In The Years
Detectives Joel Stevens and Fearless Smith are sitting in a car, on a stakeout.
Fearless: Yeah...hide in plain sight. You know, some fish, they have colors that blend into their surroundings and some fish have these bright zig-zag patterns that look like a jumble to a predator. But, either way, they go on to live another day.
Joel: Yeah, and some fish get fried.
Joel watches a house across the street through binoculars: Come on!
Fearless: It's been 26 years, man. A few more minutes won't matter.
A man comes out of the house and walks to his car.
Police radio: We see movement.
Police radio: Roger that.
A young girl hurries out of the house, carrying a briefcase: Daddy! Daddy, here!
She hands her father his briefcase and he gives her a hug.
Fearless: That child's life is going to be ripped apart. Man, it's going to be her last carefree memory.
Joel to radio: Wait until the child clears.
Police radio: Roger that.
The girl runs back into the house, as her mother comes outside.
Her father gets into his car.
The man drives off and his wife begins jogging down the street.
Fearless pulls out into street. Police cars quickly surround the woman.
Joel gets out of the car with his gun drawn: LAPD! On the ground, now! On the ground!
At the police station, Ray encounters Tom's father, Paul Turcotte.
Ray: Hey, Paulie. How's things in public affairs?
Paul: Ah, you know, some pretty boy actor wants a ride-along.
Ray: Well, that's what happens when you retire. You quit solving murders and start baby-sitting 20-year-old millionaires.
Paul: Tom send you here? Are you carrrying his water?
Ray: I'm a cop, not a shrink.
Paul: And barely one, at that.
Ray laughs: You know, I forgot what a sweet man you are. Paulie, your boy just thinks he's doing the right thing.
Paul: Well, he's thinking out of his ass. You don't have to go with him.
Ray: Sure, I do. He's my partner.
Paul: It's an insult to my partner's memory. He was just a cub scout, Alfandre. You don't know what they did to him. His family had to have a closed coffin at the service.
Tom walks up: Ray! Gotta go!
Paul to Tom: Give me a buck.
Tom hands his father the money and starts to walk away.
Paul: If you think you're getting to me, it's a candy-ass way to do it.
Tom stops and walks over to his father.
Paul: I got to go back through that again, huh?
Paul: The worst day of my life. Give us a minute, Ray.
Paul and Tom walk off together.
Joel is sitting at a table in a coffee shop when he sees Teresa at the counter.
Joel: They got good coffee here, huh?
Teresa: Yeah. Yeah, I used to hate coffee until I started pulling these double shifts. Now, I can't get enough of the stuff.
Joel: You want to sit down?
Joel: So, the good thing about double shifts, you make a lot of bank. You can splurge and buy yourself a lifetime supply of French Roast.
Teresa: Yeah, right. First, I need a new transmission for my car. And, then, I got to buy my Dad a new mattress for his birthday. You wouldn't believe that thing he's been sleeping on.
Joel: Sorry. (He looks at the number on the phone.)
Joel: It's my partner. Excuse me.
Teresa: Yeah, that's fine. I got to get going.
Teresa leaves the coffee shop.
Joel to phone: Fearless...Where are you?...What?
Joel walks into the police station and sees Fearless at the computer.
Joel: Nobody told you to be a Boy Scout.
Fearless: Sssss...All this damn paperwork, he's lucky I didn't punch his lights out. The little pissant!
Joel: Yeah, yeah. Amateur video footage of my partner beating up a suspect, that's all I need. You could have looked the other way.
Fearless: Would you?
Joel grins: Absolutely!
He walks over to join Fearless at the computer.
Joel: What have you got?
Fearless: All right, let's see what our guy's about.
Joel and Fearless enter an interrogation room where the suspect, Dwayne, is waiting.
Fearless: California Penal Code, Section-677E. You ever heard of it?
Joel: He's heard of it. Three strikes.
Fearless: Now, I'm agnostic on three strikes but Einsteins like you usually trip up on some penny-ante felony for their third and wind up doing 25 to life for stealing a video from Blockbuster. It makes our job easier.
Dwayne: I didn't mean to hit that lady.
Joel: There'll be a uniform coming to take you to County. Take a long look around during the drive. It's the last freedom you're going to see until at least 2027.
Joel and Fearless head for the door.
Joel mutters: You had to be the Boy Scout.
Dwayne: Wait. Wait! Wait, wait. What if I give you something?
Fearless: Now, what would a low-life, no-account-ass basehead like you have that we would want?
Dwayne: You got to get rid of that third strike, though. You got to give me that.
Joel: We don't make promises, Sir. Next!
Joel and Fearless, once again, start to leave the room.
Dwayne: I can help you find a cop killer. The one they used to call Chimera.
Flashback to Joel and Fearless at the stakeout.
Joel: A nationwide man-hunt and Chimera's been right under our noses the whole time.
Fearless: Yeah...hide in plain sight.
They watch the little girl run back into the house as the man drives off and his wife prepares to go jogging.
The police cars surround the woman as Joel gets out of the car with his gun drawn.
Joel: On the ground!
A policeman runs up behind the woman, pushes her to the ground and handcuffs her.
Joel walks up: Sharon Loftin, I'm placing you under arrest for the 1976 murder of LAPD officer Victor Alfandre.
Fearless gets a newspaper and heads to the coffee shop. He stops outside the door when he sees Joel and Teresa sitting together in the booth.
A woman yells: Help! My bag!
Fearless looks around and sees a man, clutching a purse, running away from a woman.
Woman: Somebody stop him!
Fearless chases the thief, who looks over his shoulder and sees Fearless in pursuit.
Thief: Help! There's a black man after my wallet.
Fearless tackles the thief and handcuffs him.
The thief in the interrogation room: I can help you find a cop killer. The one they used to call Chimera.
Fearless: So, where did the name "chimera" come from?
Sharon/Nora: My name is Nora Jean Flannery. I live at 748 South Beckett Dr.
Fearless: A fire-breathing dragon. Head of a lion...
Sharon/Nora: My social security number is...
Fearless: Body of a goat.
Joel: 05-5768. Yeah...it checks out.
Fearless: Do you know what else "chimera" means?
Cynthia: An impossible quest.
Fearless: Which fits you like a glove, Sharon.
Sharon/Nora: My husband works at Dinwiddie Pharmaceuticals in Victorville.
Cynthia: We don't give a rat's ass about your husband. July 3rd, 1976. Where were you?
Sharon/Nora: I was in Europe, travelling alone.
Fearless: Independence Day. The Bi-Centennial. The perfect time to plunder the spoils of the imperialist swine.
Cynthia: Bring the war home. Wasn't that your rallying cry?
Joel shows Sharon/Nora a photo: Look at the picture.
Sharon/Nora looks at the photo and quickly glances away: Ohh...
Joel: Look at it. This man look familiar? Look at the picture! His name is Victor Alfandre. He was a police officer and one of you shot him that day. Take a good look at his face or what's left of it.
Fearless: You're Sharon Loftin, arent' you?
Sharon/Nora: My name is Nora Jean Flannery. I live at 748 South...
Joel: South Becket Dr. Um-huh.
Outside the interrogation room, Joel, Fearless and Cynthia watch Sharon/Nora.
Cynthia: Eith er we have the wrong woman or she's the best liar I've ever seen. Besides my ex.
Joel: Yeah. No criminal record, no fingerprints on file, not even a parking ticket. She's good.
Fearless: She's had a quarter of a century to get her story straight.
Cynthia: There's something about her flat voice and her body language.
Fearless: Her voice is defensive. She's definitely lying. But, her posture...her sustained eye contact...
Cynthia: You know, if she thought she was going to get away with it, she would have lawyered-up long ago.
Joel: Maybe, part of her is opening the door.
Cynthia: Are you saying she wants to be broken?
Fearless: Well, if that's true, all we got to do is find the right key.
Fearless hurries around a corner in the police station and finds Andrea Little sitting at his desk.
Andrea: Is it her? Is it Chimera?
Fearless: How do you know everything so fast?
Andrea: I'm really, really good. What has she told you?
Fearless: Look, Andrea, I got nothing to say. I got nothing to report. I gotta to get down to Archives.
Fearless hurries down the hall and Andrea follows him.
Andrea: Just ask her about Van Horn. Come on, Fearless, he's an innocent man.
Fearless: Everybody's innocent in prison.
Andrea: All he did was lend her his car.
Fearless stops and stares at her.
Fearless: They lived in the same building. I mean, that was the defense's position, right? That they lived in the same building and they were friends.
Andrea: I don't know about friends. He had a crush on her.
Fearless: Well, you know him better than anybody else. If Van Horn saw her today, what would he do?
Andrea: What do you mean?
Fearless: Would he go off?
Andrea: No. Why? What are you thinking?
NORA JEAN FLANNERY
Flashback to that morning when Nora Jean kisses her little girl before sending her into the house. Her husband calls out "Bye, Honey" before driving away. Nora Jean begins jogging. As she jogs, we hear the police sirens, Joel says: LAPD. On the ground, now! On the ground! Then Joel says: Sharon Loftin, I'm placing you under arrest for the 1976 murder of LAPD officer Victor Alfandre. You have the right to remain silent.
Fearless and Joel are questioning Sharon/Nora again.
Fearless: Tell me something, here now, Nora Jean, because you obviously think you're a whole lot smarter than me. You graduated from Parkmont High School in 1972?
Silence from Sharon/Nora.
Joel: You already told us you did. Be polite and answer the man, please.
Sharon/Nora: Yes, I did.
Fearless: Parkmont High School burnt down in 1973. All the records were lost. That's convenient.
Joel picks up a book and hands it to Fearless: Parkmont High yearbook, 1972.
Fearless: Guess what? You ain't in it!
Fearless slams the book down on the table, making Sharon/Nora flinch.
Fearless: Did you miss the photographer that day?
Joel: It seems the paper trail on Sharon Loftin disappears around the summer of 1976.
Fearless: Yeah, the same time Nora Jean's begins. You know, it's funny how that happens.
Joel: Let's cut the dance. You and your friends went into that bank, you stole $60,000 and you killed whoever got in your way.
He picks up a photograph: And this man, he got in your way and that was his punishment. Isn't that right?
Sharon/Nora: I have nothing more to say.
Fearless: Yeah...well, before you shut us down, there's one face I'd like you to see.
Fearless walks over to door and opens it. Kevin Van Horn enters the room.
Kevin: Long time.
Fearless: Mr. Van Horn, do you have anything you'd like to say to this woman?
Kevin: I forgive you, Sharon.
Sharon/Nora starts crying.
Joel: What is your name? Say it.
Sharon: My name is Sharon Renee Loftin.
Sharon: When we first started robbing banks, we thought that we were freedom fighters and that we were storming the capitalist strongholds. I mean, we were on this wild adventure for a while. But, then, Billy and Shay discovered heroin and by the end, most of our cash was going into their arms.
Joel: Let's talk about the day of the robbery, okay?
Sharon: Pacifica Savings was supposed to be our last job. I was already inside, pretending to be a customer when Shay and Billy came in.
Flashback to bank robbery. A young Sharon is standing at the counter when two armed men come into the bank. One shouts: Everbody on the floor, now! The other says: Move! A few people scream as everyone starts lying down on the floor. The young Sharon hurries into another room.
Sharon: I knew I had less than a minute to clean out the vault and I was about halfway finished when I hear these voices screaming and Shay yelling at someone. So, I hurried out. But, by the time I got there, the officer was already dead. And, I mean, we all knew that killing was counter-productive to the Movement and I have no idea how everything got so ugly and I never had the chance to ask.
Fearless: Wait a minute. Did you say that the officer shot Shay and Billy?
Sharon: That's right.
Joel: Ms. Loftin, are you saying that Kevin Van Horn wasn't one of the bank robbers?
Sharon: He wasn't even there. Kevin was innocent. Is innocent.
Cynthia: Ms. Loftin, how do we know that you aren't just making this up? Trying to spring an old comrade?
Sharon: Because Billy died with the bullet still in him. I buried him myself. If you dig him up, you'll find the officer's bullet.
Joel: Where is he buried?
Sharon: In the woods off of Angela's Crest Highway. I'll show you.
Cynthia: I'll get Ballistics. (She leaves the room.)
Sharon: Whatever happens to me, I just want you to know that I did not kill the officer in the bank.
Fearless: You know what's going to happen to you. You were there. Two innocent men died. You're still going to be charged with murder.
Sharon: I know. I just don't want for my family - for my daughter - to think...
Fearless: If what you're saying is true - why Kevin Van Horn?
Sharon: We needed a car...and he had a crush on me.
KEVIN VAN HORN
Tom is driving a police car, Ray is in the passenger seat and Kevin is seated in the rear.
Tom: Are you okay back there, Mr. Van Horn?
Kevin: Just talking it all in. LA - just like I pictured it - skyscrapers and everything. What happened to the Pan-Pacific Center?
Ray: Ahh - they tore that down 20 years ago. Wait till you get hold of the Beverly Center.
Kevin: I see a Starbucks every 10 blocks. When did that happen?
Tom: When the yuppies decided to pay four bucks for a cup of coffee. Want to try a latte? My treat.
Kevin: Nah, I just want to see my Dad...and buy some new clothes.
Tom: Would you like some music?
Tom turns on the radio. It's 'Reelin' in the Years' by Steely Dan.
Kevin starts singing along with the song:
Stowin' away the time
Are you gatherin' up the tears
Have you had enough of mine?
Kevin: I love that song.
Tom: My Dad used to play Steely Dan over and over until I got sick of it. Then, I got even with him. I threw it in the trash - stupid album. I told him my Mom must have thrown it out by mistake. Did you play much music when you were in?
Kevin: Just air guitar. That's all I had. Until my cellmate got mad...cause I'd smile, you know, when I heard the music in my head. Stomped my fingers and well...the doctors couldn't fix them, man. It's like...I stopped hearing the music after that. My Dad visited the first couple of years. It was hard on him, you know, people calling me the cop-killer. He got death threats, sold everything he had for my defense. Still, he'd visit every week - three buses each way, not a word of complaint.
Ray: He sounds like a good man.
Kevin: Yeah. He stopped coming in '85. I think the doubt got him. Maybe, his health - I don't know. It's hard when you have a son the Trib calls "the embodiment of evil".
Tom: Maybe he didn't give up on you.
Kevin: I know he did. He stopped writing five years ago. But, that's all right. I never gave up on him.
Kevin: Maybe, we should drive around the block a few times. I just - I just feel like I'm going to the gas chamber. It's all going too fast, you know?
Ray: Yeah, I know. Dig up a body, find a bullet, presto, changeo. The next day, you're home.
Kevin: Well, maybe he's not ready to see me, yet.
Ray: Now, no matter what happened all those years ago, he's still your father. Right, Tom?
Kevin: Yeah, I hear what you're saying. Just keep the motor running, in case.
Kevin walks up the steps to his home, alone.
Family members and friends come rushing out of the house, greeting him with hugs and kisses.
Kevin turns to Tom and Ray: Come on in.
They enter the house and Kevin sees Andrea.
Andrea: Welcome home, Mr. Van Horn.
Kevin: Thank you, Ms. Little.
They hug. Then, Kevin walks over to his father and kneels down beside the old man's chair.
Kevin: Hi, Dad.
Mr. Van Horn: Where have you been all day? You were supposed to take me to the dry-cleaners.
Kevin: That's okay, Dad. I'm here to take care of you from now on. Okay? I really missed you, Dad.
Tom turns and walks out of the house.