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Black or White

Written by: Peter Lance
Directed by: William Gereghty
Transcribed by: Becky

~~~~~~~~~~ Disclaimer ~~~~~~~~~~

I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show The Sentinel. They were created by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo and belong to them, Pet Fly Productions, UPN, and Paramount. This is not a novelization or a script. It is simply a transcript of the episode. It also includes descriptions of the settings, action scenes and camera movements where needed. If you notice anything that is transcribed incorrectly, please let me know and I will post an update.

Lead cast: Richard Burgi (James Ellison), Garett Maggart (Blair Sandburg), Bruce A. Young (Simon Banks).

Guest cast (in order of credits): Kimberly Elise (Candace Blake), Kirk B.R. Woller (Soles), Michael Kopsa (Dirk Larson), Charles Andre (Eccles), Ken Earl (Joel Taggert), Mark Holden (Reverend Malcolm Diggs), Brendan Stitchman (Agent Wilkins), Henry Brown (Detective Brown), Eric Schneider (Agent Mullens).

Summary: Ellison and Banks are in the middle of controversy as they investigate a series of church bombings. A bomb expert is brought to Cascade to fill in for Taggert during the probe of a racist organization suspected of bombing black churches---but the expert soon becomes a suspect. The tension is finally diffused when Ellison discovers that the bombings aren't political or racial, but part of the scheme to enrich a local contractor. Meanwhile, Taggert tries to overcome his fear of disarming bombs. (Source: Stefan's Sentinel Episode Guide)

This episode was originally broadcast on November 27, 1996.
Last updated: 7/8/01


~Opening theme plays as credits roll. Monologue by Blair Sandburg: "In the jungles of Peru the fight for survival heightened his senses. Now, Detective James Ellison is a sentinel in the fight for justice. Seeing before others see. Sensing what others can't. An ever-vigilant watchman in the war against crime."~

~~~~~~~~~~ Act I ~~~~~~~~~~

~Night. Black church choir singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" inside. Thunderstorm outside. Lights inside keep flickering. Outside, a car pulls up and someone gets out and creeps around the back of the church. He attaches a device to the outside wall, turns it on, then leaves. More thunder crackles, lights flicker.~

Reverend: Don't worry about that now, people. Keep it up.

Outside, the man slips something inside the window of a car, then spray paints "AWC" on the hood. More thunder and storm.

Reverend: All right, folks, keep calm. It's just a storm. That's it for the night. Remember, Mt. Zion in three days and this year, we take the cup.

All: Yes.

Reverend: Y'all take care going out.

Man: Good night, Reverend.

Choir members all leave. Reverend is the last one out. He gets half way to his car, then the church blows up.

~Cut to next morning. Jim and Blair in the PD garage.~

Jim: Who am I, Chuck Woolery? I'm not covering for you this time.

Blair: Jim, it was a simple mistake. Just this once. I misplaced my datebook.

Jim: Who in their right mind books two different women at the same bar at the same time?

Blair: I know, but just help me out here. Jessie -- you're going to love her. She's tall; she's got long, red hair. Jim, she's got legs -- they're up to here. (motions to his neck) To top it all off, she's got a 158 IQ. The girl is brilliant.

Jim: So what?

Blair: So what? So you can have a conversation.

Jim: I know your type. She's got a Ph.D. in...Asian studies and-and-and a minor in some-some bizarre Malaysian death ritual.

Blair: So, what's wrong with that?

Jim: What do I look like? Your couples hot line here, huh? Besides -- when that Jessie finds out what you're up to, she's probably going to want to make you her case study in some weird, ceremonial, body-piercing ritual.

Blair: (laughs) That's a bad thing? Come on.

~Cut to church bombing site. Jim and Blair come up to join another man, Larson.~

Blair: There's practically nothing left.

Larson: Not when they use plastique. We got frags here the size of puffed wheat. Smells like C-4.

Jim: (picks up a piece of debris to examine) Oil-based residue. It's some kind of petroleum jelly.

Larson: Damn, you're right. They use pet gel as a plasticizer in Semtex. Tends to bleed.

Joel and Simon join them.

Blair: Semtex? What..?

Joel: Yeah, the Czech form of C-4. Half the terrorist packages in Europe use that kind of stuff.

Jim: What's an exotic explosive like that doing in Cascade?

Larson: You tell me, Detective, uh..?

Jim: Ellison.

Simon: Jim Ellison, Blair Sandburg This is Dirk Larson. Dirk is up here to run field ops now that Taggert is...

Joel: ...riding a desk?

Simon: We're lucky to get Dirk. He's on loan from the Marine bomb unit down at Camp Pendleton. Jim, here, was an army ranger.

Jim: Nice to meet you.

Larson: I'm just here until the Captain here gets his sea legs back.

Joel: Yeah. Right.

Jim: Any chance this is related to that wave of arson?

The five of them walk over to a car.

Simon: Most of that was in the south. Over five black churches in the past two years.

Blair: Those were fires, though, right?

Joel: Maybe. But up here, they like explosives.

Simon: (calling to the Reverend) Reverend Diggs! This is your car, right? (looking at hood)

Diggs: I'm afraid so. A.W.C. What's it mean?

Simon shakes his head.

Jim: (looking in the front driver's window) Simon, you got to check this out. (to Diggs) Could we get in here, sir?

Simon goes over next to Jim.

Diggs: (walks over to join them) I'm sorry, no. I lost the keys last night when the bomb went off.

Jim: Could we get an opener over here?

An officer hands Jim an opener.

Jim: Thank you. (uses opener to unlock car and then opens door)

Simon: Thank you. (ducks inside to pick up a piece of paper, which he reads) "We serve notice to all the mud races. White men built this nation, and we will purge it of its multi-racial taint. One down, eight to go." Signed, "the Aryan Warriors Command."

Blair: A.W.C.

Jim: What's this "one down, eight to go"?

Diggs: Until last night there were nine African-American churches in Cascade. Now, there are eight.

~Cut to outside of Major Crimes. Day. A woman (Candace) is speaking into a bullhorn to a group of people. Other people are picketing, with placards telling about the burning of the churches.~

Candace: The church is the power base of the black community and that's exactly why these racists have targeted them. Now, these so-called Aryan Warriors surfaced two years ago in Mississippi and they're nothing more than bigots and home-grown terrorists. Now Captain Banks of the Cascade Police Department must take immediate action. Other churches need protection...

~Cut to above in Simon's office where Blair walks away from the window where he had been watching. Simon and Jim are in the office as well.~

Blair: Oh, man, does that woman know how to work the media.

Simon: Well, with Candace, it's always personal.

Blair: What do you mean?

Jim: She used to work with us.

Blair: That woman used to be a cop?

Jim: Yeah, Juvenile division. About a year ago she just quit, didn't say why. Went to work for this new African Alliance.

Simon: Been crossing the country ever since, shaking her fist.

Joel comes in.

Joel: Simon...we got a problem.

~Cut to Joel, Simon, Jim, and Blair entering another office in the PD. A man hands Joel a paper as he comes in.~

Joel: Thanks. (hands paper to Simon) E-mail from the internet. More bull from the Aryan Command.

Simon hands paper to Blair.

Joel: We were using an encryption program to recover some lost files. Found this e-mail had been downloaded.

Jim: And?

Joel: We found it in Larson's box. He denied knowing anything about it. But no question -- he pulled it off the web.

Simon: I don't believe this. Look, Joel, I know the past couple of months have been tough on you. But if these wackos are blowing up churches and Dirk is involved in this, I need a man out in the field I can trust.

Joel: I'm, uh, sorry, Simon. I just can't.

Simon: Joel...

Joel leaves. Simon looks at Jim.

Simon: Talk to him.

~Cut to Jim and Blair in the hallway outside the office.~

Blair: He's lost his nerve, hasn't he?

Jim: I don't know what you're talking about.

Blair: Come on, Jim, I'm not blind. It's because of the Brackett bomb, right?

Scenes shown from Brackett's house blowing up in "Rogue".

Blair: I mean, not that I'd blame him. From what you guys tell me, he barely made it out with his life.

Jim: Yeah. Yeah.

They walk down hallway.

Jim: Taggert's had a bit of a hard time since that bomb. It really shook him up and he's had a hard time adjusting.

Blair: Did he see the department shrink?

Jim: He went to the mandatory three sessions, but he didn't want to admit he needed counseling.

Blair: Maybe I should talk to him.

Jim: I don't think so.

They get into elevator.

Blair: Why not? Come on. I've been in and out of therapy since I got out of my pampers. Anxiety and panic attacks are a normal state of being for me.

~Cut to Joel, Jim, and Blair exiting elevator on the lobby level.~

Joel: You do not know how I feel! (walks quickly down hallway)

Jim and Blair follow.

Jim: Joel, will you listen to him for a second, huh? Joel...

Blair: Joel, fear is not about lack of ability.

Blair pushes Jim to stay put, then he and Joel continue a bit further down the hallway.

Blair: Let me talk to him. (to Joel) Every shrink I've been to has talked to me about the blind spot.

Joel: And what is that?

Blair: It's a condition common to creative types, such as yourself. It happened to this anthropological student that I knew. He was out doing research in Nepal and an avalanche hit. So he goes out with the rescue team and they come across this rope bridge -- 2,000-foot drop, Joel. He starts making his way across and all of a sudden he locks up. The sherpa guide comes up behind him and grabs him by the arm and says "This is not about you." You hear what I'm saying? It's not about you.

Joel: And then what happened?

Blair: Then he made his way across. You see what I'm saying, Joel, is it's mind over matter.

Joel: You, uh, still know this guy?

Blair: Yeah, it was me.

Joel: (laughing) Really?

Blair: Yeah. Come on. Let me tell you about Katmandu.

Joel and Blair walk off. Behind them, Simon comes out of the elevator and goes up to Jim.

Simon: There you are. I've been looking all over for you. Larson didn't show up for roll call. I called down to Pendleton and checked out his marine unit. They were stationed in Lebanon. Defused dozens of bombs made with Semtex.

Jim: Simon, a lot of guys on the bomb squad could have worked with Semtex.

Simon: How many of them were born and raised in Mississippi?

Jim: Where the resistance started.

Simon: Now, here's the kicker. I had I.A. pull his bank account. Dirk made a deposit of $10,000 in cash the other day.

Jim: That's a lot of overtime.

Simon: Enough for us to get a search warrant. We'll check out his houseboat, Pier 17.

~Cut to Larson in his houseboat. Night. He is typing on his laptop computer. Normal monitor picture fades out to and a Nazi swastika on a red background fades in, before going to a chat screen. Larson talks into a microphone attached to his laptop.

Larson: This is Blaster, awaiting word.

Computer voice: Number two goes tonight. Counting down to the big one.

Larson: Good.

~Cut to outside on dock. Simon, Jim, and Blair, along with SWAT teams are approaching the houseboat.~

Jim: With all due respect, sir, I think we should downplay the firepower here.

Simon: Are you kidding me? This guy's a marine. We don't know what we could have in there.

~Cut to inside houseboat.~

Larson: When do I get to meet you and the Aryan Brothers?

Computer voice: We'll meet in Valhalla, under the iron cross.

Larson: I don't understand.

Computer voice: You're not supposed to. Just download these numbers, and do as you're told.

~Cut to outside.~

Jim: I don't want to spook this guy. Let me go in and talk to him, okay? You just sit tight here.

Simon: All right.

Jim heads toward houseboat.

~Cut to inside where a paper prints off on the printer. Larson takes it and looks at it.~

~Cut to outside. Jim approaches the door. He knocks.~

~Cut to inside. Larson folds up the paper to a square. Then he pulls out a gun and prepares it before going to the door.~

Larson: Who is it?

Jim: Jim Ellison.

Larson opens the door a little to look outside at Jim.

Jim: We need you to come down and talk to I.A.

Larson: I can't, Jim. You'll just have to trust me. There's more to this than you know.

Jim: All the more reason for us to deal with this now.

Larson: Okay, but we do it here. All right. Just sec. (closes door, tucks gun in the back of his pants, then shuts out all the lights and runs to the back of the houseboat)

Jim: Larson! (kicks in the door and goes inside)

Larson runs out the back of the houseboat. Jim comes out the same door and chases him. Larson runs across a board over the water to another houseboat, then pulls the board off to prevent Jim from following. Jim stops and watches Larson across the way. He zooms in to see Larson tuck a paper inside his boot. Then Larson disappears around a corner. Jim runs down another way to see Larson get into a small motorboat and take off on the water. Jim aims his gun at him as he pulls out of sight, then lowers his weapon.

~~~~~~~~~~ Act II ~~~~~~~~~~

~Day. Site of another church bombing. Police crews. And picketing. And Candace.~

Candace: Day two... And another church destroyed. If I was you, I'd want to ask Captain Banks and the Cascade Police Department why they have not yet brought in the feds.

Jim and Blair arrive and join Simon behind the police lines.

Candace: Now, the men behind this -- if you can even call them men...

Jim: I thought we had the place staked out.

Simon: We did have it staked out. Squad received a report of an explosion on the next block. They went over to check it out. The guy got in here and set the bomb. When they got back, the whole place blew.

Blair: (hands Jim a few pieces of debris to examine) Check some of this out.

Jim: Semtex again. Maybe we should check out Dirk's old marine unit.

Simon: Yeah, maybe you should since we don't have Dirk.

Jim: Simon, I did the best I could.

Simon: I want these bastards out of my city.

Candace strides over toward them, calling out.

Candace: Captain Banks.

Simon: Here she comes.

Jim: Let me talk to her, okay? We used to work pretty close together.

Simon: All right. (leaves)

Candace: What's wrong, Banks? You can't face me?

Jim holds her back from following Simon.

Jim: Why should he? It just looks like you're doing a whole lot of grandstanding here, Candace.

Candace: No, I'm trying to get to the truth.

Jim: Do you want to talk or is this about some sound bite for the six o'clock news?

~Cut to Jim and Candace a bit away from the bombing site.~

Jim: You say we're not handling this right. What would you like us to do?

Candace: Stop treating it like it's a local crime.

Jim: We're not treating it like it's a local crime. Eldon Russell from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is flying in from D.C. tonight.

Candace: Why didn't you say so?

They stop next to a display of upright coffins with the bombed church names on them.

Jim: Well, Captain Banks was going to make an announcement, all right? But the media's been a little preoccupied...shooting coffins.

Candace: Well, we do what we have to to get their attention. Looks like it's working. The feds are coming.

Jim: We would have called them in anyway whether you were here or not. Come on, Candy, when are you going to get real?

Candace: About what?

Jim: You were a cop. We were on patrol together for a year. I mean, now you're acting like some kind of...

Candace: Agitator?

Jim: Yeah.

Candace: You remember I grew up in Alabama, right? There was this old man there -- Reverend Green. Reverend Green gave me my first book of hymns when I was six, taught me how to read when my mama died. That old man set me straight. I was on the force for two years when this clipping came. (shows Jim a newspaper clipping) Reverend Green was in the church working late one night when...somebody threw a bunch of beer bottles full of gasoline inside. He was burned so bad, you could barely ID his body.

Jim: Candy, I'm sorry. I didn't know. (gives her back the clipping)

Candace: Yeah. Well, after that, I just quit. Joined the Alliance. Now I go from state to state just tracking the fires. Never thought I'd be back here.

Jim: Why not work from the inside? I mean, you were a good cop.

Candace: So are you. Look, two more churches are destroyed. Sometimes a gun and a shield are just not enough, you know.

~Cut to a warehouse building where a man puts together a bomb. Semtex is on the table. Candace's voice is heard in the background from earlier. The man (no face shown) puts a newspaper article and picture of Candace on the top of the bomb.~

Candace: If I was you, I'd want to ask Captain Banks and the Cascade Police Department why they have not yet brought in the feds. Now, the men behind this -- if you can even call them men -- are nothing more than simple cowards. They operate in the shadows the way the Klan hides behind their hoods. Well, if they think they can terrorize the black community, they are wrong because we are more united than ever.

~Cut to Major Crimes bullpen. Still day. Blair at Jim's desk. Brown and Jim come in the bullpen.~

Brown: Hey, Hairboy, I hear you're having a problem with some girlies.

Blair: Yeah.

Brown: Hey, I'm your man, I could help you out.

Blair: Really?

Brown: But they might forget about you. (walks off)

Blair: Thanks a lot. Thanks, Jim.

Jim: You know, there was this guy on the old Sullivan Show. He did this act with plates and sticks. He'd try and keep three or four of these plates spinning on these sticks, then add another plate, then add another stick. The idea was not to break a plate, right, but eventually one plate always hit the stage. You see where I'm going with this?

Blair: Yeah, I got you.

Jim's desk phone rings and Jim leans across the desk to pick it up.

Jim: Hello. Detective Ellison.

~Cut to Candace, looking very scared, in her Alliance office. Phone conversation goes between the two of them.~

Candace: Jim. Thank god I got you.

Jim: Candy, what's wrong?

Candace: I came back to the office to do some work. The phone rang and the voice at the other end said that if I hung up this thing would go off.

Jim: Hold on a second. Joel, Captain Banks, pick up the phone.

Jim: What thing are you talking about?

Candace: He told me to open the top drawer of my desk. He said if I put the receiver down, the bomb would go off. Man, I'm scared.

Joel: Miss Blake, this is Captain Taggert of the bomb squad. Is there a timer?

Candace: Yes. And it's at 5:32. (view shows the bomb that the bomber was putting together)

Simon: Joel, roll on this now. Jim, you got this covered?

Jim, Blair, and Joel head out.

Simon: Candace, listen to me. The bomb squad is on their way. Your office is still at 13th and Third? That's less than six blocks away. Just stay calm.

~Cut to Candace's Alliance office. Bomb squad arrives. Bomber watches from the top of another building through binoculars. Jim, Blair, and Joel arrive in the Expedition and park right in front of the office. All put on radio headgear.~

Joel: Bring the dog in.

Officer and dog go up to check the door. It's clear and they move away.

Joel: Door's clear.

Jim: All right, let's move out.

Blair: Right behind you, Joel.

Jim: (to Blair) No, you gotta stay here.

Blair: Look, Jim, I can help him out here.

Jim: That place blows, you're going to end up in another zip code. Let's go.

Joel: I got it.

Jim and Joel head inside. Candace is still holding the phone receiver. The two men go over to stand on either side of Candace.

Jim: I just want you to relax now. We're going to get you out of here.

Candace: Okay. Where's your bomb tech?

Jim: He's standing right beside you.

Candace looks at Joel -- who looks scared -- and then looks back at Jim.

Candace: He's more scared than I am.

~~~~~~~~~~ Act III ~~~~~~~~~~

~Same continuing scene.~

Jim: Joel, this is not about you. Okay? Now, you must cross that bridge. (to Candace) I'm going to take the receiver from your hand, then I want you step aside, okay?

Candace: Jim, are you sure?

Jim: I'm positive. We got the best bomb tech in the business right here. Easy does it. (takes receiver) Now, you just settle down. All right? Okay, you can go outside now.

Candace: No. Uh-uh.

Jim: No?

Candace: You said it yourself. I was a cop, right? I'm not going to let them do this to me.

Bomber: (still watching) That's more like it, Candace. Come on. Put it down.

Jim: Now, we got one minute 30 seconds left. Where we going?

Joel: I don't know. I can't...

Jim: If I put this down...

Joel: No. It may have a mercury switch inside. If you lower it, man, it'll blow.

Bomber: Boy...fear kills.

Jim props the phone receiver on a file cabinet drawer, then examines the bomb more closely. He looks underneath the desk and sees a detonator receiver. Then he turns and looks out the window to see the bomber watching from the roof top.

Jim: He's going to blow it anyway. We've got to disarm it. We'll go through the same procedure we did with Brackett's bomb.

Joel: With Brackett's bomb, I...

Jim: That's right. What did you do with Brackett's bomb? You had that maneuver -- that maneuver that saved your life. (motions everyone to leave)

The three of them run outside the door in a rush, Jim the last one out. Above, the bomber pulls out the detonator and blows it just as they get to the side of the Expedition and duck.

Jim: I'm going after him!

Jim takes off, running down the street, following the bomber as he jumps off the roof, onto a truck in an alleyway. The bomber gets into a van and takes off. Jim comes around the corner, gun out, as the van is pulling away. Jim fires a few times, hitting the back door of the van. A police car comes around, partially blocking the road. The van blows by it, hitting the fender and knocking the car away, then continuing on its way.

~Cut to Major Crimes bullpen. Jim and Blair entering. Joel speaks up as they pass his desk.~

Joel: Hey, fellas. Russell's flight got socked in at Dulles last night. He won't be in until about 5:00.

Simon joins them.

Simon: Forensics found this hidden on Dirk's boat. A police file and a probation report.

Jim: Anything to tie him to those bombings?

Simon: Well, yeah. I think...

Candace enters the bullpen.

Simon: Hello, Candace. Glad you made it out okay.

Candace: Yeah. Look, I, uh...about yesterday...I never got a chance to say thank you. All of you. Now, I was also hoping to speak to the agent from ATF.

Joel: He won't be in until later.

Candace: Maybe you can bring me up to speed. Got any leads?

Simon: You know, I can't do that. I can't take the chance of this showing up on the evening news.

Candace: What do you want me to do? Apologize?

Simon: No. I want you to understand that's my name you're throwing around out there.

Candace: Fine. I will deal with the agent myself. (leaves)

Simon: (to Jim) I thought you said you were going to...

Jim: to her? I did. I didn't say I'd convince her.

Simon: Deal with this. (smacks file in Jim's chest, then walks away)

Blair: Hey, know, there was this guy on the Sullivan Show -- (chuckling) he did this thing with plates and sticks...

Jim: (holds up his hand, smiling) Don't you have some exams to grade or something? (walks off)

Blair and Joel exchange a look, then Blair follows off after Jim.

~Cut to Simon's office. Simon, Blair, and Joel at the table looking at reports and such.~

Joel: So, when is Jim coming back?

Simon: He's checking out that probation report with Justice.

Joel: Where's the police file?

Simon: Right here. Take a look.

Joel: Wait a minute, man. This is an accident report.

Simon: Yeah. Hector Vasquez, an auditor for the city. Died when his car went off a mountain road.

Jim comes in with a few papers.

Simon: What you got?

Jim: Check this out. This chimp's name is Axel Soles. (shows picture of bomber from roof) He's from Mississippi. A dozen juvie raps then he graduated to home invasion. One indictment for attempted murder that was reduced to aggravated assault. He spent three years in Huntsville where he hooked up with the Aryan Brotherhood. He's been in and out of the slammer ever since. Associated with a number of hate groups. So...and guess what?

Blair: I don't know. What? He's going to co-host Geraldo next week?

Joel laughs.

Jim: He's Dirk's brother.

Joel: What?

Jim: Actually, his half-brother. They had the same mother.

Joel: So, where's this guy now?

Jim: Paroled six months ago. He violated in the first week. His parole officer hasn't heard from him since.

~Cut to Soles driving down a road in the van. He stops and pulls over. Larson gets inside, pointing his gun at Soles.~

Larson: All right. Drive.

~Cut to van pulling into a work area that has a pile of bricks in front. Sign is shown -- All City Demolition. Larson and Soles get out of the van.~

Larson: Let's go, let's go.

Larson and Soles go inside the warehouse building. They approach a table which is covered with bomb stuff.

Larson: You know, I risk my ass to get you a job right out of jail and this is how you repay me?!

Soles: Chill out! This is about making history.

Larson: What? By blowing churches? By killing innocent people?

Soles: Nobody's died. Not with one of mine.

Larson: Damn you! I'm already looking at an I.A.D. suspension for not reporting your parole violation.

Soles: So how come you didn't?

Larson: I had to see how far you were into this.

Soles: Check your bank account.

Larson: And what's that supposed to mean?

Soles: If anybody asks me, you're a co-conspirator.

Larson: (hauls Soles up to him) You planted that money.

Soles: Had to -- for insurance. (breaks away from Larson) But,'re in this deeper than that already. By chasing Reichman, you left a trail all over the internet. That's why the cops want your head.

Larson: What? "Blaster"? I used your name to find this Reichman character. He's the one fronting the Semtex. Who is he?!

Another man (Eccles) enters and puts a gun in Larson's back.

Eccles: Step back. (reaches forward and takes Larson's gun from his holster)

Larson turns around.

Larson: Randy? You're Reichman?

Eccles: Afraid so, good buddy. But it's not what you think. Now, you back off and we'll talk about this.

Larson: I need you to hand me that gun.

Eccles: Dirk, there's an explanation for this.

Larson: Yeah? Then you explain why you gave this mental defective enough Semtex to take out half of downtown.

Eccles: Look...

Larson moves forward.

Eccles: Look, I said, back off!

Larson moves closer. Camera moves to outside view looking through a window. Gunshot.

~~~~~~~~~~ Act IV ~~~~~~~~~~

~Major Crimes bullpen. Day. Simon, Joel, Jim, and Blair.~

Simon: Go ahead, gentlemen.

Joel: This is from the second church. It's a circuit board from a timer that was fused with a piece of glass.

Jim: It came from a standard industrial detonator. Like they use on commercial blast sites?

Simon: You check the demo companies?

Jim: Every last one of them. They all use C-4 and every kilo's been accounted for, sir.

Brown comes in and hands Simon a paper.

Brown: Fax just came in from the Pentagon. (walks off)

Simon: Better check those demo companies again. Larson had four guys working with him in his bomb unit in Lebanon. All of them used Semtex. This one lives in Cascade.

Jim; Randy Eccles -- ex-marine. Lance corporal. He runs a company called All City Demolition.

~Cut to Jim and Blair pulling up out demolition workyard in the Expedition. They get out of the truck. Blair sees two workmen banging on used bricks.~

Blair: Ooh, now there's a good job for you if you were in hell.

Eccles comes over to them.

Eccles: Don't knock it. Used brick. One of these will sell for ten times the price of a new brick. Half the patios in Cascade came from buildings that we wrecked.

Jim: And the city pays you to wreck them? That's quite some business. You're Mr. Eccles? I'm Detective Ellison. My partner, Blair Sandburg.

Blair: How you doing?

Eccles: What do you want from me?

Jim: Axel Soles. (shows Eccles a picture)

Eccles: Never seen him before.

Blair: You sure? He's Dirk Larson's brother.

Eccles: I've seen Dirk around town. Haven't mixed much since the corps. The kid I don't know.

Jim: If you hear from Larson, let me know, would you?

Eccles: Sure thing. (walks away)

Jim and Blair: Thanks.

Jim walks over to the pile of brick and sniffs at a brick.

Blair: What's up? You thinking about re-doing your patio?

Jim: Petroleum residue.

Blair: Semtex? So what? Even if it is, All City did the cleanup at the second church.

Jim zooms in on something in the bricks -- it's a key.

Blair: What is it?

Jim: (reaches in and pulls out key) It's a key of some sort. It's a Ford.

Blair: Reverend Diggs'.

Jim: Maybe.

Blair: Maybe they did the cleanup at the first church as well.

~Cut to Major Crimes office. Simon and Jim. Pictures of various buildings are tacked to a board.~

Jim: In the last two years Eccles' company has had the demolition contracts on 90% of the city-owned buildings, including the old town hall.

Simon: What's so unusual about that? All City is one of the biggest demo companies in Cascade.

Jim: According the contracts, he underbids everybody by 30%.

Simon: How does he profit?

Jim: Nobody knows.

Simon: What's all this have to do with the black churches?

Joel rushes in.

Joel: Simon, they just called from Pier 16. It's Dirk Larson.

~Cut to a view of Larson's body being lifted and settled onto flat surface in a darkened building. Jim, Joel, and Simon stand near the body. Blair is a little ways away.~

Joel: Give us a second, guys.

Jim: One shot, close range.

Simon: Forensics found this when they rolled the body. (shows Jim a bagged gun)

Jim: It's a nine.

Simon: M-nine, standard issue for the marine corps.

Blair: Eccles?

Jim: He'd be my first choice. Did forensics search the body?

Simon: Yeah, but they didn't find anything. Whoever it was apparently emptied all his pockets before they dumped him.

Jim: Is that right? (pulls something out of Larson's boot) Before Larson split in the boat, he stuffed something into his boot. (unfolds paper)

Joel: That thing is waterlogged. You're not gonna be able to see anything on that.

Simon: Joel, take a look at this, will you. (lifts bagged gun)

Joel and Simon go outside. Blair comes up to Jim's side as Jim tries to read paper.

Blair: Use your fingers.

Jim runs his fingers over the paper.

Jim: It's a series of, uh, letters and numbers. B-6...H-2... F-1... Maybe coordinates?

Blair: Like on a map?

Jim: Yeah, maybe.

~Cut to Soles building another bomb and listening to Candace on the radio.~

Candace: I have contacted the Treasury Department and ATF Agent Eldon Russell has agreed to brief us as soon as he gets in which should be within the next hour.

Soles: Good. Maybe we'll give Agent Russell something to come for.

Eccles comes in.

Eccles: Are you out of your freakin' skull? I told you to lose all this stuff.

Soles: Wait a minute. You wanted a cover, right? Blow the church and the incinerator you said and all you'd have to do is push the rubble away.

Eccles: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but nobody was supposed to die. Now there's Dirk and the auditor and you're fixing to commit some kind of a mass murder? You're a psychopath.

Soles: No, I'm a soldier in a war of national liberation.

Eccles: All that means nothing to me. This was a simple plan to make some money. And you've turned it into some kind of skinhead vendetta. I'm telling you now...that it's finished. (pulls out his gun) Now, come on, let's go.

Soles attacks, knocking Eccles back and the gun out of his hand. Then he grabs the gun and shoots Eccles.

~Cut to Major Crimes office. Still day. There's a colored diagram of the city on a board.~

Jim: Each of these pins corresponds to a map coordinate from the printout we pulled off of Dirk. At every location, there was an arson fire and the building was to be torn down by All City. The scam works like this. Eccles bids 20 grand to demolish the building that was formerly owned by the Board of Education. His competitors bid between 30 and 35 grand. The day the building is supposed to come down, a fire mysteriously burns it to the ground. Eccles pays five grand to push away the rubble. Pockets 15K -- he even sells the used brick.

Blair: How come nobody else caught on to this?

Jim: The city auditor at the time was a guy named Hector Vasquez.

Joel: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah -- the guy who went over Mount Cascade in his car.

Jim: Right. He was investigating Eccles at the time. His brakes failed.

Simon: I still don't get the tie-in with the churches.

Jim: Eccles used the first two bombings as a cover for something much bigger -- a demo that couldn't be taken down with just fire.

Simon: (picks up phone) Rhonda, give me the city controller.

Jim: The problem is, sir, the last coordinate on that printout from Dirk -- it's illegible.

Simon: (into phone) Yeah, this is Captain Banks, Cascade P.D. I need a list of all the buildings contracted for tear-down by All City Demo. Yeah, that's right. And I need it yesterday.

~Cut to scene of plane landing. And then to two ATF agents in a car.

Driver: Next time we'll get SAC to give us the gulf stream.

Russell: Well, the weather would have been the same no matter what.

Russell's beeper goes off and he looks at it.

Russell: It's the locals. (pulls out cellphone and calls)

Soles answers on the other end of the line.

Soles: P.D. bomb squad. Taggert.

Russell: This is Agent Russell.

Soles: Captain Banks will be glad to see you. He's got some new information for you. Wants to meet you at the storefront that got blown -- corner of 13th and Third.

~Cut to ATF agents pulling up outside Candace's Alliance office. They go inside.~

Russell: Captain Banks?

Soles: Right here, boys.

Soles hits both men with a piece of wood.

~Cut to another Alliance office. Candace is walking out with other members when her beeper goes off. She picks up a phone and dials the number. Again, Soles answers.~

Soles: Miss Blake, Agent Russell from ATF.

Candace: Thank god you're here.

Soles: I'll pick you up outside Cascade P.D. in five minutes.

Candace: Okay.

~Cut to outside of Cascade P.D. Candace stands outside the door as Soles pulls up in a car. He shows the ATF credentials.~

Soles: Miss Blake?

~~~~~~~~~~ Act V ~~~~~~~~~~

~Mt. Zion church. Still day. Inside, Soles has Candace tied to a chair. A bomb is attached to the chair.~

Soles: Now, it's rigged to blow if you move. Start saying your prayers.

Candace: I don't understand how anyone can hate as much as you do.

Soles: Oh, come on! Take your blinders off! You and I have both given up on our government. You use a bullhorn, and I use a detonator.

Candace: But why go after the churches?

Soles: What right do you have worshiping a white man on a cross?

Candace: I suppose Jesus of Nazareth has blonde hair and blue eyes, right?

Soles rips off a piece of tape and tapes over Candace's mouth.

Soles: You'll know when you see him.

~Cut to a view of Eccles' body in a large trash dumpster. Still day. Simon, Joel, Jim, and Blair as well as other police crew.~

Simon: Randy Eccles. He thought he could use Axel. Looks like Axel used him.

Jim: Russell and another ATF agent are missing. We sent out an APB.

Joel: What I'm wondering is why is the controller's office taking so long?

Simon: Evidently Vasquez pulled all the demolition files. They had to go into microfilm for backup. (cellphone rings) This could be them now. (into phone) Yeah. Banks. What? You're sure? All right, thanks. (hangs up) Guys, last month, All City won one of the biggest contracts in state history: The demolition of the old incinerator on River Street. Million-dollar job.

Joel: The incinerator. That's right behind Mount Zion A.M.E. church.

Blair: Wait a minute. Didn't Reverend Diggs said they were having some kind of gospel meeting over there.

Jim: What's tonight?

Joel: Thursday.

Simon: In another two hours that place will be full of people.

~Cut to Mt. Zion church. Soles is still with Candace. He looks up when he hears sirens approaching. Police vehicles pull up outside and everybody gets out. Jim pulls out a kevlar vest as he rounds the front of his truck.~

Simon: (in his earpiece radio) All right, everybody, listen up. I want everything kept tight and locked up out here. Keep all these people back

Jim: (hands his sunglasses to Blair) Sandburg, hold those and stay here.

Simon: Let's go, Taggert.

~Cut to Jim, Simon, and Joel going back around the church.~

Simon: You two, take the rear.

There is a police car parked just outside the church. The officer inside is slumped over the wheel. Jim opens the door to check him.

Jim: Oh, man. (settles man back against the seat)

Joel: Is he alive?

Jim: Yeah. He's still alive. (pulls out a stun gun from the floorboards) Stun gun. I'm going inside, sir.

Simon: Get on headset.

Jim: All right.

~Cut to Jim and Joel walking down the main church sanctuary.~

~Cut to outside. Simon rejoins Blair at the front. Blair is putting on a radio earpiece.~

~Cut to inside. Jim starts to sense something. Camera shows a huge pile of Semtex behind and underneath the preaching podium. Jim starts creeping around, looking for it.~

Joel: Jim...what's going on?

Jim goes to the front platform and finds the pile of Semtex.

Jim: Good god. Joel.

Joel joins him.

Joel: Oh, god. Semtex. It's got to be 15 kilos or more. Ready to blow. How did you know?

Jim: Just a lucky guess. You think you can get to the blasting cap?

Joel: No. He, uh, rigged it right to the trembler switches.

Jim: There's a wire running. There's a wire.

Jim listens and hears a timer beeping and Candace panicking beneath the tape on her face.

Jim: Joel. Let's go.

~Cut to Jim and Joel entering the room where Candace is. She's alone. Jim takes the tape off her mouth.~

Candace: Oh, god, Jim. He said if I move, it'll go off.

Joel pulls the top off the bomb very slowly.

Simon: Talk to me, Taggert. What do we have in there?

Joel: I've never seen anything like this before.

Blair: Use your training. We can get through this, man.

Jim: (to Candace) You're going to be all right. All right? You're in good hands. (to Joel) You can do this, Joel. (leaves)

Jim exits back into the sanctuary and sees Soles running across the balcony.

Jim: He's up in the choir balcony.

Jim takes off, running.

~Cut to Joel.~

Joel: Oh, man. It's got parallel circuits and multiple relays.

Blair: Just take one of them at a time.

~Cut to Jim searching for Soles. He looks upward to a ladder, then starts climbing.~

Jim: He's headed up into the bell tower.

~Cut to Joel. Joel cuts a wire. The timer stops, then starts again.~

Joel: Oh...

Blair: Joel.

Simon: What happened?

Joel: It stopped, but then it started again. It's just like Brackett's bomb.

~Cut to Jim climbing the ladder.~

~Cut back to Joel.~

Joel: Oh, I see what it's going to do. It's just like the storefront. There's two wires connected to the antenna. He's going to blow it from the outside.

Blair: Well, can't you just cut the wire?

Joel: One might be connected to the detonator. If I cut the wrong one, it's going to blow.

~Cut to Jim in the belltower. He looks up another ladder, then Soles bursts out and attacks him, shoving him backwards.~

~Cut to Simon and Blair.~

Simon: Jim?! What happened? I'm coming in.

~Cut to Jim, still chasing Soles. Soles goes onto the upper balcony overlooking the sanctuary. Jim follows him. Simon comes in from the other direction, blocking his exit.~

Simon: Freeze!

Jim: Where do you think you're going, you poor, sick slob?

Soles backs up to the edge of the balcony and pulls out the detonator.

Soles: Listen, boys, I'm going to give you a choice. Back off, or we all go.

Jim: (into earpiece to Joel) How are we doing down there?

~Cut to Joel.~

Joel: Two wires. There's a white one and...there's a black one.

~Cut to Jim and Simon.~

Simon: Make a decision quick. He's got his finger on the detonator.

~Cut to Joel.~

Joel: Oh, yeah. I see it.

Joel cuts the white wire. Timer stops.

Joel: Yeah! It's going to be all right. Take him down. Take him down now!

~Cut to Jim and Simon. They look at each other, then both lift their guns to point at Soles.~

Jim: You're done.

Soles: I guess we all go. (pops the button the detonator)

Nothing happens.

Jim: Don't make it hard on yourself, boy. (puts his gun away and moves forward)

Soles steps back and slips on a pile of books. He falls over the edge of the balcony and lands below on the pews. He's dead.

~Cut to later. Outside of Mt. Zion church. Jim and Simon stand with Candace. An officer comes out with Jim's Jags cap which he'd lost in the fight.~

Jim: (to officer) I'll take that. (puts on cap)

Candace: Simon...sorry for doubting you. Thanks.

Simon: Well, don't thank me. That's the man you should be thanking there. (points to Joel)

~Pan to Joel and Blair over at Jim's truck.~

Joel: Check it out, man. (lifts his hand) Steady as a rock.

Simon, Jim, and Candace come over.

Simon: Taggert.

Joel: Yeah?

Candace: Thanks a lot.

Joel: You're very welcome.

Officer on radio: Captain Taggert.

Joel: Yeah?

Officer on radio: We found some more Semtex on the roof.

Joel: All right, we're coming right up. (to Blair) Why don't you come on and give me a hand on the roof, man?

Blair: No. I'm sorry. I can't do that, man. I got this thing about heights.

Joel: Wait a minute. What about that bridge in Nepal you were talking about?

Blair: Uh, well, that was an embellishment on the truth.

Jim: You mean a lie, right? A lie.

Blair: Oh, no. Lies -- they hurt, man. This... Embellishments -- they help.

Jim: Like the embellishments in your love life?

Blair: No, no. I would call those more like romantic obfuscations.

Joel walks off, chuckling. Simon laughs.

Candace: Okay.

Simon: I'd call it B.S.

Blair: Actually, no. Technically, B.S. is a form of male bonding. It's a ritual, actually.

Jim: What happened to this thing called the truth?

Blair: Oh, yeah, that. That's, uh... totally overrated. Yeah. (walks toward passenger side of truck)

Jim: (chuckling as he gets into the truck) "Obfuscation."

~ The End ~