|At Andrea Little's home, in the
middle of the night.
Andrea wakes up to the sound of breaking glass. She opens the drawer of her nightstand and takes out a handgun. Wrapping herself in a sheet, she slowly walks into the living room where she sees a man standing at the window.
Andrea: Do not move or I will fire. Put your arms straight up, shoulder-height. Spread your fingers!
She walks over to the telephone and begins dialing a number.
Man at window: I hope you're calling for a pizza 'cause I am starving.
Andrea: Damn it! (She hangs up the phone and turns on the light.)
David: Hm, I thought you kept your gun in the refrigerator.
Andrea: I keep a gun in the refrigerator.
David: Can I put my hands down, now?
Andrea: What are you doing here?
David: I wanted to talk to you.
Andrea: So, you broke into my house?!
David: You took my key back, remember?
Andrea: What about the doorbell?
David: I didn't want to wake you up.
Andrea: Uh, right...and breaking glass is better?
David: I guess I didn't think that one through.
Andrea: You're bleeding.
David: I am? (He notices his hand is bleeding.) Oh, I am.
Andrea: David, what's going on?
David: David? David's dead.
An Asian girl lies dead on a bed. There's blood on the pillow and the sheets. Officer Ray Hechler is standing by the bed and looks down at her sadly before leaving the room.
Ray Hechler and his partner, Tom Turcotte, are walking around the mansion.
Ray: Look at this. It's all Renaissance Revival.
Tom: And you know this how?
Ray: Antiques Road Show. That console's worth a 100,000 bucks.
Tom: Geez...talk about expendable income.
Ray: That's nothing. You know what the monthly upkeep is on a place like this?
Tom: The gardener makes more than I do?
Ray: The gardener's Christmas bonus would make you weep.
David McNorris walks up: Morning, officers. What do we have?
Ray: We have a dead girl. Victim's a female Asian, 17, Joy Lam, student at Montridge Academy. Some kids found her in the guest house about 4:00 a.m. Naked, multiple stab wounds.
David: Any weapons?
Tom: Fireplace poker. It's covered in what appears to be blood and the prong shape matches in diameter, roughly, to the wounds on her chest and throat.
David: Have you talked to the Berman kid, yet?
David: What did he say?
Tom: He said he barely knew her and that he did not invite her.
David: Yet, she knew how to get to the guest house. How about Berman, Sr? Have you seen him, yet?
Ray: He showed up about 20 minutes ago. Went off to take a whiz.
David: Find him. Keep an eye on him.
Tom points across the room: There he is.
Ray: Who's the suit with Berman and his kid?
David: I'd lay even money that's his lawyer.
Ray: And the Parade of Champions continues!
Across the room, Ben Fisher (the District Attorney) enters the house and shakes Mr. Berman's hand.
Ray: Isn't that your Boss?
David: That it is.
Ray: What's he doing here?
David: Good question.
Ray: For that matter, what are you doing here?
David: A friend of mine called me, thought I'd be interested. Not as far from the slime line as he thought.
David walks away as Tom and Ray exchange puzzled looks.
Ray: The slime line?
David and Fearless Smith are at the police station.
David: Look, Bobby, I came here to ask you for a favor.
Fearless: Yeah, I know you did. You got that look on your face - a man with a mission.
David: Where's your partner?
Fearless: Day off.
David: All right. You know someone was murdered at Ron Berman's house last night?
Fearless: Yeah, I heard.
David: I need you guys on this one. It's high priority.
Fearless: High priority for who?
David: Well, the Lams, for one. They lost their only girl, didn't they?
Fearless: The Lams? Lam - that's Vietnamese.
David: That's right. Joy was just accepted to UCLA on a pre-med scholarship. She was the only person in her family ever to get accepted to a college.
Fearless groans and walks over to his desk.
David smiles: Thanks, Bobby.
Fearless: Don't thank me yet, because I don't work solo. And you're going to have to convince my partner a lot harder than you had to convince me.
Fearless picks up the phone and dials a number.
Mrs. Lam carries a serving tray into the living room where Joel Stevens and Fearless are sitting on a couch talking to her husband.
Joel: Mrs. Lam, did your daughter have a boyfriend?
Mrs. Lam: Joy had no time for that. She was busy with school and her church group.
Joel: Which church was that?
Mrs. Lam: First Lutheran.
Fearless: Lam - that's Vietnamese.
Mr. Lam: That's right.
Fearless: Did your daughter speak the language?
Mr. Lam: We speak English in our home. Our daughter had no reason to learn Vietnamese.
Joel stands up and take a cup from Mrs. Lam: Thank you. Mrs. Lam, please, won't you sit down?
I need to ask you - do you have any idea why your daughter would have been at that party?
Mrs. Lam: She told us she was at the library.
Joel: I know that's what she told you. Do you understand how we found her? She was in a bed, Mrs. Lam, with her clothes off and it looks like she was there voluntarily.
Mr. Lam: Enough! (He stands up and walks out of the room.)
Mrs. Lam: It's very difficult.
Fearless: Yes, ma'am, we understand.
Fearless and Joel are in Joy's bedroom.
Fearless pulls a dress out of the closet and says: Joy wasn't exactly a fashion plate.
Joel: Well, she's neat. This place looks like a museum.
Fearless: Yeah...I'm going to go talk to her dad.
Joel: I'll check out her computer.
Fearless leaves the room as Joel looks through some CDs and at a photograph of Joy. She's dressed in a baseball uniform and wearing a baseball glove.
Fearless and Mr. Lam are sitting in the living room.
Fearless: Do you ever get back there - to Viet Nam?
Mr. Lam: Detective, we've been in this country for almost 30 years. Twenty-two of them as American citizens. We have no reason to go back. Excuse me. (He stands up and leaves the room.)
Fearless is questioning a boy outside the school.
Student: And that's all I know.
David McNorris walks by and says: Detective Smith...
Fearless to student: All right, thank you.
Student: You're welcome.
David: Fill me in. What's going on?
Fearless: Everyone seemed to like the girl. She doesn't have any enemies on campus.
David and Fearless walk around the school and encounter Ray and Tom.
Fearless: Any luck?
Ray: Nobody seems to know much about this girl.
Tom: If they did, they don't want to talk about it.
Fearless: Yeah, that's what I'm getting.
Joel walks up: Me, too.
Ray: We did, however, find this in her locker. (He reaches into a brown paper sack and pulls out a piece of lingerie.)
Ray: La Perla - fall catalog. Finest Italian silk money can buy. Oh, I know, I might look like meat and potatoes but when it comes to my Cherie, it's caviar all the way.
David: Not cheap, huh, Ray?
Ray: Oh, this...This'll cost you about 300 bones.
Joel takes the bag: Ray...
Ray: But it's money well spent. You want to make the wife happy, you bring her some of those.
David: Thanks for the tip. (He starts to walk away.)
Ray: Not that I'm suggesting that the wife isn't happy.
David stops momentarily, then continues walking away.
Joel and Fearless walk off together.
Fearless: Doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of Joy's wardrobe.
Joel: No, it doesn't.
Fearless: I'm thinking maybe she had an after-school job to help pay for that.
Joel: Or someone gave it to her as a gift.
Joel and Fearless are back at the police station. Fearless is sitting at his desk as Joel walks up holding a piece of paper.
Joel: It's from the lab. I put a rush on the DNA evidence, as per McNorris' request. Should be in first thing in the morning.
Fearless: Tomorrow morning?
Joel: That's what it says.
Fearless: That's a serious rush.
Joel: Um-huh. McNorris must be cashing in some real chips on this one.
Fearless: Getting the man from the slime line...
Joel laughs: I'll say this about the guy. When he's on fire, I'm glad he's on our side.
Fearless: Why don't you tell him that? Cause here he comes.
David: Hey, fellows. Mind if I use your computer here. I'm going to go online and show you something.
Fearless rolls his chair away from his desk: There you go.
David: Thanks, Fearless.
Joel: You don't want to check out the porn sites at your own office?
David types on the computer: That is very funny. I just used that same joke about a half hour ago. I didn't realize how prophetic it was. Here we go. Here, look at this. Come here.
Joel and Fearless walk over to look at the computer.
David: Remember when Zach Berman said he barely knew Joy Lam. Well, correct me if I'm wrong. (He points at the computer screen.) But, that's Zack Berman and that's Joy Lam. I'd say they knew each other pretty well, don't you think?
On the computer is a video of the two young people making love in the bed where Joy was killed.
Andrea Little is standing outside the school and watches as David arrives to confer with Fearless. After telling Fearless to "fill me in", David looks over at Andrea briefly.
Andrea notices two girls leaving the school and follows them to a coffee shop. She buys a cup of coffee and as she walks by their table, she 'accidentally' spills it: Oh, dammit! Sorry, may I? (She asks as she takes some napkins from their table.)
Thanks. Montridge, huh? I went to Montridge. Is that creepy Mr. Doyle still there?
Andrea: The one with the long greasy hair and the dandruff all over his sweaters.
Emily: Yeah. Well, he doesn't have so much hair any more. But, yeah, the dandruff - totally.
Andrea: Man, he must be about 70 by now.
Emily: At least.
Andrea: I just read about that girl getting killed. Did you guys know her?
Other girl: Ahh - not really.
Emily: She wasn't in our group.
Andrea: Pretty freaky - something like that happening at a party.
Other girl: Yeah, well, freaky things happen to freaky people.
Emily: She wasn't a freak. She was just shy.
Other girl: Not that shy.
Andrea: What do you mean?
Other girl: Come on, Emily, we got to go. (She gathers her books and leaves.)
Andrea gets up and blocks Emily's path: Emily, do you know something about Joy?
Emily: I told you. I barely knew her.
Andrea: Look, I'm a reporter - not a cop. I just want to tell the story...only Joy isn't here to tell me her side.
Emily: I have to go.
Andrea: Hey, an innocent girl is dead. If you think of anything, will you call me? (She hands Emily her business card.)
Emily looks at the card: Do you have email?
David is talking on the phone while hitting the speed bag in his office. He says: Tuesday's the deadline.
Andrea walks in: Hey, can I talk to you?
David to person on the phone: I'll call you back.
David to Andrea: Uh, for someone who's lost interest, you can't seem to stay away from me very long.
Andrea: Yeah, well, I can't stop rubbernecking those three car pile-ups on the 405, either. Nasty habits die hard.
(She walks over to his desk and points at the computer.) May I?
David: What? You can't check your email at work? Or did you just come by my office to show me some spicy little porn site?
Andrea: I thought you should see this.
David: Well, this is a spicy little...Oh, my...is that who I think it is?
David: How did you get this?
Andrea: A student at Montridge emailed it to me. Apparently, it's been making the rounds.
David: Why are you showing this jewel to me?
Andrea: Thought you'd want a 'heads up'.
David: Thanks. I have to call the police on this one, though.
(He picks up the phone and begins dialing.)
Andrea: Uh...don't you want to run it by Fisher first?
David: Why Fisher?
Andrea: Because he's your boss and Berman was his biggest contributor last election.
David hangs up the phone: Look, I don't answer to Fisher. I sure as hell don't answer to Berman. I answer to the people of Los Angeles.
Andrea: What's going on, David?
David: Oh, what? Does that sound too noble?...I don't like Berman and I don't like his kid. For starters, he lied to me. He said he didn't know who Joy Lam was and it looks like they knew each other pretty damn well.
Andrea: Hmmm...and I thought you were going to ask me to sit on it.
Tom is in the Berman mansion questioning Zack Berman.
Tom: So, you never saw Joy at your party?
Zach: It was pretty crowded.
Zach: We were just blowing off steam. You know how it is. Senior year is hell. Everyone's freaking out - trying to get into the right college.
Tom: Yeah, well, I went to Santa Monica City. Not exactly a grueling admissions process.
Zach: At least you were in California. I'm going to be freezing my ass off in New Haven.
Tom: You don't sound too excited.
Zach: Yeah, well, you don't really turn down Yale.
Zach: After your father donates a stadium-seat screening facility for the film department.
Tom: Must be rough.
Tom and Ray are walking to their patrol car.
Ray: Why would he do it?
Tom: Do what?
Ray: Kill that girl.
Tom: Ray, Zach is not necessarily guilty.
Ray: Where? On Planet Crack? You saw the video. He knew her.
Tom: Just because he lied about sleeping with her doesn't make him a killer.
Ray: Why would he lie?
Tom: Because he was afraid everyone would find out about the video. It becomes a big thing, a big deal and it ruins his chance of going to Yale. And it pisses off Dad.
Ray: Another perfectly good reason to kill her.
Ray: You know, the newspapers are going to have a field day with this one. Ivy League Killer Gets 25 to Life.
(The police radio transmits: 149, respond to Santa Monica Airfield and detain Berman jet, per DDA McNorris. Suspect ZachBerman believed to be on board.)
Ray: Correction - Ivy League Killer Flees in Daddy's Private Jet. Ivy League Killer Nabbed by Hero Cops.
(They get in the car and head for the airfield.)
Ray and Tom are at the airfield. Ray walks out of the office.
Tom: Which one is Berman's jet?
Ray points to a plane taking off.
Joel and Fearless drive up. David jumps out of the back seat and hits the front of Ron Berman's limo.
David: Hey, Berman! Whoever gave you the heads up did a great job! I hope you give him a big tip!
The limo drives off.
Joel is at a museum with his son, Willie.
Joel: Willie, I just want you to tell me where you heard those words. Did you hear them from a friend? Did you hear them in a movie?
Joel: Then, where? Willie...Hey!...Why won't you tell me?
Willie: Because you'll just get angry.
Joel: Willie, I will not get angry. Hey, I promise. Just tell me where you heard the words.
Willie: From you.
Joel: Willie, I don't use those words.
Willie: Yes, you do. When you're driving!
Willie takes off as Joel's cell phone rings.
Joel: Hello!...Fearless...No, tell him it's my day off.
Joel enters the police station and encounters David.
Joel: Didn't my partner tell you it was my day off?
David: 17-year-old Joy Lam was murdered at Ron Berman's house last night. Do you know who Ron Berman is?
Joel: Yeah, movie producer, political heavy.
David: Yeah, heavy like a bulldozer. The murder vic and his son went to school together though his son claims he doesn't know who she is. I know he's lying. Now, look, I hate to bother you on your family day. I know you have a little son, right?
Joel: Don't do that. Don't play the standard issue sympathetic parent card with me, okay? Not today!
David: All right. How about the direct approach?
Joel: A novel concept.
David: Detective, not so long ago, you asked for my help in bringing down some rich son of a bitch and I helped you. Now, it's my turn.
Joel: What did Berman do?
David: He wasn't always in the movie business. About 30 years ago, he worked on a salmon boat in Alaska on the slime line. He was one of those guys who was down in the hold all day gutting fish. Now, you might think it's a long way from the slime line to Hollywood. Turns out it's not - when you're a shark.
David and Joel walk over to where Fearless is sitting and David acknowledges him: Fearless...
So, what he did - he saved up all his money and bought himself his own boat. A mediocre fisherman but he found out he had this knack for squeezing out the competition. And do you know how he did it? By cutting back on safety. Berman put out boats that weren't fit for a bath tub, let alone the Bering Strait, and he risked the lives of hundreds of fishermen. He had the highest casualty rate in Alaska. A few years later, he cashes in, sells his fleet, comes down to Hollywood and invests all his money into this crappy film that just so happens to become a big hit. The point I'm getting at is this - Berman may clean himself up all he wants but he still smells like the slime lime to me.
Joel is in Joy's bedroom, sitting at her computer desk, rearranging the mousepad.
Joel: Mrs. Lam, did Joy use her computer a lot?
Mrs. Lam: She did her homework on it.
Joel: I noticed that she doesn't have an Internet icon on her desktop. Did she go online very much?
Mrs. Lam: I know nothing about computers.
Joel: Did she still play baseball? I noticed the picture.
Mrs. Lam: When Joy was a little girl, all she wanted was to play baseball. We told her it was not for girls. But, then, one day she came home with a flyer for a girl's league and we let her play. Of course, when she got to junior high school, her Dad would not allow her to play any more.
Mr. Lam walks into the room: It would have distracted her from her studies. She played first base. She was very good...or so I was told.