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Light My Fire

Written by: David Thoreau
Directed by: Scott Brazil
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): Tom Mason (Dan Matson), Yvette Nipar (Debra Reeves), Bill Cross (Mitch Reeves), Alicia Coppola (Samantha), Don MacKay (Bert Gershwin), Henry Brown (Detective Brown), Ryf Van Rij (Detective Rafe).

Music notes: Featured song was "Putting Out Fire." I don't know who sang it for the episode, but the original version was written by David Bowie with music by Giorgio Morode as the theme from the film, Cat People. Lyrics link.

Summary: Ellison and Blair partner with a beautiful, no-nonsense arson inspector to investigate a string of warehouse blazes. They use high tech equipment to fight a serial arsonist, but Jim has her taken off the case when her father becomes the suspect. In the end Ellison's sentinel abilities are their only chance to solve the case...and survive. (Source: Stefan's Sentinel Episode Guide)

This episode was originally broadcast on February 5, 1997.
Last updated: 7/8/01

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Opening theme plays as credits roll. Monologue by Blair Blair: "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 ~~~~~~~~~~

~Gershwin's Furniture warehouse. Night. Guard waling through warehouse checking things out. Switch to a scene of someone lighting a wick over a jar of red liquid. More of guard walking. More of person lighting another bottle. And another bottle. Guard pauses, thinking he's heard something, shines flashlight around, sees one of the jars. Guard gets knocked out.~

~Cut to Jim and Blair in Expedition driving along road. Same night.~

Jim: Look, Sandburg, I've been working all day and all night. I'm tired, and I'm hungry. At 3:00 a.m., I just want to stop at the first place that's open.

Blair: Jim, trust me, it'll be worth it. Tony's 24-Hour Grill's got some of the best food you will ever taste.

Jim: If we ever get there.

Blair: It's right around here somewhere.

Jim: You've been saying that for 20 minutes.

~Cut to a shot of one of the bottles. The wax holding the wick up melts away, fuse falls into liquid, and bottle blows up in a huge ball of flame.~

~Cut back to Jim and Blair. Jim rolls down window.~

Jim: Do you smell that?

Blair: What?

Jim: Smoke.

Blair: Ah, that's Tony's Grill. I told you it was on this street!

Jim: No, no, no. Whatever's burning, it's cooking a lot more than food.

Jim goes one of his "evil" U-turns and they speed back the opposite direction. A bit later, they arrive at the burning warehouse and get out of the truck. Jim starts to listen and hears groaning from inside.

Jim: There's somebody inside that warehouse. (hands Blair his cellphone)

Blair: Shouldn't we wait for the fire department?

Jim: There's no time -- call for help. (takes to warehouse)

Blair: (into phone) We got a fire at Gershwin's Furniture warehouse. Third and Mission. There may be somebody trapped inside.

Jim breaks a window after not being able to get inside the door. More explosions. Jim moves through the inside flames, heading toward the downed guard. He finds the guard, picks him up and heads back out again, going through the door. Blair meets him outside and they go behind the truck as the warehouse keeps burning.

~Cut to next morning. Same place. Warehouse pretty much gone.~

Fireman: This way. A couple more hotspots over here, sir. We'll catch him.

Scenes pans over to Jim and Blair standing next to a fire engine. Jim is signing something on a clipboard as one of the fireman comes over to him.

Matson: Lucky thing for that guard when you came along. One of my guys tells me you're a cop.

Jim: Yeah. Jim Ellison -- Major Crimes. This is Blair Sandburg.

Matson: Dan Matson.

Blair: How you doing? Well, it didn't seem like your hoses did much good.

Matson: Yeah, that was one hot fire. We could barely contain it.

Jim: I've seen a lot of fires before, but this one was pure white.

Debra comes over.

Debra: Did you say "white"?

Jim: That's right.

Debra: What about the center of the fire? What color was it?

Jim: Kind of... blue.

Debra: Oh, I knew it. He's back.

Matson: Kinda jumping the gun, Deb?

Debra: Oh, I already know how it'll go down: No pour pattern, no trace of any common accelerant. And look at this -- it's a piece of the concrete floor. That fire became so hot it melted it into glass. Tell me something, hero. How'd you just happen to be in the vicinity?

Jim: We were driving around, looking for a place to eat.

Debra: Is that your truck over there?

Jim: Yeah. That's right.

Debra: Any objection if I have a look inside?

Matson: He's a cop, Deb.

Jim: That's all right. Knock yourself out.

Debra: Thank you. (goes over to the truck)

Blair: What was that about?

Jim: Debra Reeves. She's an arson investigator.

Blair: You know her?

Jim: I've seen her working out at the gym a couple times. She's cute in a pit bull sort of way.

Matson: Oh, she has the tendency to rub people the wrong way, but she's very good at her job.

Blair: What's she want with the truck?

Matson: When you're an arson investigator, everybody is a suspect.

Jim: All right, let's go, Chief.

~Cut to Major Crimes. Same day. Jim and Blair walking into bullpen.~

Blair: Your lungs still hurt from last night?

Jim: My lungs, my eyes, and nose. I had a similar experience in the military when they were testing napalm.

Blair: You think there's chemicals in that building?

Jim: Possible.

Simon: Jim, can I see you a minute, please?

They go into Simon's office.

Simon: I think you two know Inspector Reeves.

Jim: You here to arrest me, Inspector?

Debra: Just doing my job, Detective.

Simon: I'm putting you in charge of the criminal investigation for last night's fire. Looks like we're dealing with a serial arsonist here. If we're right, we've already had two fatalities. Plus the guard from last night is still in critical.

Debra: This is the fifth super-hot fire in the northwest in the last two years.

Jim: What's the connection?

Debra: Most fires burn around 1,500Fahrenheit. Whoever's doing these fires is using something a lot hotter -- it's reaching close to 5,000 degrees. The only explanation is an HTA.

Blair: What's "HTA"?

Jim: "High temperature accelerant."

Simon: Inspector Reeves thinks we're dealing with a highly skilled professional with a lot of technical knowledge.

Blair: What, like an arsonist for hire?

Debra: All the fires were industrial warehouses with big-time insurance payoffs, right? On the other hand, I don't think this is just about money -- this guy loves to make things burn. He's getting more daring. These fires are getting closer together.

Jim: You said each warehouse had a big payoff. How much was last night's?

Debra: Gershwin Furniture stands to make two million in insurance.

Jim: I'd say that's a good place to start. Sir. (starts to leave)

Simon: Jim...

Jim: Captain?

Simon: You'll be working with Inspector Reeves on this case.

Jim: Sir?

Simon: Mayor's idea.

Debra: Shall we?

Jim: Yeah.

~Cut to Gershwin's Furniture warehouse. Same day. Jim, Blair, and Debra walking with Gerswhin.~

Gershwin: Please, come in. I'm always happy to help out the authorities in any way I can.

Blair: I feel like we're old friends, Mr. Gershwin.

Gershwin: A "couch king" movie fan.

Blair: Yeah. Ever since I was able to stay up past my bedtime.

Gershwin: And you, Detective, you look familiar to me. The police athletic league fund-raiser two years ago. We shared a table. You were with your wife -- very attractive brunette. A police, um...a police technician, as I recall.

Jim: That's quite a memory you have.

Gershwin: I have a photographic memory. How is your wife?

Jim: Well, now that she's divorced me and moved to San Francisco, just fine.

Gershwin: Oh, wow. I've been married four times. My view is, I'm going to keep doing it until I get it right.

Debra: Excuse me. I'd like to ask a few questions. Mr. Gershwin, is it true that your company lost over half a million dollars last quarter?

Gershwin: Well, just a temporary slump. The furniture business is cyclical. Our sales have been up significantly in the last three months.

Debra: I see. Is that why you increased your fire insurance twice in the last year?

Gershwin: I increased my insurance because -- as you should be aware -- we had a large fire just three blocks from here.

Debra: Right. That was eight months ago. You increased your insurance the first time ten months ago.

Gershwin: So what?

Jim: Debra...

Debra: Mr. Gershwin, are you aware that arson for profit is a serious offense?

Gershwin: Are you accusing me of a crime?

Debra: There is a security guard at County General is in critical condition. If he dies, you will be involved in a murder investigation. So if I were you, I'd come clean as soon as possible while you can still cut a deal.

Gershwin: This is unbelievable. You... you come into my store...

Jim: Maybe we ought to just settle down.

Gershwin: I think you ought to just get the hell out of my store.

Jim: Mr. Gershwin...

Gershwin: Now!

Jim: Very good, sir.

Debra: Good day.

Blair: I'm still a huge fan.

They leave.

Jim: Call me oversensitive, but don't you think it's bit premature to slap him with a felony accusation?

Debra: I was trying to get information, not become his best friend.

Blair: The idea here is to get people to trust you.

Debra: Well, I find it works better to keep them off-balance.

Jim: The only thing that's off-balance here is your approach.

Debra: I misjudged him, okay?

Jim: Well, at least we agree on one thing.

Debra's father comes up.

Reeves: Deb!

Debra: Dad! What are you doing here?

Reeves: I'm looking for a new sofa. It's time we g rid of that old monstrosity in the living room. Pardon my daughter's manners. Mitch Reeves.

Jim: Jim Ellison, Cascade P.D.

Blair: How you doing? Blair Sandburg.

Reeves: You must be here about that warehouse fire. Was it arson?

Debra: Dad, you know we can't talk about an ongoing investigation.

Reeves: My own daughter, we were in the same department -- she won't tell me a thing. Now how else am I supposed to get my thrills?

Blair: How long were you a fireman?

Reeves: Twenty-one years. Then I got bit. But I could tell you some stories.

Debra: Dad, we're a little busy right now.

Reeves: Okay, okay. No stories. Well, I'm off to buy a couch. Nice to meet you guys. See you around.

Jim: Happy shopping.

Debra: See you later.

Jim: Well, it seems your dad's got some manners.

Debra: I'm going to check in at the office. I'll hook up with you guys later.

~Cut to Jim and Blair entering forensics lab. Day. Sam is inside.~

Jim: Hey, Sam.

Sam: Jim!

Jim: This is Blair Sandburg. He's a consultant to the department.

Sam: Yes, we've met.

Blair: Sam and I know each other socially.

Sam: Yeah, at least we did until Blair stood me up at a sushi restaurant.

Blair: I got the dates mixed up.

Sam: That's what happens when you overbook.

Jim: Ouch. (pause) Sam, any idea what this mystery accelerant is that we're looking for?

Sam: Well, if pumping water on the blaze made it worse, sounds like we're looking for an oxidizer which is a chemical that creates its own oxygen. (pours some liquid into a beaker)

Jim: Is that possible?

Sam: Let's do a little experiment. Blair? (hands him the beaker) Would you please put that in the sink?

Blair: Yeah. (goes around and does so)

Sam: Okay. Now put some water from the tap on it.

Blair turns on the water. Water hits the liquid and sends up a flash of fire at Blair, who reels back.

Blair: Whoa! You trying to kill me?! You did that on purpose. (comes back around to stand next to Jim)

Sam: Oh, it was just a harmless chemical reaction -- kind of like your feelings for me.

Jim: (chuckles) Hey, so what you're saying is that the more water the firemen put on the fire the hotter it got.

Sam: Exactly. Instead of putting it out, it was feeding it. But the problem is coming up with something that burns at the temperature you're talking about: 5,000degrees is one intense fire.

Jim: You know, while it was burning, I smelled something that reminded me of napalm. It wasn't the same, but it was similar.

Sam: Huh. Just give me a couple days to do some research.

Jim: Is there anything else you got while we're at it?

Sam: Well, unfortunately there was not much left of the warehouse to examine, but we found this right outside on the pavement. (hands him a small evidence bag) It seems to be some kind of wax material.

Jim takes wax material out of bag and examines it, looking at it against the light and smelling it.

Sam: It could have been blown out by one of the explosions. We're still doing some tests to determine what it is.

Jim: This is Mr. Zog's Sex Wax.

Blair: "Sex Wax"?

Jim: Whoa, whoa, easy, Chief. It's what surfers use to coat their boards for traction in the water. This is coconut-scented.

Sam: Thanks. You just saved me a couple days' worth of work.

Jim: Anything I can do to help.

Jim: Call me when you've confirmed that, would you? Nice work. Come on. (leaves)

Blair: Yeah, I'm coming.

Sam: Nice seeing you again, Blair. Drop by anytime.

~Cut to Jim and Blair in the hallway.~

Jim: So, what's the deal with you and Samantha?

Blair: You believe that? She must still really like me.

Jim: Like you? She wanted to blow your face off.

Blair: That's just her way of showing affection. Like the way lions bat each other around before they mate.

Jim: Well, let me tell you something, if she likes you any more, you'd better buy some life insurance.

~Cut to scenes of someone (unknown) going through a newspaper looking at classifieds while listening to a song about fire. Other shots show a an Island Rhino surfboard and a couple things of Mr. Zog's Sex Wax.~

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

~Simon's office. Jim, Blair, and Simon.~

Simon: No, that's great. (hangs up) You were right about that wax. That was forensics. Mr. Zog's Sex Wax.

Jim: We've been cross-checking local surf shops, local surfers, hangers-on, wannabes with known arsonists and so far, we've come up empty-handed.

Blair: I had no idea there were so many surfers in Cascade.

Simon: Have you shared this surfing angle with Reeves?

Jim: Um...well, to tell you the truth, I don't think our investigative styles are very compatible.

Simon: Jim, I want that forensics report in her hand by the end of the day. Why don't you deliver it to her personally?

~Cut to Reeves' residence. Jim drives up, gets out, and goes up to the door with the information about the case. He rings the doorbell. Mitch Reeves answers the door.~

Reeves: Mitch! Detective Ellison, how are you?

Jim: Fine, thank you, sir. I stopped by Debra's office, but she wasn't there. They gave me this address.

Reeves: You're at the right place. Debbie moved in to help me out after my accident. She just went to the store. Come on in.

Inside, Jim sees Dan Matson. He stuffs the file in his back pocket.

Jim: How are you?

Matson: Not too bad.

Reeves: Detective Ellison. My old captain, Dan Matson. (wanders into a another room)

Matson: Yeah, we met at the fire. Jim's the guy who pulled that security guard out.

Jim: Nice to see you again.

Matson: I understand you're working with Deb on this case. You ready to kill her yet?

Reeves: I heard that. That's my daughter you're talking about.

Matson: Well, I bounced her on my knee, Mitch. I know how she is -- just like her old man. I've been wanting to kill him for years.

Reeves: Dan and I go way back. Even before the department.

Matson: We're like family.

Reeves: Except Dan's a politician.

Matson: Speaking of which, I got to meet the Chief at the yacht club. Some charity deal.

Reeves: Better run along like a good fireman.

Matson: Would you blow it out your ear? Good to see you, Ellison.

Jim: Nice to see you, too.

Matson leaves.

Reeves: So tell me

Jim: Um, well...we're making progress. You know how investigations go. I don't need to bore you with the details. You got better things to do. I got to get back to the station. Take care of some business.

Reeves: Debra will be here any minute.

Jim: Oh, just tell her I stopped by. Appreciate the beer.

Debra comes in, carrying two bags of groceries.

Reeves: In fact, here she is now. Hey, babe, we got company.

Jim: Hi.

Debra: Hi. What are you doing he?

Jim: Actually, I was, uh... just leaving.

Reeves: He's staying for dinner.

Debra: Fine by me. Here you go. (gives Jim a bag of groceries) (to her dad) How are you?

~Cut to Jim, Mitch, and Debra having dinner. Night.~

Reeves: So the whole room's full of smoke as I go in. And there's this old woman sitting in the corner all dressed up. And she says, "Is that you, Frank?" I said, "No, ma'am. It's the fire department. Your building's on fire." There's this pause. Then she says "Just my luck. First date in seven years and some jerk starts a fire." We need another bottle of wine.

Debra: I think I'll make coffee, Dad.

Jim: That sounds great.

Debra leaves.

Reeves: I want to show you something in the backyard.

~Cut to Jim and Mitch in a garage/workroom area. Fire equipment, suits, etc, around.~

Reeves: These days, this is where I spend most of my time.

Jim: Doing what?

Reeves: Two years ago I was in a burning building when it collapsed. I got trapped and almost got fried. Lost most of the skin on my back. This is what I was wearing at the time. Your basic fireman's turnout coat only keeps you cool for a couple of minutes. Then it only works up to about 2,000 degrees. (pulls a jacket down from a hook and hands it to Jim) Try it on.

Jim: (puts on coat) It's pretty light.

Reeves: Made of kevlar with titanium stitching. I designed it and had a company in Colorado make it. Hold out your arm. It's all right. Go ahead. (runs a blue-flamed torch over the coat sleeve -- doesn't burn it at all) It's lighter and handles higher temps than the department's standards. Trouble is it only works up to about 3,500 degrees. My goal was 5,000. (turns off torch) I went to the department for funding, but they said no. Said I wasn't an accredited research facility. The only research I ever did was in the belly of the beast. Two years of skin grafts, but I don't know about fire.

Jim: You don't seem like the type that would give up too easily.

Reeves: Hell, no. I got a couple of new full-body suits coming in on Friday. They're the ones. I know it. (turns on torch again) Look at it. Look how it lives. How it watches you. See, most people don't understand. Fire's a living thing. I know why arsonists burn things. They want to control all that power. But you can't control fire. It controls you.

Debra comes in.

Debra: I thought I'd find you guys in here. Coffee's ready.

~Cut to Jim and Debra exiting house.~

Jim: Thank you for a very lovely dinner.

Debra: Oh, you're welcome. I hope my dad didn't trap you into staying. He thinks don't have a social life.

Both: But he means well.

Jim: It seems like you can take care of yourself.

Debra: I like to think so.

Jim: The real reason I came by... (attention caught by something) Is that an Island Rhino?

Debra: Yeah.

They walk into carport area where Jim looks at a surfboard.

Jim: I haven't seen one of these in quite a while.

Debra: Yeah, my dad got to know the designer, Chance Taylor back in the early '60s. You know, the Beach Boys, Janis, the Doors... Of course, he can't go out much anymore.

Jim: Huh, it's not a bad stick.

Debra: You surf?

Jim: Once a surfer, always a surfer, you know. The only board I still have left from the old quivers is a ten-foot Stepdeck Noserider that I got at Rocky's down in Surf City C-A.

Debra: Well, maybe we can go down to Cascade Beach sometime.

Jim: (catches sight of a couple things of Mr. Zog's Sex Wax on a shelf) Yeah, that'd be nice. That'd be nice.

Debra: You were about to tell me why you came over.

Jim: Oh, yeah, right. (pulls out info and gives it to Debra) This is the department's forensics report on that warehouse.

Debra: Great. Thanks for bringing it over.

Jim: All right. Good night. (leaves as Debra heads back inside house)

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

~Sam's forensics lab. Jim and Blair there with her.~

Sam: Well, I think I know what your arsonist has been using to make his fires burn so hot. I made the delay out of surf wax. Burns brighter than most candles and twice as fast.

Sample blows up.

Jim: Well, that's what I smelled at the warehouse.

Sam: It's magnesium. I added it to control the burn. Napalm uses aluminum salt. But you're the first person I've ever met who can smell it in its inert state.

Blair: Yeah, he's a real sensitive guy.

Sam: Unlike his friends.

Sam: 5,200 degrees. And that's just using a two-ounce solution.

Jim: So what is this stuff?

Sam: I synthesized it. But, basically, it's rocket fuel.

Jim: The arsonist is using rocket fuel?

Sam: Or something close to it.

Jim: How would somebody get their hands on rocket fuel?

Sam: Well, you could make it, like I did, but you'd need to be a pretty accomplished chemist with a fairly sophisticated lab at your disposal or...you could buy it. But there's only one company in Cascade manufactures it and you'd need government clearance to get it.

~Cut to Jim, Blair, and Matson walking down Major Crimes hallway.~

Jim: Over the phone you said Mitch was having a beef with the department over his injury?

Matson: Yeah, after the accident, he was really p.o.'ed they put him on the disabled list because he didn't want to take full disability. He thought he was coming back.

They arrive at Jim's desk.

Jim: Sit down.

Matson: Thanks. Physically, even today, I'd take Mitch Reeves over half the guys I have at the station.

Blair: But the department wouldn't reinstate him?

Matson: After they wouldn't fund his fire suit research, Mitch had some beers with a reporter and said some things he shouldn't have said.

Jim: He admitted he wasn't too good of a politician.

Matson: He was never big with authority. One time, he told off the Fire Chief at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Almost lost his job.

Jim: Mitch was at Vandenberg?

Matson: Mm-hmm.

Blair: Did he have anything to do with the rocket launches?

Matson: Yeah, he was a civilian fire fighter at the launch pad.

~Cut to Jim at Reeves' house. Day. He rings doorbell. No answer. he chucks the windows, then walks around back to Reeves' workshop and enters.~

Jim: Mitch? Mitch?

Jim pokes around and finds a couple tanks of rocket fuel. Reeves comes in behind him.

Reeves: Careful. That stuff will melt the hairs in your nose.

Jim: Or send a man to the moon.

Reeves: I use it to test my fire suits.

Jim: Since when can you buy rocket fuel over the counter?

Reeves: I'm an ex-fireman. I've got my sources. Why? You going to bust me?

Jim: No. Should I?

Reeves: I hear you been asking questions about me. You know, people have been destroyed by suspicion without proof.

Jim: Mitch, I'm not in the business of destroying innocent people's lives.

Reeves: Then we're on the same wavelength.

Jim: But I have a job to do. Even if it involves people I like.

Reeves: You and Debra -- so sure of yourselves. I used to feel that way. Then I got older -- saw all the mistakes I'd made, saw the world wasn't really what I thought it was. But I realized it isn't about being sure. It's about doing the right thing.

~Cut to Jim and Blair walking through Major Crimes.~

Blair: Jim, you got to admit the evidence is pretty thick.

Jim: Yeah, maybe it's thick, but we don't have enough to arrest him.

Simon steps out of his office.

Simon: Jim. Jim, look. I just talked to the ATF. The feds have traced a wire transfer of 100 grand that Bert Gershwin made to an off-shore bank three weeks before the warehouse fire. Got to run. (leaves)

Jim: Good, good, good, good. It's time to pay another visit to Gershwin.

~Cut to Gershwin Furniture. Night. Jim and Blair pull up outside another car. Jim goes around to driver's side where Brown is.

Jim: Hey. How you guys doing?

Brown: All right, man.

Jim: Gershwin still inside?

Brown: Looks like he's working late. That's his caddy parked out front.

A van pulls up and goes up to the front of the building.

Blair: Hey, who's this? It's kind of late for customers, isn't it?

Jim: Looks like Mitch Reeves behind the wheel.

Van parks. Gershwin comes out and gets into van.

Blair: And that looks like Gershwin.

Jim: You stay here. I'm going to get closer. (walks closer to building and stand behind a car to listen to Reeves and Gershwin talking)

Reeves: Listen to me. It's very simple. You're going to prison for a long time.

Gershwin: You want more money?

Reeves: It's not what I want.

Gershwin: What do you want from me?

A beeping is heard.

Reeves: What's that sound?

Gershwin: What?

Van blows up in a huge ball of flame, sending debris everywhere.

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

~Jim, Blair, and Simon walking into Major Crimes.~

Simon: Preliminary reports point to a rocket fuel-like substance as the cause of the explosion. Some of it leaked onto the pavement when the van pulled out of the parking lot. The department is gonna proceed along the lines that Mitch Reeves is our arsonist.

Jim: You're closing the case?

Simon: Jim, you're the one who found rocket fuel in his home. You heard Gershwin offering him more money.

Jim: What I heard Gershwin offering him a bribe. Mitch wasn't going to take it.

Simon: He knew we were onto him.

Blair: Simon, something had to ignite that fuel.

Simon: Well, according to forensics, the type of fuel found in Reeves's van is extremely unstable. The tiniest spark could have set it off.

Jim: Or the tiniest detonator. Just before the explosion, I heard some beeping sound going off somewhere, sir.

Blair: And if there was a detonator, the explosion would have destroyed it.

Simon: Why wasn't any of this in your report? What you're saying is that Mitch did this on purpose. What? To kill himself?

Jim: I think he was murdered by the real arsonist.

Simon: Who is...?

Jim: I-I-I don't know yet.

~Cut to Cascade Beach. Day. Circle of surfers sit in the water on their boards, throwing leis into the water.~

Blair: What's going on?

Jim: That's a ceremony that surfers have when one of their own dies.

Blair: Right. In the Fiji Islands they have a similar ceremony when a chief dies.

Jim: I don't think Mitch ever wanted to be a chief. I think he just wanted to fight fires.

~Cut to a bit later as surfers are packing up to leave. Jim and Blair go over to Debra. She looks at Jim, then gets in her car.

Jim: Debra...

Debra drives away. Matson's car is next to Debra's car.

Matson: Give her some time. She's still pretty angry about her father being a suspect.

Jim: She has every right to be. Her father's dead.

Matson turns to his board, getting ready to put it in his car -- it's the same board as Mitch's.

Jim: Isn't that Mitch's board?

Matson: Uh, no, it's mine. We bought identical boards a couple of years ago. He didn't get to use his very much. Man, he and I used to have good times together.

Jim acts like he's smelling something.

Matson: Trestles, Rincon... You know, I have to tell you. I've known Mitch Reeves 25 years. It's hard for me to believe he set those fires.

Jim: Yeah, it's hard for us all. (watches Matson put his board away)

~Cut to Jim pulling up outside Reeves' house. He goes up to the porch where Debra is sitting.~

Jim: Uh, excuse me. Debra, I'm sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to talk to you. It's pretty important.

Debra: I'm glad you came. Something you should probably see. (hands Jim a large file) Found those in my father's desk. You were right about him. There are newspaper clippings, personal ads from the classifieds. They date back two years. The first message ss always the same -- "Light my fire." A few days later, an answer appears. "Call Prometheus," followed by a number. I checked the dates. All the ads appeared just before each of the HTA fires. You know, after my mom died... and then the accident... I knew he was twisted up inside. Guess I just didn't know how much.

Jim: (sits down next to her) This material does not mean that your dad was guilty. There might be another explanation here. I think Mitch was running his own investigation. I think he was on to who the real Prometheus was.

Debra: Oh, my god. Why wouldn't he tell me that?

Jim: Your dad is not the type of man to go around ruining somebody's life and career without the... without the proper proof.

~Cut to Jim and Debra in carport to stand next to surfboard. He picks up the surf wax.~

Debra: What are you doing?

Jim: Prometheus uses a delay fuse made from surf wax. It's his signature.

Debra: Okay, how does that help prove my dad's innocent?

Jim: Your dad used a strawberry-scented surf wax. Prometheus uses coconut. This is strawberry.

Debra: You know who it is, don't you? Jim, come on. You have to tell me. This guy killed my father, okay?

Jim: First, I want to be absolutely sure about this before I do anything. Your dad would want it the same way. (walks away)

~Cut to Major Crimes hallway. Simon, Jim, and Blair walking.~

Simon: Dan Matson is at the top of a short list for fire chief when old man Tolliver retires.

Jim: I know, sir. Matson also uses Mr. Zog's coconut-scented surf wax on his board. Surfers are very particular about the kind of wax they use.

They all go into Simon's office.

Simon: You can't arrest the city's next fire chief for murder based on the type of wax he uses.

Jim: Sandburg and I did some checking. It seems as though Matson had some financial problems -- stemmed from a balloon mortgage payment that he couldn't meet. It turns out a couple of days before they were going to foreclose on his house, he miraculously comes up with the dough.

Blair: Which was exactly two weeks after the first HTA fire.

Jim: Right. Matson was also a civilian fire fighter at Vandenberg And so was Mitch Reeves. He knew about rocket fuel and he damn sure well knew about fire

Simon: All right, but what about the conversation you heard between Mitch and Gershwin? What were they doing even meeting in the first place?

Jim: I think Mitch was pressuring Gershwin to testify against Prometheus. What I heard was Gershwin offering Mitch a bribe and Mitch didn't go for it.

Blair: So we figure Matson found out about the deal and decided it was a perfect opportunity to get rid of Gershwin and make Mitch the fall guy.

Simon: So he murdered his friend of 25 years?

Jim: It's either that, or go down for the crime, sir. Mitch was closing in and Matson knew it.

Simon: Okay, look, even if I buy your theory, there is no way that we have enough evidence to go to the DA with this.

Jim: If you'd allow me... I have an idea that I'd like to play out.

Simon: How dangerous an idea?

Jim: Well, sir, let's just say if I'm wrong... the department won't have to worry about those retirement benefits it's going to owe me.

Blair: Wait a minute. Quick question, or actually, two. One, what's this idea and two, how involved in it am I?

Jim: Well, you're my partner, right?

Blair: Yeah.

Jim: Say no more. Thank you, sir.

They leave.

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

~Simon's office. Jim and Blair come in and Jim lays a newspaper down on the desk in front of Simon.~

Jim: We got our response. It's in this morning's paper. I already checked out the phone number. It's a cell phone registered to a phony address. So there's no way they can trace it.

Blair: I can't believe he answered the ad. Why take the chance? I mean, everybody thinks he's dead. Why not just lay low?

Simon: Arrogance -- he figures no one can catch him.

Jim: Or maybe he's hooked on what he's doing and he can't stop.

~Cut to a man answering a phone call. Camera slowly pans up to show Matson.~

Matson: This is Prometheus.

Blair: Hi. I'm the one who placed the ad. I have a job for you.

Matson: What's the address?

Blair: 387 Ninth Street.

Matson: Deposit $50,000 in Grand Cayman bank account number 557-3309 by 5:00.

~Cut to Jim, Blair, and Simon's POV at Major Crimes. Matson's voice is electronically disguised.~

Matson: After the deposit is confirmed, the job will be done.

~Cut back to Matson.~

Matson: When the job is finished, deposit another $50,000 within 24 hours.

Blair: All right.

Matson: And remember, if you don't make the payment, like the building, you burn. (hangs up)

~Cut Simon, Jim, and Blair exiting Simon's office.~

Simon: ATF will have the money credited to the Prometheus account by 5:00. How are we doing on that Ninth Street warehouse?

Jim: Well, when Prometheus checks it out, he'll find that the owners filed for bankruptcy last month, sir. We've got our surveillance team already set up. Everything else is in place there just like we talked about. Sandburg and I are taking the night shift.

Blair: Where's Matson now?

Jim: At home. We've got a team there as well.

Blair: What about Debra? Are we going to bring her in on this?

Jim: No. If she thinks Matson killed her father, who knows what she'll do.

Simon: I agree. Let's keep her out of it for her own protection.

They all get in the elevator.

~Cut to Ninth Street warehouse. Night. Jim and Blair pull in next to another car.~

Jim: (into radio) Okay, thrillseekers, it's time for you to call it a night. We'll see you in the morning.

Other car leaves.

Blair: Man, it's been three days. He's just playing with us.

Jim: He'll make his move. (into radio) Hey, Brown, how are you and Rafe doing over there? Any action?

~Cut to Brown and Rafe outside of Matson's house.~

Brown: It's Matson's day off. He just got back from the golf course about 3:00. The TV's on in the front room and it looks like he's watching the game. Which is something we should be doing.

Jim: Copy that.

~Cut back to Jim and Blair. Blair pulls his backpack into the front seat.~

Jim: Got some snacks?

Blair: No, no, not quite. (pulls out gloves and scarf and puts them on)

Jim: I thought you were Mr. Outdoors. All that time spent out in the wilderness.

Blair: Yeah. Most of it was in the jungle. The jungle's hot, remember? The thing I don't understand -- you're Mr. heightened senses; how come the cold isn't bothering you.

Jim: It's not that cold.

Blair: Are you kidding me? If Matson doesn't get here pretty soon, I'm going to start a fire myself. (puts on his "Fargo" hat)

Jim cracks up.

Blair: What? You've never seen one of these before?

~Cut to Matson driving along road, listening to "Ride of the Valkeryes." Lots of bottles of red liquid in the back of his van.~

~Cut back to Jim and Blair.~

Blair: You know, a lot of primitive tribes, they believe that fire is a living spirit. The Indians consider it a sacred provider of warmth and protection. And to the Polynesians, it's a god. I remember once I was in the Fijian islands. saw this fire dance. Jim, there was this dancer there... Oh, she had the best body.

Jim: You know, it's becoming crystal clear to me why you were drawn to anthropology in the first place -- one-track mind.

Blair: Don't cheapen it.

Jim rolls down a window.

Blair: Hey, Jim, come on, it's freezing.

Jim: Whoa, whoa, just be quiet. There's somebody inside that warehouse. (into radio) Brown, is your boy still at home plate?

Brown: His car's in the driveway. And the TV's still on in the living room.

Jim: Want you to stay here. I'm going to go in and check things out, all right?

Blair: Mm-hmm.

Jim puts a radio earpiece in and gets out of the car and heads inside the warehouse.

~Cut to Jim inside warehouse, his gun out. He creeps around.~

Jim: (to Blair over radio) Somebody's here, all right. Call Brown and Rafe. Have them call Matson's home number.

~Cut to Matson's house.~

Answering machine: (inside house) Hi. This is Dan. I can't come to the phone right now so leave a message, and I'll call you back.

Rafe: I don't think he's there.

Brown: Let's move.

~Cut back to Jim. He rounds a corner and points his gun -- at Debra.~

Jim: What the hell are you doing here?

Debra: I know you're after Dan Matson, okay? I followed him. I saw your men out front, so I waited around the corner. He hopped over the back fence and left in a van. I lost him, but I'm pretty sure he's in here.

Blair: (over radio) Jim, you there?

Jim: Yeah. Go.

Blair: Looks like Matson slipped the surveillance team somehow.

Jim: How fitting. (sniffs the air) Surf wax.

Jim takes off; Debra follows him. They walk down a darkened hallway. He sees a bottle of red fuel in the distance. Something comes out, swinging at Jim.

Debra: Jim!

Jim goes down. Debra moves forward, shooting a couple of times into the shadows. Matson comes out and hits her arms with a piece of wood, knocking her over. Jim rolls over, mostly conscious. Matson takes Jim's gun. Jim gets up and attacks as Matson tries to go by him. They fight and Jim knocks Matson to the floor after a few exchanges. Matson crawls away, toward the bottle of fuel. Jim sees the wick falling.

Jim: Debra, Debra, come on! We've got to get out of here!

Jim and Debra run as wick drops. Matson screams as the bottle blows up and flames overtake him.

~Cut to outside.~

Blair: Jim, can you hear me? Hey, Brown, you there? I think we got some trouble here.

Warehouse windows start blowing out, sending flames and debris into the air. Blair gets out of the truck to watch in horror.

Blair: Brown, call the fire department! We need trucks here now!

~Cut to inside. Jim and Debra run through the flames. They end up underneath a stairwell at one point. Jim pulls out two fire suits.~

Jim: Here.

Debra: Those are my dad's.

Jim: I thought they might come in handy.

They put on the suits.

~Cut to outside. More explosions.~

Blair: Brown, get the trucks here now!

Blair squints at the front of the building as Jim and Debra (in the fire suits) walk out.

Blair: Oh, my god. (runs over to them)

Jim: Let's go.

Blair: You guys all right?

Debra: Yeah, thanks.

~Cut to Cascade Beach. Day. Jim and Debra walking on the sand.~

Debra: There's this place in New Zealand -- McCaffrey's Beach. It's supposed to have great waves.

Jim: I've heard of it.

Debra: Dad always talked about going there. Even after his accident he said he doesn't care if he can't surf it, he just wanted to see it.

Jim: I doubt he would have wanted to have seen this today. It's like a lake out there.

They sit down on a log in front of a small fire.

Debra: No kidding. Sure picked a lousy day to go out, didn't we?

Jim: You always got to call for the surf report -- rule number one.

Debra: Somewhere he is definitely looking down on us and laughing big time right now.

~ The End ~