reveals important character moments, but could benefit from some refinement in dialogue and pacing.
Suggestions There are a few suggestions that could improve this scene:

1. Show, don't tell: The dialogue is heavily focused on discussing past events and explaining what happened. The scene could benefit from showing more action and less exposition.

2. Heightened emotions: This scene could benefit from more heightened emotions to increase tension. This could be achieved by showing the characters' physical reactions to the news they receive, such as Jo breaking down in tears or Kaffee slamming his hand on the table.

3. Clearer objectives: It's not entirely clear what Sam and Jo's goal is in this scene and what they are trying to achieve. Adding some specific objectives for the characters could help make the scene more engaging.

4. Stronger character motivations: The dialogue could be improved by giving the characters stronger motivations for their actions and decisions. For example, why does Kaffee refuse to put Jessep on the stand even though it could help their case? Adding more backstory or a clear motivation for his decision could make it more believable.

Overall, the scene could benefit from more action, heightened emotions, clearer objectives, and stronger character motivations.



Scene 39 -  The Plan
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 8
EXT. A SUBURBAN STREET - NIGHT

JO is walking through the night at a brisk pace. She's doing
her best not to fall apart.

TWO HEADLIGHTS appear coming down the street, and KAFFEE's
CAR, with SAM driving and KAFFEE riding shotgun, slows down
alongside JO. KAFFEE rolls down his window.

KAFFEE
Joanne.

JO ignores them and keeps walking. The car crawls along with
her.

JO starts walking faster.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Jo, we look ridiculous.
(to SAM)
Stop the car.

KAFFEE hops out and calls --

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Joanne.

JO keeps walking.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I apologize. I was angry and... I'm
sorry about what I said.

But JO'S still walking.
133.

KAFFEE
(continuing; calling)
I'm gonna put Jessep on the stand.

She stops. She turns around.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT - LATER - AFTERNOON

A nerf ball bounces off the wall.

KAFFEE, JO and SAM are sprawled out in the living room. For
hours now they've been trying to come up with an idea.
KAFFEE's mind seems to be on his basketball game.

JO
I say we hit him with the phoney
transfer order.

SAM
What's the transfer order without a
witness?

KAFFEE
We have a witness.

SAM
A dead witness.

KAFFEE
And in the hands of a lesser
attorney, that'd be a problem.

SAM
Look at this. Last night he was
swimming in his Jack Daniels, now
he can leap tall buildings in a
single bound.

KAFFEE
I'm getting my second wind.
Siddown. Both of you.

He sees that SAM and JO were already sitting down.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Good.
(beat)
Jessep told Kendrick to order a
code red. Kendrick did, and our
clients followed the order. The
cover-up isn't our case.
134.

To win, Jessep has to tell the jury
that he ordered the code red.

SAM
And you think you can got him to
just say it?

KAFFEE
I think he wants to say it. I think
he's pissed off that he's gotta
hide from us. I think he wants to
say that he made a command decision
and that's the end of it. He eats
breakfast 80 yards away from 4000
Cubans who are trained to kill him,
and no one's gonna tell him how to
run his base. Least of all the
pushy broad, the smart Jew, and the
Harvard clown. I need to shake him
and put him on the defensive.

SAM and JO are silent for a moment.

SAM
That's it? That's the plan?

KAFFEE
That's the plan.

SAM
You're gonna trip Jessep and he's
gonna confess.

KAFFEE
I'm not gonna trip him. I'm gonna
lead him right where he's dying to
go.

SAM
And how are you gonna do that?

KAFFEE
I have no idea. I need my bat.

JO
What?

KAFFEE
(looking around)
I need my bat. I think better with
my bat. Where's my bat?

JO
I put it in the closet.
135.

KAFFEE
You put it in the closet.

KAFFEE heads to the closet.

JO
I was tripping over it.

KAFFEE (O.S.)
Don't ever put a bat in a closet.

JO
He thinks better with his bat?

And we go to KAFFEE AT THE CLOSET.

OFFSCREEN WE HEAR

SAM (O.S.)
I can understand that. I used to
have stuffed panda named Mr. Boob.
I could never do my home work
without him.

During this, KAFFEE's opened the closet door. He reaches in
to grab his bat when all of a sudden he notices something:

His clothes.

His uniforms and his civilian clothes. Hanging neatly along
the bar. He stares at this a moment, then suddenly heads
back through the living room towards the front door.

KAFFEE
Stay here, I'm going to the office
for a while.

KAFFEE storms out.

SAM
Boy, he does think better with that
bat.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Kaffee comes up with a plan to get Jessep to confess but is uncertain of how to execute it. He leaves the apartment to go to the office.
Strengths "Good character development"
Weaknesses "Lack of action"
Critique This is a dialogue-heavy scene that serves as a transition from Joanne ignoring Kaffee's attempt to apologize to the trio brainstorming their case strategy in Kaffee's apartment.

One thing that could be improved on in this scene is the lack of visual action. Screenplays are a visual medium, so it's essential to have visual details that help readers (and eventually viewers) understand what's happening.
Some possible ways to add visual interest and movement to the scene could be to show Joanne's expression or body language as she continues walking while Kaffee talks to her, or to have Kaffee's actions more clearly described as he gets out of the car and approaches Joanne.

The dialogue itself is well-crafted and helps to move the story forward. It reveals the plan for getting Jessep to confess and highlights Kaffee's reliance on his bat as a sort of comfort object. On the whole, this scene serves its purpose as a bridge between two major plot points and sets up important information for the following scenes.
Suggestions Here are some suggestions to improve this scene:

1. Make it clearer why Jo is walking through the night and why she is trying not to fall apart. Is she upset about something in particular? Adding this detail could make her character more relatable and give more context to the scene.
2. Show more emotion from Jo when Kaffee apologizes and says he will put Jessep on the stand. As it is, she simply stops walking and turns around. It would be more engaging if we could see how she feels about this change in strategy.
3. Provide more background on the "phony transfer order" and the dead witness. As it is, these details are introduced without any context or explanation. This makes it difficult for the audience to follow the conversation and understand the stakes.
4. Consider adding more tension or conflict to the scene. Right now, the characters are all in agreement about the plan to get Jessep to confess. Adding a disagreement or an obstacle could make the scene more compelling.
5. Lastly, consider adding more physical action or movement to the scene. Right now, the characters are all sitting around in an apartment, which can make the scene feel stagnant. Adding some movement or activity could make the scene more visually interesting.



Scene 40 -  Preparing for the Final Stretch
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Concept: 6
  • Plot: 6
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 7
INT. THE COMPUTER ROOM - DUSK

A small room at the end of a corridor at the office. KAFFEE
stands over a printer and watches it spit out something he's
been waiting for. He tears the printout off and we

CUT TO:
136.

INT. KAFFEE'S OFFICE - EARLY EVENING

KAFFEE is looking over the computer printout. From what we
can tell, it resembles a large, military coded phone bill.

KAFFEE picks up the phone and dials.

KAFFEE
(into phone)
Sam.
(beat)
I need you to do something.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE'S APARTMENT

SAM hangs up the phone slowly.

JO
What's goin' on?

SAM
I've gotta go out to Andrews.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR - DAY

The day's session is going to begin in a few minutes. KAFFEE
comes around the corner and runs into Jo.

KAFFEE
Is Sam here?

JO
Not yet.

KAFFEE
Where is he?

JO
He's on his way.

KAFFEE
Did he got the guys?

JO
Yes. Listen, can I talk to you for
a second?

CUT TO:
137.

INT. AN ANTE-ROOM OFF THE CORRIDOR - DAY

JO closes the door behind them.

JO
How're you feeling?

KAFFEE
I think he's gonna have his hands
full today.

JO
Listen.
(beat)
Danny.
(beat)
When you're out there. If it's not
gonna happen he's not gonna say it
(beat)
...don't go for it.

KAFFEE looks at her.

JO
(continuing)
If you feel like... if you feel
like... You could get in trouble.
(beat)
I'm special counsel for internal
affairs, and I'm telling you, you
could get in a lot of trouble.

KAFFEE
Why Lt. Commander Galloway... are
you suggesting I back off a
material witness?

JO
If you think you can't get him.
(beat)
Yeah.

KAFFEE
Do you think I can get him?

JO
(beat)
I think it doesn't matter what I
think. I'm an administrator.
(beat)
I can't seem to defend people.

KAFFEE takes that in. He picks up his briefcase and grabs
his jacket.
138.

Then he turns to JO.

KAFFEE
You're my hero, Joanne.
(beat)
From the first day, you were a
lawyer.
(beat)
Live with that.

And in VOICE OVER we HEAR the SERGEANT AT ARMS.

SERGEANT AT ARMS (V.O.)
All rise.

CUT TO:
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Kaffee prepares to execute his risky plan but is unsure of its success. Jo warns him of the consequences while expressing her limitations. Kaffee compliments Jo before leaving for court.
Strengths "The characterization is strong, and the interplay between Kaffee and Jo highlights their relationship's nuances. The scene sets up the tension for the final act."
Weaknesses "Not much happens in the scene, which could make it seem insignificant on its own."
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written in terms of its flow and pacing. However, there are some issues that could be improved upon.

First, the lack of clear context to the printout is confusing. It is stated that it resembles a large, military coded phone bill, but there is no information given as to why Kaffee was waiting for this printout or how it will impact the rest of the story.

Secondly, the dialogue between Kaffee and Jo could use more subtext and depth. While there is tension and concern expressed, the conversation feels a bit surface-level and could benefit from more nuanced emotions and motivations.

Finally, the scene ends abruptly with the Sergeant at Arms announcement, leaving the reader wanting more information about what is to come. A stronger conclusion or transition could help provide a better sense of closure to this scene.

Overall, while the scene has its strengths, there is room for improvement in terms of clarity and depth of character.
Suggestions Overall, the scene serves its purpose in advancing the plot, but there are some areas of improvement that could make it stronger:

1. Show, don't tell: Instead of relying on dialogue to tell the audience what the computer printout looks like, consider visually showing the printout on screen or describing it through action.

2. Create more tension: The scene lacks tension, which could be improved by adding some conflict or obstacles for KAFFEE and Sam to face while trying to obtain the information they need.

3. Develop the characters: Joanne's sudden concern for KAFFEE's well-being could feel more natural if their relationship was explored or developed earlier in the script. Consider adding a scene that shows their friendship or working relationship, so her advice feels more genuine.

4. Tighten the dialogue: Some of the dialogue feels repetitive or unnecessary. Consider editing out lines that don't add anything new or significant to the scene.

5. Use visuals to enhance the scene: Adding visual cues such as highlighting important information on the computer printout or showing the characters' body language can help enhance the scene's impact and make the story more compelling to watch.



Scene 41 -  Jessep Testifies in Court
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 8
INT. THE COURTROOM - DAY

Everyone stands at attention as RANDOLPH enters. SAM is
missing.

RANDOLPH
(to KAFFEE)
Call your witness.

KAFFEE
Where's Sam?

JO
He'll be here.

RANDOLPH
Lieutenant, call your witness.

KAFFEE
Defense calls Colonel Nathan
Jessep.

JESSEP is escorted in through a side door. He's wearing his
dress uniforms, adorned with the appropriate medals.

ROSS
Colonel, do you solemnly swear that
the testimony you will give in this
General Court-Martial will be the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth so help you God?

JESSEP
Yes I do.
139.

ROSS
Would you state your name, rank,
and current billet for the record
please, air?

JESSEP
Colonel Nathan R. Jessep,
Commanding officer, Marine Ground
Forces, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

ROSS
Thank you, sir, would you have a
seat, please.

JESSEP sits.

KAFFEE
Colonel, when you learned of
Santiago's letter to the NIS, you
had a meeting with your two senior
officers, is that right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
The Executive Officer, Lt. Jonathan
Kendrick, and the Company
Commander, Captain Matthew
Markinson.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And at present, Captain Markinson
is dead, is that right?

ROSS
Objection. I'd like to know just
what defense counsel is implying?

KAFFEE
I'm implying simply that, at
present, Captain Markinson is not
alive.

ROSS
Surely Colonel Jessep doesn't need
to appear in this courtroom to
confirm that information.
140.

KAFFEE
I just wasn't sure if the witness
was aware that two days ago,
Captain Markinson took his own life
with a .45 caliber pistol.

And from the back of the room, SAM enters. He's escorting
two young AIRMEN in Airforce dress uniforms. SAM shows the
AIRMEN to a seat near the front, and takes his place at the
defense table.

Over this we HEAR --

RANDOLPH (O.S.)
The witness is aware, the Court is
aware, and now the jury is aware.
We thank you for bringing this to
our attention. Move on Lieutenant.

SAM scribbles something on a piece of paper, KAFFEE walks
over, looks at the paper on which are wrttten two names:
Cecil O'Malley and Anthony Perez, then turns back to
RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE
Yes sir. Colonel, at the time of
this meeting, you gave Lt. Kendrick
an order, is that right?

JESSEP
I told Kendrick to tell his men
that Santiago wasn't to be touched.

KAFFEE
And did you give an order to
Captain Markinson as well?

JESSEP
I ordered Markinson to have
Santiago transferred off the base
immediately.

KAFFEE
Why?

JESSEP
I felt that his life might be in
danger once word of the letter got
out.

KAFFEE
Grave danger?
141.

JESSEP
Is there another kind?

KAFFEE holds up a document from his table.

KAFFEE
We have the transfer order that you
and Markinson co-signed, ordering
that Santiago be lifted on a flight
leaving Guantanamo at six the next
morning. Was that the first flight
off the bass?

JESSEP
The six a.m. flight was the first
flight off the base.

KAFFEE nods and decides to move on.

JESSEP steals a quick glance at the two AIRMEN sitting out
in the courtroom.

KAFFEE
Colonel, you flew up to Washington
early this morning, is that right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
I notice you're wearing your Class
A appearance in dress uniform for
court today.

JESSEP
(continuing)
As are you, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE
Did you wear that uniform on the
plane?

ROSS
Please the Court, is this dialogue
relevant to anything in particular?

KAFFEE
The defense didn't have an
opportunity to depose this witness,
your honor. I'd ask the Court for a
little latitude.

RANDOLPH
A very little latitude.
142.

KAFFEE
Colonel?

JESSEP
I wore fatigues on the plane.

KAFFEE
And you brought your dress uniform
with you.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And a toothbrush? A shaving kit?
Change of underwear?

ROSS
Your honor.

KAFFEE
(to ROSS)
Is the Colonel's underwear a matter
of national security?

RANDOLPH
Gentlemen.
(to KAFFEE)
You better get somewhere fast with
this, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE
Yes sir. Colonel?

JESSEP
I brought a change of clothes and
some personal items.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

KAFFEE gets a document from his table.
Genres: ["Legal Drama"]

Summary Kaffee calls Jessep to the stand and questions him about his involvement in the case. Jessep admits to ordering the transfer of Santiago and wearing his Class A appearance in court. Kaffee's questioning becomes more erratic as he attempts to get Jessep to confess.
Strengths "The tension and conflict in the courtroom are high, making for a gripping scene. Kaffee's desperation adds to the uncertainty of the outcome."
Weaknesses "Kaffee's line of questioning becomes erratic and may come across as unprofessional."
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written and moves the story forward. The tension between Kaffee and the prosecution is clear, and the introduction of Sam and the Airmen adds a layer of complexity to the plot.

However, there are a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, the dialogue could be tightened and made more concise. Some lines feel unnecessary and could be cut without affecting the meaning of the scene.

Additionally, the physical actions of the characters could be described more fully to provide a clearer image of the setting and situation. For example, it is unclear where each character is standing or sitting, and how they are reacting to the dialogue.

Overall, the scene is effective in advancing the plot and setting up conflicts that will drive the story forward. With some minor revisions to the dialogue and physical descriptions, it could be even stronger.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-constructed and contains a good amount of tension. However, there are a few suggestions that could improve the scene:

1. Show Sam's entrance more clearly. As Sam is an important character, it's important that his entrance is clear and dramatic. Perhaps have him enter through a different entrance than Jessep (since Jessep's entrance is already described), and have his entrance be more dramatic, with the courtroom falling silent as he enters.

2. Show the jury's reaction to Markinson's death. The fact that Markinson has committed suicide is a significant revelation, and it's likely that the jury would react strongly to this news. Showing their reactions would increase the tension of the scene.

3. Use more specific language. There are a few instances where the dialogue could be more specific. For example, instead of "he'll be here," Jo could say "he's on his way," which would provide more clarity. Similarly, instead of "personal items," Jessep could mention specific items he brought.

4. Show some emotion from the characters. This scene is very dialogue-heavy, and there isn't much description of the characters' emotions. Adding some emotional description (such as Jessep stealing a glance at the airmen in the courtroom, or Kaffee's frustration at being limited by the court) would make the scene more engaging for the audience.

By implementing these changes, the scene would be more dynamic and engaging, and the tension would be heightened.



Scene 42 -  The Ace Up the Sleeve
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 10
KAFFEE
(continuing)
After Dawson and Downey's arrest on
the night of the sixth, Santiago's
barracks room was sealed off and
its contents inventoried.
(reading)
143.

Pairs of camouflage pants, 6
camouflage shirts, 2 pairs of
boots, pair of brown shoes, 1 pair
of tennis shoes, 8 khaki tee-
shirts, 2 belts, 1 sweater --

ROSS
Please the Court, is there a
question anywhere in our future?

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee, I have to --

KAFFEE
I'm wondering why Santiago wasn't
packed.

That landed. On the JURY, RANDOLPH, ROSS...

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I'll tell you what, we'll get back
to that one in a minute.

JO hands KAFFEE the computer printout.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
This is a record of all telephone
calls made from your base in the
past 24 hours. After being
subpoenaed to Washington, you made
three calls.

Handing Jessep the printout --

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I've highlighted those calls in
yellow. Do you recognize those
numbers?

JESSEP
I called Colonel Fitzhuqhes in
Quantico, Va. I wanted to let him
know I'd be in town. The second
call was to set up a meeting with
Congressman Ramond of the House
Armed Services Committee, and the
third call was to my sister
Elizabeth.

KAFFEE
Why did you make that call, sir?
144.

JESSEP
I thought she might like to have
dinner tonight.

ROSS
Judge --

RANDOLPH
I'm gonna put a stop to this now.

Jo's handed KAFFEE another printout and a stack of letters.

KAFFEE
Your honor, these are the telephone
records from GITMO for August 6th.
And these are 14 letters that
Santiago wrote in nine months
requesting, in fact begging, for a
transfer.
(to JESSEP)
Upon hearing the news that he was
finally getting his transfer,
Santiago was so excited, that do
you know how many people he called?
Zero. Nobody. Not one call to his
parents saying he was coming home.
Not one call to a friend saying can
you pick me up at the airport. He
was asleep in his bed at midnight,
and according to you he was getting
on a plane in six hours, yet
everything he owned was hanging
neatly in his closet and folded
neatly in his footlocker. You were
leaving for one day and you packed
a bag and made three phone calls.
Santiago was leaving for the rest
of his life, and he hadn't called a
soul and he hadn't packed a thing.
Can you explain that? The fact is
there was no transfer order.
Santiago wasn't going anywhere,
isn't that right, Colonel.

ROSS
Object. Your Honor, it's obvious
that Lt. Kaffee's intention this
morning is to smear a high ranking
marine officer in the desperate
hope that the mere appearance of
impropriety will win him points
with the jury. It's my
recommendation, sir, that Lt.
145.

Kaffee receive an official
reprimand from the bench, and that
the witness be excused with the
Court's deepest apologies.

RANDOLPH ponders this a moment.

RANDOLPH
(pause)
Overruled.

ROSS
Your honor --

RANDOLPH
The objection's noted.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Colonel?

Jessep's smiling...

...and now he can't help but let out a short laugh.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Is this funny, sir?

JESSEP
No. It's not. It's tragic.

KAFFEE
Do you have an answer?

JESSEP
Absolutely. My answer is I don't
have the first damn clue. Maybe he
was an early morning riser and he
liked to pack in the nq. And maybe
he didn't have any friends. I'm an
educated man, but I'm afraid I
can't speak intelligently about the
travel habits of William Santiago.
What I do know is that he was set
to leave the base at 0600. Now are
these really the questions I was
called here to answer? Phone calls
and footlockers? Please tell me
you've got something more,
Lieutenant. Please tell me there's
an ace up your sleeve. These two
marines are on trial for their
lives.
146.

Please tell me their lawyer hasn't
pinned their hopes to a phone bill.
(beat)
Do you have any other questions for
me, counselor?

The courtroom is silenced. Jessep's slammed the door.

KAFFEE looks around the room, sees that the world is waiting
for him to do something...

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee?

KAFFEE says nothing. He glances over to AIRMEN O'MALLEY and

PEREZ.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
Lieutenant, do you have anything
further for this witness?

KAFFEE doesn't respond. JESSEP gets up to leave.

JESSEP
(standing)
Thanks, Danny. I love Washington.

And JESSEP starts to leave, but he's stopped by --

KAFFEE
Excuse me, I didn't dismiss you.

JESSEP turns around.

JESSEP
I beg your pardon.

KAFFEE
I'm not through with my
examination. Sit down.
Genres: ["legal drama","military"]

Summary Kaffee questions Jessep about Santiago's transfer, highlighting discrepancies in his story. Jessep deflects the questions and challenges Kaffee's strategy, leading to a tense moment in the courtroom.
Strengths "The tense dialogue between Kaffee and Jessep keeps the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats. Jessep's challenge to Kaffee's strategy raises the stakes of the case and adds to the tension."
Weaknesses "The scene lacks visual action and relies solely on dialogue, which may not satisfy all viewers. Additionally, the scene is heavily reliant on prior knowledge and context from earlier scenes in the film."
Critique Overall, this scene showcases a strong clash of wills between Kaffee and Jessep, as Kaffee tries to get to the bottom of Santiago's death and Jessep tries to protect himself and the Marine Corps. The dialogue is engaging and tense, with Kaffee gradually building a case against Jessep. However, at times the scene can feel a bit drawn out, especially when Kaffee reads out lists of items and phone calls. Some editing could streamline the scene and maintain tension throughout. Additionally, some of the characters' actions and reactions could be more clearly described to enhance the visuals of the scene. Overall, there is a lot of potential in this scene, but it could benefit from some refinement in pacing and visuals.
Suggestions One suggestion would be to add more dynamic action and interaction between the characters during the scene. Currently, the scene is mostly dialogue with little movement or activity happening on screen. Perhaps there could be more physical tension, such as Kaffee pacing or Jessep shifting in his seat, to add to the emotional intensity of their conversation. Additionally, the dialogue could be trimmed down to only include the most essential information, making the scene more concise and impactful. Finally, more visual cues and descriptions could be added to help the audience better visualize the setting and characters' emotions.



Scene 43 -  JESSEP Cross-Examination
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 10
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 9
JESSEP
Colonel.

KAFFEE
What's that?

JESSEP
(to RANDOLPH)
I'd appreciate it if he addressed
me as Colonel or Sir. I believe
I've earned it.
147.

RANDOLPH
Defense counsel will address the
witness as Colonel or Sir.

JESSEP
(to RANDOLPH)
I don't know what the hell kind of
an outfit you're running here.

RANDOLPH
And the witness will address this
Court as Judge or Your Honor. I'm
quite certain I've earned it. Take
your seat, Colonel.

Jessep goes back to the stand.

JESSEP
(continuing)
What would you like to discuss now!
My favorite color?

KAFFEE
Colonel, the six a.m. flight, was
the first one off the base?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
There wasn't a flight that left
seven hours earlier and landed at
Andrews Airforce Base at 2 a.m.?

RANDOLPH
Lieutenant, I think we've covered
this, haven't we?

KAFFEE gets the two log books from his table as well as the
piece of paper that SAM scribbled on.

KAFFEE
Your Honor, these are the Tower
Chief's Logs for both Guantanamo
Bay and Andrews Airforce Base. The
Guantanamo log lists no flight that
left at eleven p.m., and the
Andrews log lists no flight that
landed at 2 a.m. I'd like to admit
them as Defense Exhibits "A" and
"B".
148.

RANDOLPH
I don't understand. You're
admitting evidence of a flight that
never existed?

KAFFEE
We believe it did, sir.
(glancing at the paper,
then motioning to the
AIRMEN)
Defense'll be calling Airman Cecil
O'Malley and Airman Anthony Perez.
They were working the ground crew
at Andrews at two a.m. on the
seventh.

ROSS
Your Honor, these men weren't on
the list. Rebuttal witnesses, Your
Honor, called specifically to
refute testimony offered under
direct examination.

If you looked closely at JESSEP, you could see a drop of
sweat.

RANDOLPH
I'll allow the witnesses.

JESSEP
This is ridiculous.

KAFFEE
Colonel, a moment ago --

JESSEP
Check the Tower Logs for christ's
sake.

KAFFEE
We'll get to the airmen in just a
minute, sir. A moment ago said that
you ordered Kendrick to order his
men not to touch Santiago.

JESSEP
That's right.

KAFFEE
And Kendrick was clear on what you
wanted?

JESSEP
Crystal.
149.

KAFFEE
Any chance Kendrick ignored the
order?

JESSEP
Ignored the order?

KAFFEE
Any chance he just forgot about it?

JESSEP
No.

KAFFEE
Any chance Kendrick left your
office and said, "The 'old man's
wrong"?

JESSEP
No.

KAFFEE
When Kendrick spoke to the platoon
and ordered them not to touch
Santiago, any chance they ignored
him?

JESSEP
Have you ever spent time in an
infantry unit, son?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
Ever served in a forward area?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
Ever put your life in another man's
hands, ask him to put his life in
yours?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
We follow orders, son. We follow
orders or people die. It's that
simple. Are we clear?
150.

KAFFEE
Yes sir.

JESSEP
Are we clear?

KAFFEE
Crystal.

KAFFEE speaks with the quiet confidence that comes from
knowing you're about to drop your opponents

KAFFEE
(continuing; beat)
Colonel, I have just one more
question before I call Airman
O'Malley and Airman Perez: If you
gave an order that Santiago wasn't
to be touched, and your orders are
always followed, then why would he
be in danger, why would it be
necessary to transfer him off the
base?

And JESSEP has no answer.

Nothing.

He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

JESSEP
Private Santiago was a sub-standard
marine. He was being transferred
off the base because --

KAFFEE
But that's not what you said. You
said he was being transferred
because he was in grave danger.

JESSEP
(pause)
Yes. That's correct, but --

KAFFEE
You said, "He was in danger". I
said, "Grave danger". You said --

JESSEP
Yes, I recall what --

KAFFEE
I can have the Court Reporter read
back your --
151.

JESSEP
I know what I said. I don't need it
read back to me like I'm a damn --

KAFFEE
Then why the two orders?
(beat)
Colonel?
(beat)
Why did you --

JESSEP
Sometimes men take matters into
their own hands.

KAFFEE
No sir. You made it clear just a
moment ago that your men never take
matters into their own hands. Your
men follow orders or people die. So
Santiago shouldn't have been in any
danger at all, should he have,
Colonel?

Everyone's sweating now. Everyone but KAFFEE.
Genres: ["Drama","Courtroom Drama"]

Summary Kaffee relentlessly questions Jessep in court regarding Santiago's transfer, highlighting discrepancies in Jessep's story. Jessep becomes flustered and unable to provide a satisfactory explanation.
Strengths "Tense dialogue and strong performances create high stakes in the courtroom."
Weaknesses "Some of the dialogue can come across as heavy-handed and overly dramatic."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and engaging. The dialogue is strong and serves to build tension, particularly as Kaffee uses his questioning to corner Jessep. The use of repetition - such as Jessep insisting on being called "Colonel or Sir" and his repeated insistence that orders are always followed - reinforces the characters' personalities and gives the scene a sense of structure.

One critique would be that some of the dialogue feels a little too on-the-nose. For example, when Jessep asks Kaffee if he's ever been in an infantry unit, it feels like he's just setting up a punchline (rather than having a genuine conversation with Kaffee). Additionally, the final exchange between Kaffee and Jessep ("So Santiago shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should he have, Colonel?") feels a little too neat.

Overall, this is a strong scene that effectively builds tension and makes the audience invested in the outcome.
Suggestions Overall, the scene seems well written and effectively builds tension. However, here are some suggestions for improvement:

1. Include more physical action and movement. Right now, the scene is primarily a dialogue exchange, which can get repetitive. Adding in more physical action - such as KAFFEE walking around the room or JESSEP fidgeting with his hands - can help to break up the monotony and keep the audience engaged.

2. Consider tightening up some of the dialogue. Some lines - such as JESSEP's repeated insistence that he be addressed as "Colonel or Sir" - don't add much to the scene and can drag it down. Trimming down some of the dialogue so that it's more concise and to-the-point can help to maintain momentum.

3. Include more sensory details. Adding in sensory details - such as the sound of a buzzing fly or the smell of sweat - can help to immerse the audience in the scene and make it feel more vivid and real.

4. Finally, consider including more internal thoughts and emotions. Right now, the scene is primarily focused on action and dialogue, but including more of KAFFEE's and JESSEP's internal reactions can help to deepen the conflict and make the scene more compelling. For example, what is KAFFEE thinking as he questions JESSEP? Is he nervous, confident, determined? Showing KAFFEE's emotions can help the audience to empathize with him and invest more fully in the scene.



Scene 44 -  Jessep Confesses
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 10
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 10
JESSEP
You little bastard.

ROSS
Your Honor, I have to ask for a
recess to --

KAFFEE
I'd like an answer to the question,
Judge.

RANDOLPH
The Court'll wait for answer.

KAFFEE
If Kendrick told his men that
Santiago wasn't to be touched, then
why did he have to be transferred?

Jessep is looking at O'MALLEY and PEREZ.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Colonel?

JESSEP says nothing.
152.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Kendrick ordered the code red,
didn't he? Because that's what you
told Kendrick to do.

ROSS
Object!

RANDOLPH
Counsel.

KAFFEE will plow through the objections of ROSS and the
admonishments of RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE
And when it went bad, you cut these
guys loose.

ROSS
Your Honor --

RANDOLPH
That'll be all, counsel.

KAFFEE
You had Markinson sign a phony
transfer order --

ROSS
Judge --

KAFFEE
You doctored the log books.

ROSS
Damnit Kaffee!!

KAFFEE
I'll ask for the forth time. You
ordered --

JESSEP
You want answers?

KAFFEE
I think I'm entitled to them.

JESSEP
You want answers?!

KAFFEE
I want the truth.
153.

JESSEP
You can't handle the truth!

And nobody moves.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Son, we live in a world that has
walls. And those walls have to be
guarded by men with guns. Who's
gonna do it? You? You, Lt.
Weinberg? I have a greater
responsibility than you can
possibly fathom. You weep for
Santiago and you curse the marines.
You have that luxury. You have the
luxury of not knowing what I know:
That Santiago's death, while
tragic, probably saved lives. And
my existence, while grotesque and
incomprehensible to you, saves
lives.
(beat)
You don't want the truth. Because
deep down, in places you don't talk
about at parties, you want me on
that wall. You need me there.
(boasting)
We use words like honor, code,
loyalty... we use these words as
the backbone to a life spent
defending something. You use 'em as
a punchline.
(beat)
I have neither the time nor the
inclination to explain myself to a
man who rises and sleeps under the
blanket of the very freedom I
provide, then questions the manner
in which I provide it. I'd prefer
you just said thank you and went on
your way. Otherwise, I suggest you
pick up a weapon and stand a post.
Either way, I don't give a damn
what you think you're entitled to.

KAFFEE
(quietly)
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(beat)
I did the job you sent me to do.
154.

KAFFEE
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(pause)
You're goddamn right I did.

Silence. From everyone. RANDOLPH, ROSS, the M.P.'s, they're
all frozen. JO and SAM are likewise. JESSEP seems strangely,
quietly relieved. KAFFEE simply takes control of the room
now.

KAFFEE
Please the court, I suggest the
jury be dismissed so that we can
move to an immediate Article 39a
Session. The witness has rights.

Silence.

RANDOLPH looks to ROSS.

RANDOLPH
Lt. Ross?

ROSS is frozen. He doesn't know what to do.

KAFFEE
(as a friend)
Jack.

ROSS looks at KAFFEE, then JESSEP, then nods his head "yes"
to RANDOLPH.

RANDOLPH
The Sergeant at Arms will take the
jury to an ante-room where you'll
wait until further instruction.

The SERGEANT AT ARMS begins leading the JURORS out of the
room.

JESSEP
What the hell's going on?

No one will say anything until the jurors are out of the
room.

JESSEP
(continuing; to captain)
Captain, what the hell's going on?
I did my job. I'd do it again. Now
I'm getting on a plane and going
back to my base.
155.

RANDOLPH
M.P.'s, guard the prisoner.

The M.P.'s are tentative. They've never heard a marine
colonel referred to as "the prisoner" before. They sure as
hell have never been asked to guard one.

ROSS
Guard the prisoner.

JESSEP
What the hell --

ROSS
Colonel Jessep, you have the right
to remain silent. Any statement you
do make can be used against you in
a trial by court-martial or other
judicial or administrative
proceeding. You have the right...

ROSS continues reading JESSEP his rights, over --

JESSEP
I'm being charged with a crime? I'm
-- that's what this is --
(to Ross)
Marine!
(Ross keeps going)
Marine!!
(Ross is doing his job.)
I'm being charged with a crime? I'm
-- that's what's happening? This --
I'm -- this is funny, you know
that, this is --
Genres: ["Drama","Military"]

Summary Kaffee relentlessly interrogates Jessep in court, eventually forcing him to confess to ordering the code red that led to Santiago's death.
Strengths "Tense dialogue, powerful character moments, strong plot development"
Weaknesses "Lack of subtlety in themes, some predictable character beats"
Critique This scene is well-written and executed, particularly in its climax. The tension builds throughout the dialogue between Kaffee, Jessep, and the other characters, leading up to the iconic line "You can't handle the truth!" The conflict between Kaffee, who seeks justice, and Jessep, who believes he was acting for the greater good, creates a compelling dynamic. The ending, where Jessep is taken into custody, is a fitting resolution to the journey of the characters. However, some may argue that the scene could benefit from more physical action or movement to heighten the tension. Overall, though, this scene stands out as a memorable moment in the film.
Suggestions Overall, this scene is very well written and intense. However, there are a few suggestions to potentially make it even stronger:

1. Be more specific with character direction - There are a lot of characters on screen in this scene, and it can be tricky to keep track of who is doing what. Adding more specific character direction will help make it clear who is speaking and reacting at each point.

2. Consider adding more physical action - This scene is very dialogue-heavy, which can make it feel a bit static. Adding more physical action, such as characters moving around the space or picking up objects, can help break up the dialogue and make the scene more visually interesting.

3. Simplify the dialogue - There are a few moments where the dialogue feels a bit stilted and unnatural, such as when Kaffee says "I'd like an answer to the question, Judge." Simplifying the dialogue to feel more natural will make the scene more engaging for the audience.

4. Build tension gradually - The tension in this scene ramps up very quickly, which can make it feel a bit jarring. Adding more gradual tension-building moments (such as characters reacting more subtly to Kaffee's questioning at first) will make the final outburst feel even more powerful.

Overall, this is a great scene that could benefit from a few tweaks to make it even more impactful.



Scene 45 -  The Confrontation
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 9
  • Characters: 8
  • Dialogue: 10
And JESSEP lunges at KAFFEE, and KAFFEE would be dead but
for the three M.P.'s who've leapt in to restrain JESSEP. SAM
and JO have come to their feet and stand behind KAFFEE.

JESSEP
(continuing; to Kaffee)
I'm gonna tear your eyes right
outta your head and piss in your
dead skull. You fucked with the
wrong marine.

ROSS is done reading JESSEP his rights.

ROSS
Colonel Jessep, do you understand
those rights as I have just read
then to you?
156.

JESSEP
I saved lives. That boy was --
there was a weak link. I saved
lives, you hear me?

The courtroom is silent from Jessep's outburst. Jessep
shakes his head.

JESSEP
(continuing)
You fuckin' people.
(beat)
You have no idea how to defend a
nation.
(continuing; to KAFFEE)
All you did was weaken a country
today, Kaffee. That's all you did.
You put people in danger. Sweet
dreams, son.

KAFFEE
Don't call me son.
(beat)
I'm a lawyer, and an officer of the
United States Navy. And you're
under arrest you sonofabitch.

KAFFEE stays on JESSEP a moment longer, then remembers --

KAFFEE
(continuing)
The witness is excused.

The M.P.'s start leading JESSEP out, and KAFFEE notices
DAWSON. And DOWNEY. And ROSS. who are watching a man in a
marine colonels uniform be led away in handcuffs... KAFFEE
takes a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes some sweat
from his hands. He takes a deep breath as we

SLOW DISSOLVE
TO:
Genres: ["Drama","Legal"]

Summary Kaffee interrogates Jessep about Santiago's transfer, leading to an explosive outburst from Jessep and a physical altercation in the courtroom.
Strengths "The tension-filled confrontation between Kaffee and Jessep keeps the audience engaged until the explosive and emotionally impactful climax."
Weaknesses "The abrupt physical altercation between Jessep and Kaffee could be seen as excessive and out of character for a courtroom drama."
Critique Overall, this scene is well-written and engaging. The dialogue between Jessep and Kaffee is intense and reveals the depth of their conflict. However, there are a few areas for improvement.

Firstly, the physical action of Jessep lunging at Kaffee is not clearly described. It would help the reader visualize the scene better if the description were more specific.

Secondly, the dialogue could benefit from a bit more subtext. There is a lot of direct confrontation, which is certainly appropriate for this moment in the story, but adding some layers of meaning beneath the surface of the words would make the scene even more compelling.

Finally, the ending of the scene feels a bit abrupt. Given how emotionally charged the interaction has been, it might be helpful to linger on Kaffee's reaction a bit more before fading out. Perhaps showing a close-up of his face, or having him say something more substantive than simply "The witness is excused."

Overall, though, this is a strong scene that effectively moves the story forward while building tension and emotion along the way.
Suggestions Overall, this scene is well-written and intense. However, there are a few suggestions to make it even stronger:

1. Increase physical action: Right now, the scene is very dialogue-heavy, with only the initial lunge from Jessep adding any physicality. Consider including more action, such as Kaffee physically struggling against Jessep or the MPs having to use more force to restrain Jessep.

2. Add more emotion: While Jessep's outburst is dramatic, the other characters' reactions are subdued. It might be more impactful to show some of the other characters expressing fear, anger, or shock. Perhaps Sam and Jo could be visibly shaken by the violence, or Ross could look conflicted about having to arrest a fellow Marine.

3. Use more descriptive language: Some of the dialogue in this scene is very blunt and straightforward. To increase the tension and drama, consider using more evocative language to describe the characters' emotions and actions. For example, instead of saying "KAFFEE takes a deep breath," you could say, "KAFFEE's chest heaves as he struggles to steady himself."

By incorporating these suggestions, the scene could become even more gripping and memorable for audiences.



Scene 46 -  Verdict and Discharge
  • Overall: 9.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 8
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 9
INT. THE COURTROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

There's low murmur in the room as the JURORS are being led
back into their box.

Everyone's in place.

RANDOLPH enters.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten-hut.
157.

All rise. And sit when RANDOLPH sits.

RANDOLPH
Have the jurors reached a verdict?

JURY FOREMAN
We have, sir.

The SERGEANT AT ARMS takes all the slips of paper from the
FOREMAN and brings them to RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE stands, and nods to DAWSON and DOWNEY that they
should do the same. SAM and JO stand as well.

RANDOLPH
(reading)
On the charge of Murder, the
Members find the defendants Not
Guilty.

It's hard to resist the temptation to scream and shout, but
they do.

RANDOLPH
(continuing; reading)
On the charge of Conspiracy to
Commit Murder, the Members find the
defendants Not Guilty.

RANDOLPH looks up. Then reads from the last slip of paper.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
On the charge of Conduct Unbecoming
a United States Marine, the members
find the defendants Guilty as
Charged.

A little of the energy drains out of the room. RANDOLPH
continues reading.

RANDOLPH
(continuing; reading)
The defendants are hereby sentenced
by this court to time already
served, and are ordered...

RANDOLPH clears his throat.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
...And are ordered to be
dishonorably discharged from the
marine corps.
158.

(pause)
This Court-Martial is adjourned.

RANDOLPH raps his gavel.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten hut.

All rise.

RANDOLPH's gone.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
(continuing)
Dismissed.

The M.P.'s move to DAWSON and DOWNEY to unlock their
handcuffs. KAFFEE is packing up his things, just another day
at the office.

DAWSON
Why?

KAFFEE
Harold, I'm sorry.

DAWSON
Why?!

DOWNEY
I don't understand. Colonel Jessep
said he ordered the Code Red.

JO
I know, but --

DOWNEY
Colonel Jessep said he ordered the
Code Red, what did we do wrong?

JO
It's not as simple as --

DOWNEY
What did we do wrong?

DAWSON
We did nothing wrong.

SAM slaps his hands down on the table --
159.

SAM
Yes you did! A jury just said your
conduct was unbecoming a marine.
What does that mean?!

DAWSON
You're the lawyer.

SAM
You're the marine.

DAWSON
Not anymore.

SAM lets it hang. DAWSON is staring at SAM. His stare moves
slowly to the floor.

DAWSON
(continuing)
I never meant to hurt Willy.

DAWSON looks up at HIS PARENTS. The moment hangs there...
before

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Kaffee, I've gotta take these guys
over to personnel for some paper
work.

KAFFEE nods.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
(continuing; to Dawson &
Downey)
Gentleman?

DAWSON looks to KAFFEE. There's gotta be more. This can't be
it.

But KAFFEE has nothing to say.

DAWSON and DOWNEY walk to the SERGEANT AT ARMS and begin to
follow him up the aisle and out of the courtroom. But before
they get to the door, KAFFEE turns around and calls

KAFFEE
Harold!

They stop and turn around.

DAWSON
Sir!
160.

KAFFEE
(pause)
You don't need to wear a patch on
your arm to have honor.

DAWSON stares at KAFFEE for a long moment.

DAWSON
Ten-hut.

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention.

DAWSON
(continuing)
There's an officer on deck.

DAWSON snaps a salute and holds it.

KAFFEE stares back. Then stands up straight and returns
their salute.

With one last glance back at KAFFEE, DAWSON turns and walks
out the door, followed by DOWNEY.

ROSS walks over to the defense table.

ROSS
Airmen Cecil O'Malley and Anthony
Perez? What exactly were these guys
gonna testify to?

KAFFEE
Unless I'm mistaken they were gonna
testify, under oath, that they have
absolutely no recollection of
anything.

ROSS smiles.

ROSS
Strong witnesses.

KAFFEE
And very handsome, too, don't you
think?

ROSS
I'll see you around the campus.
I've gotta go arrest Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Tell him I say "Hi".
161.

ROSS
Will do.

CUT TO:
Genres: []

Summary Dawson and Downey are found guilty of Conduct Unbecoming a United States Marine and are dishonorably discharged. Kaffee offers words of encouragement to Dawson before he and Downey exit the courtroom.
Strengths "Strong emotional impact and character development."
Weaknesses "Lacks a clear resolution or sense of closure."
Critique Overall, this scene is well written with clear action and dialogue. However, as a screenwriting expert, there are a few minor suggestions for improvement.

Firstly, the stage direction for the characters should be clearer. For example, when the Sergeant at Arms announces "Ten-hut" and "All rise," it should be specified which characters are standing and which are remaining seated. Also, when Kaffee stands and nods to Dawson and Downey, there should be a line for Ross to follow suit.

Secondly, there could be more description to portray the emotions and reactions of the characters. For instance, when the verdict is read and the defendants are found not guilty, the description simply says "It's hard to resist the temptation to scream and shout, but they do." Clarifying what specific emotions or actions occur would help to create a stronger visual for the audience.

Lastly, Kaffee's line "And very handsome, too, don't you think?" at the end feels slightly out of place. It does not add much to the scene and feels like a forced attempt at humor. Removing this line would not affect the overall plot or character development.

Overall, the scene is effective in wrapping up the courtroom drama and showing the consequences for the accused.
Suggestions Overall, the scene is well-written, but there are a few suggestions to improve it:

1. Increase the tension: While the scene is tense, it could benefit from an increase in tension. Perhaps have the jury take longer to deliberate or have a few close calls before reaching their verdict.

2. Show more emotion from the defendants: It's understandable that Dawson and Downey would be in shock and disbelief after being found guilty of Conduct Unbecoming a United States Marine, but it would be more effective to show their frustration and anger in a more prominent way. Perhaps have them lash out or break down emotionally.

3. Clarify the outcome: While it's clear that Dawson and Downey are found guilty, it would be beneficial to provide more detail about what exactly Conduct Unbecoming a United States Marine means and what the punishment entails. This would help provide closure for the audience and help them understand the severity of the situation.

4. Provide more closure: While the scene ends on a powerful note with Dawson saluting Kaffee, it may be beneficial to have a final scene showing what happens to Dawson and Downey after they leave the courtroom. This could help provide more closure for the audience and help them understand the impact of the guilty verdict on their lives.



Scene 47 -  Celebration
  • Overall: 8.0
  • Concept: 8
  • Plot: 7
  • Characters: 9
  • Dialogue: 8
EXT. OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE - DUSK

KAFFEE, JO and SAM are walking down the steps. The BAND is
practicing on the parade grounds.

JO
What do you say we take the rest of
the day off. Go out someplace. Sam?
Champagne? Yoo-Hoo?

SAM
Thanks, I can't. I'm gonna go home
and talk to my daughter. I think
she's gotta be bilingual by now.

And SAM heads off toward his car.

JO
So what's next for you?

KAFFEE
Staff Sargeant Henry Williamson. He
went to the movies on company time.
What about you?

JO
Me? Oh... you know... the usual.

KAFFEE
Just pretty much generally annoying
people?

JO
Yeah.
(pause)
So what do you say? How 'bout a
celebration?

KAFFEE
No. How 'bout a date. A real date.
Dinner. Attractive clothes. The
works.

JO
Sounds good. Who do you think I
should call?

KAFFEE
I'll pick you up at seven.
162.

JO
What are you gonna do now?

KAFFEE
I'm gonna get started on Henry
Williamson.
(beat)
Stand my post for a while.

JO holds out her hand. KAFFEE shakes it. JO kisses him.

JO
Wear matching socks.

Jo splits off toward her building and KAFFEE keeps walking
toward the bleachers as we PULL BACK TO INCLUDE the almost
empty parade grounds and PULL BACK as to show the Washington
Navy Yard and PULL BACK and back and back and

FADE OUT.

THE END
Genres: ["drama","romance","comedy"]

Summary Kaffee and Jo plan a date after a successful case. Sam leaves to talk to his daughter and Kaffee plans to start a new case.
Strengths "The scene provides a nice resolution to the previous intense scenes and shows the characters moving on with their lives."
Weaknesses "The scene could have been shorter."
Critique Overall, the scene is well-written. The dialogue is natural and believable, and the characters have distinct voices and personalities. However, as a screenwriting expert, I would suggest a few changes to improve the scene:

1. Give more context to the scene. It's not clear why the characters are outside the courthouse or what has just happened. Adding a line or two of exposition could help ground the audience in the story.

2. Increase the stakes. This scene feels relatively low-stakes and doesn't add much to the overall plot. Consider raising the stakes by adding a conflict or challenge that the characters must overcome.

3. Add visual interest. While the dialogue is strong, the scene doesn't have much visual interest. Adding some action or movement could help make the scene more engaging to watch onscreen.

4. Include more description. The scene is light on description, which makes it difficult to visualize. Adding more details about the setting, the characters' appearances, and their actions could help bring the scene to life.
Suggestions Here are a few suggestions to improve the scene:

1. Develop the characters: Though this is the final scene, we should still have a sense of who these characters are and what their arcs have been throughout the film. In this scene, consider adding small details or lines of dialogue that nod to their growth or personal journeys.

2. Streamline the dialogue: While the banter between Kaffee and Jo is fun, some of the lines could be cut or condensed to make the scene tighter and more impactful. Consider removing lines that don't add much to the scene or that feel repetitive.

3. Show, don't tell: Rather than having Kaffee explain what his next case is going to be, why not show us a glimpse of it? This could add some visual interest to the scene and give us a sense of what's to come.

4. Add a sense of closure: This is the final scene of the film, so it should feel like a satisfying ending to the story. Consider adding a small moment of closure or resolution to tie together any loose ends or themes from the film.