>> / Law-Abiding Citizen

/ Law-Abiding Citizen

: / Law-Abiding Citizen.

/ Law-Abiding Citizen

FADE IN:

1 OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE. Images and sounds are surreal, 1 dreamlike, disturbing:

A HAND is trying to dial three simple numbers. Trembling fingers miss, try again...we hear boop-boop-boop.

911 OPERATOR (filtered) 911 operator, what is your emergency?

The phone rises, gripped tightly. Knuckles white. We're TIGHT, it's dark, we see no face -- just slack, trembling lips.

Whoever it is, he can't talk. All we hear is breathing, all we sense is grief and panic and deep shock.

OPERATOR (V.O.) (filtered) Hello? Can you hear me? Can you speak?

CLYDE ...eyes...

OPERATOR (V.O.) What? Can you speak up?

CLYDE ...her...eyes...

2 EXT. ROAD - NIGHT 2

Lights appear like phantoms over blacktop, flashing. Police cars coming our way.

OPERATOR (V.O.) Sir, what is the nature of your emergency?

The man can't speak.

OPERATOR (V.O.) Sir? Are you injured? Do you need medical attention?

The cars blast by us...

3 INT. HOUSE - NIGHT 3

TIGHT ON PHONE AND MOUTH:

CLYDE ...her eyes...she can't...

WHITE - 9-7-8 2.

4 EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT 4

POLICE VEHICLES converge in SLOW-MOTION, dreamlike. Doors fly open, COPS jump out, weapons drawn as WE MOVE with them to:

Front door. RAMP TO NORMAL CAMERA SPEED as it opens, revealing:

BENSON CLYDE, phone still gripped. He barely registers the weapons aimed at his face. CAMERA CLOSES IN ON HIM, as:

CLYDE She can't...close her eyes.

He's pulled from frame. CAMERA KEEPS MOVING, following COPS into the house...

Dark as hell inside. And tense. Arms training weapons. Moving up a tight hallway, emerging into...

THE LIVING ROOM

...where the flashlight beams find blood-spatter patterns. Furniture shattered and overturned. A kid's sneaker.

The flashlights play across TWO BODIES in the wreckage -- a woman's pale hand, a child's motionless leg.

CAMERA DRIFTS AROUND to the cops' faces, as:

COP #1 (unsnaps shoulder radio) Dispatch, we have multiple 10-55s, need full response, 11-41.

5 EXT. HOUSE (SLO-MO) - NIGHT 5

Chaotic now, vehicles and lights. The eye of the storm is Clyde on the lawn, hugging his knees, fetal with horror and grief. He's screaming at the sky, but no sound is coming out. EMS TECHS enter shot, steal the frame, race toward the door...

6 INT. HOUSE (SLO-MO) - NIGHT 6

TRACKING SHOT at floor level, photos being taken. FLASHES bathe the foreground wreckage. FORENSIC TECHS step gingerly. Uniformed cops hang grimly back, hugging the walls...

CAMERA BRINGS US TO CLOSEUP: A PROFILE IN DEEP SHADOW in the foreground, face tilted obliquely in the wreckage.

A CAMERA FLASH reveals the face with shocking glare and the IMAGE FREEZES. A TEN YEAR-OLD GIRL, eyes open, staring at us.

CLYDE (V.O.) (prelap) Her eyes. That's how they were. Open like that. You see?

WHITE - 9-7-8 3.

7 INT. CITY HALL - CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY 7

Clyde is seated, speaking slowly and precisely. ANGLE WIDENS, revealing the room, light filtering through blinds, as:

CLYDE When I found my wife and child dead, my little girl's eyes were open. (pause) The last thing she saw of this earth were the faces of the men who took her life. Can you understand that?

NICK (O.S.) Yes. Yes, I can.

CLYDE Can you? Really? (looks to somebody else) You?

CANTRELL (O.S.) Mr. Clyde. I don't see this helping.

CLYDE No? You married? Children?

ANGLE HAS NOW WIDENED/DRIFTED to include D.A. JONAS CANTRELL, Senior Attorney for the State. He wears thick glasses and is suffering the early stages of macular degeneration.

CANTRELL Divorced. I have a son and daughter. Both in college.

CLYDE My daughter was ten. I married late in life.

Clyde spreads the crime scene photos further on the table. ANGLE COMES AROUND to reveal the third man in the room:

NICK PRICE

The D.A. under Cantrell -- focused, exceptional at what he does, the man you'd want on your side.

CLYDE You, Mr. Price? Married? Kids?

Nick doesn't answer, stays focused on the task:

NICK I've seen the crime scene photos, Mr. Clyde. Many times. They're horrifying. But they don't alter the facts of the case.

BLUE - 9-19-08 4.

CLYDE Facts? Those men are guilty. Both of them. You know they are.

NICK This isn't about what we know. It's about what we can prove in court.

CANTRELL Things have gone against us. Tainted crime scene, evidence thrown out...

CLYDE Maybe you just haven't tried hard * enough.

NICK Look. We've had only one real break in this case. The fact that one asshole has decided to testify against the other asshole.

CLYDE In return for immunity. So he gets away with it.

CANTRELL The other man doesn't. He'll go down for the crime. That has to count for something.

CLYDE Yes. It counts for half. (pause, quietly) Don't reward one of the men who murdered my family. Please.

NICK Mr. Clyde. I can't claim to know what it's like to be in your position. Losing your wife and child. But please try to grasp how limited our options are. This is how the justice system works.

Clyde sits for a long moment, numb, absorbing this.

CLYDE Ah. I see my mistake. I came for justice. Instead I got a system.

8 INT. CITY HALL - HALLWAY - DAY 8

SARAH LOWELL, fresh out of law school, is waiting anxiously for the meeting to end, arms full of file folders. *

BLUE - 9-19-08 4A.

With her is BILL REYNOLDS, the defense attorney in this case, * glancing impatiently at his watch. *

Clyde exits the room fast, not watching where he's going, * accidentally plowing into Sarah as he passes. *

BLUE - 9-19-08 5.

CLYDE Sorry. My fault.

SARAH It's okay.

On he goes. Nick and Cantrell exit the room.

SARAH You're due upstairs in three minutes! You're gonna be late!

NICK Thank you, voice of doom.

They move toward the elevators with Reynolds. Sarah's at their * heels, sensing the tension and keeping her mouth shut.

NICK (to Cantrell) * We doing the right thing?

REYNOLDS * (jumps in) * You even doubt it? C'mon, you didn't just tumble off the fucking truck. Do the math...

Cantrell has trouble seeing the elevator button, misses. Nick presses it for him. (This is thrown away without comment; both men are used to Cantrell's bad eyes by now.)

They elevator opens, they get on... *

9 INT. ELEVATOR - DAY 9

...and ride up:

NICK It's your office.

CANTRELL It's your decision.

Nick shoots him a withering look, glances back at Sarah.

NICK What do you think?

REYNOLDS * What are you asking her for? She's * just an intern. *

SARAH (deer in the headlights) * I am just an intern. *

BLUE - 9-19-08 6.

NICK You were top of your class at Yale, don't give me that shit.

CANTRELL Young lady. Someday you might have our jobs. You know the issues of * the case before the court. Speak.

SARAH Okay. Um. You can take both men to trial, spend a year and millions of taxpayer dollars, and probably lose. Or you can cut a deal and at least put one of the men who did the crime on death row. It's a no-brainer. * You make the deal. *

REYNOLDS * (smug, to the men) * Duh. *

They trade a look. Cantrell glances to Sarah. *

CANTRELL When the day comes that you argue a real case in court, you might refrain from summing up with "duh."

SARAH * I'll avoid that. *

10 INT. JUDGE'S CHAMBERS - DAY 10

JUDGE LAURA BURCH presides. Nick, Cantrell, Sarah are present. * CLARENCE DARBY is the focus, Bill Reynolds at his side. *

JUDGE BURCH * The agreement has been vetted by both sides? Satisfactory to all?

REYNOLDS Yes, your Honor. Defense approves.

CANTRELL State also approves, your Honor.

Nick places a document before DARBY, along with a pen.

NICK Clarence Darby. This document guarantees that you will provide testimony against Rupert Ames in the matter of which you were both accused. In return, you will be (MORE)

BLUE - 9-19-08 7.

NICK (CONT'D) shielded from further prosecution for those capital crimes. But you will plead guilty to the lesser charge of breaking and entering.

REYNOLDS You'll do a maximum of five years. With good behavior, you could be out in three.

JUDGE BURCH That also depends on your testimony and the level of your cooperation.

DARBY Your Honor need not worry on my account. I assure the court that I am aware of the opportunity I've been given. And I am deeply grateful to all concerned.

Nick gives Cantrell a glance, both stoically enduring this proceeding. Darby pulls the document closer.

DARBY If I may. It has come to my attention that Rupert Ames has been spreading * lies about me to the tabloid press. * About certain alleged activities of * which I have no knowledge. Sexual and otherwise. Libel and slander...yes?

NICK (dryly) You can always sue him.

DARBY Well, no matter. My tongue will wag in court, under oath. His tongue will wag in hell.

He puts pen to paper, looks to Nick.

DARBY He'll get the chair?

NICK We don't do chair. We do needle.

11 INT. CITY HALL - GRAND INTERIOR STAIRCASE - DAY 11

Cathedral-like, pigeons fluttering. The door from the hallway opens and BETSY, a months-old GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY, bounds toward us on a leash pulling Cantrell toward the top of the vast marble staircase. Nick trails them, nervous as hell:

BLUE - 9-19-08 8.

NICK Whoa, Jonas, take my elbow. *

CANTRELL I'm not blind. Yet. I'll do it.

NICK You're shitty on stairs. At least let me take the leash so the dog doesn't pull you down.

CANTRELL No. She needs to imprint on me. Not you, not somebody else.

Cantrell starts down. Nick's at his side, hovering and ready to grab him, jumping at every little lurch Cantrell makes.

CANTRELL That's the whole point of this phase. She needs to get the idea that she and I are partners. Then the real training can begin. Unless you wanna lead me around the rest of my life.

NICK I'll pass.

12 EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS - DAY 12

Nick and Cantrell emerge into daylight and find Darby in the protective custody of a FEDERAL MARSHAL on the courthouse steps, surrounded by a crush of REPORTERS:

DARBY ...it was a burglary gone wrong. We thought the house was empty. Rupert found the woman and child at home and went crazy. I was stoned and in fear of my own life, so I fled...

They catch sight of Bill Reynolds, the defense attorney.

CANTRELL Bill! You let all your clients give testimony on the courthouse steps?

REYNOLDS Hellooo, kettle to pot. Since when do you shy away from publicity?

NICK Since everything in this case has gone sideways so far. Tell your boy to save it for the courtroom.

BLUE - 9-19-08 9.

REYNOLDS He's your boy too now. You tell him.

Reynolds proceeds down the steps...

NICK Asshole.

REYNOLDS Dickwad.

CANTRELL Fuckface.

...and vanishes in the crowd. Nick glances sourly toward Darby.

DARBY ...and may I say for the record how very sorry I am that I failed to prevent Rupert Ames from committing those terrible crimes...

NICK You good here?

CANTRELL Long as nobody bumps into me.

CAMERA FOLLOWS Nick through the crowd toward Darby...

DARBY ...been given a chance to put the drugs and foul living behind me. To atone for my past failings and weakness of character. It is a gift given me by God's grace...

Darby sees Nick, grabs his hand, shaking it for the cameras.

DARBY ...and the grace and wisdom of this court. I cannot thank you enough, sir. I cannot.

A BARRAGE OF CAMERA FLASHES. Nick caught off guard before the * press, Darby not letting go. Then Nick sees: *

NICK'S POV

Clyde, a tiny defeated figure far below, waits at the bus stop. He's gazing up, seeing this photo op happen.

NICK

breaks the handshake with a flush of discomfort, signals the federal marshal:

WHITE - 9-7-8 10.

NICK Marshal, escort your man, please! (to the reporters) Mr. Darby is done here!

Darby is hustled down the steps. The reporters surge to Nick, surrounding him, shouting questions.

Nick looks over their heads and glimpses Clyde getting on a bus. The door closes, the bus pulls away...

13 INT. NICK'S HOUSE - NIGHT 13

Nick enters. Dark. He drops his briefcase by the door.

14 INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT 14

REFLECTED IN THE MIRROR: KELL, Nick's wife, is just out of the bath, wearing a robe and toweling her hair.

Nick enters behind her. She cranes back for a kiss, keeps toweling her hair in the mirror. He hugs her from behind, buries his face in her neck. Drained.

KELL Shit day?

NICK Shit day. Better now. (pause) How's she doing?

KELL Fine. She drove me a little crazy today.

NICK She was busy?

KELL In overdrive. Here. Feel.

He reaches around, slowly unties her robe, pulls it open...

...revealing her pregnant belly. (Our angles have avoided this till now.) He places his hand, feeling for movement.

KELL Of course she stops kicking the moment you get home.

15 INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT 15

SLOW TRACKING SHOT finds them in bed, Nick with his head on Kell's chest. Pensive.

WHITE - 9-7-8 11.

NICK I had to say some things to a man today I didn't want to say. And I did something I didn't want to do.

KELL You didn't lie to him. Or bullshit him. Or shine him on.

NICK None of those things.

KELL So you had your reasons. You did what you had to. It's not your fault the world sucks.

Nick smiles, eases his face to her belly.

NICK You in there. Listen up. Your mother just said the world sucks. You may wanna rethink this whole thing. My advice? If you're asking? Just stay in there. I promise you, nothing will ever make as much sense as it does right now...

KELL What is wrong with you?

NICK ...plus there's shit you don't need to know about. Rap. Internet porn. Madonna's entire back catalog.

KELL Did someone drop you on your head? Seriously. I have swollen ankles and all I do is pee. That baby's coming out.

NICK (weighs that) Okay. I'm sure you heard that. Then again there are the Beatles. 70's funk. Louie. Ella. Be a shame to miss those. (beat, getting serious) All right, kid. Bring it on. But when you're old enough for the world to disappoint you, I hope you won't blame your old man for bringing you into this mess. Give me that at least.

FADE TO BLACK

WHITE - 9-7-8 12.

16 INT. BEDROOM - DAWN 16

Nick and Kell asleep. She's no longer pregnant -- it's now ten years later. A long beat of quiet...

A small face peers in from the hallway. EMMA, their 10 year- old daughter. She darts in, puts her face to Nick's.

EMMA (whispering) Dad?

NICK Huh? Wha--?

EMMA You know what it is?

NICK What?

EMMA (hollering) IT'S MY BIRTHDAAAAAY!

She jumps up on the bed, bouncing up and down and dancing around, hollering at the top of her lungs:

EMMA IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!

Nick and Kell are too groggy to do anything but ride it out. Emma sails off the bed and vanishes out the door, hollering all the way up the hallway:

EMMA I'M SO COOL IT'S MY BIRTHDAAAY!

Nick and Kell are left groping with blankets, heart rates, and consciousness:

KELL Glad it's once a year.

17 INT. KITCHEN/BREAKFAST AREA - MORNING 17

Nick and Emma finishing breakfast, getting ready to leave, Kell packing Emma's lunch at the counter:

EMMA Why can't you be here?

NICK It's a work thing. Grownup stuff. You know that happens sometimes.

BLUE - 9-19-08 13.

EMMA But it's... (draws sneakily close) ...MY BIRTHDAAAAAY!

He claps his hand over her mouth.

NICK I believe we've established that. I let go, you'll stop reminding me? (she nods, he lets go) We'll celebrate this weekend. Tonight is all about your friends. Knock * yourselves out, don't give mom any * grief. I'll try to be home in time to tuck you in, okay?

EMMA Okay. But what are you doing tonight that is more important than...

She's doing that "sneakily drawing close" thing again. Nick holds up his finger, cautioning her to say it quietly.

EMMA (leans in, whispers) ...my birthdaaaaay.

KELL Something he'd get out of if he could. Here. Take lunch. Grab * backpack. We go. *

Emma grabs her stuff, kisses dad, races from the room. Kell grabs her keys to follow, kisses Nick goodbye.

NICK Nice evasion. Thanks.

18 EXT. RURAL ROAD - DUSK 18

Cars are traveling an old service road...

19 INT. TOWN CAR - DUSK 19

Nick's in back with Cantrell. The years have left Cantrell 90% blind; his glasses are beyond Coke bottle-thick.

BLUE - 9-19-08 14.

Between them sits Betsy the German shepherd, now ten years old, wearing a guide-dog harness. She looks miserable wearing a big cone-shaped POST-SURGERY COLLAR.

NICK How long she have to wear this stupid thing?

CANTRELL Till the stitches heal. Week or two.

Nick dotes on the dog, they're old pals:

NICK Poor honey. Sucks, doesn't it? But you're very pretty. Yes, you are. Even with a radar dish on your head.

SARAH There they are. Like clockwork.

ANGLE SHIFTS TO Sarah -- much more confident and power-suited than last time we saw her -- riding up front with the driver.

19A EXT. AERIAL ESTABLISHING - GEORGE HILL PRISON - LATE DAY 19A*

The car pulls up to the gate as CAMERA RISES to reveal the * new facility positioned right next to the old one... *

20 INT. EXECUTION CHAMBER - NIGHT 20

The condemned, RUPERT AMES, is placed against the upright execution table and buckled in. The table is tilted back to vertical. All Rupert can do is lay there and watch, as:

MEDICAL TECHS swab his arms with alcohol, prepare the needles, find his veins. The needles are inserted, taped off. The I.V. lines are attached. Very methodical.

The techs leave the room. The curtain is drawn aside, revealing the big window that separates the chamber from:

BLUE - 9-19-08 15.

21 INT. VIEWING ROOM - NIGHT 21

Nick and his colleagues are among SEVERAL DOZEN WITNESSES seated in chairs. They watch as WARDEN IGER faces Rupert.

WARDEN IGER Rupert Ames. Do you have anything to say?

Rupert doesn't have much of an IQ and he's scared shitless, but he does his best:

RUPERT I'm here. Clarence Darby ain't. And that ain't right. 'Cause that man is evil, ain't no other way to say it. All them things he done, and him turn witness against me for it.

He pauses, trying to untangle his thoughts.

RUPERT I did wrong too. I guess I'll pay up. But it was always him sayin' jump and how high, and I just went along. Now he's killin' me and he got you people to do it. And that's a shame. A goddamn shame. And... (pause) ...and I guess that's all.

Nick trades a look with Sarah. Cantrell is stoic.

Warden Iger nods to TWO GUARDS manning the LETHAL INJECTION MACHINE, on which EIGHT OVERSIZED GLASS CYLINDERS in a vertical row are the main feature, filled with various clear liquids.

There are two switches -- one a dummy, the other live (no way to know which is which). The guards power up the machine. Lights activate on the board. Each man grabs a switch, waits.

Nick watches the wall clock. It hits 7 o'clock. The warden * nods and the guards flick their switches, quickly leaving the * room. The warden follows them out, closes the door.

We hear the pumps quietly activate. Rupert is taking shallow breaths, terrified...then lays back to wait.

PLUNGER ONE slowly descends, emptying its contents into the I.V. lines...

Rupert sags as the fast-acting barbiturate spreads through his veins...his breathing slows...his head drops back... he loses consciousness...

PLUNGER TWO depresses, sending the second vial of liquid into the I.V. lines with a quiet whir of pumps...

BLUE - 9-19-08 16.

PLUNGER THREE activates...then PLUNGER FOUR...the row of cylinders emptying in sequence...

Rupert lies unconscious, just drifting away...

He suddenly comes to. He draws in a long, shaky breath. It catches in his throat. His eyes go wide. His entire body starts to clench against some increasing pain.

Nick is surprised, uncertain. Betsy starts GROWLING SOFTLY at * Cantrell's side. Her head comes up, hackles rising. *

Nick glances to the dog...then to Iger, sees the stunned look on the warden's face. Something is definitely wrong.

The pumps keep whirring, the plungers keep descending...

Rupert he throws his head back, mouth wide...

RUPERT Ah...ah...AH!

The witnesses go tense, confused -- what the hell?

RUPERT Ah--ah--Jesus, don't that HURT!

Rupert looks down at his arms, his expression turning to sheer horror, because: The veins are turning angry red, then blackening, as the liquids course through them...

RUPERT OH FUCK, OH FUCK, THAT HUUUURTS!

Those are last coherent words he speaks. From then on, he's just shrieking and bouncing against his straps, because:

His veins are starting to smoke. Noxious and foul. The flesh starts giving away, blood eating though skin like acid.

Shock sweeps the onlookers:

SARAH Oh, Jesus.

CANTRELL What's going on? Nick?

People are on their feet. Horror and incomprehension.

CANTRELL Nick, goddamn it, what?

NICK I don't know!

Rupert is fast becoming a horror:

BLUE - 9-19-08 17.

It's going down his arms and legs, up his neck, infusing his ears -- a nauseating discoloration courses through his body, using his veins as a road map, going from red to yellow to black like bruises birthing spontaneously before our eyes...

People in the room scream, turning away. Nick pushes his way to the viewing glass, shouting at the techs:

NICK WHAT THE FUCK'S GOING ON? DO SOMETHING!

The techs dash into the chamber -- but are instantly gagging * and choking on the toxic fumes billowing from Rupert. They * retreat coughing, pulling the door shut again. *

Rupert's screams spew forth toxic fumes...breath blows smoke from his nostrils...eyes liquefy...he's arching against his restraints so hard that bones begin snapping, blood spewing and smoking through his skin...

All Nick can do is stand at the glass in horror as whatever is happening runs its course and the victim collapses in a cloudy, toxic haze...

22 EXT. PRISON YARD - PARKING AREA - NIGHT 22

Drained and waiting: Nick sitting against the town car. Cantrell across from him with Betsy at his side (the guide dog will always be at his side in this movie, specified or not). EMERGENCY LIGHTS are swirling all around them.

A PARADE OF PEOPLE descends: DETECTIVE DUNNIGAN, Sarah, Warden Iger, COPS, PRISON STAFF. Intense:

IGER We're still trying to sort through this thing.

CANTRELL Gentlemen, we face a terrible shitstorm of scrutiny in the days to come. We need answers. Start with what we know.

IGER Lethal injection is a series of drugs given in a specific order. Somebody had to have replaced one or more of those ingredients with something else. (off their looks) Industrial solvent? Acid?

DUNNIGAN Let's not guess, let forensics do its job.

BLUE - 9-19-08 18.

CANTRELL * How could the chemicals be switched? We're in a goddamn prison! *

NICK * I'll ask because somebody has to. * Is there any chance, no matter how remote, that this was an accident? A mix-up? Weird shit happens?

A beat of awkward silence. The warden hesitating.

SARAH Show them. The bad part.

23 INT. PHONE JUNCTION ROOM - NIGHT 23*

Dunnigan brings our group in. ELECTRICIANS huddle at an array * of circuits and trunk lines. In the dancing flashlight beams: *

DUNNIGAN * Some kind of bypass on the phone * lines.

Nick sees a CIRCUIT-BOARD spliced into the wiring.

DUNNIGAN * Twenty minutes before the execution, * the prison stopped receiving incoming calls and emails. Cell service went * dark too. Signal was probably jammed.

SARAH * The bad part. I was just on with the Governor's office. He commuted Rupert Ames' sentence. They were trying to call us to stop the execution. They couldn't get through.

Nick and Cantrell are stunned as this sinks in.

DUNNIGAN The Governor's incoming number triggered this device and shut out any further calls.

Cantrell removes his glasses, rubs his eyes. Softly:

CANTRELL Oh, fuck me. Fuck me.

BLUE - 9-19-08 19.

DUNNIGAN * One more thing. *

Dunnigan aims his maglight and swings the junction box cover all the way open. Scrawled on the inside of the door in red are the words: "HIS TONGUE WILL WAG IN HELL."

DUNNIGAN This mean anything to you? *

CAMERA PUSHES IN on Nick...

24 EXT. PRISON YARD - PARKING AREA - NIGHT 24

Nick's LAPTOP sits on an unmarked car, streaming the D.A.'S DATABASE by wireless. Nick taps the keys, as:

NICK Clarence Darby. That's what he said when he agreed to testify against the man we executed tonight.

DUNNIGAN "His tongue will wag in hell." Those very words? It was ten years ago.

SARAH I remember it too. Some things stick in your head.

NICK Check the court transcripts, they're public record.

DARBY'S MUGSHOT (ten years ago) scans up, along with pertinent * info of that time. GARZA, Dunnigan's partner, peers at it. *

GARZA * I know this prick. I'm pretty sure * he's one of our C.I.s.

Surprised looks are traded.

DUNNIGAN You think, or you know?

BLUE - 9-19-08 20.

GARZA That's not the name he uses now. * But I'm pretty sure he's one of Bernstein's informants.

DUNNIGAN Okay, raise Bernstein, I want everything he's got, including an address. We roll with tactical.

NICK How about I ride-along? Give you a fast, accurate ID on this guy?

CANTRELL Is that necessary?

NICK You said yourself we should move fast. This thing'll be all over the morning news cycle. We'd all look a lot better if we have the right man in custody by then.

Off Cantrell's look...

25 EXT. BRIDGE/CITYSCAPE - NIGHT 25

AERIAL SHOT: ANGLING DOWN to find a CONVOY OF POLICE VEHICLES speeding across a bridge.

26 INT. UNMARKED CAR (MOVING) - NIGHT 26

Garza driving. Dunnigan riding shotgun. Nick in back, putting * on a tactical vest. A transmission comes over the car's * dashboard computer: a MURKY NIGHTTIME SHOT OF A MAN in * sunglasses and Hawaiian shirt. *

GARZA That's him. "Wayne Dunlap."

DUNNIGAN Is that Clarence Darby?

NICK I think so. Hard to tell.

Dunnigan scrolls the classified police data pertaining to the informant: dates, number of convictions attributed...

BLUE - 9-19-08 21.

DUNNIGAN Jesus, look at this. No wonder Bernstein loves him.

GARZA We scored a lot of good intel off this fuckhead through the years. Almost a shame to bag the guy.

A snort from Nick. The cops glance back.

NICK A shame?

GARZA He's helped us put a lot of bad people behind bars. Look. Arrests, convictions...

NICK I can read a C.I. profile. What I see is an asshole dirty up to his ears in the drug trade. So you cops look the other way? He gets a free pass as long as he keeps feeding you convictions?

DUNNIGAN Isn't that what you did ten years ago? Give this guy a free pass in return for a conviction? (off Nick's look) Maybe we played this asshole to our advantage on the street, but you're the one who put him there. So, no offense, but you might wanna go fuck yourself a little.

Nick stares at the man on the dashboard computer screen...

27 INT. CLARENCE DARBY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 27*

...who is indeed Clarence Darby, naked and drenched with sweat, * taking a hit off a crack pipe. A woman's HAND flails up into frame, trying to grab for it.

DARBY Wait...wait...

He sucks in a full breath, hands the pipe off to: LISA, the thin tattooed skank he's got bent over his bed and is fucking from behind. She flares the bowl with a lighter, barely registering any reaction as he keeps pumping her.

BLUE - 9-19-08 22.

DARBY Almost. Almost.

LISA This shit makes you soft, baby.

DARBY (thrusting, grimacing) Thank you...for stating the obvious...you...bitch...

He grits his teeth. Screams. Finishes. He sags, catching his breath, and glances at the PLASMA TV SCREEN, which has been playing silently. He grabs the remote, unmutes the set:

NEWSCASTER (V.O.) * ...rumors the execution did not go well due to technical flaws, but that has yet to be confirmed...

DARBY "Did not go well." Way to go, Rupert. You even fucked up dying.

LISA You know that guy?

DARBY Knew. Past tense.

CELL PHONE RINGS, he answers.

VOICE Wayne?

DARBY Depends. Who's this?

VOICE Somebody who doesn't want to see you in jail. Look out your window. (Darby hesitates) Argue later. Do it now.

Darby goes to the window. Headlights in the distance. Lots of them. He grabs binoculars off the sill.

BINOCULAR POV: VEHICLES

All cop. Racing this way. No lights, no sirens.

DARBY

lowers the binoculars, stunned.

BLUE - 9-19-08 23.

VOICE There's a world of shit coming your way. I'd get out the back. Now.

Click -- line dead. Darby frozen for a moment, looking around at all the drugs and paraphernalia. He scrambles, tossing on his pants, grabbing his shirt. Lisa jumps off the bed --

LISA What?

She goes to the window, sees cars sweeping from the darkness.

LISA Are those fucking cops?

Darby lunges to a bookcase, grabs a REVOLVER from behind the * books, sails out the bedroom door...

28 INT. DOWNSTAIRS - NIGHT 28

...and races down the steps with Lisa at his heels.

LISA You ain't leaving me here!

She catches him halfway across the room, holding him back. He smashes the gun into her face repeatedly...

DARBY OFF'A ME!

...and knocks her bleeding and crying to the floor. He sails on through the kitchen, leaving her there...

29 EXT. DARBY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 29

...and bursts through the screen door, fleeing barefoot across the back yard as VEHICLES AND COPS swarm the front of the house. A cruiser nails him with a spotlight:

COP VOICE (over car speakers) You! Freeze right there!

Darby, never slowing, swings his arm around, FIRING his revolver blindly at all the lights...

30 EXT. FRONT YARD - NIGHT 30

...whoa, fuck, gunshots! Cops scramble and dive. Nick has just gotten out of Dunnigan's car -- a cruiser's window takes a blind hit nearby, exploding glass. Nick ducks, total shock, * out of his element. Drawing, Dunnigan throws him to the ground. *

DUNNIGAN STAY DOWN!

BLUE - 9-19-08 24.

31 EXT. BAD NEIGHBORHOOD - NIGHT 31

Darby runs like an amped-up rat in a maze, hearing cop cars in the night: Engines ROARING, tires SQUEALING...

Suddenly, the SOUND OF A HELICOPTER above. Darby dashes for cover against a garage, lost in shadow. A massively bright searchlight sweeps from above, probing...

Darby crouches, heart hammering, watching the searchlight scan over rooftops. His phone RINGS, he answers:

VOICE Ditch the gun. Wipe the prints.

DARBY Kiss my ass.

VOICE I heard six shots. Revolver? Bring extra ammo?

Darby glances at the gun, realizing. He bangs his head back against the garage wall in frustration -- fuck!

VOICE You shot at cops. That's attempted murder if they find the gun on you. You're in deep enough without that.

Darby frantically wipes the gun with his shirttail, as:

VOICE You'll need my help getting out.

DARBY What'll it cost me?

VOICE We'll discuss terms later. Go south, across 10th. Past the El tracks. Alley behind the clinic.

DARBY What's there?

VOICE A cop. Take his ride, he won't give * you any trouble.

DARBY How do you know?

VOICE 'Cause I tasered his ass. You gonna keep asking questions?

BLUE - 9-19-08 25.

Click -- line dead. Darby breaks cover, heaves the gun into somebody's yard, keeps moving...

32 EXT. DARBY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 32

Chaotic with cops and lights. Lisa is dragged out, shrieking and bleeding, her face a broken mess. ANGLE TO Nick watching it all unfold. He sees Dunnigan approach:

DUNNIGAN No way he's getting out of this neighborhood.

33 EXT. ALLEY - NIGHT 33

Darby finds a POLICE CRUISER parked in the moonlight, window down. Dark inside. A LOCAL COP is sprawled across the front seat...groaning, coming to.

Darby jumps in, passenger side, wrestles the cop upright. He yanks the cop's service revolver, slapping him awake.

DARBY Drive.

Darby reaches over and keys the engine to life.

DARBY Drive, fucker! I'll put your brains on the dash!

COP (disoriented) Don't shoot! Don't hurt me, okay?

DARBY Depends on you. Go.

The cop hits the gas. Tense moments go by as they accelerate up a dark road. Darby ducks as COP CARS stream past.

34 EXT. DARBY'S HOUSE - NIGHT 34

Dunnigan and Nick tense, hearing a VOICE over the radio:

COP VOICE (heavily filtered) ...air unit three...see no sign of suspect...think we lost him...

DUNNIGAN (keys mic) Keep sweeping the area, unit three. (to Tactical Commander) Go house-to-house. Check everything. * Garages, dumpsters, storm drains... *

BLUE - 9-19-08 25A.

NICK * You gotta be kidding me. *

Dunnigan -- angry, at a loss -- doesn't reply. Cops are * scrambling in all directions. *

Nick turns, steps TOWARD CAMERA INTO A TIGHT SHOT, gazing off * into the darkness. Something very weird just happened here, * but he has no idea what. Softly: *

NICK * How could we lose him? *

BLUE - 9-19-08 26.

35 EXT. INDUSTRIAL ZONE - NIGHT 35

Tracks and factories, remote and deserted. Far away, the POLICE COPTER is still buzzing, searching...

The police cruiser appears, stops. Darby emerges with gun and * flashlight leveled, motions for the cop to get out. The cop * complies with hands raised, shaking.

DARBY In the ditch.

COP ...please...don't kill me...

DARBY Knees. Let's go.

Darby shoves him stumbling into the ditch. The cop sinks to his knees and starts to weep.

COP I'll never see my wife and little girl again. I'll never see them.

DARBY It's fucked up.

Darby steps closer, draws the hammer back, takes aim for a head shot...but his PHONE RINGS. He pulls it fast.

DARBY This my guardian angel? (beat) Hello?

On his knees in the muck, the cop's quiet weeping becomes soft laughter. He brings up a cell phone, speaks into it:

COP I see you got out okay.

Darby draws back, confused, gun still aimed. The cop snaps his cell phone shut, rises to face him.

COP You know why I'll never see my wife and daughter again?

He takes his hat off, peels his moustache away. Darby pins him with the flashlight, finally and fully revealing:

BENSON CLYDE You took them from me.

Recognition floods Darby. He pulls the trigger, and:

BLUE - 9-19-08 27.

Nothing. Just a click, Darby freezing, a hiss of pain. Not comprehending. *

Clyde reaches for the gun, pries open Darby's fingers, pulls it from his grasp... revealing the TINY NEEDLES that sprang from the pistol's grip into Darby's palm.

Darby stares at his perforated palm. His knees give out and Clyde catches him, eases him to the ground. *

36 OMITTED 36* THRU THRU 38 38

39 INT. FARM SHED - NIGHT 39*

ANGLE: A head encased in a hood. The hood is pulled off, revealing Darby -- eyes wide, lying on a rough table. Benson Clyde leans over him, checks his pupils.

CLYDE Can't speak?

He displays the prop gun rigged with the needles.

CLYDE Tetrototoxin. Fascinating stuff. It paralyzes you, but leaves all other neurological functions intact.

WHITE - 9-7-8 28.

He sets the gun down, starts rooting through some instruments that Darby can't see (though he's straining to).

CLYDE That means you can't move. Or talk. But you can see. Hear. Feel. (busying himself) That last one's important. Feel. You can feel everything. (glances at bottled drugs) Got some other items here. Drugs to revive you in case you pass out. Stuff like that.

Darby almost manages to speak, thrashing weakly. Clyde leans over, checks his pupils again.

CLYDE Wearing off a little. No worries.

He tucks a padded block under Darby's head like a pillow, raising his head so he can see better. Clyde moves down the table, tightens straps holding Darby down. But the worst part:

TOURNIQUETS are tied on Darby's arms and legs at various points. Darby sees them and starts hyperventilating.

CLYDE Oh. These. Don't want you bleeding out. This will take a while.

Clyde puts on a thick coat, like a meat-packer's. He returns, sorting implements, Darby trying to see. Clyde obliges him, holding things up:

CLYDE (pliers) Teeth. (hacksaw) Balls. (bolt cutter) Fingers. Maybe toes. (scalpel) Eyelids. In case you insist on shutting your eyes.

Darby's screaming -- but with the tetrototoxin in his system, all that's coming out is air, like a slow leak.

Clyde picks up an object, unfolds it -- a full-body plastic coat. He puts it on over his other coat, as:

CLYDE Earlier on the phone? I said I'd get you out? You asked me what it would cost? Well.

BLUE - 9-19-08 29.

He finishes buttoning up, crosses back to the table, raises a new object into view: a CIRCULAR POWER SAW. *

CLYDE We'll start with an arm and a leg. Go from there.

Pause. The reality of what he's about to do washing over him: *

CLYDE I've been waiting to say that line * for years. But it wasn't very funny, was it? No. Played much better in my head. Maybe it's my delivery.

He puts a construction-site face protector atop his head, the kind with a full plastic face shield that can be flipped down. *

He turns and undoes the slipknot of a laundry cord stretching * up to the ceiling. He feeds the cord and a full-length mirror * tilts down horizontally above the table. Darby finds himself * staring straight up into it -- he'll see everything. *

ANGLE FROM BEHIND VIDEO CAMERA

The CAMERA'S LCD SCREEN looms large in our shot. The LCD is dark, the camera inactive. It's mounted high on a tripod, aimed down at the table. Clyde approaches b.g., pauses.

CLYDE Gosh. My heart's beating. You? *

He flips his visor down -- dark, no face visible. He reaches up, turns the camera on. The LCD screen activates.

ANGLE CLOSES IN until all we see is:

THE LCD IMAGE. Grainy in low light. Clyde, now faceless behind the visor, crosses to the squirming figure on the table. We hear the CIRCULAR SAW BUILD TO A HIGH SHRIEK...

FADE TO BLACK

...and the SHRIEKING SAW FADES...

40 HOLD IN BLACK. 40

THE BLACKNESS OPENS UP -- we're in a cop car's trunk looking up as the lid is opened. A FIGURE in a meat-packing coat looms over us, faceless and scary behind a dark face protector.

ANGLE INTO TRUNK *

reveals OFFICER HILTS hand-cuffed and duct-taped. He's spent * the night in here. He recoils, terrified and blinded by glare. *

BLUE - 9-19-08 29A.

The figure opens a wicked-sharp butterfly knife, CLICK-CLACKS it open. He leans down, slits the tape binding Hilts' arms, drops the keys in the cop's hands.

41 EXT. COUNTRY DIRT ROAD - DAWN 41

The police cruiser sits on a dirt road, a FEMALE DISPATCHER'S VOICE issuing softly and incessantly from the radio:

BLUE - 9-19-08 30.

FEMALE VOICE ...unit twenty one, come in...unit twenty one, please respond...report your location...

The mysterious figure strides from the police cruiser to a MIDNIGHT BLUE 1965 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL in superb condition, shrugging off his thick coat. He gets in, hits the gas.

Hilts struggles to uncuff himself in the cruiser's trunk, * arms and legs cramping, as: *

The Lincoln becomes a CLOUD OF DUST receding in the distance... *

42 INT. NICK'S KITCHEN - MORNING 42*

Cleaning up the aftermath of the party: Nick up on a step- stool taking down the birthday banner; Kell in her robe feeding the dishwasher; Emma zooming in and out shuttling paper plates and plastic cups into a big trash bag...

EMMA ...and while we were singing karaoke, Ashley was all dancing around and jumping up and down and suddenly she gets this look on her face...

KELL I saw it coming.

EMMA ...and suddenly she just went barf. Total puke moment. And we were all like, ewwww gross! It was so funny...

She's out of the kitchen to grab more stuff. Kell starts preparing a bowl of cereal for Emma.

KELL Funny for her. I cleaned it up.

NICK I had my "ewwww gross" moment last night too.

KELL Hey. I had a house full of shrieking ten year-old girls.

NICK Hey. I saw a guy's veins dissolve.

KELL Honey. It's not a competition. (off his look) Okay, you win.

BLUE - 9-19-08 31.

Emma re-enters, dumping more trash:

EMMA ...so Tara says that's what you get for eating too much cake and that almost made Ashley puke again...

The DOORBELL RINGS. Kell glances out the window.

KELL Delivery.

EMMA (grabs her cereal) I'll get it!

She runs out. Nick comes off the step-stool, gratefully accepts a cup of coffee from Kell. He suddenly freezes, notices:

The kitchen TV is playing CNN: a top-of-the-hour story on the Rupert Ames execution and foul-up.

NICK Oh, shit. We've gone national.

43 INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY 43

At the front door, a MESSENGER hands Emma a GIFT BASKET trailing mylar balloons with "Happy Birthday Emma" on them.

EMMA Thank you!

She closes the door, turns toward us, finds a CARDBOARD ENVELOPE on the basket -- a card? She opens it, finds:

Not a card. An unlabeled DVD.

44 EXT. COUNTRY DIRT ROAD - DAY 44

LOCAL SHERIFFS (not city cops) are spreading out across the * fields, beating the grass, looking for clues...

ANGLE TO Officer Hilts, blanket-draped and still rattled by his night-long ordeal, being interviewed by a SERGEANT:

SERGEANT ...the suspect who tasered you last * night...was it the same person who * let you out of the trunk this morning?

HILTS I never saw a face...either time...he wore a thing, a face shield...

Suddenly, we hear a DISTANT VOICE shouting in panic:

BLUE - 9-19-08 32.

VOICE Sergeant! Sergeant!

Everybody's gaze snaps up, tense. Across the fields, a YOUNG COP is stumbling away from a distant farm shed, pointing: *

YOUNG COP Come quick! You gotta see this!

45 INT. NICK'S KITCHEN - DAY 45

Nick at the table with Kell, riveted to CNN: STATE OFFICIALS, including Iger, are being grilled in a media frenzy. Cantrell was right, it's a shitstorm of scrutiny...

46 INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY 46

Emma, munching her bowl of breakfast cereal, slots the DVD in the player. She backs up, hits play with the remote.

An IMAGE appears on screen, grainy. Emma looks perplexed. It's not a normal DVD -- more like a bad home movie:

A figure in a plastic coat and face shield turns from the camera to a table, where another man is strapped down.

The first man raises a circular saw. The man on the table is thrashing weakly, trying to move. Emma still has no idea what she's looking at. Suddenly:

The man with the saw makes a quick sweep across the table, across the other man's leg at the shin. The move was so fast and casual that it's taking a moment to sink in:

Emma stands frozen, clutching her cereal bowl.

EMMA Daddy?

B.G., we see Nick lean back in his chair, reacting to her tone of voice...and by what sounds like a shrieking saw.

On screen, the man with the saw picks up the severed limb and shows it to the victim. It's been lopped off below the knee.

Emma drops her bowl -- it shatters at her feet. Nick and Kell enter behind her, confused, not sure what they're seeing...

On screen, the man with the saw lops off the victim's forearm.

KELL Oh my God!

Emma turns, throws herself into her parents' arms. They drop to their knees, shielding their sobbing daughter. PUSH IN ON them staring at the shrieking saw...

BLUE - 9-19-08 33.

KELL What the hell is this? Jesus Christ, Nick! Turn it off! Turn it off! (comforting Emma) It's okay, baby, I'm here...

Nick lunges to turn off the TV as:

FROM THIS POINT ONWARD, WE PLAY THE SEQUENCE AS MONTAGE:

47 INT. FARM SHED - DAY 47*

The door is swung open in a blaze of sunlight. The local cops enter with pistols drawn and shotguns leveled. Faces go stark with horror as their eyes adjust.

SERGEANT Oh my Lord.

48 INT. A RENOVATED FARMHOUSE SOMEWHERE - DAY 48*

A RECORD is pulled from a sleeve. An old-school vinyl LP.

49 INT. FARM SHED - DAY 49*

Cops easing in. ANGLE SWINGS QUEASILY AROUND as they enter, WIDENING to reveal a scene of nightmare intensity: Blood everywhere. Streaks. Spatters. And body parts. Strewn and discarded. Intestines nailed to the rafters overhead.

50 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY 50

A RECORD PLAYER NEEDLE DROPS, hits the groove with a HISS of vinyl. MUSIC STARTS TO PLAY LOUDLY, BOOMING through the space. *

FOCUS REMAINS WITH the spinning record. An OUT-OF-FOCUS FIGURE in a rolling chair pushes away from the record player and sails across the room toward a brightly-lit work table...

51 INT. FARM SHED - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 51*

Cops are covering their mouths with handkerchiefs, gagging. The stench is incredible. Flies are buzzing and swarming. One cop turns away and doubles over, trying not to puke.

The Sergeant moves cautiously forward, finds: A HEAD. On the wooden dissection table. Clarence Darby, not that you'd recognize him. His eyes are gone. His lips are missing. His teeth...well, most of them are scattered about.

52 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 52

A MINIATURE CIVIL WAR SOLDIER is held in extreme magnification before us under a tabletop magnifier, the tip of a paintbrush delicately evoking stunning detail...

BLUE - 9-19-08 34.

53 INT. NICK'S HOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 53

Emma is still sobbing into her mother's arms as Nick takes the frame f.g., shouting into the phone:

NICK My daughter is traumatized! She's * only ten! It's a goddamn snuff film! * In my home! *

54 INT. DETECTIVE'S BULLPEN - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 54

GARZA (motioning O.S.) Price got a video of it happening delivered to his house...

Dunnigan enters frame f.g., snatches up his extension. He listens for a few beats, trying to get a word in:

DUNNIGAN Yeah, we know. Nick, we know. The body's been found. The pieces, anyway. Call just came in. (beat) In some old shed on a farm outside * the city. About a hundred and fifty acre piece of property.

55 INT. NICK'S HOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 55

NICK Belonging to who?

56 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 56

A GIANT EYEBALL stares at us, unnaturally magnified by a tabletop magnifier. The lens is swept aside, revealing:

Benson Clyde. In addition to the tabletop magnifier, he's wearing MAGNIFYING LENSES on his head. He examines the figurine with his naked eye, then flips the glasses down to continue...

57 EXT. COUNTRY HIGHWAY - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 57

VEHICLES race along two-lane blacktop: CRUISERS, UNMARKED CARS, TACTICAL VANS. A POLICE HELICOPTER skims along just above them at scary-low altitude...

The cars veer off pavement and up a dirt road, kicking up an awesome trail of dust as the copter sweeps wide, pacing...

58 INT. CARS - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 58

Tense faces: Dunnigan, Garza, Nick.

WHITE - 9-7-8 35.

59 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 59

Clyde pauses, hearing a RUMBLE under the music. Glances up as the rumble passes overhead -- a helicopter? He clicks on a tiny fan, holds the figurine under it, giving it a final dry.

60 EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 60

A shitstorm descends: vehicles swerving in, COPS jumping out, machine gun-toting SWAT TACTICAL TROOPS pouring from vans...

61 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY (SONG CONTINUES) 61

Clyde, still holding the figurine under the whirring fan, leans to one side in his chair, glancing out the window.

He glimpses scurrying figures behind cars, cops darting and surrounding the house, motioning with hand signals...

He holds up the figurine for a final look. Satisfied with it, he places it onto:

A CHESSBOARD -- the last piece. All the others are also hand- painted, gorgeous. Real craftsmanship here.

He stands. Calmly moves to the middle of the room. Kicks off his shoes. Peels off his shirt and undershirt. Even takes off his pants. There will be no confusion about hidden weapons.

He positions himself, very precise and purposeful. Lifts his hands high above his head. Presenting himself. Waiting.

Then, bam: doors EXPLODE in and windows SHATTER as the SWAT tactical troops storm the room, bad-asses in black, machine guns aimed, encircling him, everybody shouting:

SWAT TROOPS DO NOT MOVE--FREEZE MOTHERFUCKER-- DON'T EVEN TWITCH--WE WILL FIRE UPON YOU--LET'S SEE THOSE HANDS--

Clyde is the calm eye of a pissed-off storm of highly professional cops with itchy trigger fingers. He remains serene, looking around at them, hands raised high...

SWAT CAPTAIN ON THE FLOOR! FACE DOWN! DO IT NOW!

He compliantly goes to his knees, then prone, offers his hands behind his back. They move in, cuff him, as troops spread throughout the house yelling "Clear!"

62 EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY 62

Nick, wearing his kevlar, follows Dunnigan and Garza. Nick glances over and sees a perfect 1965 midnight-blue Lincoln Continental in the carport...

BLUE - 9-19-08 36.

63 INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY 63

Clyde is pulled to his feet just as Nick enters. UNIFORMS spread out, securing the house. Dunnigan faces Clyde...

DUNNIGAN Benson Clyde. You have the right to remain silent...

...as the full Miranda is read, Nick and Clyde have their eyes locked throughout -- this moment is all about them...

DUNNIGAN ...understand your rights as I have explained them?

CLYDE Yes.

Clyde is hustled outside, leaving Nick with Dunnigan and Garza in the farmhouse -- it's renovated, clean, very loft-like.

Nick drifts to the table, sees the chess board, can't help admiring the pieces. Then his eyes go to a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. He's stunned to realize: they're all law books.

GARZA (O.S.) Check this shit out.

Nick turns, moves to Garza's side. Dunnigan joins them. All three staring at a wall. ANGLE SHIFTS around to reveal:

The long-ago PHOTO (clipped from a newspaper) of Nick and Clarence Darby shaking hands on the courthouse steps.

ANGLE WIDENS to reveal:

Photo after photo. The crime scene photos...photos of Clyde and his family in happier times...photos clipped from magazines and newspapers about the murder and trial...all very neatly and precisely arrayed. The entire wall covered with them.

THE MUSIC KEEPS BOOMING from the record player. Dunnigan turns * TIGHT TO CAMERA and yells:

DUNNIGAN CAN SOMEBODY TURN THAT FUCKING MUSIC OFF, PLEASE?

64 INT. POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY 64

Clyde sits alone and isolated in a small room. WIDEN to reveal Sarah at the observation glass. She turns as Nick steps up.

SARAH He says he'll only talk to you.

WHITE - 9-7-8 37.

Nick and Dunnigan prepare to go in. Dunnigan takes off his gun and holster, lays them on a table, as Garza activates the VIDEO. Cantrell finds a chair by feel, sits down, as:

INNER ROOM

Nick and Dunnigan enter. Dunnigan melts into a corner to observe as Nick sits across the table from Clyde.

CLYDE Counselor.

NICK Mr. Clyde.

CLYDE Why so formal? We go way back. Call me Benson. Or Ben.

Nick sits across the table from Clyde, settles in.

NICK Well. I'm here. So?

CLYDE So. Maybe you can explain what this is all about.

Nick almost laughs -- not what he expected to hear.

NICK I think that's obvious.

Clyde spreads his hands questioningly -- not really.

DUNNIGAN You murdered two people. Rupert Ames and Clarence Darby.

CLYDE (shifts his gaze) Detective...?

DUNNIGAN Dunnigan.

CLYDE Dunnigan. I thought I'd made it clear I would only speak to the gentleman across the table from me.

Dunnigan glowers at him, looks to Nick.

NICK You murdered two people. Rupert Ames and Clarence Darby.

BLUE - 9-19-08 38.

CLYDE Darby? I knew about Ames, of course. I've been following the news about his horribly botched execution. But Darby too? Quite a coincidence.

DUNNIGAN Cut the shit. We know you did it. Save everybody a lot of time and trouble and just confess.

CLYDE Are you going to continue to insist on being part of this conversation?

DUNNIGAN Yes.

CLYDE (beat, gives in) Fine. Far be it from me to be rude.

NICK Clarence Darby was found on your property. Old abandoned shed? *

CLYDE I didn't know I had one. It's 150 acres, uncultivated. The other day I found a creek I never knew I had. Hunters trespass all the time. You going to try to pin the dead deer on me too?

OBSERVATION AREA

SARAH I don't believe this guy.

CANTRELL That man is frosty.

INNER ROOM *

CLYDE It occurs to me that an even moderately clever person could try to frame me for the murder simply by killing him on my property. One of Darby's drug rivals? That's an unsavory world. (off Nick's stare) A jury would have to weigh that possibility. What else you got?

BLUE - 9-19-08 39.

NICK (temper flaring) How about video of you dismembering Darby while he was still alive?

CLYDE That's odd. See, if I were to do such a thing, I'd probably wear something so I couldn't be identified. Some kind of mask maybe. But you say it's actually me on the video? Did the camera capture my good side? *

Nick snaps, lunges across the table, grabs Clyde.

NICK You sick fuck, you sent it to my house! My daughter saw that video! It fucking traumatized her! She couldn't stop sobbing!

Dunnigan moves in fast, trying to pull Nick off (but failing):

DUNNIGAN Whoa-whoa, Nick, ease off!

CLYDE No trouble here, Detective, we're fine. Thank you, though.

Dunnigan backs off. Clyde turns back to Nick, who's still got him in his grasp, their faces close.

CLYDE Your daughter is, what, ten now? That's a wonderful age. My daughter was always so busy at that age, so interested, so into everything. Jumping around. I called her "Bean," she jumped around so much.

Nick is easing off by inches, subtly and ineffably weirded- out, unable to break Clyde's gaze. Softly:

CLYDE I am sorry, Nick, that your daughter experienced that. You're right. That video should not have arrived that way. The person who sent it should have thought twice.

Dunnigan moves in again, gently but firmly pulls Nick away.

DUNNIGAN Okay, enough.

WHITE - 9-7-8 40.

CLYDE Unless there's hard evidence tying me to these crimes -- forensic or otherwise -- why am I here? Why are we having this conversation?

NICK We know you did it.

CLYDE It's not about what you know. It's about what you can prove in court. (off Nick's look) Your words. Like when you called it a justice system. You know the thing about a system, Nick? Any system can be played.

NICK You think you can play us? You gonna take me on?

CLYDE Clarence Darby did. And I'm much smarter than he was. Or you.

Nick advances, furious, held back by Dunnigan:

NICK I'm gonna bury you, fucker!

CLYDE (lunges to his feet) That's it, that's what I want! That fire in the belly! That's what I wanted ten years ago! Do it, Nick! Bury me!

DUNNIGAN (shouting at Clyde) Sit down! Sit the fuck down!

Clyde does, settles in, speaking calmly:

CLYDE Or. Set me free.

NICK What?

CLYDE Did I stutter? Make your case. Or. Shake my hand on the courthouse steps and send me on my way. (off Nick's look) I'll even make it easy on you. I will confess, how's that?

BLUE - 9-19-08 41.

NICK You're gonna confess.

CLYDE Let's start tomorrow after a good night's sleep. We'll all be fresh and rested.

65 EXT. CITY HALL COURTYARD - DAY 65

Nick paces agitated, with the group: *

SARAH * Ten years he's been planning this? * Patient people make me nervous. This? This freaks me out. *

DUNNIGAN * Is he serious about confessing? * What's his deal, is he crazy?

NICK Confession or not, we're gonna nail him on two counts of first-degree.

CANTRELL Agreed, but softly. Nothing hard- ass, no grand-standing. Kid gloves.

NICK Kid gloves? He's a psycho with a power saw.

CANTRELL Depending on who's writing the headline, he's a grieving husband and father who got revenge on the men who murdered his wife and child. (off Nick's look) Public sympathy is to be respected and feared. This could blow up in our faces if we're not careful. We can't look like we're pissed off or have an ax to grind. (stops) Are we pissed off? Do we have an ax to grind?

NICK No.

BLUE - 9-19-08 42.

CANTRELL Then stop acting like it.

Beat. Nick takes a deep breath.

NICK Okay. He got under my skin a little. That's done.

66 EXT. CITY HALL - DAY 66

STEADICAM TWO SILHOUETTES: We're following Nick and Sarah through one of the pedestrian tunnels to the street:

NICK ...background check's gotta be thorough, I want to know everything there is to know about this son of a bitch. Get all the ADAs on it, tell 'em I better not see them sitting around on their asses or texting their pals...

SARAH How about outside help? That P.I. who helped us on the Jacovitz case?

NICK Yeah, he was good. And Hanson's * always reliable. But try to limit their hours, okay?

We find a MERCEDES at the curb -- Kell at the wheel, Emma in back. Nick gets in. Sarah leans down, happy to see them. Emma's face lights up -- the little girl obviously adores her.

KELL Well, hello there beauty!

SARAH Hey Kell! Hey Emma, how's my dynamo?

EMMA Hi, Sarah!

KELL We haven't seen you in so long it's ridiculous. When are you gonna come by for a visit?

SARAH Who needs a life, right? Talk to your husband, maybe he'll give us a day off one of these years.

KELL Soon, huh? Seriously, we miss you.

BLUE - 9-19-08 43.

Sarah blows Emma a big extravagant kiss. Emma returns it, waves as they pull away. Nick and Kell glance back, happy to see their daughter acting a bit more like her old self...

67 INT. NICK'S HOUSE - NIGHT 67

Late. Nick, in t-shirt and pajama bottoms, comes up a dark hallway with a file in his hand, rubbing his eyes. He comes to his daughter's bedroom door, quietly turns the knob...

EMMA'S BEDROOM

...and finds the bed empty. Sheets thrown back.

Nick stands for a moment, every irrational fear he's ever had washing over him. CAMERA FOLLOWS HIM fast down the hallway...

...into the master bedroom, where he finds Emma sleeping with Kell. He stands for a moment, heart hammering. Softly:

NICK Fuck.

Kell stirs, sees him, puts a finger to her lips. In whispers:

NICK I saw her bed empty. Scared the shit out of me. Don't know why.

KELL She had a bad dream. She wanted to sleep with us tonight.

NICK (feels his heart race) Jesus.

EMMA (stirs) Daddy...?

He climbs onto the bed, cuddles up, Emma between them.

EMMA I had a nightmare. That man. *

NICK I know. Shhh. We're all good. You're safe. Nobody's gonna hurt you.

KELL Especially not that man. Daddy's gonna put him in jail forever. That's what daddy does. He makes sure the bad people stay locked away.

Nick lays there, listening...

BLUE - 9-19-08 44.

68 OMITTED 68*

69 INT. "THE DOME" - DAY 69*

A huge domed chamber. In the center of the floor stands a smaller free-standing domed cage, like a bizarre birdcage.

Inside the birdcage: Nick and Garza wait. Garza mans a camera.

Outside the birdcage: Observers. Some (Cantrell and Sarah) occupy floor-level, where the video monitors are. Others (Iger and Dunnigan) are on a catwalk above that encircles the room.

A door opens and Clyde is brought into the birdcage. He gazes around, checking his surroundings.

CLYDE I admit I expected something more modern. That jail downtown? *

NICK Filled to capacity. It has been for years. They had to re-open this for the overflow. Part of it anyway. *

GARZA Welcome to the county jail annex. * All new inmates come here. It was * in the papers.

CLYDE Right. Prison crowding. It's a problem.

He sits. Nick joins him, pulls out a legal pad.

NICK For the record: You've waived legal counsel. You've offered to confess to the murders of Clarence Darby and Rupert Ames. Yes?

CLYDE We'll get to that. First, what I'd really like to talk about is the cot in my cell. It's lumpy. (off Nick's stare) Hardly any padding? Steel springs? Very uncomfortable?

BLUE - 9-19-08 45.

NICK I know what lumpy means. Sorry to hear it. But we're not here to talk about prison conditions, we're here to talk about things you've done.

CLYDE Start with things I haven't done. Like get any sleep last night. (beat, leans forward) I said let's begin today fresh and * rested. You recall my words? *

NICK * What do you want from me?

CLYDE A bed in my cell.

NICK A bed. In your cell.

CLYDE Yes, please. One of those Sleep- Matic adjustables. Those are best. *

NICK You want the variable temperature control too?

CLYDE That would be nice.

Beat. Nick tosses his legal pad on the table, swivels around in his chair to the observers up on the catwalk, spreads his arms in a "help me" gesture.

NICK Anybody?

DUNNIGAN It's a steel cot! It's bolted to * the wall! *

BLUE - 9-19-08 46.

CLYDE I'm sure they have a wrench. *

IGER We also have rules prohibiting * personal items such as beds. *

CLYDE (looks to Nick) Let me get this straight. You're going to let a bed prevent this confession from taking place.

NICK You looking to deal? All right, how's this? How about I don't kick your fucking teeth down your throat?

Clyde is mildly taken aback. The cops tense up.

CANTRELL Nick.

NICK Sorry, Jonas. Okay, kid gloves. (to Clyde) My daughter slept in our bed last night. She hasn't done that since she was six. You gave her nightmares. So excuse me if I don't feel like cutting any little deals today.

CLYDE My daughter can't have nightmares, because she died with Clarence * Darby's breath in her face. You * gave him a reduced sentence and his * freedom. All I want is a good night's sleep.

70 EXT. PRISON COURTYARD - DAY 70

Everybody's wound up, talking fast:

NICK This is bullshit. He's jerking our chain big-time...

CANTRELL I can justify the expense. *

IGER It's not just a bed. Every inmate * here will be on the phone to their * lawyer filing lawsuits for equal treatment. Can you justify that? *

BLUE - 9-19-08 47.

SARAH * (offering) We give him a bed, he confesses, we * take the bed away. At most it's one * night. *

Cantrell weighs it, decides:

CANTRELL We're talking a high-profile double homicide. Order the bed.

71 INT. CELLBLOCK - CLYDE'S CELL - DAY 71

Clyde watches as MAINTENANCE MEN remove the unbolted cot from the cell and his Sleep-Matic is rolled in.

CONVICTS watch, dumbfounded. Clyde's cellmate, a towering Aryan Brother named DWIGHT DIXON, stands quietly amazed...

CLYDE (V.O.) (pre-lap) Switching the drugs was easy...

72 INT. "THE DOME" - DAY 72

Back in the birdcage:

CLYDE I hacked the Fedex database, diverted the package to me, made the switch, sent the package on. It's automated tracking numbers moving millions of packages daily. Nobody's questioning who receives what, or why.

NICK And the prison phones?

CLYDE Get a phone company uniform, hack the prison database, schedule an official visit. They'll wave you through the gate, like they did me. It's simple if you know how things work. (off Nick's look) It's a system. You learn how it works. You play it. Any system.

BLUE - 9-19-08 48.

NICK (beat) I saw him die. That stuff burned his veins. He suffered terribly.

CLYDE Score.

Nick flips to a new page on his pad.

NICK Let's move on to Clarence Darby.

CLYDE (sits back) * Hey, you like music?

NICK (hesitates) * Very much. Why? *

CLYDE I could tell. I love music. All of * it. It's like air in my lungs. So the thing about Clarence Darby is, I want my record collection and player brought to me. The vinyl discs as well as CDs.

Reactions all around the room. Iger leans forward:

IGER Vinyl records and CDs can be broken into shards. They make excellent weapons. My answer to that one, Mr. Clyde, is not no, but hell no. *

Clyde absorbs that, looks to Nick, as:

NICK It's a legitimate concern.

CLYDE (beat, calls to Iger) How about my ipod and speaker dock?

73 INT. CELLBLOCK - CLYDE'S CELL - DAY 73

AN IPOD AND SPEAKER DOCK now occupy a small plywood shelf attached to the railing outside Clyde's cell. A GUARD plugs it in via a long orange extension cord.

ANGLE WIDENS to Iger, who turns to the bars and hands a remote control through to Clyde. Dixon's watching balefully, as is every inmate on the cellblock.

WHITE - 9-7-8 49.

IGER The player stays out here. You hand the remote to the on-duty guard every night at lights out. Those terms aren't negotiable.

CLYDE I appreciate your compromise.

Iger draws close to the bars. Quietly:

IGER You looking to get your ass kicked? (off Clyde's look) By every inmate on this cellblock. You keep this up, they'll take it out on you. Harshly.

Clyde glances back to Dwight. Dwight's watching, glowering, agreement in his silence. Clyde turns back to Iger.

IGER Just trying to keep you alive in here. That's all.

Iger walks away. Clyde aims the remote. MUSIC STARTS PLAYING. He leans his head on the bars, listening, blissed. Cons all over the cellblock are staring daggers at him.

CLYDE (O.S.) (pre-lap) I took his fingers with a bolt cutter. His toes with a pair of tin snips. His balls with a hacksaw...

74 INT. "THE DOME" - DAY 74

CLYDE ...his penis with a box cutter. His skin with a filet knife. His teeth with pliers. His eyes...for those I used my fingers. (looks to Nick) Check the video I made. All that will match up. I kept him alive for an hour, give or take. Time it.

Nick trades looks with the others in the room -- everybody have what they need? People nod. Nicks closes his pad.

CLYDE What now?

NICK My office types it up, you sign.

BLUE - 9-19-08 50.

Nick rises, putting things in his briefcase. People get ready to leave -- but Clyde motions Garza to keep it rolling.

CLYDE How about a signing bonus? The small concessions you've made so far have kept my cooperation flowing...why not give me a reward for signing?

NICK You don't want to sign, don't sign. We've got you on videotape, we'll go to trial. In ten years, when your appeals are exhausted, I'll attend your execution. I'll make sure nobody tampers with the drugs.

CLYDE Don't be such a hard-ass, Nick. I don't want much. Just a good meal. (directed at Iger) The food here? Sucks. No offense.

Dunnigan glances at Nick and stifles a smile, enjoying where this is going in spite of himself:

DUNNIGAN What do you have in mind?

CLYDE There's a place in town on Halston. La Traviata. Ever been? *

DUNNIGAN It's a little above my pay grade.

CLYDE You know it, don't you, Nick? *

NICK I've eaten there. So? *

CLYDE They cater. Tonight, at 7 p.m., I * would like my meal delivered to my cell from La Traviata. With nice silverware, crisp linens...

NICK Not gonna happen.

CLYDE Why not?

BLUE - 9-19-08 51.

NICK Because I have no interest in making it happen. And you have nothing left to bargain with.

CLYDE C'mon, Nick. We've just started bargaining. You haven't even heard what I'm offering yet.

This makes people pause. Something in the tone of his voice.

CLYDE Miss Lowell? Is your laptop still on? Would you please do a search?

She flips the laptop opens, dread mounting even though she's not sure why, poises her fingers over the keys.

CLYDE William...Baxter...Reynolds.

Cantrell's quietly stunned as the name sinks in. Pin-drop silence now. Laptop keys CLACKING SOFTLY. People frozen.

DUNNIGAN Who's William Reynolds?

>>>

/ Law-Abiding Citizen.
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