Screen Scene: I’ll Talk, You Listen

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This is from an idea for a screenplay that I never fully developed but I always liked this scene I wrote, which was setting up the police characters right at the start of the screenplay in relation to a crime that was not part of the main story.

 

INT. POLICE INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT
DETECTIVE SIAN TYLER and DETECTIVE THEO HADDEN sit in a police interview room with an uncooperative SUSPECT opposite them.

HADDEN
Do you want to wait for a lawyer?

SUSPECT
I know my rights. I want to make my one phone call.

Tyler and Hadden look at each other then look back at the suspect.

TYLER
You already made your one phone call. You called your dealer.

The suspect, in a mild drug-induced haze, belatedly remembers this.

TYLER
You want to call him again. Be my guest. Why don’t you get him to come down and bail you out?

SUSPECT
OK. (Beat) No, wait… I’m not going to call my dealer. (Beat) I don’t have a dealer. (Beat) I don’t know what you’re talking about.

HADDEN
Where did you get the pills from then?

SUSPECT
Some guy. I never met him before. I mean, I never met him at all. I didn’t buy them. He must have…or it might have been a she…she must have planted them on me when I wasn’t looking.

HADDEN
Are you sure you don’t want to wait for a lawyer?

SUSPECT
Why?

TYLER
Maybe it’s just me but the logistics aren’t really coming together. How exactly does this mystery person plant drugs in your underwear without you being aware of it?

SUSPECT
In my underwear?

Tyler nods – that’s where it was found during the body search. The suspect leers at Tyler upon hearing this news.

SUSPECT
What else did you find down there?

TYLER
Detective Hadden conducted the search.

Hadden raises his eyebrow seductively when the suspect looks at him.

SUSPECT
I think I’m going to be sick.

HADDEN
I’m offended.

SUSPECT
No, I’m going to be sick.

The suspect vomits all over the table of the interview room and Tyler and Hadden jump back out of the way just in time.

SUSPECT
I want a lawyer.

INT. POLICE INTERVIEW OBSERVATION ROOM – NIGHT
Through the one-way window of the interview room, Tyler and Hadden watch the suspect who is now wearing an orange jumpsuit. He doesn’t look so hot. A cleaner mops up the last of the mess, then leaves.

HADDEN
Fifty bucks he doesn’t remember any of this in the morning.

TYLER
Fifty bucks he does but tries to tell us he doesn’t.

HADDEN
You’re on.

TYLER
Theo, you always lose these bets.

HADDEN
One day, you’re going to be wrong.

TYLER
I’m going back in.

HADDEN
You can’t. He asked for a lawyer.

TYLER
I’m not going to ask him anything. I promise. I’ll do all the talking.

INT. POLICE INTERVIEW ROOM – NIGHT
Tyler goes back into the interview room with two cups of black coffee and hands one to the suspect. He doesn’t take it.

SUSPECT
You can’t question me. I asked for a lawyer. I know my rights.

TYLER
Don’t worry. You don’t have to say a thing. I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen. Okay?

The suspect finally takes the coffee and sips at it.

TYLER
I know you slipped Carly that pill. I know…

The suspect tries to interrupt.

TYLER
Uh uh. You’re just listening, remember? I know it was you. I know you’re the reason she slipped into that coma. I know you’re the reason her parents had to identify her body after we pulled it out of a dumpster. I know you’re the reason she died.

SUSPECT
No way.

TYLER
We have it on tape. The nightclub was taping the whole thing. I’ve seen the footage of you slipping the drug into her drink, making sure she drank the whole thing down and then carrying her out of there, claiming she was just drunk. But it’s not your fault. You were just going to rape her, then put her in a cab and send her home. She would never have remembered anything.

She pauses to let him feel the guilt but he doesn’t respond.

TYLER
You’re going to jail. What you have to decide is whether you want to go solo on the guilty plea or whether you want to take your dealer down with you. Because I can guarantee that he is handing out those little pills all over town. And the next time we pull a girl’s body out of a dumpster and find those little pills in her system, we’re going to have to wonder if maybe you didn’t put her there, too.

SUSPECT
But, no, I didn’t—

TYLER
You know what that would make you? Serial. Do you know what they do to serial killers in jail? (Beat) You’re the reason she died and you’re going to jail for it. I’m the reason you’re going to be fucked over good when you get there.

The suspect tries to say something but Tyler prevents him once more.

TYLER
No, you’re just listening. You’re going to have a lot to discuss with your lawyer. And maybe tomorrow you’ll be able to remember all those little details you forgot tonight. Name, address, height, weight, eye colour, that sort of thing.

Tyler takes away his coffee cup and leaves the cell. The suspect brings his knees up to his chin and hugs his legs to himself.

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