Traffic by Stephen Gaghan
Based on the miniseries "Traffik"
EXT. COLUMBUS, OHIO - DAY
The state capital of Ohio. It's an impressive building for
a city this size.
SUPERTITLE: COLUMBUS, OHIO - STATE CAPITAL
INT. OHIO STATE SUPREME COURT - DAY
In chambers striving for august, JUSTICES listen to a lawyer
MR. RODMAN, argue his case before the highest court in Ohio.
Mr. Rodman enjoys the sound of his own voice.
This informant, paid by the police,
using taxpayers dollars to continue
his felony drug habit, was the link
which allowed police to raid a private
farm. A working farm. A farm where
honest Americans make their living.
One particular justice, ROBERT WAKEFIELD, younger than the
others, is clearly bemused by this performance.
The government, in its haste, has
employed an army of criminals whose
allegiance to the truth is, at
best, questionable --
Judge Wakefield interrupts --
Mr. Rodman...it's too bad your client
didn't show as much sense in choosing
what he planted as he did in choosing
A polite chuckle from the justices --
Lately the only variation I'm hearing
in your argument is the name of the
client. And you can sit there all
day arguing the ins and outs of
Illinois v. Gates, but you aren't
going to convince me that this country
has not sanctioned the use of
Furthermore, there is no sacred
protection of property rights in the
United Sates. When you make the
decision to have marijuana on your
farm, whether it's one joint or an
acre of plants, your property can be
seized and your property can be sold.
I'm sorry the court finds my argument
Mr. Rodman, may I offer a piece of
advice? The next time you argue
this point before this court,
regardless of my whereabouts, I
recommend you have something up your
sleeve other than your arm.
INT. ROBERT'S CHAMBERS - DAY
The office is marble and dark wood. A young CLERK, black,
29, enters carrying an oddly-shaped gift. They both look at
What do you think it is?
Depends who it's from.
(reading the card)
Your friends at Warren, Putnam and
You can learn a lot about somebody
from this stuff. Three categories:
you like me, you hate me, you want
something from me.
(re: the elaborate
Definitely third category.
What would a law firm want from the
new drug Czar?
Depends on the state.
Medicinal marijuana initiative.
Or am I being cynical?
They both laugh. Robert reaches up and pulls a bottle of
Scotch from a shelf. He pours a couple of fingers in two
Maybe there's a book in it.
The clerk takes one of the glasses.
Not by me.
They toast and drink.
EXT. COURTHOUSE - DAY
Robert exits, trailed by a small group of reporters. He
gets into a car being driven by two security TYPES.
INT. AIRPLANE - DAY
Robert sits in a business class window seat.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
An expensive hotel. Robert Wakefield stands at the window,
looking at the view of our nation's capital.
SUPERTITLE: WASHINGTON D.C.
ON THE TABLE
The remnants of a meal. It was a steak and a small caesar
salad. The wine glass is half-empty.
ANOTHER ANGLE ON ROBERT
In front of the mirror now, trying on a dark, tasteful jacket.
On Robert in the same position, only now we are in HIS HOME.
It's daytime, and his wife BARBARA is helping him into this
same jacket. As her hands dust the lint off his shoulders
WE MATCH CUT TO:
In the hotel rooms, making the same motions. Satisfied, he
straightens, then turns to look at himself.
ANGLE ON ROBERT
Back at the hotel room window now. Reaches to the table and
lifts the wine glass.
EXT. DIRT ROAD - DAY
This is the middle of nowhere. Scrub cactus and dust and a
SUPERTITLE: MEXICO - TWENTY MILES SOUTHWEST OF TIJUANA.
A broken down-looking Police Sedan is parked on the side of
the road. It seems abandoned except there are TWO MEN inside.
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
Two Mexican men, State Police officers, JAVIER RODRIGUEZ,
30's, and MANUEL "MANOLO" SANCHEZ, 20's, wearing jeans, knock-
off Polo shirts, and cowboy boots, wait patiently in the
I had that dream again.
A long pause.
Another long pause.
Where my mother's suffocating.
They continue to wait until there is the sound of a JET
ENGINE. It grows LOUDER as it approaches.
EXT. THE POLICE SEDAN - DAY
The shadow of a large plane crosses the desert floor. Then,
an old DC-3 flies fifty feet above the Police Sedan.
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
They watch the plane disappear over a small rise in the
desert. They look at each other and wait some more.
EXT. MEXICAN DESERT - LATER
From the direction of the landing strip, a moving van lumbers
down the road, two TEENAGERS in the cab.
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
Javi and Manolo watch the moving van approach. Javi reaches
under the seat and picks up a bubble flasher. He rolls down
the window and plants it on the roof. He flips the switch.
Nothing happens. He jiggles the wire and the siren BURPS
and the light flashes. Manolo and Javi step from the car,
EXT. MEXICAN DESERT - DAY
The moving van slows to a stop. Javi approaches. The DRIVER
unhurriedly rolls down the window.
Is there a problem?
No. There's no problem.
The driver hesitates a confused beat then reaches for his
Okay. I see. How much do you want?
The driver pulls a wad of bills. Javi shakes his head.
You want more than this?
Javi shakes his head. The driver exchanges a look with his
You want something else?
Javi smiles. The driver gets out and walks to the back of
the truck. He opens the rear door. There are neatly-stacked
crates marked with a SCORPION logo and "911." He reaches
into one of them and pulls out a tightly-sealed package also
with the scorpion stamped on it. He turns to see Javi with
his gun drawn.
Manolo, at the passenger side, has also drawn his gun and is
motioning the partner to move to the back of the truck.
Drop the package. Put your hands
behind your head. You're under
The driver hesitates. He starts to comply then looks at
Javi and Manolo.
I don't understand. I think there
must be some mistake.
No, there's no mistake.
Javi motions to Manolo who cuffs both teenagers. The driver
begins spewing OBSCENITIES under his breath. Javi puts the
driver in the front of the Shadow. Manolo follows in the
EXT. DIRT ROAD - MEXICO - LATER
The truck follows the Shadow down a desert road.
Suddenly, from behind, four armored SUV's with tinted windows
appear, closing fast.
The SUV's force both vehicles off the road where they pull
to a stop. A long beat as hot wind blows desert detritus
past the truck.
Finally, the SUV doors open and FEDERAL POLICE OFFICERS
surround them like a SWAT team.
The passenger door of the lead SUV opens and GENERAL ARTURO
SALAZAR, 50's, a squat, powerful presence in a perfectly
pressed uniform gets out and approaches Javi.
What's your name?
Well, Javier Rodriguez, you've done
a very good job, but we'll take care
of it from here.
Javier stares into the implacable reflection of his
sunglasses. In the distance, the DC-3 takes off and ROARS
over their heads.
We've been following these Narco-
trafficantes for some time but had
not been able to bring them to
(to his men)
Put the prisoners in the car.
Impound the truck.
The men follow Salazar's orders.
One question. How did you find about
What is the name of your informant?
It was an anonymous tip.
Salazar looks at Javi a beat.
(to his men)
For a State Police officer, you're
very well informed. Let's go.
Javi and Manolo watch the convoy of
vehicles drive away.
Javier lights a cigarette.
Wasn't that General Salazar?
What's he doing up here?
I don't know. Something.
They start for their car.
EXT. DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE - DAY
SUPERTITLE: SAN DIEGO
Two men, RAY CASTRO, 30's, proud, ambitious, and MONTEL
GORDON, 40's, suspicious of everyone including himself and
always, always the smartest guy in the room, walk from a
Lincoln Towncar toward a dumpy office. Castro is talking
under his breath --
No telltales. Nothing to read.
Not touching my face. Not even
blinking. No giveaways.
How're you feeling?
I feel good.
No more pissant basin league bullshit
for us, hunh?
Castro stretches his arms, swings them around.
Limbering up, gonna stay loose, keep
it all together. Take this
They reach the door to the office. Gordon looks at Castro,
then turns the handle.
INT. OFFICE, DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE - DAY
It's a cluttered, rundown working office unusual only in the
extent of its ordinariness. A SECRETARY goes about her
business like a somnambulist. CLERKS shuffle and file.
Castro switches into Spanish --
Good afternoon, ladies, gentlemen.
We're looking for Eduardo Ruiz. We
have a two o'clock appointment.
INT. OFFICE, DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE - LATER
In a back alcove, Castro and Gordon sit across a cheap table
from EDUARDO RUIZ, 40's, an entrepreneur in an expensive
suit and bad hairpiece. They are waiting.
You ever buy a quarter ton? Not
many people have.
Another "businessman" enters from another door and whispers
in Ruiz's ear, then leaves again.
So, it's worth the wait, right?
What can I do? Rent a Huey? Have
an airlift? It's not like you can
put it in a condom up some mule's
asshole, right? How many peasants
would that take? A line stretching
from here to Mexico City --
Nobody said shit, Eduardo --
One of Ruiz's hands dips under the desk where we see a handgun
is holstered on the underside.
Relax. We're waiting, that's it.
Hey, you want to hear a joke? I got
a joke. Why do women wear makeup
Chill out --
It's a funny fuckin' joke and it's
quick. Why do women wear makeup and
I don't know.
'Cause they're ugly and they stink.
Castro laughs uproariously.
INT. DEA SURVEILLANCE SPACE - DAY
ON FUZZY SURVEILLANCE VIDEO: Castro laughing. Ruiz politely
smiling, one of his hands hidden by the table.
Man, you never been close enough to
a woman to know how she smells.
DEA AGENT (V.O.)
What's his hand doing? Watch his
hand. Anybody? I don't like the
IN THE OFFICE
The room is filled with crappy surveillance equipment. DEA
AGENTS, in DEA logo'd outerwear, jiggle a monitor fuzzily
displaying the view from another hidden camera: Gordon and
Ruiz around the cheap table.
This is ridiculous this fucking thing.
Look at this shit -- the first
television transmission. I had better
shit when I was the AV guy at junior
ANOTHER DEA AGENT
Come on, Castro, pay attention.
Watch his damn hands.
ON THE MONITOR
Another "businessman" enters the office and whispers in Ruiz's
RUIZ (ON MONITOR)
Another AGENT peers out a window through binoculars.
HIS POV: THE EXTERIOR OF THE OFFICE WHERE CASTRO, GORDON,
AND RUIZ TALK.
EXT. DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE, SAN DIEGO - DAY
A BLUE VAN makes a slow turn into the parking lot.
EXT. ROOF - DAY
TWO FBI AGENTS, in jackets reading "FBI," hide on an opposing
roof. They look through high-powered binoculars. Binocular
POV: THE BLUE VAN TURNING INTO THE PLAZA.
FBI AGENT #2
All right, here we go. The blue
HIS BINOCULAR POV DETECTS THREE UNMARKED CARS DISCREETLY
FOLLOWING THE VAN.
FBI AGENT #2
Three unmarked vehicles.
(picks up walkie)
Three unmarked vehicles accompanying.
The unmarked cars split up and one turns into the parking
lot of a fast-food restaurant. The other circles around the
back of a building.
FBI AGENT #2
It's local. Local or Customs. Oh,
man, I don't know. Looks like the
This is our show. Ah, man. I don't
want to share this one.
INT. OFFICE, DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE - CONTINUOUS
Through the window Ruiz, Gordon and Castro watch the van
disappear into the bay of a storage unit. A man is pulling
down the door behind it when three unmarked squad cars ROAR
into the lot, surrounding the unit, officers exit the cars
with their guns drawn -- Gordon and Castro stare in disbelief.
Ruiz FIRES the gun under the desk which hits Gordon full in
the chest, knocking him backwards.
Ruiz's men run into the room pulling guns.
Castro dives and pulls his weapon, firing at Ruiz's men,
hitting both of them. Ruiz bolts through another door.
Castro pursues, talking into his shirt collar --
Agent down. Repeat, agent down.
Gordon gets slowly to his feet, shaking off the blast to his
Kevlar, and runs after them.
EXT. DEL MAR SELF-STORAGE - DAY
The DEA are shooting at the men inside the storage unit who
are shooting back.
From all over the stake-out location, DEA AGENTS emerge firing
their weapons. An equal number of FBI AGENTS emerge firing
in return. Nobody was aware of the other's presence.
It's CHAOS, a clusterfuck of law-enforcement zeal with three
competing sets of good guys shouting through BULL-HORNS,
GUNSHOTS and SCREAMING.
Ruiz breaks through the corner of the lot, cutting between
two buildings. Castro emerges and chases him.
EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
Ruiz runs out the back of the storage company. He cuts
between parked cars, heading for The Fun Zone, a kiddie
INT. THE FUN ZONE - DAY
Castro enters The Fun Zone. There's a cardboard cutout of
SPASTIC JACK, a beloved comedy figure who looks like a rabbit
version of Jar Jar Binks, promoting the "Special Edition"
glass: "Collect All Four." There's an enclosure filled with
colored plastic balls.
The restaurant is empty except for a CLOWN filling out a
time card. The clown stands.
Hey dudes, we're not open yet.
Castro makes a motion for him to be quiet and keeps moving
toward the room of colored balls.
Gordon enters the restaurant and follows him. An ANIMATRONIC
BAND starts to play a SONG.
Gordon sees a half-hidden foot buried underneath the plastic
balls at the far end of the room.
He takes careful aim and FIRES.
Ruiz SCREAMS and sits up. Castro pounces on him, disarming
him, and roughing him up.
EXT. THE FUN ZONE - DAY
Castro and Gordon shove Ruiz into the sunlight. They wait
while their eyes adjust.
Take me to the hospital. I'm bleeding
Castro shoves him forward.
ACROSS THE PARKING LOT
DEA has opened the back of the van where a quarter-ton of
cocaine is spilling out onto the pavement.
INT. GUEST HOUSE - AFTERNOON
A bong hit is expelled into the air. In the living room of
a comfortable, preppy guest house, private school TEENAGERS
party and hang-out: cigarettes in ashtrays, beer and bong on
the coffee table, loud MUSIC.
SUPERTITLE: CINCINNATI, OHIO
The TV is on with the sound off. The curtains are closed.
The four boys wear school blazers with their ties pulled
askew, the three girls' clothing are also identical. Some
sit on couches, some on the floor. They are stoned.
One intense-looking boy, SETH ABRAHAMS, 17, wild curly hair
and the attitude of a young Coleridge, and a girl, CAROLINE
WAKEFIELD, 16, really sixteen which means she looks about
12, pretty and flirtatiously irreverent, sit at a desk in
front of a Powerbook G-3 playing an on-line trivia game.
Seth speaks rapidly and precisely.
Father of Greek tragedy? Anyone?
Okay, Aeschylus it is.
His trilogy? The Oresteia. I mean
this is beautiful, can anyone stop
the Seth Machine?
Score. Thank you. Madmax from Omaha
we own you. And Tragedy is closed
Seth leans over and snorts a line of coke from a mirror. He
hands it to Caroline who effortlessly does one.
Entertainment. The Susan Lucci
section or Banal Love Songs of the
Seth looks at her. He has a crush.
Banal Love Songs it is.
Hey, you wanna try something?
She nods. They both take a swig of beer. He takes her hand
pulling her past the stoned people on the couch --
IN THE KITCHEN
Seth takes out a box of baking soda. He tears off a square
of aluminum foil. He takes out a spoon. Caroline watches
as he dumps a small amount of cocaine into the spoon. He
adds a pinch of baking soda. He puts in a few drops of water.
Stirs it around with the heel of a lighter. Then holds the
flame under the spoon.
What are you doing?
He watches the substance in the spoon as it swirls and
bubbles, then separates... He pours the most viscous part
onto the aluminum foil, making four separate little puddles.
He quickly dismantles a ballpoint pen, making a straw. He
hands it to Caroline.
Inhale the smoke and hold it.
What is this, like freebase?
Not like. It is.
He lights the flame under the aluminum foil. The puddle
crackles and pops, then starts to smoke --
There's a rush of thick grey smoke. Caroline catches most
She pulls it in deeper and holds... Suddenly her expression
changes... Her eyes lose their focus, her face slackens, an
almost sexual response. Seth is watching her intensely.
See... Now, you see.
Caroline slumps back against the counter. Seth moves against
her, kissing her, running his hands over her breasts and
body. She stares over his shoulder, holding it as long as
Finally she exhales --
The cloud of grey smoke from her lungs fills the room.
INT. WHITE HOUSE OFFICE - DAY
The White House CHIEF OF STAFF meets with Robert Wakefield.
The Chief of Staff has the floor; he always has the floor.
This is a man you do not want to disappoint.
CHIEF OF STAFF
Until you officially take over the
office of National Drug Control
Policy, under no circumstances should
you speak to the press unprotected,
without going through this office or
having someone in the room. There
are a lot of interests in this town
and, right now, they're all scared
of you. The reason they're scared
of you...technically, you have veto
power over their budgets. So think
about that: FBI, CIA, DEA, CUSTOMS,
TREASURY, ATF, DEFENSE, IRS, Radio
Shack and the DMV, they're all gonna
want to speak to you. And that's
the good news... You'll also be
meeting Senators and Congressman,
each with a specially prepared
question. Their question is designed
for one thing: to make them look
smart. If you lecture them, they
won't think you respect them. If
you respond with utter humility,
they will. Remember, this is about
your respect for them, and the
President's respect for them.
Speaking of which, as soon as he
gets back from Russia and China,
we'll get you in there for some face-
time, let the two of you catch up.
It'd probably be a good idea for you
to meet your predecessor. I'll have
Jeff Sheridan take you over.
Also, four weeks from today you will
give your first official press
conference. In it you will outline
the President's strategy for winning
the war on drugs.
Okay, anything else?
I'll be sure to let you know.
INT. EXECUTIVE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C. - DAY
Robert makes his way through a warren of hallways in the
endless corridors of the Old Executive Building alongside
JEFF SHERIDAN, 35, an enthusiastic government employee who
has found his place.
I just want to be clear about one
thing. I used to work for him, but
now I work for you. I'm not a
partisan person, I'm an issue person.
In the next few weeks, if you allow
me, we'll get you well-versed on an
incredible array of issues. The
most important of which, in my
opinion, being Mexico. I know
everybody that you're gonna meet.
It's important that they like you.
It's not important that they like
me. That's why I can help protect
Like you protected Landry?
I see where you're going with that,
but if I could just say something,
which is basically that a guy like
Landry is so autocratic he doesn't
know how to let himself be helped;
it's a point of pride to take every
bullet, no matter who fired it, or
whether it was even aimed at him,
which personally I think it very
self-defeating. Now, don't get me
wrong, he's a man of enormous
integrity, but there's a political
component to this job that the General
just didn't have any patience for.
INT. OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY - DAY
Robert and Sheridan enter the office of outgoing Drug Czar,
GENERAL RALPH LANDRY, 60's, buzz-cut, professional soldier
with a sense of humor.
Landry is putting some personal items in a box.
Jeff, you want to excuse us for a
Sheridan nods and leaves.
Functionaries. Nice people, the
Schedule C's. About twelve graduate
degrees apiece, but it seems sometimes
all they do is start rumors.
Robert and Landry shake hands.
You've done a fine job here, Sir.
The Office of National Drug Control
Policy is in better shape than when
you found it.
Landry tries to determine whether Robert believes this. He
looks around the office as if the policy is hiding somewhere.
I'm not sure I made the slightest
I tried... I really did.
There are a lot of encouraging
statistics. The work's just started,
but I intend to see it through.
You've got my word on that.
You're here for two years, three
maximum. What'd they promise you?
Court appointment? What? District?
Not Supreme... Supreme?
I've come in to do a tough job and
that's what I'm going to focus on.
General Landry SIGHS.
When Kruschev was forced out, he sat
down and wrote two letters and handed
them to his successor. He said "When
you get into a situation you can't
get out of, open the first letter
and you'll be saved. And when you
get into another situation you can't
get out of, open the second." Soon
enough this guy found himself in a
tight place. So he opened the first
letter. It said, "Blame everything
on me." So he blamed the old guy
and it worked like a charm.
He got into another situation he
couldn't get out of, so he opened
the second letter, which read, "Sit
down and write two letters."
They stare at each other a beat. Then Landry smiles.
EXT. MANOLO'S STREET, MEXICO - DAY
A cinderblock house. Kids and dogs in the street. A face
we recognize as Manolo's peers out of a curtain into the
INT. MANOLO'S KITCHEN - DAY
The ceiling is stained, the floor sags. A cheap radio plays.
Manolo is at the door. Javi sits at a dinette table.
He talks to Manolo but watches Manolo's wife, ANNA, 20's, a
nice-looking, ostensibly demure young woman, as she moves
around the kitchen.
Relax. If they were going to kill
us they would have done it in the
They wouldn't do it in front of all
these people. They'd send someone
later, when we're alone.
Manolo tenses, and throws open the window.
(yelling out the window)
Away from the car. Now!
MANOLO'S POV out the window as KIDS play in the car, sitting
behind the wheel.
Even if that were true, they're not
going to come to your house where
you're waiting for them.
He's right. They'll do it when you're
walking somewhere, make it look like
Shut your fucking mouth. Nobody's
talking to you.
Anna sets a cup of coffee in front of Javi and stares at
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
Javi and Manolo cruise through the streets of Tijuana.
If you want her to stay out of it,
then stop telling her everything.
You should learn how to keep a secret.
She's nosy. She hears me on the
Anyway, I don't think we'll ever see
them again. Everything's back to
EXT. TIJUANA STREET - DAY
Tourist hell. A cacophony of street venders, panhandlers,
and vehicular traffic. Javier and Manolo are speaking with
a flustered young American TOURIST COUPLE.
You're a police officer. Aren't you
going to take a report or something?
Don't you want to know what kind of
car it is?
It's a Brown Ford Explorer --
It was right here. It's been stolen.
I want to file a report.
Please. Filing a report will not
help you find your car.
The police won't find your car.
But you're the police.
Javier pulls out a note pad and scribbles a number.
Call this man, he'll find your car
I don't get it --
How will this guy know who has our
The police will tell him.
There's a beat of confusion.
Why will they tell him but they won't
Because we pay him, stupid.
Right? And he pays the police.
And then our car appears.
Yes. Better than filling out forms,
The man reaches in his wallet and offers Javier a twenty.
Javi waves him off.
Javier and Manolo walk back to their squad car when two SUV's
come to a stop in front of them.
Javier and Manolo exchange a look. The doors SLAM and
EXT. LA JOLLA GOLF AND TENNIS CLUB - DAY
A ladies luncheon in the Nancy Reagan Dining Room overlooking
a putting green. The bejewelled WIVES of successful men
yammer at one another around tables with rich flower
SUPERTITLE: LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA, JUST OUTSIDE SAN DIEGO
One wife, HELENA AYALA, 32, ex-model, with a sweetness and
intelligence that almost contradicts her beauty, stares out
the window at a small BOY, 5, using a putter as tall as he
is. Helena is six months pregnant and radiant.
A waiter brings Helena's starter course. Her friends, NAN
DOBBS, early 40's, post Junior League, a little tipsy,
STEWIE and ALEX, same League, watch her --
Nan can't believe it.
Helena, you never order duck salad.
Well, that's true. I don't.
(re: her belly)
I think someone else is asking for
Well, he's got good taste. Isn't it
the most wonderful thing you ever
tasted? I mean ever.
It's delicious --
They're the most marvelous little
creatures. Canard. They fly, swim,
walk. And so cute with their babies
marching along behind.
Looking for a nice sauce ala orange.
Everyone laughs. Helena is by far the youngest in her crowd.
It's a very fatty bird. All that
winter insulation. Just like me.
You mean all breast, just like you.
You're bad --
Jealous, that's all --
I've heard... I can't remember
where... That it's full of that good
kind of fat, the kind you're
supposed to eat --
Unsaturated fat --
TWO WOMEN IN UNISON
And now there's a good cholesterol
and bad cholesterol. Everything
they tell you completely changes
every other week. I don't know why
they think we should listen at all.
What I know is ducks, as cute as
they are, were designed by God to be
Nan reaches for a taste and the other women lean forward
also, a sea of inanity swirling around Helena's salad.
EXT. COUNTRY CLUB PARKING LOT - DAY
Helena buckles her little boy, DAVID, 5, into the front seat
of her Mercedes. He won't let go of his putter.
I'll put this in the back.
All the professionals keep them in
Not Tiger Woods.
Especially Tiger Woods.
(sharing a secret)
...Actually, he keeps his on the
She pulls the putter away from the reluctant boy and sets it
on the back seat.
EXT. HOTEL - DAY
A modern high-rise on the waterfront playground of San Diego.
Helena passes the hotel in her car.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY
A standard room looking out at the water which is dotted
with sailboats and cruise ships. The bed is covered with hi-
tech surveillance equipment.
The equipment salesman, LONNIE, 40's, who makes a fetish of
gadgetry, explains the finer points of operation to FRANCISCO
"FRANKIE" FLORES, 30's, sallow, watery-eyed, in expensive
Gates, Myrhvold, Bezos. I sell to
all those guys. Why? Because the
technology to intrude has reached
the masses. Your competitor, your
ex-spouse, adversaries, stalkers,
they're at the local electronics
store right now, and they're gonna
be intruding on you not only through
your telephone, but your fax, cell
phone, pager, cable TV, Musak,
windows, walls, air conditioning
ventilation, modem, and internet
He walks over to the bed and the sexy equipment --
Nobody has these babies, no way, not
Frederico picks up a piece of equipment.
I want to intercept cell phone calls,
digital and analog. And locate the
source of the call. I need databasing
capability, to cross-reference calls
Lonnie lovingly picks up a laptop computer with a sleek device
attached to it --
Your Cellular Secretary, friend across
all the digital wireless spread
So, Francisco, what do you do? You
a PI? Private security?
Francisco looks at Lonnie coldly.
(not missing a beat)
Assassin, okay. Let's get you started
EXT. GEORGETOWN BROWNSTONE - NIGHT
The house takes up most of one of the nicest blocks. PEOPLE
enter and party VOICES drift out.
SUPERTITLE: GEORGETOWN, WASHINGTON, D.C.
INT. GEORGETOWN BROWNSTONE - NIGHT
A power cocktail party in full swing. This is where most of
the business in Washington gets done.
Robert, scotch in hand, listens to a smug PHARMACEUTICAL
LOBBYIST explain the world.
We in the legal drug business, and I
mean Merck, Pfizer, the rest of my
very powerful clients, realize this
isn't a war with a traditional winner
and loser, but an organism at war
with itself, whose weapons of mass
destruction happen to be intoxicants.
And if you want a body count look no
further than alcohol which racks up
80,000 kills a year. Cocaine manages
a measly 2,000. Same for Heroin.
But, the big daddy is Big Tobacco
which kills 380,000 each year, which,
by the way, is more people than have
been killed by all the illegal drugs
in the last century.
That's very interesting.
The lobbyist smiles. Robert sips his drink.
ANOTHER ANGLE ON ROBERT
In another room. Listening to STAN, overweight advocate for
the United States Council of Chambers of Commerce.
It's time, Robert, to choke some
honesty out of these rural
legislators; get'em to fess up that
it's pretty much Prisons or Casinos
in terms of their choices for economic
ANOTHER ANGLE ON ROBERT
listening to ETHAN, earnest advocate of harm reduction.
What's the difference between Prozac
and Ecstacy, you ask? One's a
mattress and the other's a trampoline.
Molecules don't have morality.
Really, think about it: some molecule
changes the way a serotonin re-uptake
inhibitor works, it's not suddenly a
bad molecule; it's just a molecule.
My theory: America has a real fear
of short, intense experiences.
Robert turns away --
(under his breath)
Robert at the bar getting another
scotch. A secretive man, TIM, 40's,
nerdy, sidles up beside him and
whispers furtively in his ear.
Chemicals? Some say problems, others
say solution. Imagine a cloud that
when it rains prohibits the growth
of poppies or takes the THC out of
marijuana. Imagine a pill that
eliminates any psychological craving,
from Dilaudid to Dove Bars. Law
enforcement hasn't let science sit
on the sidelines. Addiction is no
more relevant than polio or the Black
Tim slips away into the crowd. Robert moves away from the
An argument is breaking out between an ECONOMIST and an
UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE with Robert as the audience.
(to the undersecretary)
You're not battling traffickers or
dealers, but a market, and the market
contains a paradox: if you arrest
traffickers, you raise prices, and
you also raise profits, which brings
more traffickers into the business.
(to the Economist)
Back in the real world, we're talking
about Mexico and not John Maynard
Keynes. We will spend 18 billion
dollars this year on this "war," and
the question on the table every year
is do we certify Mexico as an ally
Another man, RUSH PHILLIPS, a middle-aged powerbroker,
overhears, then joins and Robert is encircled.
You want to make a difference, hit
the users. You don't jeopardize our
financial markets by some hypocritical
stance on drug consumption. We're
snorting it, why penalize Mexico for
Mexico, don't talk to me about
It's the stick of law enforcement
that creates the carrot of huge
profits... That's economic truth --
Addicts don't vote; they don't have
PACs; they don't spend soft money,
that's political truth --
We're locking them up and
consumption is falling --
The price of coke and heroin has
dropped and purity has increased.
All this law enforcement has achieved
is kids can get better stuff, cheaper.
In economic terms, you can forget
it; this is not a winnable war.
Christ, you want to decertify
somebody, take Pakistan or Columbia.
We don't need them for anything.
If you manage to seize an
inconceivable 50 percent of all drugs
coming into this country, you'll
still raise the price of coke and
heroin less than 3 percent which
won't affect drug use at all.
Why are we calling this a war at
all? You don't declare war on your
own people. Addiction is a little
worm that gnaws a house apart from
MICHAEL ADLER, about Robert's age, and as successful, but in
a different way, approaches, catching Robert's eye through
the arguing demagogues.
We need Mexico for these reasons:
number one -- Defense; two -- Trade;
three -- Tourism; then, way on down
the line, comes Drugs. The President
knows this. Why's he holding
everybody's feet to the fire?
Mr. Wakefield, there's a situation
that needs your attention right away.
Robert looks at Michael, squints, looks closer, then follows.
One in sixteen Americans is of Mexican
descent. Mexico our third largest
ANGLE ON ROBERT AND MICHAEL ON THE BACK PORCH.
You're looking pretty good for an
My work keeps me young.
Which part, getting terrorists loose
on bail or freeing convicted murderers
The worst serial killer in history -
who? Gacy - right? Killed forty
two people. Our government killed
fifty thousand in Vietnam and lied
about it every day.
Michael, you represent drug dealers,
not civil libertarians.
We kidnapped Noriega out of Panama.
Is that covered in your Constitution?
Because it isn't in mine.
Noriega is a criminal.
Noriega was head of a sovereign nation
who made the mistake of doing business
with the U.S. Government. So, no,
I don't have a problem waking up
every day and fighting our government,
fighting people like you, trying to
keep this system a little bit honest.
Last I read your clients were chopping
people up with chainsaws and
delivering illegal narcotics into
I hope when you were on the bench,
Judge Wakefield, you didn't handle
the presumption of innocence in the
If I ever return to the bench,
Counselor Adler, I hope I have the
pleasure of hearing your arguments.
INT. HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM, SAN DIEGO - DAY
Eduardo Ruiz lies in a hospital bed, handcuffed to the
railing. His bandaged foot is held aloft by a sling and a
tube drains the wound. He is tugging on the handcuffs as
Castro and Gordon enter the room.
You planning on going somewhere,
Eduardo? You don't like it here?
This is the best situation you're
going to have for a long, long time.
I am a legitimate business. Fishing
boats. Tuna. Check it out. Tax
records, everything --
Listen you motherfucker, you tried
to kill me with a fucking cannon.
You can't visit me here. I want my
The amount of coke we got on you
means capital punishment in some
Move 'em to Texas, fry 'em up.
We got you on tape making the deal.
We got you bragging about the quality.
We got you bragging about your
business. We got you.
A NURSE appears in the doorway. Gordon goes to the door and
shuts it in her face.
One chance here, Eduardo. Make us
believe you got a boss. No boss,
it's all on you.
It's a death sentence. I'll never
make it to the trial.
We can protect you.
Ruiz looks at them in disbelief.
Who do you work for?
This is coercion.
That's a big word for a fisherman.
Who do you work for?
Gordon and Ruiz stare at each other.
I know another word... Immunity.
EXT. AYALA HOME - LA JOLLA - DAY
A starter castle high in the hills near Mount Soledad, an
exclusive neighborhood with views of the ocean. Joggers jog
to the SOUNDS of tennis and Jacuzzis gurgling, and lawn care
equipment operated by Mexicans.
Behind the Ayala gate we see David playing with his golf
club on the lush lawn.
Workers set-up the party under the direction of a professional
A BMW 740il with tinted windows pulls into the driveway.
The window lowers and we see CARL AYALA, 40's, handsome,
charismatic, second generation American, in expensive,
conservative clothes, covering his cell phone as he greets
He goes back to his phone call, pulling around to the garage.
David goes back to his game.
INT. AYALA DINING ROOM - DAY
There are MAIDS in the house and a COOK in the kitchen. The
large rooms are filled with fine art.
Helena Ayala sits at the dining room table with plans, bills
and receipts spread before her. Carl enters and paces around
the room, continuing his cell phone conversation.
I'm sorry, Jonas. I don't care if
that is the price you have gotten in
Helena watches her husband pace as he talks. He can't help
it, but a portion of this call is theatrical, for an
audience's benefit, which in this instance happens to be his
wife. Helena's expression of annoyance resets itself into
This is America, a different country.
I am Carl, a different man. So you
see, everything about our situation
is different and I believe the pricing
will be different, too.
You're a reasonable man... So take
the weekend to think about it.
Carl clicks off the phone, turns to Helena.
Every day with this guy is like
starting all over again.
Carl winds down and finally becomes present in the room with
his wife. He looks at her. She looks back.
Just watching you.
I got that. How was your day?
She pushes the topiary away from her. Suddenly, she seems
tired. Carl comes over and puts his hand on her pregnant
You all right?
I keep feeling like I'm forgetting
Her husband watches her, then wraps his arms around her.
EXT. AYALA HOME - DAY
Carl and Helena step out on the front porch of their home
and watch David play with his golf putter.
OUTSIDE THEIR GATE
An unmarked police car rolls up and stops behind the wall.
Another arrives and another and another. OFFICERS in DEA
jackets exit the cars.
There is MURMURING, then SILENCE.
Helena slowly turns to look at her husband. He doesn't look
David, come inside --
Suddenly, POLICE and DEA enter the front yard. Gordon and
Castro enter the yard and move quickly up the drive to Carl.
What is this? What is going on?
You're under arrest for violation of
Federal Narcotics laws.
Gordon and Castro spin him, cuff him, and without emotion
begin pulling him from his yard. David is trying to get to
his father. In a kind of shock. Helena trails after him.
Castro drags Carl into the street toward the open door of
the cruiser. He pushes him down into the backseat.
We have a warrant to search your
home, Mrs. Ayala.
Gordon hits the side of the cruiser and it pulls away. Carl
looks at his wife through the window.
Gordon and Castro head up the driveway toward her house.
Helena is left standing in the street. NEIGHBORS, who have
appeared in front yards and at the ends of driveways, stare
at her with suspicion. David approaches and holds onto her
INT. SALAZAR'S HEADQUARTERS - ANTEROOM - DAY
Javi and Manolo wait in Salazar's anteroom. A ceiling fan
swirls the air. After a moment the door opens and an AIDE
motions to them. They stand.
Not you. You.
Javi goes into the room.
INT. SALAZAR'S OFFICE - DAY
The office is Spartan and military. Salazar and Javi sit
facing each other. Salazar looks at a piece of paper.
Javier Rodriguez. Twenty-nine years-
old. Graduated from Montessori
school. Five years as a beat cop in
TJ. Three years with the State
Police. Parents died four years ago
in their apartment from carbon
monoxide poisoning because they could
not afford to fix their gas heater.
Your sister works in a Maquiladora
in Juarez, making designer blue-jeans.
On the police force three years, you
currently make 316 dollars a month.
Salazar crumples the piece of paper and tosses it in the
That's your past. I want to talk
about your future. Would you be
willing to do something for me?
If I can.
I'm trying to bust the Tijuana Cartel.
What is it you want me to do?
A small thing. Nothing really.
Javier thinks about this.
Does this offer include my partner?
Only if he can be trusted.
He'll do what I say.
Salazar slides a folder across the desk. Javier opens it
and sees a black and white surveillance photo of the
His name is Francisco Flores. He is
a killer and gun smuggler for the
Tijuana cartel. I need to speak
with him. I need you to find him
and bring him to me so that I can
speak with him.
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
Manolo faces Javier.
This is fucking crazy. Instead of
killing us, he sends us on a suicide
mission. Do you know who Frankie
Flowers is? He's a psycho-cokehead-
hitman. A faggot. He's killed
fucking who knows how many people.
You'd need half the force to get
close to him. And you can't get
their help because he lives in fucking
Then I guess I'm going by myself.
INT. AIRPLANE - DAY
Robert Wakefield sits in business class. He twists the cap
off a mini-bottle of bourbon and pours it over a cup of ice.
He empties a second bottle into the cup, then swirls it around
on the ice. He takes a sip.
INT. AIRPORT GATE - DAY
Robert exits with his briefcase and hanging bag, two SECURITY
MEN trailing him. He sees Barbara and Caroline, his wife
and daughter, waiting by the their station wagon. They wave.
INT. CAR - DAY
On the way home from the airport. Caroline drives carefully
with Barbara in the front seat and Robert in back.
What's it like?
Imagine you're being accosted by a
swarm of beggars in the heart of
Calcutta, except the beggars are
wearing $1500 suits and they don't
say "please" or "thank you."
What about legalizing everything?
Has anybody talked about that?
Fine -- legalization. Okay,
forgetting all of our international
trade agreements, legalize everything
today. The Government inserts itself
into all drug transactions. The
U.S. becomes a giant pharmacy. Our
borders are mobbed, lines of people
from here to Europe wanting to smoke,
snort and shoot themselves into
Like a Grateful Dead Concert.
Drugs begin pouring out of America
into every other country in the world.
Canada is completely overwhelmed.
What if every country legalized at
the same time?
Somehow, I don't see that happening.
INT. WAKEFIELD DINING ROOM - EVENING
From the hallway we see Robert and Barbara and Caroline having
dinner. A family tableau. We hear Barbara talking, the
murmur of the days events.
In the room, Barbara continues her dinner table thoughts.
Robert has a good deal of reading material stacked on the
So you know we put the case before
the arbitration panel, none of whom
had any expertise. Superfund is
just one of those words. People
stop paying attention.
It's so frustrating.
There is wine on the table and Caroline is allowed a glass.
Her parents watch her take a responsible sip.
Did you meet the President?
Honey, your father knows the
As it happens, the President of the
United States, my new boss, the leader
of the free world, has me penciled
in for some "face time".
Will we get invited to the White
I don't know.
How long's the job?
It's a presidential appointment so...
until I quit or get fired.
Czar for life, just like a real czar.
That makes mom the Czarina. I'm a
Czarette. Like Anastasia.
Caroline thinks about this.
None of my friends can fucking believe
my dad is the actual Drug Czar.
Sorry, but I mean, come on.
Robert doesn't know if she's putting him down.
It's great, daddy. It's just amazing,
They all look at each other. Caroline sips her wine.
INT. SAN DIEGO JAIL - DAY
In the intake area of a busy San Diego precinct, Helena sits
on a bench and regroups. Detectives move past her.
Handcuffed criminals are separated, bagged and tagged.
beautifully dressed man, ARNIE METZGER, 30's, super- lawyer,
knows everyone from the top of the system to the bottom,
slick but likable, smart and ruthless, too, separates himself
from a DETECTIVE he's gladhanding and approaches Helena.
Helena, I'm so sorry --
Arnie, thank God.
Metzger sits, giving her a hug.
Can you please tell me what on earth
is going on?
Arnie looks at her as if to say, "do you really not know?"
Then, he speaks quietly with his hand in front of his mouth.
I understand. You're upset. You
want to know what's going on. That's
Why are you talking like that?
Listen to me carefully. First of
all, Carl isn't here. DEA's got him
and they'll hang on to him until
arraignment, which will probably be
tomorrow. So here you're wasting
your time. Are you with me?
He checks to see if this is registering.
Good. From now on I want you to
expect that every word you utter
will be tape-recorded, that the
movement of your lips is being read.
Arnie, this is crazy.
He makes eye contact with her.
(she slowly nods)
Good. Do not discuss anything over
the telephone. Do not talk to the
neighbors. Stay out of your yard.
What is he being charged with?
I don't know, but under no
circumstances would I talk about it
here. I want you to go home and
relax the best you can. Continue
your life as if nothing has happened.
That is very important.
Arnie, I feel like Alice stepping
through the looking glass.
That's a very apt analogy, Helena.
Now, go home and be with your
EXT. BUILDING PARKING LOT - DAY
Helena exits. Her expression is set as she drives. She
turns a corner in the shopping district, passing JAVIER AND
MANOLO who are walking down the street. Tourists, drunk
Marines and the homeless piss away another day.
We follow them into a bar with blackened windows and a
INT. BAR - DAY
This is a place where men come to meet men. And it's already
lively even at this early hour. Javier and Manolo find a
seat and wait.
Javi is working on his second beer
when he seems to recognize somebody.
ACROSS THE ROOM
Francisco "Frankie" Flowers has entered the bar. Javi watches
him circulate through the room then settle at the bar. Javier
finishes his beer, rises, and takes the empty seat next to
Francisco. Manolo watches.
Very quickly Javi strikes up a conversation. We don't hear
what they're saying but it doesn't matter because Francisco
clearly likes Javi.
Off Francisco's anticipatory smile --
EXT. MILITARY BASE - MEXICO - DAY
The back of a blue van opens and a blindfolded Francisco
falls onto the ground.
Surrounding him are Javi and Salazar, who watch as two of
Salazar's MEN drag Francisco away toward an abandoned mission-
(clearly pleased with
I'm curious how you did this with
Everybody has a weakness.
EXT. SOMEBODY'S PARENTS' MANSION, CINCINNATI - NIGHT
With its old-growth trees and manipulated shrubbery, the
large house is shrouded in the mystery of well-heeled
suburbia. It is very late.
INT. SOMEBODY'S PARENTS' MANSION - NIGHT
Somebody's parents are out of town and the house feels empty.
Big empty rooms with expensive furniture nobody sits on.
Faint MUSIC echoes through the house.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
High ceilings of a 1930's kitchen. Vodka bottles and
cranberry juice and limes are spilled across a counter. ON
THE RHODES AGAIN by Morcheeba plays from a jam-box on a
Maybe ten TEENAGERS are partying hard in this kitchen. It's
weird and disassociated, people wandering in and out, playing
with kitchen utensils, heavily fucked up.
There are drugs on a mirror on the eat-in table. Caroline
and Seth and two friends sit around this table. VANESSA,
16, almost pretty, is hitting a freebase pipe and holds the
hit. FUCKED-UP BOWMAN, 17, super-preppy with a wan, Baby
Huey face, takes a slug of vodka.
They are jittery, sweaty, tweaked, fucked-up --
All I'm saying, what I'm saying, is
it never seems like anybody ever
says anything that matters to them,
like we all look at each other and
nod with responses we've been trained
to make, not real responses, just
social conventions, phony, fake
smiles, surface bullshit... I mean,
we're all smart and do we have any
idea what each other are like, really
like? Do I know what Seth's afraid
of, or Vanessa, or fucked-up Bowman?
Everyone looks at Fucked-up Bowman who grinds his jaw
...Probably, but do I ever say this
stuff, just say, "hey, I'm
uncomfortable in this crowd, I don't
know what the fuck I'm doing, either?
I know you're afraid and it's okay--
Seth's words come quickly, they're riffing, totally in sync,
totally wired --
We act like we have all the answers
and we're totally invincible like
our parents seem and their parents
before them and it's fucking bullshit --
Fucked-up Bowman takes another slug of vodka and almost pukes.
For instance --
For instance I know you jack-off
thinking about Caroline even though
you're supposedly "in love" with
Vanessa. Whatever the fuck that
I mean, what is that convention,
anyway? We're all these random
collections of self-interest, and
then we just decide that now we're
two people walking along --
Caroline expels a hit of rock cocaine --
And Vanessa doesn't think she's pretty
so she does all these weird fucking
diets which is totally about self-
esteem. And she's beautiful.
And that's not even fair. Because
listen to me. I'm fucking lying
right now. This is exactly what I'm
talking about... I'm supposedly
talking about you, making some big
point about you, and it's really
about me. So I should talk about
me, not you, not even the universal
(takes a beat)
Okay. Okay, I'm worried I'm not
really smart or that I'm not nearly
as smart as people think I am, or
that my parents' expectations have
been way too high since I was five,
I mean who knows they're going to
Harvard when they're five, not that
I'm blaming them for anything because
everything's great, and I may not
even get in, but we all feel this
shit and we never acknowledge it and
if we can't acknowledge it to the
people we care the most about then
who will we ever say it too and what
kind of life will that be?
They all look at each other with love. This is an adventure
and they're having a connection --
I jack-off thinking about Seth.
Everybody I know does.
Bowman does another huge hit of freebase.
Ach, that's what I'm talking about.
Sarcasm. Always fucking sarcasm.
You're afraid and you think if you
admit it people will think you're
weak or won't like you --
We live our lives by these unspoken
rules that are handed to us.
They all look at each other, vibrating with the moment --
Let's be different --
I can't feel my hands.
Bowman looks around, squinting, confused. He's chalk white.
I'm serious --
Suddenly, he clutches his chest and begins to twitch. Puke
and foam come from his mouth. He seizes and falls from the
chair. Vanessa SCREAMS.
Seth and Caroline push the table aside to get a better look.
Other people in the kitchen slowly take notice.
He's blue. He isn't breathing --
Is he breathing?
Bowman's eyes have rolled back in his head.
What do we do? Okay. Fucked-up
Bowman's turning blue. Doctor. We
need a doctor.
Your dad's a doctor. Call him --
He's a research doctor. You're
dad's a doctor, too --
What kind of research?
Mapping the fucking pig genome.
We'll call your dad, he's a
It's three a.m. I'm not supposed
to be here. I snuck out --
Are you kidding... I'm staying
with you --
He's gonna fucking die right here
on the kitchen floor --
He can't. My parents are in
EXT. SUBURBAN HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ENTRANCE - NIGHT
The Taurus wagon races up to the emergency room of Suburban
Hospital. The back door opens and Bowman tumbles out onto
the wheelchair ramp under the fluorescent lights.
The car screeches around the circle --
ACROSS THE PARKING LOT
TWO OFFICERS in a police car see the body tumble out of the
The cop car wheels around and cuts off the egress of the
Taurus wagon --
INT. FORD TAURUS WAGON - NIGHT
Seth is behind the wheel. Caroline and Vanessa are in the
back. They stare out at the cops getting out of the cruiser.
Nobody has anything on them, right?
INT. TORTURE ROOM - BARRACKS - DAY
Francisco is strapped naked into a chair. Duct tape covers
his mouth. His face is bruised and swollen. A cruel TORTURER
talks to him calmly while dumping chili powder into a
container of soda water.
We know Tijuana Cartel gunmen killed
our chief of intelligence, Francisco.
We know you killed police commanders
in Tijuana and Mexico City. Why do
He approaches Francisco and begins shaking up the soda water.
He rips the tape off his mouth.
My father is rich. He'll pay you.
Not the correct answer, my friend.
The torturer puts another strip of duct tape across
We know that you went after the
neighbor of General Salazar, a simple
alfalfa farmer. His grand-daughter
was shot. This is stupid behavior,
Francisco starts to squirm and whimper. The torturer closes
one of Francisco's nostrils and sprays the pepper-laced water
into the other nostril.
It's like a bomb went off in Francisco's brain. He SCREAMS
and passes out. Blood and mucous oozes out of his nose.
INT. BARRACKS - MEXICAN MILITARY BASE - DAY
Javier stands guard outside a door, listening to the
strangulated SCREAMS of Francisco. He's sickened.
ACROSS THE COURTYARD
Manolo ignores Francisco's CRIES, while shooting the shit
with several of Salazar's MEN, who laugh appreciatively at
something he's said.
EXT. AYALA HOME, SAN DIEGO - NIGHT
Valet parkers in uniform work the driveway. The party is
ablaze and there are lights in the trees. A Lester Lanin-
like band plays a STANDARD that drifts across the grounds.
EXT. AYALA HOME - NIGHT
A conservative monied crowd mingles. Helena is talking with
a GROUP of rich people who include her friends, Nan, Stewie
and Alex, from the country-club, and their HUSBANDS.
This is fabulous, Helena. What a
Thank you so much, but I had a lot
Helena circles away. As Helena leaves, the women speak their
It's a turnout because it's a
spectacle. Can you imagine?
I've met her husband, as nice as
It teaches me a valuable lesson...
(re: the nice house)
Apparently crime pays.
Silly, you knew that already.
ON THE STAGE
The band stops playing and steps aside as a man in a tuxedo
takes the microphone. Behind the band is a huge "A.L.A. -
Adult Literacy Advocates" Banner.
Hello. Thank you. Thank you all. I
have the results of the silent
INT. JUVENILE DETENTION, CINCINNATI - HOLDING CELL - MORNING
Caroline Wakefield lies on a bench in a grey-walled holding
cell. She wears paper slippers and her belt has been removed.
Even youth can't disguise her hangover.
INT. SOCIAL WORKER OFFICE - MORNING
Caroline is perched on the edge of her chair. Across the
desk from her is a tired SOCIAL WORKER, 40's, who has been
assigned Caroline's case and is giving her the "exit"
...How old are you?
Live with your parents?
Parents still together?
Do you work?
I volunteer. I read to blind people.
One day a week for two hours.
Cincinnati Country Day.
The Social worker looks up from her questionnaire and sees
Caroline for the first time.
How are your grades?
I'm third in my class.
What's that mean?
I get A's. All A's.
You do? What else you do?
(her college resume)
I'm a National Merit Finalist. I'm
on the Hi-Q team and the Math team.
I'm in the Spanish Club. I'm a
Thespian. I'm Vice-President of my
class. I'm on the volleyball team.
The social worker pushes the forms she's filling out away
and looks again at Caroline --
You wanna tell me what you're doing
INT. JUVENILE DETENTION - MORNING
A cold institutional lobby with hard plastic chairs and bad
lighting. Government workers move behind thick glass windows
with tiny mesh screens cut into them for talking.
Barbara Wakefield sits on one of the uncomfortable chairs.
She's alone and has been crying. There's the sound of heavily
locked doors OPENING and Caroline appears.
Barbara stands and wraps Caroline in her arms.
Oh, honey. Are you all right?
Caroline begins to cry into her mother's chest.
EXT. JUVI JAIL - MORNING
It's an early morning as Barbara Wakefield escorts her
daughter from the bland government building.
Did you tell Dad?
Are you going to?
I don't know.
Is this bad for him?
What do you think?
The streets are deserted. Their Saab wagon sits forlornly
under grey skies in an uncovered public parking lot.
INT. DAVID'S ROOM - NIGHT
Helena slips into David's room and quietly watches him sleep.
INT. STUDY - LATER
Still wearing her evening gown, Helena collapses into a chair,
exhausted. A TAP at the door startles her.
It's Arnie Metzger, who goes to the bar and pours himself a
strong one. They sit opposite each other and neither speaks
for a while.
I am on the board of my son's school.
I had a fundraiser for A.L.V. in my
front yard. I have a right to know
if my husband is a legitimate
Of course he is. I've known him for
twenty years and he doesn't jaywalk...
Helena is relieved, but she's not looking at Arnie and when
she does she sees him shaking his head in a very definitive,
Arnie stands and continues talking as he walks to the windows
and shuts the blinds one by one.
...Carl is a very important member
of this community and when we're
through suing the police and the
district attorney and the DEA, they'll
have to rename the public parks for
The blinds are closed. Arnie crosses to Helena and talks
very softly in her ear. She's a beautiful woman and Arnie
manages to make this act seem both practical and
Your husband is very good at his
Helena leans back and looks at Arnie. He whispers more --
Which is smuggling illegal drugs
into this country.
EXT. AYALA HOME - NIGHT
Workers break down the party under the watchful eye of the
party planner. The neighborhood is quiet. There is a
telephone repair van parked up the street.
INT. VAN - NIGHT
Castro and Gordon have visual and audio equipment trained on
the Ayala home. They both wear headsets.
GORDON'S POV: the blinds covering Helena's study glowing
They're whispering. I can't hear
them, but I know it. I smell
conspiracy. I feel the lie vibrating
out of the home.
She ain't in on it.
I have dreams about this, actual
dreams about busting the top people,
the rich people, the white people.
I'm telling you, she doesn't know
She knows Arnie Metzger.
So does half of San Diego.
You want to make a wager on this?
INT. STUDY - NIGHT
The music is still playing. Helena looks numb. She motions
Arnie to her. He leans in.
If all our assets are frozen and our
"sales force" has scattered... How
am I supposed to survive? I'm giving
birth in three months. How do I get
You're gonna get through it, but the
first thing we do is get Michael
Adler to represent Carl. We get
Adler and we beat this thing.
How much do I pay him?
I suspect he'll accept his payment
EXT. WAKEFIELD HOUSE - NIGHT
A large, well-maintained Colonial on Mockingbird Valley Road,
an upper-middle class neighborhood in the wealthy East End
of Cincinnati. Leaves fall on the Saab wagon in the driveway.
INT. ROBERT'S STUDY - NIGHT
Robert is looking at Caroline and he's not happy. Barbara
is there, at a neutral distance from both of them.
Caroline? How well did you know
this boy who overdosed?
She looks up beseechingly.
He didn't hang around us. He's like
one of those hippie kids. I'm not
part of that group. It was a party
in all these rooms. His girlfriend
who I barely know was completely
hysterical... He's blue, he's
puking... We didn't want to get in
trouble, but what were we supposed
I mean, what would you have done if
you had been us?
How well do you know this boy, Seth,
who was driving? You know the police
have charged him with a DUI and
possession of marijuana.
He's a friend. He's also like the
only one who was dealing with the
situation. He'd definitely had a
few beers, but it's not like he wanted
to drive. We didn't know what else
It wasn't my pot.
She searches her parents' faces. It has been a convincing
performance and she expects victory.
Okay, honey. We understand. You're
mother and I have to talk.
Caroline is confused by this reaction.
Honey, we'd like to talk alone.
Caroline stands abruptly --
Caroline leaves the study and shuts the door harder than
Robert and Barbara look at each other, raising their eyebrows
and breathing deeply --
I think she's lying.
(reaching a decision)
We'll ground her, clip her wings a
bit. School and scheduled activities
and that's it until further notice.
This has to be handled delicately.
Dan Kelly, in the District Attorney's
office, will probably help us out,
quietly. Christ, this could be
Honey, this is difficult, but we've
all had our moments. I tried --
Stop. You experimented in college.
I don't want to hear about that.
Should we take the quotes off
experiment and call it what it is?
This is different.
To begin with, she's only sixteen
I think she has to find out for
herself, on her own. We have to
allow her space --
Space for what? To O.D. like that
other kid? I will not send the
message that this type of behavior
is okay with her parents. Because
it isn't. Correct?
We don't want to push her away.
These are growing experiences.
Robert looks at his wife, then it dawns on him.
How long have you known about this?
How long have you known?
Six months. I found some marijuana,
that's all. And a little pipe about
two inches long. I talked with her.
She said her friends smoked pot and
Explain to me how you could think
that I shouldn't know about this.
Explain to me how this wouldn't be
relevant to me. As a parent.
She asked me not to.
He leaves the room.
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT
Robert is in the hallway, at Caroline's door. He opens it
and we get BLASTED WITH MUSIC.
Caroline is sitting in a rocking chair with headphones on.
She faces the window and moves back and forth, back and forth.
Robert calls her name, but the SOUNDTRACK is drowning him
He calls again, this time apparently loud enough for her to
hear. She takes the headphones off - the MUSIC stops - and
turns to look at him. Or rather, she looks right through
him, as though he didn't exist. Robert is so taken aback by
the coldness of her gaze that he doesn't speak.
She turns away from him and puts the headphones back on.
EXT. MILITARY BASE - MEXICO - DAY
Javier and Salazar walk across the base. Salazar is feeling
ebullient and it shows.
You watch and learn. I earn his
trust. Then more pain. Then I appear
with kindness. Within a week he
will follow me around like a dog.
But will he be house-trained?
When he loves me like a father, he
will never tell anyone he was here.
He will freely give the names of his
superiors. Then we get them and
they too will give us names. And
eventually somebody will get us to
Juan Obregon and the cartel will
They enter the barracks.
INT. CELL - MEXICAN MILITARY BASE - DAY
It's pitch black in the cell. There's a human in here, but
we can't see him.
Suddenly the door is thrown open and light floods in,
illuminating a very broken Francisco Flores.
The figure of Commander Salazar fills the doorway.
This is shameful. A disgrace.
Francisco Flores --
Francisco cowers in the corners --
It's all right, son. It's all right.
Salazar is here. You're among
gentlemen, now. This shameful
treatment will stop immediately.
A GUARD appears in the doorway. Francisco is spooked.
I want to know who is responsible
for this treatment.
We aren't barbarians.
Bring this man a change of good
clothes. Has he eaten?
I don't know, sir.
You will dine with me from now on.
Francisco moves closer to Salazar already feeling safe in
INT. COURTHOUSE, SAN DIEGO - DAY
A packed courthouse. Carl is at the defense table. He
doesn't look at Helena who sits in the gallery next to Arnie
The PROSECUTOR is finishing his argument --
This is a man who heads a large
criminal organization with
international contacts we can only
begin to understand. Our case against
him is very strong. He is not a
flight risk. His flight is assured.
The people ask that your honor denies
The prosecutor sits. Carl's defense lawyer, MICHAEL ADLER,
from the Georgetown party, stands and speaks.
My client is no more a flight risk
than your Honor or the able
prosecutor. He is a pillar of his
community, a family man with a wife
and child in La Jolla, the community
where he has made his home for over
twenty years. As our defense will
quickly show, my client is guilty of
nothing more than being a handy target
for an admitted criminal. Therefore
we ask that you release Carl Ayala
on his own recognizance.
Adler sits. The JUDGE makes a quick decision.
I'm gonna deny bail.
The judge SLAMS his gavel. The crowd is on its feet. Carl
tries to get a glimpse of Helena. They make eye contact.
Reporters from the press gallery are yelling for Helena.
Arnie ushers her away.
EXT. COURTHOUSE - DAY
Adler, Arnie, and Helena push through a crowd toward her
There are several reporters there who ask questions --
Mrs. Ayala, were you aware your
husband is the largest cocaine
smuggler in America?
Alleged, people, alleged.
Helena gets into her car and slams the door. Adler faces
Mrs. Ayala is it true your husband
has ordered a hit on Eduardo Ruiz?
Adler is in a role he relishes. Helena drives away. We
move up to Gordon, who is watching from the hotel window
across the street. He speaks into a walkie-talkie, and a
car down below pulls out to follow Helena.
Carl Ayala sits on the board of the
Children's Hospital. He is heavily
involved with Adult Literacy. He
has a small boy and another child on
the way. If you spread this kind of
innuendo, you can expect legal
recourse. Are we clear on this point?
INT. GOVERNMENT BUILDING - EARLY MORNING
The marble government corridors are empty. No one is in
One office has lights on.
INT. A.D.A. KELLY'S OFFICE - EARLY MORNING
Robert Wakefield talks with an Assistant District Attorney,
DAN KELLY, 40's.
I appreciate you coming in so early.
Judge Wakefield, it's an honor to
handle it for you. Consider it gone
away. She's a minor; it probably
would've expunged on her 18th birthday
Still, this was a sensitive issue
for me and I wanted to thank you
Like I said, open container, P.I.,
Misdemeanor possession. Easy to
make it disappear. For you, poof,
A.D.A. Kelly thinks a moment, then tries for tact.
One thing bothers me... That kid
they dropped off had coke and heroin
in him. Serious amounts. He's lucky
he lived. So I gotta ask: what's
your daughter on?
I don't know what you mean.
I mean, did you ask her? What kind
of drugs has she tried?
Robert is silent for a beat.
I... I don't really know.
Is she in any kind of therapy...
No, of course not. She's one of the
top students at her school.
Well, I hope it stays that way.
INT. ROBERT'S CAR - EARLY MORNING
Robert in his car, thinking. The streets are empty. He
picks up the cell phone.
It's Robert. Wipe your schedule
clean for the next three days. I'm
tired of talking to experts who never
set foot outside the beltway. It's
time to see the front lines.
INT. CAROLINE WAKEFIELD'S BATHROOM - MORNING
Caroline sits on the toilet in her private bathroom. She's
not going to the bathroom, it's a seat and she's wearing her
pajamas. She's reading a magazine. The exhaust fan is on.
There are pictures of her and her friends on the walls: goofy
pictures from camp, from school, a collage she's made with
cutouts from magazine pictures and copy.
On the sink next to her is a little square of well-charred
aluminum foil; she's done many hits. She leans over and
picks up a small piece of crack cocaine from a small pile in
her soap dish. She drops it on a clean place on the foil.
She picks up a lighter and the tube of a ball point pen she's
turned into a straw.
She heats the bottom of the foil. The crack "crackles."
She chases the smoke across the foil. A huge hit. She leans
her head back, her eyes roll back, she tries to focus on the
magazine, on anything, she stares up at the ceiling.
She holds it as long as she can then blows it toward the
Caroline looks at her watch. It's 7:20. She stands suddenly,
unsteadily. She looks at herself in the mirror.
She's really high and indecisive. She looks around wildly.
She sees the shower. She turns it on. She drops her pajamas.
She goes back to the foil and hits another piece of the rock,
taking another really big hit. She crushes the foil and
flushes it down the toilet. She hops in the shower.
IN THE SHOWER
The water streams over her face. After a long beat she
finally exhales the smoke of the hit through the water and
steam. She's in ecstacy.
It's almost time to leave for school.
EXT. LA JOLLA PLAYGROUND - DAY
Helena reads a book, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, and
keeps an eye on David, who is playing on the monkey bars.
ACROSS THE ROAD at a careful distance is the ubiquitous
telephone repair van. On the roof a parabolic mike swivels
INT. TELEPHONE REPAIR VAN - DAY
Castro and Gordon watch Helena via a small surveillance
You should see little Montel play.
Little Montel is the next Maradona.
Maradona is a cokehead. Hand of
God, my ass. We're wasting our time
He won. He was a winner. That
Winners don't do coke. Or haven't
you been reading the bumper stickers?
Gordon looks at the monitor --
What do we have here?
ON THE MONITOR:
David kicking a soccer ball with an
older strange man, TIGRILLO, Latino,
40's, fit and tough looking.
The man is very good. He juggles the ball and bounces it
off his head and David follows him away from the center of
EXT. PLAYGROUND - CONTINUOUS
Helena notices David moving away while playing with the man.
She follows, then begins to jog after them.
David, come back here this minute.
As she closes distance the man stops juggling the ball and
abruptly picks up David and begins swinging him around by
his arms. David is having fun as Helena approaches.
The strange man swings David up so that he's under his arm.
Yeah, this is fun.
Please put down my son.
The man holds David.
Shouldn't let your kid wander off
Thank you. That's a valuable lesson.
David, come on.
The strange man holds David tighter so that he's no longer
having fun. He begins to wriggle --
Mrs. Ayala --
This gets her attention --
Your husband owes a lot of money.
Enough that snapping this kid's neck
wouldn't nearly cover it.
David begins to cry. Helena looks around wildly for help.
You better come up with it in a hurry
or your kid is going to disappear,
and he won't turn up until the evening
He drops David who runs to his mother.
You get exactly one warning.
The strange man moves away across the field.
The first payment is three million
He continues walking away.
INT. TELEPHONE REPAIR VAN - DAY
Gordon and Castro stare with rapt attention.
Are you getting this on tape?
I love my job. I love it. The next
time I'm having a bad day you gotta
remind me of right now and I'll get
EXT. BARRACKS - NIGHT
Javier and Manolo stand guard outside the front door of the
dining hall. Javi smokes a cigarette.
A group of us are going out tonight.
Guzman, Tomas, Esteban --
Your new friends.
Yeah. It should be fun. You wanna
Not this time.
INT. DINING HALL - BARRACKS - NIGHT
Francisco and Salazar eat at a beautifully set table. They
are waited on by military officers who serve perfect flan at
the end of the meal.
In my home I have B&W speakers. I
recently purchased a compact disc
burner. I can make my own cd's,
with whatever music I like, as if I
bought them at the store, only I
don't have to pay these crazy prices.
We have much in common. We both
attended school in the United States,
and both of our fathers are engineers.
I got into stereo equipment when I
was a kid. Some people don't notice
the difference but it is very
important to me.
Of course it is. Have some more
A soldier pours another glass of red for Francisco.
Now, Francisco, my friend... I must
know where these men are who killed
my captains. Not where they were
last week, but where they are today,
and better still, tomorrow.
You are clever. You can predict
where they will be, can't you?
Francisco begins to weep.
Salazar slides a pad of paper toward Francisco who slowly
EXT. TIJUANA NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
Manolo and Javier pound on the front door of an apartment.
A MAN opens the door and they grab him.
EXT. TIJUANA STREETS - DAY
A MAN walks down the street. Two SUV's pull up in front of
him. He starts to run. Salazar's men jump out and chase
Francisco is in the backseat of one of the SUV's, watching.
EXT. TIJUANA - DAY
An SUV pulls up to a curb.
INT. SUV - DAY
Javier and Manolo and Francisco sit in the SUV. Francisco
I can't go home. I don't want to
go. Please don't make me.
He looks beseechingly at them.
It's not our decision.
I'll be killed.
Stop complaining. Nobody knows what
you've been up to.
They push him out of the SUV.
INT. SAN DIEGO JAIL - DAY
Castro and Gordon sit with Eduardo Ruiz in a conference room.
They are recording his statements.
Carlos, I mean Carl, started out in
the family connection business: real
estate in Tijuana, fishing boats out
of Ensenada, hydroponic raspberries.
He met up with the Obregon brothers
of the Tijuana Cartel who were
interested in two things: entering
society and using his fishing boats.
So you pay off our customs officials?
In Mexico law enforcement is an
entrepreneurial activity, this is
not so true for the USA.
Using regression analysis we made a
study of the customs lanes at the
border and calculated the odds of a
search. The odds are not high, and
we found variables that reduce the
odds. We hire drivers with nothing
to lose. Then we throw a lot of
product at the problem. Some get
stopped. Enough get through. It's
You'd think he wasn't sitting here
facing life in prison.
This has worked for years and it
will continue to work for years.
NAFTA makes everything more difficult
for you. The border is disappearing.
(pointing at them)
You people are like those Japanese
soldiers left behind on deserted
islands who think that World War II
is still going on.
(with total disdain)
Let me be the first to tell you,
your government surrendered this war
a long time ago.
This attitude's not gonna help him
any, is it?
I got greedy. I decided to bring a
little in on my own and somebody
tipped you off. That was my mistake.
Carl would never be so stupid.
He hired you. That was a mistake.
Carl and I were friends from
childhood. He was loyal, that's not
EXT. TIJUANA - SAN DIEGO BORDER CROSSING - DAY
Car after car, an unending multi-lane stream of vehicles
moving into the U.S. Any of these cars could be carrying
INT. CUSTOMS CONTROL BOOTH - DAY
On an elevated walkway, this booth commands a view of
everything. Robert and Sheridan listen to an OFFICIAL give
The busiest land border crossing in
the world. Over forty-one thousand
vehicles per day, twenty-two thousand
pedestrians on foot. I think we do
a pretty good job but we know a lot
of drugs are still getting through.
Any idea how much?
I've read official estimates but I
wouldn't bet my house on them. I've
heard the entire cocaine supply for
the United States can fit into four
(gestures to the
At least a half-dozen of those cars
right out there are carrying a load
of dope, with drivers employed by
people who don't give a damn if
they're caught or not.
What do you look for?
We ask questions and measure the
answers. When something doesn't
ring true, a fact that doesn't make
sense, a slight hesitation, then
it's off to secondary for a closer
look. Before NAFTA we had about 1.9
million trucks a year. Now it's
almost double. Pretty soon there'll
be Mexican truck companies that will
have as much freedom in crossing the
border as American truck companies.
Any way we can do it better?
Sure. More money in intelligence on
their side of the border. So we
have a better idea who we're looking
for. More dogs. More people.
Supposed to be getting some giant x-
ray machines to run the trucks
through. Outside of martial law
that's about the best you're gonna
But, I should tell you, there are
two things that really have us on
edge right now.
In the last six months seizures have
tripled, even though we're pulling
over the same number of cars. What
does that tell you?
That triple the amount of stuff is
Right. But, that's not the biggest
problem. One of our Intel officers
picked up information from DEA that
traffickers have come up with a
process, a chemical process, to turn
coke into something else. It doesn't
smell like coke. It doesn't look
like coke. And what's worse, it
doesn't react to field test. It
could be anything. Maybe it's already
happening. I mean, how would we
Robert looks out at the border activity. It's anarchy.
INT. AYALA STUDY - AFTERNOON
Helena is on the floor surrounded by papers. She's made
piles of certain things: articles of incorporation,
shipping/transfer documentation, bank statements, credit
card statements. She holds a telephone to her ear --
Yes, hi Jenny, account number 4168
2245 3173... I need a cash advance.
Helena walks into her kitchen. It's serene in the afternoon
light. She fixes ice-cold lemonade and fills two plastic
What's the largest amount I can get?
Okay, I guess that'll have to do.
Helena hangs up the phone. She takes the two cups of lemonade
to the front door and steps outside.
EXT. AYALA HOME - AFTERNOON
Helena carries the cups down the driveway. She presses a
button and the gates swing open.
INT. TELEPHONE REPAIR VAN - AFTERNOON
Gordon and Castro listen to their headsets. Suddenly --
(over their headsets)
Okay. She's coming out. She's
leaving her property. Okay, she
seems to be heading for the van!
She is approaching the van!
Castro and Gordon looks at each other.
What do we do?
I don't know.
There's a KNOCKING at the door of the van.
What do you think she wants?
She's your girlfriend. Open it,
talk about your kids.
Gordon opens the door. Helena is standing there with the
I so hope I didn't startle you. I
thought you might like some cold
Uh... Thank you.
She hands the cups to him. Helena gathers herself.
I know this is a difficult situation
and you're only doing your jobs. I
don't bear you any ill-will, but I
do have a small favor to ask.
You want to ask us a favor?
A man threatened my children.
These charges have attracted a lot
of attention and it seems to be
bringing all the nut-jobs out of the
Would you keep an eye out for anything
out of the ordinary. I don't know
what else to do.
Of course, we will.
They shut the door to the van and sit for a moment.
It's probably poisoned.
Gordon takes a big sip of his.
It's good. Not too sweet.
EXT. TIJUANA STREET - MORNING
This is a questionable neighborhood pushed up against the
edge of poverty.
Anna hurries across the street.
EXT. JAVI'S APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING
Anna walks up the stairs of a rundown building. She passes
two PROSTITUTES loitering in the stairwell.
She knocks on a door and Javi, half-dressed for work, answers.
He's surprised to see her.
Anna. What's wrong? What do you
I can't find Manolo.
He's not here.
He never came home last night. Was
he with you?
He lets her into the apartment.
INT. JAVI'S APARTMENT - MORNING
A small, clean room with a partition for the sleeping area.
I'm worried. Last time he was out
late, I went through his clothes
while he was asleep.
She pulls out a plastic packet with the scorpion insignia
and 911 stamped on it.
Javier thinks a beat.
I'll find him.
EXT. ALLEY - TIJUANA - DAY
Javi slams Manolo against the side of building.
What the fuck are you doing?
You're supposed to be at work.
Look at you.
Manolo is sweaty and crazy-eyed.
It's no problem. I was just with
everybody we work with.
Oh, really. General Salazar was
No, but a lot of other people. You
should come. You should come out
Go home. Get cleaned up. Get to
work. Salazar is heading down to
Mexico City next week and I'm not
getting left behind. Don't fuck
EXT. COFFEE KIOSK - TIJUANA - DAY
Javi buys a cup of coffee. He turns. Two men, who will
come to be known as AGENT HUGHES and AGENT JOHNSON, are
standing close. Agent Hughes speaks without looking at him.
The word going around is you're not
that happy in your work.
Maybe we can help.
Hughes sticks a business card in Javi's pocket. Javi watches
them walk away. It's all done so smoothly and quickly, it's
over before Javi even knows what happened.
EXT. WEST END - CINCINNATI - DAY
It's the bad part of urban Cincinnati in the daylight:
projects and blighted row houses. Seth and Caroline walk
with a slouched, alert air. In their mind's eye they are
prep-school gangsters following a familiar route.
You know my dad takes eight red cold
pills every day? He and my mom have
cocktail hour every night, from six
to seven, set your clock, two bourbons --
Maybe we could show up and smoke a
little rock with them to unwind --
Yeah, then some dope to take the
edge off at the end of a long day.
Have you done your homework, honey?
Yes, mom --
Then here's a little bump.
They turn down a street with a lot of activity on it.
Drugs weren't even a problem until a
hundred years ago when the white men
in power declared them a problem.
Opiates. But, who was using 'em?
Chinese immigrants. Slave labor.
And the darkies up in the inner cities
dancing to them evil rhythms of ju-
ju music. People on the fringe.
Artists. Decadent rich people. And
who got scared? White men in power.
Who's scared today? White men in
power. If J.P. Morgan and John D.
Rockefeller ever admitted using,
it'd be a whole different story.
TWO YOUNG STREET DEALERS fall in step with them. One talks
without moving his lips --
What you want?
911, and the come down.
One dealer hurries ahead toward the doorway of a falling-
Two hundred of C, hundred of the
The dealer looks them over. He looks behind them down the
Come on... We've been here before.
Then, let's see your money.
Seth and Caroline are suspicious. They carefully show money
they both have in their front right pockets. The dealer
feints like he might grab it.
Up the steps. You the experts. You
know what to do.
They hurry up the steps into the dingy brownstone.
INT. ROW HOUSE - DAY
They step into the narrow foyer between the outer door and
the inner door. There are three other PEOPLE waiting
nervously. An older JUNKIE shoots them a crazy look --
What are you two, about twelve?
They wait. Finally, the first dealer appears in the inner
door and lets them through.
INT. FIRST FLOOR CORRIDOR - DAY
They wait in a line in the narrow, poorly lit corridor. At
the end of the hall a hatch in a door slides back and the
drugstore is open. People buy and leave.
Seth and Caroline approach. In the hatch is a hardened
dealer, 20's, named SKETCH, which is tattooed on his forearm.
He checks out Caroline's body.
Caroline, give me your money.
She hands over her money to Seth who pays and gets the drugs:
gram baggies of rock stamped with a scorpion and "911," and
wax-paper bindles of heroin, also labeled, "911."
Caroline has been watching the transaction. Sketch makes
slow eye contact with Caroline. After a beat --
Seth and Caroline make their way out of the building.
(under his breath)
EXT. BUILDING - DAY
Seth and Caroline hold hands as they hurry down the steps.
The lookout speaks without moving his lips.
Now, get the fuck out of here.
Caroline stops suddenly. She pulls Seth to her and kisses
him hard. There's no better moment than the one right after
scoring before you start using.
EXT. VILLA ELAINE - DAY
A flophouse of the seediest variety: wino in the doorway,
prostitute taking care of business, everyone fresh out of
institutions and graveyards.
INT. VILLA ELAINE - DAY
They approach the front desk which is behind six inches of
We'd like room 205.
Then you hand me twenty-eight dollars.
INT. ROOM 205 - VILLA ELAINE - DAY
They enter and the light bulb goes out. Seth fumbles his
way to the mini-fridge, which he opens, throwing feeble light
across the floor.
They check out the decrepit room: the sloping mattress, the
black and white television bolted to the bureau. The mini-
fridge. Caroline bounces on the bed. They are teenagers.
Seth prepares the drugs by the light of the mini-fridge.
I love this place.
Seth dumps the drugs on the bedside table. From other pockets
he extracts aluminum foil, lighter, tube. She trails away
watching him fix the first hit.
Did Courtney Love play Nancy in Syd
I think so. If she didn't she should
(checks her watch)
I've only got maybe an hour. Then
volleyball practice is over and I
have to be home.
Why? Nobody's there.
He prepares the first hit. She does it and lies back. He
(blowing out the hit)
The maid... They ask her what time I
get back. She spies for them.
Seth starts kissing her. They try to get into it, but both
of them are thinking about the drugs.
I wish we could stay here. Just be
here forever and ever. Make it a
She leans over to snort a tiny line of heroin.
I want to have sex and do a hit right
as we're coming.
Caroline's distracted by the line she's snorting. After a
Seth begins undoing her jeans.
INT. EPIC BUNKER LOBBY - DAY
SUPERTITLE: EL PASO, TEXAS
Robert and Sheridan listen to the official tour of the EPIC
center delivered by the SPECIAL-AGENT-IN-CHARGE, 40, a sincere
weight-lifter with a sincere crew-cut.
...Over 200 DEA field agents, a budget
of almost 100 million dollars and
state of the art communications
equipment make the El Paso Information
Center the Drug Enforcement
Administration's flagship for the
INT. EPIC BUNKER CAFETERIA - DAY
A huge lunchroom. Long plastic institutional tables and
agents minding their own business,
Robert, Sheridan, and their Epic Guide walk through. They
pass a wall of black and white head shots --
Who are these guys?
Agents who died in the field.
EXT. BINOCULAR POV - DAY
of large mansion with manicured grounds. The back lawn is
filled with children, balloons, a merry-go-round, and pony
rides. It's a sumptuous children's birthday party.
That house, that you see from the
DEA headquarters, belonged to Porfirio
Madrigal -- the Lord of the Skies,
largest trafficker in Mexico.
ANGLE ON ROBERT
looking through the binoculars.
He died in a liposuction surgery,
Right. Now it's used by somebody
from the Juarez Cartel, one of his
lieutenants... Who knows?
Every damn day there's birthday party.
At first I thought they must have
three hundred children, then I
realized they're taunting us. Three
miles away and we can't touch them.
Ha, ha, ha.
BINOCULAR POV: a child running in circles holding a clutch
of colored balloons.
Who do we interface with on their
What do you mean?
I mean, who runs interdiction on the
I don't know. I don't think there's
any one person.
See the problem is the Juarez cartel
owns everything and everybody, all
the property on the Mexican side,
sometimes all the property on both
sides. Warehouses, transportation,
even tunnels. It's very organized.
EXT. TRAMAC - DAY
Robert, walking with purpose, leads his group to their plane.
INT. MILITARY JET - DAY
Robert and Sheridan and several DEA, Law Enforcement, and
Military Officials. It's a nice plane, used for important
people and Robert has the best seat.
I want everyone thinking out the box
for a second. What are we gonna do
Come on, guys. Out of the box.
The men on the plane just stare at him. Finally the REP
FROM DEA leans forward.
REP FROM DEA
REP FROM DEA
From a DEA standpoint we need a vetted
task force and matching funds. And
cut the red tape on getting them
equipment and training.
Robert turns to the others.
Come on. I want to hear from
everyone: FBI. Customs. Treatment.
Is there anyone from treatment on
(no one answers)
Then I want an answer for why there
isn't anyone from treatment.
Look, we know we have to bust one of
these cartels, Juarez or Tijuana,
not just as a symbol, but hell yes,
also as a symbol - they are symbols -
and there's nothing wrong with sending
a message. That's why when Carlos
Ayala hired Michael Adler lead
defense, I flew Ben Williams to San
Diego to prosecute. Because he's
the best we have, he's our symbol
that we're serious about putting the
top people away.
So, as of right now, this flight
only, consider the dam on new ideas
Still, no one else says anything. They watch Robert
If I'm not mistaken, we got DEA,
Pentagon, U.S. Attorneys office,
about a billion dollars of budget
right here. So what are you people
EXT. SAN DIEGO OFFICE BUILDING - DAY
Establishing shot of a tall glass building in the downtown
skyline of San Diego.
INT. ARNIE METZGER'S OFFICE - DAY
Helena and Arnie enter his office. The furniture is sleek
mid-century modern, and the view of the harbor is
On a clear day you can see Mexico
Arnie stands very close to Helena and looks at her profile.
This place is swept twice a day. I
learned that in Miami in '85. Then
the U.S. shut down the whole
Caribbean, but it's a big game of
wack-a-mole. Knock it down in Miami,
it pops up here. And San Diego is
so much more relaxing.
Arnie, I need money. Somebody
threatened my children. They want a
first payment of three million
Helena, if I had it I would give it
to you, but I don't have that kind
Arnie, help me. Doesn't anyone owe
Yes, I told you before, there are
people who owe you money but they're
not paying. There's too much heat
Please. Tell me who Carl sells to.
Even if I knew I wouldn't tell you.
You do not want to come into contact
with these people. Only Carl knows
who they are. That's his real asset.
Ruiz doesn't know them. They don't
know Ruiz. Church and State.
What about legitimate businesses?
We own a construction concern, real
Laundromats for the washing of money.
Unfortunately, Carl had only one
Don't you have some good news? Isn't
there something positive you could
There isn't. Helena looks Arnie in the eyes.
Sometimes I wonder what I'll do if
Carl doesn't get out. I'm not very
adept at being on my own. I've always
had a man in my life. Always.
I remember when I first met you:
little Helen Watts from the wrong
side of somewhere. I had a feeling
even then that your survival instincts
were pretty well honed.
I'm glad you think so, but I'm
picturing a debt-ridden, thirty-two
year-old mother whose ex-husband is
being compared to Pablo Escobar.
And I'm wondering who would want to
be with someone like that?
It takes a great effort for Arnie not to answer.
INT. ARMORED SUV - MEXICO - DAY
Javier and Manolo ride through a nice neighborhood in Mexico
City. Javi isn't familiar with the roads and drives
A young lady, ROSARIO, early 20's, sexy and vulnerable, rides
in the back of the SUV.
You two don't like me, do you?
Manolo laughs and looks her up and down. Javi watches her
in the rearview mirror.
We don't have an opinion on you.
Maybe it's because I'm getting an
apartment nicer than anything you'll
ever see in your life?
Javi says nothing.
(re: the neighborhood)
I can't believe the old man kept his
The General is a man of his word.
They will say anything to get what
they want, but then you remind them,
it's always tomorrow, tomorrow,
Occupational hazard, I guess.
Javi just looks at her in the rearview mirror.
His friend is giving us the apartment
so it's not like he paid. It's more
like a favor.
Javier pulls the SUV to the curb in front of a beautiful
colonial-style apartment complex in the verdant neighborhood.
EXT. VERDANT NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
Birds are chirping. Javi waits in the car as Manolo takes
the young lady's bags from the vehicle and carries them up
the walkway to the arched doorway. He knocks on the heavy
You don't have the keys. Oh that's
perfect. Are you an idiot?
Manolo knocks again. They wait a long beat.
There's supposed to be someone here
to let you in.
Finally, the door swings open and a BODYGUARD is standing
there. Rosario SQUEALS and sweeps past him into the vast
space. The bodyguard motions for Manolo to put the bags
inside the door.
Manolo sets the bags down and sees another MAN standing a
few feet away. The man wears sunglasses. His complexion is
strange and his neck is bandaged.
The body guard escorts Manolo back outside where he hears
Rosario's happy LAUGHTER drifting down from an upstairs
INT. SUV - DAY
Manolo gets into the truck. He's shaken by what he's just
Porfirio Madrigal is not dead. I
just saw him.
A long beat as Javier considers this.
This is why Salazar is so interested
in cleaning up Tijuana. Madrigal,
who's supposed to be dead, owns him.
And Madrigal is making a move on
Javier calmly drives away.
Javi! Come on. Don't pull this you
don't care bullshit. This is
incredible information. It must be.
We keep our mouths shut.
INT. BARBARA'S CAR - NIGHT
Barbara drives Robert home from the airport. There's a sense
they've been silent for a while.
I think we may have found our Mexican
Drug Czar. It's this General,
Salazar. At least I'll have somebody
on the other side I can talk to.
Does this mean you're going to be
A long silence.
You might want to pencil in a little
face-time with your daughter.
Because I'm at the edge of my
The first thing we have to do is
present a unified front.
If you start in on the war metaphors
I'm going to drive this car into a
fucking telephone pole.
Look, I'm as worried as you are --
No, I don't think so. Leave me alone,
give me money. That's what I get
from our daughter. She has a way of
shutting me out that seems very
Yeah, well, she has a way of self-
medicating that probably seems
She looks at him, stung.
I'm not the one who has to have three
scotches just to walk in the door
and say hello.
I have a drink before dinner to take
the edge off my day. That's
Oh, it is?
Yeah, because the alternative is to
be bored to death.
EXT. WAKEFIELD HOUSE - NIGHT
He car pulls into the driveway. Robert gets out. Barbara
doesn't. He looks back at her.
Why don't you go in and tell your
daughter how bored you are.
She puts the car in reverse and drives away. He stands for
a moment, steaming.
INT. WAKEFIELD HOUSE - NIGHT
Robert Wakefield steps inside his home. It's very QUIET.
He checks the mail on the hall table.
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT
Robert walks down the hallway. He steps into Caroline's
INT. CAROLINE WAKEFIELD'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS
Robert stands outside her closed bathroom door.
There is nothing, then from the other side of the door, the
faint sound of a lighter CLICKING. AGAIN and AGAIN, then a
INT. CAROLINE WAKEFIELD'S BATHROOM - NIGHT
Caroline sits on the toilet. Glamour Magazine on her lap.
She's wild-eyed and paranoid. The exhaust fan is running.
The aluminum foil is on the sink. The last little bit of
heroin in a wax-paper bundle sits beside it.
She's listening hard for any SOUND in the house. What she's
wondering is if someone is outside the door listening.
She puts a piece of crack on the foil and listens hard once
more before lighting it. She does the hit.
And seems to feel better.
Suddenly there's a POUNDING on the door. The VOICE of her
father muffled through the solid wood.
(muffled by the door)
Caroline. Open this door immediately.
Caroline is up like a shot. She looks around. The POUNDING
on the door gets stronger.
She crumples the foil and drops it in the toilet.
The bathroom door SOUNDS like it's about to cave inward.
(faking the best she
Who is it? I'm going to the bathroom.
She's coping now, full parallel process mode: she dumps the
last heroin on the back of her hand and snorts it, checking
her nose in the mirror as she reaches for a can of air
freshener which she sprays into the air.
She takes the remaining crack, lighters, tubes, little smudgy
druggy bits of paraphernalia and carefully places it all in
a hiding place above the bathroom cabinet.
She pauses a beat, then opens the door, and tries to brush
by her father while avoiding his eyes.
Excuse me --
Robert grabs her by the arms. He pushes her against the
wall and looks at her pupils. He looks at her fingernails.
The blister on her thumb from working the lighter is red and
You're not going anywhere, young
She stands there; she's very high.
Robert sniffs the air. He throws open cabinets, searching
for drugs. He sees the smudge mark on the counter left by
the charred aluminum foil.
Where is it? Where are the drugs?
Where are they?
Fuck you. I wasn't doing anything.
You're like the Gestapo.
Robert KICKS the cabinets.
Fuck me? Oh, okay. Fuck me. Fuck
Robert is losing it. He throws stuff around the bathroom
and then, for the first time, looks up. He sees the long
light in the box atop the medicine cabinet and it dawns on
I'm going to ask you one time to
tell me the truth so that I can help
She just stares.
Okay, young lady, that's it.
Like I give a fuck.
Robert reaches above the medicine cabinet and pulls out a
charred spoon. It confuses him. He throws it into the sink.
He pulls out another spoon. He pulls out crumpled bindles,
rolled up, encrusted dollar bills, exhausted lighters, a
pill bottle, an empty pint of vodka.
The detritus of drug addiction keeps on coming, filling up
the sink. Robert stares at it, the amount and complexity
has him momentarily baffled.
What is wrong with you? What?
You're going away. You're getting
You can't make me.
Oh, yes I can.
INT. - SAN DIEGO - DAY
Javier drinks toward downtown. He's sipping a Burger King
soft-drink. On the seat next to him is a shopping bag from
Target. He takes an exit. Javier pulls into the underground
parking lot of a fancy office tower.
INT. POLICE SEDAN - DAY
Javi drives down to the third floor underground. He pulls
into a parking spot next to a white sedan. He slides open
the cargo door of his van.
The cargo door of the sedan opens. Javi quickly gets into
INT. SEDAN - DAY
Special Agents Hughes and Johnson welcome Javi.
Where are we going?
Hughes sticks out his hand.
Special Agent Hughes, Drug Enforcement
Administration of the United States.
(ignoring the niceties)
Where are you taking me?
The agents exchange a look.
A place we have, that we know is
It's really safe.
Not for me.
Okay. Where would you like to go?
EXT. SWIMMING POOL - HOTEL - DAY
Javi and Agents Johnson and Hughes stand in the middle of
the shallow end of a large swimming pool. KIDS in waterwings
It's important that we work together.
Mexico. America. One hand washing
So... maybe you tell me about your
informants in our operations.
(confused by this)
We thought maybe you'd have that
kind of information for us.
This is a very different proposition.
Johnson and Hughes exchange a glance.
We pay for that kind of information.
A fat kid in an inner-tube floats behind them.
Is that what you're talking about,
Javi makes eye contact with one agent, then the other.
Ten years ago Tijuana had no drug
problem. Now it is epidemic.
Ten years ago America takes a hammer
to Pablo Escobar, a hammer to the
Miami drug trade, and you allowed
everything to move to my country.
You dumped the problem at our feet.
Now, drug use is epidemic. Now, the
treatment centers are full and get
no state money. They survive on
donations and what they get for
building doghouses to sell to the
We need lights for the parks so kids
can play at night. So they can play
baseball. So it's safe. Everybody
likes parks. Everybody likes
What I'm talking about is I would
like to see somebody take an interest
in Tijuana. That's what I'm talking
Javi starts to get out of the pool.
Javi, You want to come see us again,
you're going on the box. No more of
this water-wing bullshit.
INT. PARKING GARAGE - DAY
Javier gets out of the DEA sedan and back into his. He drives
INT. SEDAN - DAY
Agents Hughes turns to Agent Johnson.
You wanna tell me what the hell that
was all about?
He's got something. We just have to
INT. JAIL VISITATION ROOM - DAY
Helena and Carl each hold a telephone receiver as they stare
at each other through a thick pane of meshed glass. Helena
is barely holding it together. It's hard for Carl to see
her like this. After a beat --
How's David? How's David? He's
We watched his father get dragged
away by federal agents. I don't
even know how to begin to tell him
where you are or when you're coming
back... Or if you're coming back.
She can't even look at him.
We'll get through this, I promise.
I'll make it up to you --
How? Supportive letters from prison
while I'm being kicked out of our
Do you have any idea what is happening
out here? Our credit cards are maxed.
The people at the bank, you should
see their faces when I walk in there.
I have a letter from the government
telling me that anything I sell from
our house will be taken against an
income tax lien. Our friends are
behaving like the crowd at a public
hanging. Nobody will help us. Nobody
will take us in. Nobody wants
anything to do with us. So tell me,
Carl, how you're gonna make it up to
Tell me again how we'll get through
this, and maybe while you're at it
you can put your hand up against the
glass so we can have a tender moment
Tell me what to do, Carl. I need
guidance, not a fucking platitude.
I'm not bringing a child into the
kind of life I grew up with. I won't
do it. I want our life back.
Carl looks at his wife as if he is trying to weigh her. He
thinks, then leans forward --
I built our house and I don't want
to lose it. Every stone, every brick,
My business... That would take a lot
of private study...
That you don't have time for. I
suggest you look into the Coronel...
(he blinks again)
Into selling it. If you can stomach
it, you should look into it.
That painting is very valuable.
I don't understand.
Look into the Coronel; otherwise,
there is nothing to do.
EXT. SERENITY OAKS - DAY
A peaceful wooded campus with a unobtrusive sign reading,
"Serenity Oaks Treatment Facility."
INT. MEETING ROOM - SERENITY OAKS - DAY
There are sayings on the wall: "Easy Does It;" "Let Go and
Let God;" "Turn it over;" "One Day at a Time..." "H.A.L.T. --
Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?"
Caroline, wearing a thick, woolly sweater, and the other
PATIENTS sit around on beat-up couches and chairs in a loose
circle. It's a mixed BUNCH: trucker meth-head, rocker dope-
fiend, yuppie crack-head, fat, thin, rich, middle-class, and
all white. Caroline is the youngest.
MARTY, 40's, an overweight alcoholic, finishes his "share."
So it was my birthday an my ex-wife
was getting remarried and I was in
some church basement telling a bunch
of strangers how it was a good day
because I didn't have to eat out of
a dumpster. That was enough to send
me out on big one.
I've been thinking a lot about the
first step: that I came to believe I
was powerless over alcohol and that
my life had become unmanageable.
See my disease tells me I don't have
a disease. That I'm fine. That
it's my birthday and I can have one
little drink, then one little line,
then one little Valium, then two
more fat lines, then two more 10 mil
Valium... Six months later I wake up
in a sober living house in Philly.
And I'm from Dallas, people.
It's a disease -- an allergy of the
body and an obsession of the mind.
I know that now. So my name's Marty
and today I'm a grateful recovering
alcoholic who didn't eat out of a
And Marty looks to Caroline who didn't relate to one word he
(slowly, very nervous)
Hi. I'm Caroline. I'm not sure I'm
I mean I don't really like to drink.
For someone my age it's so much easier
to get drugs than beer. I don't
know, this is really weird and I'm
People in the room nod encouragingly.
I guess I'm angry. I mean I think
I'm really angry about a lot of stuff,
but I don't know what exactly.
She blushes, and stares out the window.
INT. AYALA LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
Helena follows an ART APPRAISER through her formal living
room as he inspects paintings and makes notations. He is
very excited and moves quickly from one to the next.
Tamayo. Carrington. A simply
wonderful collection of Mexican
Modern. Give me three months. I
know several collectors in South
America, very discreet.
I don't have three months.
It takes time to find the proper
How much will you give me in cash?
The appraiser taps out some numbers on a calculator and shows
the figure to Helena.
You must be joking. That's a fraction
of their value.
I'm sorry, but that is the figure I
can get today.
Helena turns her back. She walks to a window and looks out,
then surveys the contents of her beautiful home.
Get out. Get out of my house.
Helena turns and sees David in the doorway. She goes to
It's all right. We're have a
disagreement, that's all.
The art appraiser passes them on his way out.
INT. AYALA MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
Helena wakes up in the middle of the night with a start.
Her eyes are wide open. She has had a thought --
She climbs out of bed and quickly puts on a robe.
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
Helena walks quickly and quietly down the hallway. She passes
David's room. She opens a door at the end of the hall --
INT. CARL'S PRIVATE STUDY - CONTINUOUS
Helena enters the room. She hits a desk lamp and we're in a
very comfortable and masculine upstairs study: bookshelves
holding hundreds of art books; comfortable chairs; MacIntosh
stereo; discreet flatscreen HD TV.
Helena stares at a painting on one of the bookshelves. It
is "Boy with a Hoop," a small portrait by Rafael Colonel.
She goes to it and looks from different angles. She reaches
out and jiggles the oil. Nothing happens. She looks behind
the painting at the backing.
She notices that one corner is not glued down. She picks up
a letter opener and pries the paper back. An envelope slips
Inside the envelope: neat, thin strips of paper dense with
information in a miniscule type and a magnetic key card.
INT. HELICOPTER - DAY
Robert and Sheridan ride in the back of the chopper. Each
looks out his own window.
A newspaper on the seat between them shows a front page photo
of General Salazar, exultant, and the headline reads in
Spanish, "Salazar Named Chief of Anti-Narcotics Operations."
EXT. MEXICO CITY - DAY
Establishing shot of a military helicopter landing on the
roof of an office building in downtown Mexico City.
INT. HEADQUARTERS, FEADS, - MEXICO CITY - DAY
Robert Wakefield and General Salazar stroll through the new
headquarters where boxes are still being unpacked. Javier
and Sheridan trail along behind them.
I recruited the best men in Mexico
for my task force and put them through
a rigorous screening process. Not
only physical, but also psychological.
I'd like to bring you up to
Washington, walk you around our side
of things, and share some of the
information we've been able to develop
on your cartels.
That would be very helpful to me.
Also, I received the offer from DEA
and the FBI to train some of my men
at Quantico. I think this will be
extremely useful, a good way for us
to absorb some of your methods.
INT. SALAZAR'S I.N.C.D. OFFICE - DAY
The office hasn't been decorated yet.
I've been too busy to completely
Salazar proffers a chair and they sit next to each other
like Brezhnev and Nixon. PHOTOGRAPHERS begin SNAPPING
pictures. After a few moments, Salazar waves them away, and
they lower their cameras and leave.
You've been making very good progress
against the Tijuana cartel.
Yes, I am confident that Juan Obregon
will be taken into custody before
the end of the year. But, you must
understand that it is very difficult
because of corruption in the police
force. We get a tip that he is one
place, then we get there and he is
already gone, having been warned by
someone on our side.
Hopefully the exchange of training
methods and information between our
countries will help with this problem.
Yes, I hope so as well.
Let me ask you a related question.
We've talked about the supply side,
but what about demand? What is your
policy for treating addiction?
Addicts treat themselves... they
overdose and then there's one less
to worry about.
Robert cannot respond.
EXT. SERENITY OAKS - WALKWAY - DAY
Caroline ambles alone down a walkway at the treatment
She looks through the trees that surround facility and notices
cars going by.
INT. LOW-RENT HOTEL - DAY
Gordon and another DEA AGENT escort Ruiz up the stairs of a
large, older hotel.
This is ridiculous. Why is there no
When the DEA gets into the narcotics
business, then we'll stay at the
They walk down a hotel hallway. Two more AGENTS stand outside
Room 407. Gordon opens the door and they enter.
INT. SUITE OF CHEAP HOTEL ROOMS - DAY
There are more AGENTS inside and old food and coffee
containers. Gordon gives Ruiz a tour. There are several
rooms. A bored Castro sits at a table staring at a Scrabble
Eddie, how you like your new home?
I hope you hate it as much as I do.
Ruiz looks around with disgust. He's accustomed to finer
places. He goes to a window and looks out.
RUIZ'S POV: of the Federal Court building not far away.
This is not what my lawyers
Gordon pours himself a cup of coffee.
Fuck your lawyers. You aren't getting
any cappuccino or Biscotti either.
INT. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE - DAY
A packed, tense courtroom listens to testimony from a
government witness, FRANK, 50's, very matter-of-fact and
He first came to me in January.
That would've been nineteen eighty-
seven. He wanted to rent warehouse
space along the harbor. I didn't
ask too many questions; I'm a
INT. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE - DAY
Another witness, MRS. BERRY, 40's, pedantic on the stand --
I told Mr. Ayala there were
irregularities in his tax return.
And I couldn't represent him unless
we could explain this...
INT. FEDERAL COURTHOUSE - DAY
SHEILA, 38, a mousy secretary, is on the stand. Carlos sits
at the defendant's table listening raptly. Gordon and Castro
sit in the back watching Helena who pays close attention to
the witness --
I was the company secretary from
1991 to 1994. I supposedly worked
for all six companies. But... they
weren't... I mean, it was just one
empty office with a desk and a
telephone. We never sold anything
the whole time I was there. Sometimes
people came and got paid. I don't
really know what we did.
Did Mr. Ayala say where the money
No, and I didn't ask.
Where do you think it came from?
Carl's lawyer, Adler, is on his feet --
This speculation --
I'll rephrase. Did you feel like
you were engaged in a legal
Sheila is reluctant to answer.
No, not really.
Helena catches Carl's eye and they share a grim moment.
INT. CARL'S UPSTAIRS STUDY - DAY
Helena sits at Carl's office desk. On the desk in front of
her are the lists she found and an encrypted cell phone.
Helena picks up the phone. Her hands are shaking. She is
crying as she dials. A voice on the other end answers.
Who is this?
Helena gathers her courage, then...
A friend... of Carlos Ayala.
There is a long pause.
I'm on a special phone, may I speak
You may speak.
I have a job for you and I don't
have much time.
EXT. BOTANICAL GARDEN - DAY
Helena watches David look at the wide variety of plants and
flowers. All around them a GROUP of 3rd graders, in identical
T-shirts, enjoy a field trip.
I love this place. Don't turn around.
Behind her Francisco Flores takes a photo with an instant
You were followed by the police, but
they won't hear us over the children.
I want to use a bomb.
You're kidding. Can't you shoot him
I don't really like guns. You shoot
someone in the head three times and
some doctor will keep them alive.
When will you do it?
I don't know. Eduardo Ruiz is the
only real witness against Carl. The
security is very tight. There may
not be a way.
There's always a way. If people get
to the Pope or the President, you
can get to him.
Careful... You're sounding like your
husband, Mrs. Ayala.
INT. JAVI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Anna sits in the living room, staring. She appears too upset
to speak. The apartment is cleaner. There have been other
changes. There's a new rug.
What? What is it?
It's very hard for me to come and
tell you this.
Javier just watches her.
It's Manolo. He's going to do
something stupid. I'm worried that
he'll get himself killed.
He keeps watching.
He's saying he's going to talk to
the Americans. Become an informer.
He says they pay a lot of money.
Why does he need money?
He has debts. He has gambling debts.
He owes a lot of money.
Nine thousand dollars.
A long beat.
What is he planning on telling them?
Well, you know, he's going to say
about Madrigal... and Salazar.
Javier just looks at her.
INT. ROBERT'S OFFICE IN WASHINGTON - DAY
Robert is on the telephone, listening. He is not happy.
Sheridan watches him.
Nobody saw her leave?
Yes... I understand.
He hangs up. He stands and reaches for his jacket.
I have to go. I have to go home.
INT. WAKEFIELD KITCHEN - NIGHT
Robert and Barbara sit at the kitchen table.
Should we bring the police into this?
No, not yet.
EXT. WEST END STREETS - DAY
Robert drives through the streets in his Cadillac DeVille.
INT. DEVILLE - DAY
Robert rides in glum silence. He looks at passersby who are
almost all black and almost all stare back at the white man
in his Cadillac.
A group of young men stare threateningly as he rolls past.
On the street, in the lee of a Brownstone staircase, a deal
is going down.
ROBERT AND SETH ABRAHMS - DAY
sit in a coffee shop.
She's not at that place you sent
She snuck away. And we haven't seen
her. She hasn't come home.
Oh, man --
She hasn't called you?
I tried to talk to her when she was
up there, but they wouldn't put me
I'm surprised she hasn't called.
ANOTHER ANGLE ON ROBERT IN THE CAR - DAY
He turns a corner and is suddenly in a drive-thru drug market.
Dealers, HUSTLERS, run at the windows from both sides,
What you want? Rock? Rock? Hey,
what you want?
ROBERT AND SETH - DAY
in the coffee shop.
Can you tell me anything? Do you
have any ideas?
I don't know what to say.
I'm not the police. I don't care
about experimentation. She's a kid.
I'm worried to death.
You won't say anything to my parents?
I don't give a fuck about your parents --
We sometimes went downtown to score.
The West End. We buy it off the
I can stop, you know, and she can't.
Two people, really similar, we can
talk about anything, but for me it's
like a weekend thing, then I get my
shit together, and for her it's
You don't know what the hell you're
talking about. You're a cocky
seventeen year-old and you don't
have a clue what the stakes are.
You don't know the value of the life
you've yet to throw away. And neither
ROBERT IN HIS CAR - DAY
It is surrounded. Robert stares. A face presses up against
(through the window)
What do you want?
(through the window)
What do you mean, what do I want?
Rock or dope, man?
I don't want anything.
ROBERT AND SETH
Hey man, I'm sorry. I'm just trying
You want to help? Stay the fuck
away from her.
ROBERT IN HIS CAR
I'm looking for my daughter.
The dealer looks at him with disgust, turns his back, and
waves everyone else away.
Robert slams his fist against the steering wheel. He slams
it again and again. He stops and pulls away, just as
AT THE INTERSECTION
behind Robert's car, Caroline crosses the street toward
INT. SKETCH'S BEDROOM - DAY
A single candle lights the room. Caroline is underneath
Sketch the drug dealer. He is pounding away. As she clutches
his back and holds on, her expression is both surprised and
druggy, and SOUNDS escape her mouth that she wouldn't believe
she could make.
There's a KNOCK on the door. Sketch continues his business.
The KNOCKING is more insistent. Finally, he stops and gets
up and goes to the door. Caroline lies back. She's in a
bed with black sheets in a room with nothing else in it but
a dresser and some duffle bags.
Sketch opens the door --
What the fuck do you want?
SOMEBODY outside says something. Sketch walks over to a
duffle bag and extracts some product. Caroline's eyes are
glued to it as Sketch hands it through the door. Sketch
sees her staring at the drugs.
He comes back to bed.
You want some of that?
What you gonna do to get some of
What you gonna do?
She turns her back to him, pouting. He laughs.
Maybe a taste.
He reaches over beside the bed where there is a small tray.
On the tray is a rig, spoon, several powders, and an eye
dropper. He pulls the candle over and rapidly fixes a
speedball. He pulls the fluid into the neck of the syringe
and holds it up the light. It has Caroline transfixed.
Feed this to you like a little bird.
He squirts the tiniest amount of fluid into the air. It
arcs in the candlelight.
You want this?
This is the Express train. Baby
turnin' pro and getting down in a
big, big hole.
Her concentration is entirely, hypnotically focused on the
Sketch moves the syringe toward her lips.
Kiss it. Kiss your new mommy hello.
Caroline moves her mouth toward the side of the syringe, her
Sketch pulls the sheet back, exposing her legs. He grips
one powerful hand around her ankle and squeezes... Veins
stand out on her foot.
He slides the needle into the largest vein and slowly
depresses the plunger.
Caroline watches, then her head tilts back, then forward,
she GROANS, sexually and slumps against the pillows, her
eyes half-open, her lips twitching.
Sketch puts the rig back on the tray, then admires Caroline's
beauty for a second before starting to fuck her again.
EXT. HOTEL - DAY
Gordon and Castro and two other AGENTS escort Ruiz out of
the hotel and usher him into a waiting cruiser.
They pull out in a caravan and move through the streets toward
EXT. COURTHOUSE PARKING LOT - DAY
The cruiser pulls into a fenced and gated parking lot.
Gordon, Castro and Ruiz, walking with a limp, cross to the
As they push inside, Francisco Flores, in a conservative
grey suit passes them going outside.
The parking lot is empty of people. The guards at the gate
talk about something distracting.
Francisco passes by the cruiser and drops his keys. Kneeling
down he extracts a small, powerful, magnetized bomb from his
jacket. He attaches it to the underside of the vehicle,
stands and walks toward the guard gate.
INT. COURTROOM - DAY
The court is filled to capacity. Helena and Metzger watch
from the gallery.
The JUDGE bangs his gavel. Adler is on his feet.
Your honor, it has come to our
attention that your honor, while in
private practice, previously
represented the town of Seal Beach
in their stop-work suit against the
Police Department of Seal Beach. We
believe this disqualifies you from
hearing this case and we therefore
move for a temporary suspension while
this is investigated.
The judge is surprised to hear this.
Mr. Adler, this is a most unusual
Nonetheless, your honor, we feel
that our client deserves every
fairness afforded under the law.
If this is in any way designed to
delay the testimony of Eduardo Ruiz...
The judge considers.
We'll recess until 9:00 am Monday
morning. And I'll see counsel in
He slams the gavel down again.
EXT. COURTHOUSE - DAY
Gordon, Castro, other AGENTS and Ruiz come down the rear
steps of the courthouse and walk across the street toward
the parking lot.
Remember when we sat on that mob
guy, that chef, for like six months?
Oh, man, I've never eaten so good in
Why don't you develop a useful skill?
Yeah, like turning into a beautiful
They reach the car.
Would you mind if today we walked?
It's one block. I could use the
INT. FRANCISCO'S CAR - CONTINUOUS
Across the street, Francisco, encrypted cell phone to his
ear, watches from his own car as Gordon, Castro, and Ruiz
stand by their car without getting in, then walk away from
They're not getting into the car.
What are they doing? They're walking
right at me.
The men start across the street toward Francisco.
INT. HELENA'S CAR - DAY
Helena drives her car through downtown San Diego.
You've got a gun. Get out of the
car and shoot him in the head.
INT. FRANCISCO'S CAR - DAY
Francisco watches Ruiz and the agents walk up the street
They're going to walk right past me.
What are you? A mouse? Get out of
the car and do it. This is your
Francisco watches the three men walk past his car. He makes
a decision and opens his door.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Francisco steps from the car and mingles in with OTHER PEOPLE
walking along the sidewalk. He follows them for few yards,
picking his moment.
He closes the distance to Gordon, Castro and Ruiz, pulling a
pistol from inside his jacket. He takes careful aim from
twelve feet away and is about to shoot Ruiz when a bullet
hole appears in his chest. He staggers, trying to squeeze
the trigger, Francisco fires the gun once, wildly --
A tourist screams --
Gordon and Castro and Ruiz turn --
Francisco is looking down at the widening red splotch in the
center of his shirt, uncertain of what has happened --
Gordon shoves Ruiz down into a doorway and fires three quick
Francisco spins around and drops on his face in the street.
Citizens run in all directions fearing a psychopath with an
NRA card coming off a bad week of day-trading --
Gordon and Castro with Ruiz beneath them scan the streets.
Stay here. I'll get the car.
Castro runs down the street for the court parking lot. Other
AGENTS are running toward Gordon and Ruiz.
INT. OFFICE BUILDING WINDOW - CONTINUOUS
The STRANGE MAN who threatened Helena's children packs a
high-caliber rifle and scope into a briefcase.
He snaps the case shut and quickly exits the room. We notice
a man on the floor with a bullet hole in his head next to
the open door.
EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS
Agents surround Ruiz.
Gordon walks to the body of Francisco lying face down in the
gutter. He turns him over with his shoe and sees his face.
(to the other agents)
I saw this guy at the courthouse.
The car --
Gordon takes off running, yelling for Castro.
EXT. COURT PARKING LOT - DAY
Castro has reached the car and gets in.
Gordon appears at the gate of the lot --
INT. CRUISER - DAY
Castro turns the ignition exactly at the moment he sees Gordon
yelling and waving his arms --
EXT. COURT PARKING LOT - DAY
The cruiser EXPLODES.
Gordon hits the pavement. Parts of the car begin raining
down around him.
INT. SIDEWALK CAFE - SAN DIEGO - DAY
A fire truck and paramedic unit WHIZZES by. Manolo sits at
an outdoor cafe table, waiting. He can't help looking around
at the attractive people, but he's also nervous.
Suddenly two MEN, recognizable as Salazar's OFFICERS from
the desert drug bust, sitting at a nearby table, rise and
move to Manolo's table.
Manolo, how are you?
They take seats uncomfortably close to Manolo.
Manolo, have we interrupted?
You're looking around like you're expecting someone.
No. I'm looking for the waiter. I
want to order.
What are you gonna have?
Well, if you like steak, we know a
much better place. We'll take you
That's okay, really.
They each take Manolo by an arm.
Manolo, we should really be going
now, before it gets too crowded.
INT. SUV - DAY
We're looking through the windshield as we approach the
Mexican border. As the car slows, we pan to follow the border
official as he looks in briefly and waves us through. We
continue to pan to reveal Manolo in the backseat sitting
beside Man #2.
INT. SUV - DAY
We're in the desert. There's nothing in any directions.
Javi is implacable. Manolo understands what is happening.
I was going to feed them wrong
information. Feed them lies to...
it was for...
The men say nothing. After a beat --
Don't tell Anna I died like this.
Tell her it was something else.
Tell her it was official business.
Tell her that I died doing something
honorable. Please, tell her that
EXT. DESERT - DAY
Javi and Manolo stand next to two freshly dug graves.
Javi hesitates before turning. We're on Javi as we hear the
GUNSHOT. Javi doesn't flinch. Manolo's body falls into the
Javi stands there, waiting.
You got anything you want to say?
Javi shakes his head. Finally, another GUNSHOT. After a
beat, a hand reaches out of Javi's shoulder.
Sorry about that... we had to be
They walk back to the SUV.
Are you sure you don't have anything
to tell us?
Javi says nothing, doesn't even acknowledge them. We hear a
INT. AYALA HOME - DAY
Arnie Metzger is in Helena's living room. The stereo is
loudly playing MOZART.
That was a stupid thing you did.
I tried, Arnie. And, I will continue
Have you gone crazy? You are not
Carl. You aren't as good as Carl.
They are moving the trial to a high
security location. The press has
gone berserk. The jury will be
influenced. Stay out of things.
Let us try to win the case.
That is going to be rather difficult
when all the evidence is against us.
Helena steps closer to Arnie, close enough that her breasts
are almost touching his chest.
Helena, please. This is out of your
I know I made things worse. I know
that and I'm sorry, but Arnie I need
something from you. Something only
you can help me with.
Helena looks searchingly into his eyes.
I need an introduction to the Obregon
I can't do that.
Helena leans closer to him.
I figured out what Carl was up to
and I need your help. Will you help
EXT. LABORATORY RESEARCH FACILITIES - DAY
An establishing shot of a hi-tech company within shooting
distance of the Salk Institute.
INT. LAB FACILITY - DAY
This is a professional chemical lab that can be rented by
the month. Long tables of lab and computer equipment. Nobody
has been here in a while. There are toys - plastic dolls,
frisbees, hula hoops - on many of the tables.
Helena lets herself into the room. She scans ledgers. She
looks over the equipment.
She picks up a twelve-inch high plastic Spastic Jack action
figure and a can labeled "solvent" and hurries from the lab.
EXT. WEST END - CINCINNATI - NIGHT
Robert drives through the streets, searching for Caroline.
He doesn't find her.
INT. WAKEFIELD HOUSE - NIGHT
Barbara is waiting in the living room. Robert enters. He
shakes his head then stands silently for a beat.
About the other night, I'm sorry.
God, I don't get it. Are we supposed
to say to ourselves, be prepared to
lose her, be prepared to lose our
Why does this happen to someone?
How does it happen?
I don't know.
INT. CAROLINE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Robert is standing in the middle of her room. He's not sure
what he's looking for. Everywhere he looks: her personal
things, beloved objects from more innocent times, pictures.
Within moments a legitimate desire to connect with his
daughter has escalated into a search for clues. He opens
her drawers, dumps little boxes, pulls things off of shelves.
He becomes increasingly unhinged, flinging things around her
room. He tosses a stack of magazines. A fashion magazine,
airborne, discharges some contents: a lighter, a plastic
tube and a piece of folded aluminum foil fluttering to the
Robert stares at the foil on the carpet. It's charred on
the outside. He picks it up. And unfolds it. There's a
dried milky white substance.
He picks up the tube and lighter and stares at them. Then,
somewhat tentatively, he puts the tube in his mouth. He
holds the lighter under the foil, then heats the milky
substance which turns translucent and disappears in a cloud
of smoke. Robert sucks all of it in.
He waits a long time then exhales. His eyes shut. The tube
drops from his mouth. He staggers and, overwhelmed by the
sensations, sits on the bed. The lighter and foil fall from
A moment later he opens his eyes and doesn't seem to know
where he is. He looks at the room, confused. He stumbles
to the door and shuts it firmly behind him.
INT. MANOLO'S HOUSE - DAY
Anna is weeping. Javier sits next to her. He puts his arm
around her and she leans her head against his shoulder.
INT. JAVIER'S SUV - DAY
Javi drives through the streets of Tijuana. He brakes for a
stop sign and watches, trance-like, the pedestrians crossing
in front of him. As the intersection clears he remains still.
A HONK from behind brings him back and he pulls forward
passing Helena Ayala who crosses going the opposite direction.
We stay with her.
EXT. TIJUANA - DAY
Helena walks down a nightlife street that is tawdry and stale
in the midday sun.
INT. CLUB PLATINUM - DAY
A shrewd Obregon Lieutenant, JUAN MARQUEZ, 40, sits at a
table opposite Helena. The Strange Man who both threatened
Helena's child and executed Francisco sits in another chair.
Mrs. Ayala. Thank you for coming.
I am Juan Marquez, I work for Mr.
Obregon. I believe you know my
associate, "Tigrillo," the Little
Helena nods to Tigrillo --
Yes, he threatened to kill my five
I was under the impression I would
be meeting Juan Obregon.
No, this is not possible. And I
thank you for coming down here, though
I suspect it's been a pointless
Why do you say that, Mr. Marquez?
I hear these stories. Your husband
in jail. His business in chaos.
Various people fighting over the
My husband is the victim of an
informer in your organization, not
That is not true, Mrs. Ayala. Your
route is compromised. Perhaps it is
time for me to deal with other
distributors in California.
I don't think you're going to do
You don't? Listen to this woman in
a man's world, a very violent world.
There are plenty of other suppliers
But not in whose interest it is to
help you out of debt.
Helena reaches into her bag and pulls out the Spastic Jack
action figure. She puts it on the desk.
My husband had been working on
something he called, The Project for
the Children. Are you aware of this?
I don't know. Perhaps I remember
We have the ability to change the
color, odor, and physical property
You want to smuggle narcotics in Mr.
Espastico Jacobo. That's nothing
Juan Marquez is confused.
This doll is cocaine.
Juan picks up Spastic Jack and looks at him. He bangs it on
Every part, from his ears to his
accessory belt, is high-impact,
pressure-molded cocaine. Odorless.
Undetectable by dogs. Undetectable
I don't believe you.
She takes out the "solvent" and puts it on his desk.
Get a bowl.
INT. CLUB PLATINUM - OFFICE - LATER
Spastic Jack is slowly dissolving in a bowl of solvent.
Only his shoulders, head, and ridiculous ears remain above
the quicksand of milky glop.
Helena holds a mirror under the desk lamp. She is drying
the paste. She puts the mirror on the desk. A white
substance has coagulated there.
Juan takes out a razor blade and chops the dried substance
into two white powder lines. He hands a silver straw to
I'm six months pregnant. I won't do
Fine, then we don't have deal.
Fine, then we don't have a deal.
She stands. He watches her a beat, then smiles.
He leans down and quickly snorts a line. After a beat.
That's good coke.
It should be... It's yours.
I want our debt forgiven. I want to
be the exclusive distributor of
Obregon Brothers Cocaine for the
United States. And I want the
principle witness against my husband,
Eduardo Ruiz, killed.
Perhaps... Perhaps... I'm afraid I
must first ask you to pass a test.
I asked the same of your husband and
he succeeded with flying colors.
Helena waits. Juan Marquez reaches in his desk and pulls
out a quarter kilo of cocaine. He pushes it across the desk.
Take this back with you. Deliver it
safely to Tigrillo in San Diego and
we have a deal.
That's crazy. My husband is on trial
Exactly, and this is how I know I'm
not getting into business with the
She puts the quarter key in her bag and stands.
You will help me with my other
Deliver that safely to Tigrillo in
San Diego. And we have a deal.
Tigrillo escorts her out of the room.
INT. CLUB PLATINUM - DAY
Helena follows Tigrillo. As they pass the restrooms she
signals that she has to stop.
INT. CLUB PLATINUM - LADIES' ROOM - DAY
Helena goes into a stall. She extracts the cocaine from her
She looks at it, trying to figure out where it goes. She
hikes up her skirt.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY
Javier is hooked up to a polygraph machine watched closely
by a POLYGRAPH OPERATOR. Hughes and Johnson watch as Javi
talks into a tape recorder on the table.
...And I have the electronic serial
numbers for their cellular phones.
They change them every twenty-four
hours but I have a contact at MexTel
who can get me the new ESNs within
Javi finishes talking and sits back. Agent Hughes shuts off
the tape recorder and looks at the polygraph operator who
nods approval. Hughes and Johnson exchange a look. They
That's good shit.
Now that you have what you want,
let's talk about how I get what I
Oh, don't worry, Javier, you're not
gonna have any problems there.
I want to take a minute and talk
about what type of precautions you're
taking to protect yourself. When
Salazar and Madrigal go down, they
might send someone to see you.
You worry about getting me the things
that I want. I'll worry about myself.
There's a beat. Javier seems discomfited. The two agents
notice this and exchange looks.
You should feel good about this.
I feel like a traitor.
EXT. BORDER CROSSING AUTOMOBILE CHECKPOINT - DAY
Javi goes into Mexico. Pan over to Helena's Mercedes.
INT. HELENA'S CAR - DAY
She inches the car forward towards the officer who selects
vehicles for inspection. The car ahead of her passes through
and speeds away. The OFFICER flags Helena and directs her
into the search facility.
EXT. CUSTOMS SEARCH BAY - DAY
Helena pulls into a search bay.
A CUSTOMS OFFICER watches Helena lower her window.
Please step from the car, Ma'am.
I'm in a hurry --
Step from the car, Ma'am. This won't
take long from your day.
Helena gets out of her car.
INT. OBSERVATION ROOM - CUSTOMS CHECKPOINT - DAY
There is a bank of video monitors showing the scenes all
over the facility.
ON THE MONITOR: Helena's car is on a lift three feet off the
ground. Officers pour over the inside and undercarriage of
Nearby, A GERMAN SHEPHERD sniffs at the items that have been
removed from the car: bags, spare tire, cd boxes.
EXT. CUSTOMS SEARCH BAY - DAY
Customs OFFICERS approach Helena --
Ma'am, we have to ask you to come
She follows them toward the Customs building.
INT. STRIP SEARCH ROOM - DAY
A FEMALE CUSTOMS INSPECTOR accompanied by a female SUPERVISORY
INSPECTOR leads Helena into a sterile room where there is no
place to hide anything.
Ma'am, we have reason to believe you
may have illegal drugs hidden beneath
your clothing. I need to conduct a
pat down search. Supervisory
Inspector Haig will witness the
You've got to be kidding me. I'm
pregnant. What if I refuse?
This pamphlet explains the law and
your rights under it. You're welcome
to read it first. It says we have
the authority to conduct this search.
Would you like to read it first or
shall we proceed?
EXT. FUNERAL SERVICE - DAY
Hundreds of DEA AGENTS, spouses, others stand around a grave
in a leafy cemetery in working class San Diego.
EXT. CEMETERY - DAY
The funeral is over and people are filing back to the cars.
Gordon walks away from the service when he is approached by
a mourning LUCINDA CASTRO, the mother of the deceased.
Montel... Oh, Montel.
Gordon hugs her.
You know how much he cared about
you. You do, don't you?
I know if he could have it back
somehow, he wouldn't do it differently
or have it any other way. He
wouldn't. He loved his job.
Another AGENT hustles toward him from the other direction,
the direction of the cars.
Excuse me, Agent Gordon. Mrs.
Helena Ayala left Club Platinum in
Tijuana. The Obregon Brothers' place.
They stopped her at the border but
she was clean. She's in San Diego
Gordon runs for his car.
INT. ARNIE METZGER'S OFFICE - DAY
Arnie sits in his office, spacing out, admiring his view
when an ASSISTANT shows Helena in. As soon as the door shuts --
Did you get it?
What are you thinking, calling me at
home with a message like that? You've
compromised me and our relationship --
Helena sits confidently on his couch.
(making fun of Arnie)
The place is swept twice a day. I
learned that down in Miami in '85...
Arnie. I'm the housewife. I belong
to the most exclusive country club
in La Jolla that accepts Latinos.
Until recently, I believed my husband
imported hydroponic strawberries,
which I donated at the school fair.
Arnie reaches into a desk drawer and pulls out a quarter-
kilo baggy identical to the one Juan Obregon gave her in
It's the same stuff? From the rainy
It's the same. What happened to
what they gave you?
Helena puts the bag in her purse.
I'm desperate, but I'm not stupid.
I flushed it in the bathroom of their godawful nightclub.
INT. ROBERT AND BARBARA'S BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING
Robert sleeps in his clothes on top of the covers. Barbara
is asleep beside him. The phone rings. Robert answers.
I'm sorry... Did I wake you?
Robert looks at Barbara and shakes his head. She gets up.
No, it's all right.
There's a beat.
Salazar's been taken down. He was
working for Porfirio Madrigal.
What? I thought Madrigal was dead.
I thought it was verified.
Apparently not. Look, it's a shit
storm here right now. When are you
I don't know what to tell people any
I'll get there as soon as I can.
If we're moving the press conference,
we need to do it now.
Are you all right?
The tone in Barbara's voice causes him to look up. She holds
an empty jewelry box.
I have to call you back.
INT. DINING ROOM - EARLY MORNING
The drawers and cabinets are open. Barbara and Robert assess
what is missing.
The silver wedding cup.
INT. LIVING ROOM - EARLY MORNING
Robert looks at their home entertainment center. Barbara
enters this room.
My Leica's gone.
So's the video camera.
At least she's alive.
Robert turns for the door.
Where are you going?
She'll be at a pawn shop in an hour.
Ten minutes after that she'll be at her dealer's. If I find
him, maybe I find her.
INT. CLASSROOM - CINCINNATI COUNTRY DAY - DAY
The bored children of privilege, wearing their blazers or
uniform grey skirts, stare at a TEACHER behind a desk.
The door opens and Robert enters. He finds Seth Abrahms in
the back of the class and walks straight to him. Robert
grabs a fistful of shirt and tie.
Hey man, what are you doing?
Excuse me? Excuse me?
Robert yanks Seth out of his seat. The teacher is
Seth has to be excused. He's going
on a field trip.
INT. THE FUN ZONE - DAY
Helena watches David play a video game. They have finished
their lunch, a mess of pizza rinds.
Come on. Time to go.
The CLOWN tries to catch their attention with some mime, but
they ignore him.
EXT. THE FUN ZONE - DAY
Helena and David are pushing out the door. The man walking
the other way past them is Tigrillo from the Tijuana cartel.
As they pass --
(under her breath)
Women's room, stall two.
Should we stop for ice-cream?
Tigrillo disappears into the restaurant.
As Helena pulls out of the Fun Zone parking lot, an unmarked
DEA cruiser falls in behind her.
INT. ROBERT'S CAR - DAY
Robert and Seth are parked across the street from Sketch's
building. They watch people, mostly white people, get what
I don't know, maybe we missed her.
I can't believe you used to bring my
daughter here, to this place.
Hey man, back the fuck up. To this
place. What's that shit? Right
now, all over this country, a hundred
thousand white people from the suburbs
are driving around downtown asking
every black person they see, You got
any drugs? You know where I can get
drugs? What kind of effect you think
this has on the psyche of a black
person, on their possibilities? If
you sent a hundred thousand black
people into your neighborhood, Indian
Hills, and they asked every white
person they saw, hey, you got any
drugs?, within a day, your friends
and their kids would be selling.
It's market forces, man. The
product's marked up three hundred
percent. You can go out on the street
and make five hundred bucks in two
hours and then do whatever you want
for the rest of the day. You think
white people would still be going to
There's a beat.
You're starting to piss me off. Get
out of the car.
Robert and Seth get our of the car and walk across the street.
INT. HALLWAY - DAY
Robert and Seth stand in the dim, dingy hallway. A JUNKIE
You're gonna get me killed.
Robert shoves Seth toward the door. Seth knocks. The door
opens a crack and Sketch's face appears.
What do you want?
Robert moves around Seth.
I'm looking for my daughter, Caroline.
She comes here.
This is a business. Get the fuck
I need to find my daughter. I'll
Sketch pulls a gun and shoves it against Robert's cheek.
Who the fuck do you think you are?
Where the fuck do you think you are?
Why the fuck do you think I shouldn't
just put you in a dumpster?
I have money --
I got money.
I'll pay you a thousand dollars. I
have it in my wallet.
I want your money, I'll take your
Just tell me where she is.
Sketch pushes Robert back into the hall. Sketch sees Seth
Don't do that shit again.
Sketch slams the door in their face.
Great. What a good idea.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Seth and Robert walk to the car.
Man, I'm telling you. Don't do this
vigilante thing. Either the cops
find her or she'll call you. I
Robert looks at him, carefully.
EXT. MANOLO'S HOUSE - DAY
Javier KNOCKS on the front door. There is no answer. The
shades are drawn. The house is darkened.
Anna. Anna, please. Let me in.
He KNOCKS again.
Come on. You can't stay locked in
your house all day.
Finally, the door cracks open. Anna has clearly not been
out of the house since the last time we saw her.
INT. MANOLO'S HOUSE - DAY
Javier sits opposite Anna.
I know this is a tragedy, but you
have to realize that good has come
out of it.
She looks at him.
If Manolo hadn't gone and told them
what he did then Salazar and Madrigal
would never have been brought to
justice. He did a great thing for
Tijuana. He did a great thing for
I want to believe you. I really do.
You will believe me, because it's
EXT. SKETCH'S APARTMENT - DAY
Seth walks up the steps and into the building. A beat later
he reappears and continues down the street.
Robert emerges from across the street and follows at a guarded
EXT. STREETS - DAY
Seth walks along the seedy neighborhood street. He approaches
the Villa Elaine. He turns up the steps and disappears
Robert follows him.
INT. VILLA ELAINE HALLWAY - DAY
Robert ascends the stairs. As he enters the hallway he sees
Seth pounding on one of the doors.
Open the door. Open the fucking
A MAN'S VOICE comes from the other side of the door.
Robert closes the distance. Seth pounds harder.
I know she's in there. Let me talk
I don't know what you're talking
about. Go away!
Robert reaches the door. Seth sees him.
I know she's in there.
Robert kicks the door in.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY
Robert sees a middle-aged JOHN in his underwear and a dress
Hey, I haven't touched her --
Caroline is passed out on the bed. Robert goes to her as
the John scrambles for his clothes.
She stirs and sees him --
(really out of it)
INT. ROBERT'S CAR - DAY
Caroline rides in the passenger seat. She's come out of her
stupor and is now filled with ebullience.
It's gonna be great... I mean, I'm
okay and all, because, see, I met a
guy, he's in this pretty famous band
(gets up confessional
They've invited me to write lyrics
for them, I'm gonna be able to do
that and maybe sing, too... not at
first, but later.
Caroline gets lost in her grandiose vision. Robert looks
over at her as she drifts off into a nod. A moment later
she's awake and rambling again.
I've been doing research for the
school paper, that's what I've been
doing, like on assignment kind-of,
I've seen some stuff you wouldn't
believe, but I'm gonna write it all
down into lyrics. They think I'm
really good, everybody says so, what
do you think?
Robert fights back tears. He reaches over and takes his
INT. CLUB PLATINUM OFFICE - DAY
Juan Marquez sits across the desk from Javi. Tigrillo and
PABLO, 30's, are also in the meeting.
Salazar and Madrigal are no longer
A feat none of these people could
Juan nods toward Pablo and Tigrillo.
You're going to be made the Special
Assistant to the new drug Czar, which
makes you a very valuable law
I hope you like to travel because we
have plans for Juarez and El Paso,
Nogales, Sinaloa, Jalisco,
Javi just stares at him for a long moment, then looks off.
INT. ROBERT'S OFFICE IN WASHINGTON - DAY
Robert on the telephone.
How was she?
INT. BARBARA'S OFFICE - DAY
A cramped, messy office at the Environmental Protection
Agency. Barbara is on the phone.
I'm really not sure. She seemed to
recognize it wasn't Serenity Oaks.
It's a pretty hard-core facility,
but at least we know where she is.
Maybe it's what she needs now.
INTERCUT ROBERT IN HIS OFFICE
He holds the phone and doesn't say anything.
INT. COURTROOM - EARLY MORNING
The court is searched carefully by a phalanx of OFFICERS.
Metal Detectors are checked. Bomb sniffing German Shepherds
are led through the space.
INT. HOTEL SUITE - MORNING
The agents are unkempt and everyone is tired. Ruiz moves
through a cluttered room in a bathrobe with a cup of coffee.
An agent shows him a morning paper --
(shows picture in
You're a star.
Ruiz walks over and sits across from Gordon, switching off
the radio show he's listening to. Gordon looks up from his
Go shower. You smell.
There is a KNOCK on the front door. An AGENT goes to answer --
Who is it?
(through the door)
The Mafia. I've got his breakfast.
The agent opens the door and is handed a breakfast tray. He
puts the food in front of Ruiz who uncovers the sausage and
An agent walking by tries to take a bite of sausage. Ruiz
stabs it with a fork --
Gordon watches the interchange --
Where's the love gone, Eddie?
You'll be testifying for at least ten days. What if we stop
Ruiz begins to eat hungrily.
You expect me to be grateful for
spending the rest of my life looking
over my shoulder.
That thought makes me feel awful.
Ruiz pushes eggs into a piece of toast.
Can't you for a second imagine none
of this had happened? That my drugs
had gone through. What would have
been the harm? A few people get
high who are getting high anyway.
Your partner is still alive. We
avoid having breakfast together.
Don't you see this means nothing?
That your whole life is pointless?
You're breaking my heart.
The worst thing about you, Monty, is
you realize the futility of what
you're doing and you do it anyway.
I wish you could see how transparent
This food tastes like shit.
So go shower already.
You only got to me because you were
tipped off by the Juarez Cartel,
who's trying to break into Tijuana.
You're helping them.
You work for a drug dealer too, Monty.
Ruiz stands and heads for the bathroom.
(yelling after him)
And shave. You better look nice and
believable for the jury.
Ruiz disappears into the bathroom and slams the door behind
(to another agent)
It's like having another wife.
The agent laughs. There's another KNOCK on the door.
Who is it?
SOMEBODY ELSE (V.O.)
(though the door)
Gordon and the agent look at each other.
Hurry up. It's getting cold.
Gordon moves to the side of the door and pulls his gun. The
other agent opens the door.
A MAN with a breakfast tray enters. Gordon puts the gun to
the side of his head.
MAN WITH TRAY
I'm on your side. God, you're jumpy.
Gordon is momentarily confused, then goes for the bathroom
Call an ambulance. Hurry.
Gordon tries the bathroom door. It's stuck. He gets it
open a crack. There's a body against the other side. He
INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS
Ruiz is on the floor in convulsions.
Call the ambulance.
Don't die on me. You will not die
on me. Do you hear me? Don't you
die on me.
Ruiz's convulsions get worse, his claw-like fingers scratch
across the tile.
INT. COURTROOM - SAN DIEGO - DAY
The court is packed. Helena and Arnie watch from the gallery.
The judge is at the bench.
The prosecutor rises --
Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of
the jury... Because of the sudden
death of Eduardo Ruiz, the people
have decided that at this point we
cannot continue our case against
The court ERUPTS. Reporters scatter. Helena cheers.
INT. WHITE HOUSE OFFICE - DAY
Robert Wakefield enters the office of the Chief of Staff,
who looks up from what he's doing, which is reading Robert's
report, and is already mid-sentence.
CHIEF OF STAFF
Yeah, hi --
(waves Robert to a
So I've got a copy of your speech
(glances down, still
It's fantastic... So, Robert, my
genuine thanks. You're my choice
and you're gonna be great. The
President is sorry he hasn't been
able to spend more time with you.
After the press conference he wants
to really sit down.
Oh, I got to the Post, too. Don't
worry about that thing with your
daughter, it's not news; they're
willing to treat it as a family
matter, a personal matter.
(off Robert's stare)
Look, even if it came out, we'd turn
it into a qualification, I've been
in the trenches of this Drug War, I
have seen the face of the enemy,
Robert just stares at him.
INT. JAIL CELL - DAY
General Salazar sits in the same grimy cell that housed
Francisco Flores. He is sweating and his breathing is
labored. A DOCTOR enters and gives him an injection,
explaining that it will calm him down.
EXT. DESERT OUTSIDE TIJUANA - DAY
It's a reprise of the earlier desert bust... a landing strip
in the middle of nowhere, a plane landing, SUV's approaching.
This time Javi is at the wheel of one of them. News crews
are trailing behind him.
EXT. DESERT AIRSTRIP - LATER
Javi and Special Agent Hughes stand next to a giant mound of
seized cocaine, the same cocaine, in fact, Javi held briefly
at the beginning. The same teenagers from the pickup truck
have been arrested. The news crews get everything.
(to the press)
This seizure is one of the largest
seizures in Mexican history... It
represents the first bilateral effort
of the American DEA and the Mexican
INT. JAIL CELL - DAY
General Salazar lies on his side, eyes and mouth open. He
is dead. Javier looks at him through the doorway.
JAVIER (V.O. CONT'D)
Today I'm very proud to announce
that Mexico, with the help of our
American partners, is finally winning
the war against narcotics trafficking.
The PRESS begins shouting questions --
INT. HEADQUARTERS, I.N.C.D. - MEXICO - DAY
Robert and Javi walk through the headquarters, a nondescript
Robert extracts photographs of the bust from a manila
envelope. The crates of cocaine are clearly marked "911."
The cocaine brand, 911, is an East
Coast brand, a Juarez Cartel brand,
and you must know it usually comes
through into El Paso?
I'm aware of that.
So what's it doing in Tijuana?
Javi looks Robert Wakefield squarely in the eye. He shrugs.
Let me ask you a hypothetical
question: if Salazar worked for
Madrigal and the Juaraz cartel, and
he went out of power, would it mean
the Juarez Cartel is losing influence?
It could mean that, yes.
That would probably mean the Tijuana
Cartel is gaining power?
Is it possible to have a Drug Czar
in Mexico who isn't connected in
some war to one of the cartels?
Javi thinks along time before answering.
Yeah, it's possible... if you're
prepared to die.
EXT. AYALA FRONT YARD - AFTERNOON
An outdoor party is going on. Children and adults arrive
and mingle. Caterers work the barbecue grill. Waiters serve
food and drink on the rolling lawn.
Helena circles through the crowd greeting friends. She looks
past her tree line and up the street where a telephone repair
van is parked. She turns back toward her guests. Somebody
has raised a cup and everyone is CHEERING.
Helena drinks with her guests, then walks inside her house.
AT THE FRONT GATE
Montel Gordon walks through the gate and up the drive. He
grabs a drink off the tray of a passing waiter. He appears
Montel follows Helena into the house.
INT. CARL'S PRIVATE STUDY - AFTERNOON
Carl hears the CHEERING outside and the sound of LAUGHTER.
He makes a cellular telephone call.
INT. ARNIE METZGER'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON
Arnie is in his office and answers the cell phone --
It's Saturday, Arnie. You work too
Carl, I'm running late. I'm coming
right now --
Behind Arnie in the office there is a movement of SHADOW.
INT. CARL'S PRIVATE STUDY - AFTERNOON
Carl stands at the window looking at his guests while he
talks on the phone --
So Arnie, when were you going to
tell me about the 3 million dollars
we got in from San Francisco two
days after I got arrested?
I was just waiting for the right
And you didn't feel like you could
trust my wife with this news?
I just didn't want to take a chance.
I didn't want to risk it. It could
have been frozen along with everything
You had it all figured out. You
move into my house. You raise my
kids. You sleep with my wife. It
was a good plan, Arnie.
Carl, that's insane.
So my wife is lying?
Carl, think about it, if I was trying
to rip you off, I would have left
town after Ruiz was killed. I
wouldn't sit next to you in court
listening to the dismissal.
On the front lawn CHILDREN are lined up for the ice-cream
sundae bar that is being tended by a WAITER.
Arnie, do think there's a difference
between a reason and an excuse,
because I don't think there is.
INT. ARNIE METZGER'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON
Arnie turns around and there are TWO MEN in his office.
INT. CARL'S PRIVATE STUDY - AFTERNOON
Carl hears MUFFLED GUNSHOTS over the phone. He hangs up and
turns from the window. Helena is standing there.
Who was that?
Arnie. He's not going to be able to
make the barbecue.
Carl and Helena share an embrace and a kiss.
Come downstairs. Everyone is waiting.
Carl and Helena turn to leave the room and Montel Gordon is
standing in the doorway with his glass of champagne.
Hello, Helena. What a great party.
Who are you?
Nobody. I'm a nobody who arrested
you, but your wife is a murderer.
Gordon takes a sip of his drink. Two SECURITY OFFICERS appear
in the doorway behind him.
Hey, you can't be in here.
I'm a cop.
I don't care.
(to the guards)
Throw him out of here.
The security officers grab Gordon. There is a scuffle.
Gordon falls to the floor by the window. They are wrestling.
As they wrestle, Gordon reaches out and, unnoticed, affixes
TINY LISTENING DEVICE underneath the desk.
He continues to struggle with the guards. Helena and Carlos
start from the room.
You didn't win, Helena. You lost
everything. Tell your children a
nice bedtime story... How you killed
EXT. AYALA FRONT YARD - AFTERNOON
The guests watch as the guards eject Gordon from the premises.
Near the gate David has stopped playing to watch the action.
Then he goes back to playing with his toy: a Spastic Jack
EXT. VERDANT NEIGHBORHOOD - MEXICO CITY - DAY
Javi and his convoy of armored SUV's pull up in front of the
beautiful house where earlier he deposited Rosario, Salazar's
Javier opens the front door and Rosario greets him by throwing
her arms around his neck. They disappear inside.
INT. WHITE HOUSE PRESS ROOM - DAY
The PRESS SECRETARY stands at the familiar podium addressing
the White House Press Corps.
Robert Wakefield stands to one side with Chief of Staff, his
lawyers, Sheridan and General Landry.
...a sterling reputation and close
friend of the President, recently
confirmed into The Office of National
Drug Control Policy... our new Drug
Czar, Robert Hudson Wakefield.
Applause from the assembled PRESS. The Press Secretary
signals and Robert walks to the podium. He looks back to
the Chief of Staff; he stares out at the expectant faces and
television lights and camera flashes.
(reading his prepared
The War on Drugs is a war on our
nation's most precious resource...
our children. Sixty-eight million
children have been targeted by those
who perpetrate this war and protecting
those children must be priority number
There has been progress and there
have been failures, but where we
have fallen short I see not a problem
but an opportunity.
Robert is becoming increasingly uneasy. He glances at the
Chief of Staff who bores into him. He looks again at his
speech. With great effort he continues.
An opportunity to correct the mistakes
of the past while laying a solid
foundation for the future.
(a long, uncomfortable
This takes not only new ideas, but
perseverance. This takes not only
resources, but courage. This takes
not only government, but families.
Robert stops again as though the words are choking him.
I've... I've outlined a ten-point
plan, representing a new bilateral
He can't finish. Everyone stares at Robert. The crowd of
reporters senses something is wrong.
I can't do this.
If there is a War on Drugs then our
own families have become the enemy.
How can you wage war on your own
He walks out of the room. The crowd waits, expecting him to
Robert walks down a corridor and out of the White House.
EXT. WHITE HOUSE - DAY
A beautiful spring morning. He walks down to Pennsylvania
Avenue. He hails a cab and gets in. The cab pulls away.
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT - DAY
A twelve step meeting is in progress. Caroline shares from
On the good days I feel like I get
it, like it all makes sense. I can
stay in the moment. I don't have to
control everything in the future.
And I believe everything is going to
work out fine.
On the bad days, I just want to grab
the phone and start dialing numbers.
I want to pull my hair and run through
the streets screaming.
But, thanks to the people I've met
in these rooms, people like Margaret
and Jim and Sarah, people who've
taught me how to listen, I'm pretty
sure I'll make it through today.
Caroline is finished sharing.
Would you like to share?
We pan over to reveal Robert and Barbara sitting next to
My name is Robert. This is my wife,
Barbara. We're Caroline's parents.
We're just hear to listen.
EXT. AYALA HOME - NIGHT
The house is dark and silent. The van is parked up the
INT. VAN - NIGHT
Gordon listens through a headset, his expression set.
(over a listening
We're back up and running.
Completely untouchable. Completely.
EXT. BASEBALL FIELD - TIJUANA - DAY
A bank of lights CRANKS on. Then ANOTHER and ANOTHER.
In a wider shot we see an illuminated baseball field where a
children's pickup game is in progress.
In the crowd, Javi serenely watches the game.