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Smart Alec

Written by: John Vorhaus
Directed by: Tony Westman
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): Tamlyn Tomita (Suzanne Tomaki), Myles Ferguson (Alec Summers), Brian Cousins (Bob Carlin), Charles Siegel (Professor Hal Buckner), Lesley Ewen (Serena), Ron Robinson (Simms), Venus Terzo (Molly), Gabrielle Miller (Kate Freeman), Aaron Smolinski (Jaron Howell), Tom Heaton (Turlock).

Summary: A teenage genius and wannabe detective complicates Ellison's murder investigation. Ellison suspects foul play when a campus maintenance man dies from poisonous spider bites. (Source: Stefan's Sentinel Episode Guide)

This episode was originally broadcast on March 12, 1997.
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. Laboratory. A workman (Turlock) is walking around, shining a flashlight.~

Turlock: What the hell...? (finds a glass case of spiders) What the hell is this place?

Someone grabs him and holds him against a counter.

Turlock: Hey, what are you doing?! I'm just fixing the pipes! Look... I didn't see nothing, okay? I didn't see nothing!

Turlock is held over the glass case of spiders.

~Cut to Jim and Blair exiting the elevator outside of Major Crimes. Day. Blair is rhapsodizing about a picture he is showing to Jim.~

Blair: Look at her shapes; look at her curves. She's beautiful. She's perfect.

Jim: You see, that's where we differ, Chief. Those are adjectives that I had reserved for something more female, something more human.

They enter the bullpen.

Blair: Jim, we're talking a 12th century Mayan urn from the city of Chichen Itza.

Jim: Looks like a vase that my Aunt Jean had on her counter.

Blair: This is a very significant piece. See, the Mayan people were the first people of the new world to keep written historical records. This was made for a member of the royal retinue...otherwise known as the "the king's watcher."

Jim: The king's bodyguard.

Blair: It could be. Or it could be an ancient Mayan sentinel. I'm going to try to pull clues off the urn itself. The Yucatan Institute has been nice enough to lend it to me, for six weeks, and it's supposed to arrive today.

Jim: I'm sure you two will be very happy together.

Blair: Yeah.

Simon joins them.

Simon: Ellison! There's been an accident over at the university. And I want you handle it.

Blair: And you figure since I work on campus that Jim'll have the inside track.

Simon: No. His name was next on the roster. Look, the head of campus security will meet you at the scene. I'm sure Sandburg will be able to point out who he is with his inside track and all.

~Cut to university. Jim and Blair go past the police tape to join Serena next to the body of Turlock in the bushes.~

Jim: Pardon me. Thank you. Hey, Serena, how are you?

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

Jim: What happened to him?

Serena: Well, it looks like spider bites. The welts have puncture wounds in the center of them and the lymph nodes are swollen.

Blair: So what'd he do, stick his head into a nest?

The head of campus security, Suzanne Tamaki, joins them.

Suzanne: Mind keeping your voices down please. Nothing travels faster than rumors on a college campus.

Jim: Suzanne Tamaki.

Suzanne: How you been, Jim?

Jim: Fine, thanks. It's nice to see you. You're with the campus police now.

Suzanne: Chief of security.

Jim: This is Serena Baxter. She's with the medical examiner's office. Blair Sandburg. He's my associate.

Suzanne: Hargrove Hall, room 211.

Blair: Yeah. How'd you know where my office is?

Suzanne: I know where everybody's office is.

Jim: Suzanne and I met on a counterfeiting case three years ago. She was a detective with the Tacoma police department at the time.

Suzanne: That was another life. His name is Fred Turlock. Worked for buildings and grounds. He may have been drinking.

Blair: So what do you think, he passed out and fell in a spider's nest?

Serena: The question is, where's the nest? I haven't seen any sign of one.

Jim zooms in to see pieces of grass stuck to Turlock's shoes.

Jim: Maybe he wasn't bitten here. May I see your tweezers for a second?

Serena: You find something?

Jim: (pulls grass off Turlock's boots) This grass that's lodged in his boot might indicate that he was dragged from someplace...after he died. Would you check his wrists for me?

Serena: He's got abrasions on both of them.

Jim: That's how the body got here.

Suzanne: Let's not get carried away. This is one of the safest campuses in the northwest. And a maintenance man running into a spider's nest is a far cry from murder, Jim.

Jim: No doubt. But even if there isn't foul play here, it's possible that something dangerous is still running around on campus.

Suzanne: Looks to me like something a good exterminator could take care of it.

Jim: Yeah, let's hope so. Why don't you go ahead and call pest control and we'll continue with the investigation here.

Suzanne: You'll keep me informed?

Jim: Of course.

Suzanne: I'll check in later. Good to see you again.

Jim: Nice to see you, too.

Suzanne: Bye-bye. (leaves)

Blair: Tacoma P.D. to campus security -- what's the story there, man?

Jim: Sometimes a cop just can't take the stress.

Blair: Yeah.

~Cut to Museum of Anthropology on the university campus. Same day. Blair walks inside and heads toward an older man.~

Blair: Professor Buckner.

Buckner: Oh, Blair. Just a minute. (pause) Yeah.

Blair: I'm sorry to bother you. I know that you're busy, but central shipping said that they sent you my crate from the Yucatan by mistake.

Buckner: Um...

Blair: It contained a Mayan urn, 12th century, Chichen Itza?

Buckner: Sorry. No, I haven't seen it.

Blair: This is crazy. They were pretty certain.

Buckner: Well, I'll keep an eye out.

Blair: Okay. Thanks.

Buckner: Blair?

Blair: Yeah.

Buckner: While you're here, I want to ask you know who Alec Summers is?

Blair: Uh, he's that kid genius from Canada. Came here on a big scholarship. Physics major, right?

Buckner: And architecture and neuro-linguistics and...anthropology.

Blair: Come on. This kid must love to study.

Buckner: No, he hates to study. Nothing holds his interest. He misses classes. He doesn't turn in assignments. He's in danger of flunking out.

Blair: Are you kidding me? With his IQ?

Buckner: Well, he needs a faculty advisor.

Blair: I'd say. (pause) No, not me, Hal. Come on. No, don't do this to me.

Buckner: Just meet with him.

Blair: I'm sure he's a nice kid.

Buckner: He's a brat. He's headstrong, stubborn, utterly convinced he is the only soul on earth who has a clue. In short exactly like, uh...

Blair: Like me when I first got here and you were my faculty advisor? So, I guess what goes around comes around, huh?

Buckner: Oh, I'd prefer to think of it as repaying a debt.

Blair: Can't I just default on a loan or something? All right. I'll talk to him, Hal.

~Cut to Jim and Suzanne exiting a university building. Day.~

Jim: The toxicology tests were positive for atraxotoxin, which is a spider venom specifically from a species called the funnel web spider. A single bite could kill a man. Turlock had 30 on him.

Suzanne; Much as I hate to face it, sounds like you were right. We're probably looking at foul play here.

Jim: Yeah, but the kicker is, this particular species is found only within a 160-kilometer radius of Sydney, Australia.

Suzanne: Well, the dean of science told me that there are no insect or arachnid studies underway on campus. But now that we've identified the species, we'll start investigating the possibility that they were brought in secretly.

Jim: Maybe on some plant from Australia or something, accidentally.

Suzanne: By the way, here's Fred Turlock's work log you requested. (hands him some papers)

Jim: Thanks. "Monday, broken lock, science building. Replace circuit breaker, student union. Stuck air vent, theater arts building."

Suzanne: Pretty standard stuff.

Jim: "Tuesday, irrigation repairs, 'X' farm facility." What's the "X" farm facility?

Suzanne: It's an experimental farm. It's an off-campus research facility the university runs.

Jim: Where is it?

Suzanne: Couple of miles north of the city. They do agricultural research.

Jim: What about insects?

Suzanne: I don't know.

Jim: Well, thanks, Suzanne. (hands papers back to her) It's very thorough. You always were on top of your game.

Suzanne: Listen, I've got to get to a meeting at the dean's. Why don't you meet me here in an hour and we'll take a drive out there.

Jim: All right. See you.

~Cut to Blair's office. Day. Blair is kissing Molly. Neither notice Alec coming in on his roller blades.~

Blair: Mmm... God...why do I like kissing you so much?

Alec: Enzymes. You know, every time you swap spit chemicals in your mouth tell you of you're compatible. That's why it's so gross to kiss your sister. Your enzymes can't hang. Are you Sandburg?

Blair: Uh, yes, I am. Hi. You must be Alec Summers. Thanks for stopping by.

Alec: Right, whatever. (to Molly) Uh... hello there. Any time you'd like to explore our salivary compatibility...

Molly: Aren't you a little young?

Alec: Well, chronologically, maybe, but from a genetic point of view you're much better off pairing your zygotes with a genius like me than... you know.

Molly: Where did you learn to talk to girls? On the playground?

Alec: Well, actually...

Jim comes in.

Jim: Hi folks.

Blair: Jim. How you doing? You remember Molly.

Jim: Sure. (heads over to get himself a cup of coffee from the coffeemaker)

Blair: This is Alec Summers. Alec, this is Detective Jim Ellison.

Alec: I guess the keystone campus cops needed the big boys to help with that stiff they found in the quad.

Jim: What do you know about that?

Alec: I know I saw you there yesterday, working the scene. Rumor around campus is killer bees got him.

Jim: Well, that's an interesting hypothesis.

Alec: Yeah, if I had the brains of most of these schmoes, I might buy it. Killer bees are a media myth but poisonous spiders aren't. You know, I studied arachnids on a research grant when I was 12. If you fill me in, I'd help you solve the case.

Jim: Maybe another time, kid.

Alec: I'm not a kid, dog breath. I bet my IQ's bigger than yours and his put together.

Jim: No doubt. (looking amused)

Alec: If you don't want my help, it's your loss, Sherlock.

Blair: Hey, wait a minute, what about our meeting?

Alec: The meeting's adjourned. (skates out of the office and down the hall)

Jim and Blair share a chuckle and watch him leave.

~Cut to Jim and Suzanne entering the X Farm. Same day. Head of facility, Carlin, leads them around.~

Jim: Appreciate you showing us around, Mr. Carlin.

Carlin: Well, I'm always glad to show off my company's facility, but I'm not sure how I can help you with your investigation.

Suzanne: We've been going over the victim's movements. According to our records, Turlock was out here Tuesday evening?

Carlin: Right. To fix an irrigation pipe in the greenhouse which he took care of and left.

Jim: You said your company's facility. I thought this was owned by the university.

Carlin: It is, but Milpa Technologies foots the bill for the research. It's our way of investing in education.

Jim: What sort of business are you in?

Carlin: We do genetic engineering for agribusinesses -- crop hybrids, yield enhancers -- things like that.

Jim: What about insect research?

Carlin: Well, we do have a small entomology lab. It's in the greenhouse.

Jim: You mind if we have a look?

Carlin: Not if bugs don't bug you.

They go into the entomology lab.

Carlin: These are my graduate assistants. This is Jaron Howell and Kate Freeman. They're working on viruses designed to kill crop parasites. This is Detective Ellison and Chief Tamaki.

Suzanne: What are those?

Howell: Barley weevil larva.

Jim: Are they dangerous?

Howell: Lethal... if you're a crop of barley.

Freeman: That's why we only work with sterile insects. That way, if they escape, they can't reproduce.

Jim: Are any of the insects you work with here poisonous?

Carlin: Absolutely not.

Jim tunes into Freeman's heartbeat and hears it beating rapidly.

Suzanne: Well, I think we've taken enough of your time. Thanks again.

Carlin: Let me show you out.

Jim, Suzanne, and Carlin leave.

Freeman: What are we going to do now?

Howell: About what?

Freeman: Jaron, they know Turlock was here. They're on to us.

Howell: They're just asking questions. We certainly haven't done anything wrong.

Freeman: Jaron, a man is dead.

Howell: A man who was nosing around where he shouldn't and was accidentally bitten.

Freeman: Look, if it was an accident, why did Carlin move the body?

Howell: He was scared that negative publicity might cause the university to shut down our research program. What, you don't believe him?

Freeman: Look, Jaron, the only thing I know is...

Carlin comes back in. Another man carrying a glass case walks in behind him.

Carlin: What do you know, Miss Freeman?

Freeman: Uh... nothing, Mr. Carlin. I'm just not feeling very well today.

Carlin: Why don't you take the rest of the day off.

Freeman: All right. (starts to leave)

Carlin grabs Freeman and holds her hand in the glass case -- which has scorpions inside.

Freeman: No! Please...

Carlin: One bite and you'll be dead before you can dial the phone for an ambulance. If I were you, I'd be less concerned about Fred Turlock and more concerned about myself. Understand?

Carlin releases Freeman.

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

~Outside of university. Day. Blair and Alec walking down street toward Blair's car, the Corvair.~

Blair: ....the other day.

Alec: Not to mention that babe you were smoochin'.

Blair: Hey, you weren't exactly the perfect picture of social graces yourself, either.

Alec: Look, the only reason I agreed to see you because you said you'd give me a driving lesson.

Blair: The only reason I agreed to give you a driving lesson because Professor Buckner really wants this to work.

They arrive at Blair's car -- the top is down.

Blair: Now get in.

Alec: Huh, this is it?

Blair: Just get in.

Alec jumps over the door and into the driver's seat while Blair goes around the other side to get in normally.

Blair: Hey, hey, hey. Be careful. It's a classic. You have to be gentle.

Alec: How 'bout the key?

Blair: First, a few fundamentals.

Alec: Hey, save your breath. I wrote a computer driving simulation when I was ten.

Blair pulls a magnetic key holder from beneath the dash, opens it, and dumps the key into Alec's hand.

Blair: This is no simulator, my friend. You crash this thing, you do not get to press "reset."

Alec starts the car.

Blair: Okay...all right. Good. Be gentle, put it in first...put the clutch in... Let her out, slow.

Alec takes off, squealing the tires as he pulls out, then proceeds to jerk down the road.

Blair: Take it easy, take it easy. Hey, man, what are you doing?

They swerve around on the road, barely missing people who run out of the way.

Alec: I'm driving.

Blair: Get out -- Look out! Look out!

They go over curbs and sidewalks as Alec skids the car around corners.

Alec: Sorry.

Blair: Pull over right now.

Alec: Hold on. I'll pull it around.

Blair: Pull it over now!

Blair grabs the wheel, forcing them over.

Alec: Hold on, hold on.

They stop at the side of the road, one wheel on the sidewalk.

Alec: Now, see what you made me do?

Blair: Get out!

Alec: Your shocks are a little mushy.

Blair: Alec, get out of my car -- now. Now!

Alec: All right, fine. (gets out) Whatever. (leaves)

~Cut to Major Crimes. Night. Jim is at his desk, on the phone.~

Jim: Okay, Sandy. Thanks for trying. (hangs up)

Simon comes over.

Simon: Jim, it's been 36 hours since Turlock's body was found and we still don't know if we're dealing with some kind of natural infestation, a fugitive from an insect experiment, or murder.

Jim: According to the medical examiner, Turlock's body had bruises on the neck and back, which indicates that somebody was probably holding him down while the spiders bit him.

Simon: Great. All we need now is a suspect and motive and we're home free.

Jim: Tamaki is doing all she can to find out the sources for the spiders at the university. I'm checking the sources I can, sir. We'll come up with something soon. I promise.

Simon: There are over 20,000 kids in that institution -- the university president is all over me. He wants answers -- I can't even give him a spider. (walks off)

~Cut to university. Same night. Blair (pacing in front of the desk) is with Buckner in Buckner's office.

Blair: Hal, this is not going to work. I mean, this kid -- he's like fingernails on a chalkboard. He goes out of his way to make people mad.

Buckner: Well, he's in a tough spot, Blair. Intellectually, he is light years ahead of 99% of his college peers and emotionally, he's still in the ninth grade.

Blair: Why stick him with me?

Buckner: Because you were taking college courses when you were 16. If you think back to what it was like, I am sure you can relate.

Blair: Yeah, but this kid, Hal -- he's a social menace.

Buckner: Try meeting him on his own terms. Maybe he doesn't need a mentor. Maybe he just needs a friend.

Buckner's phone rings and he answers it.

Buckner: Buckner. Uh... Just a minute.

Blair: Uh... Right. Sorry. His own terms. Thanks, Hal. (leaves)

Buckner: It's about time you called. That shipment has been here for days. Well, you are not the only one who has to be careful. I want it out of here. Look, this is the last time. After tonight, I want you to leave me the hell alone. (hangs up)

~Cut to Carlin who hangs up the phone, the redials someone else.~

Carlin: I want you get that vase. And while you're at it, I want you to have a little talk with Professor Buckner.

~Cut to Major Crimes bullpen. Next day. Jim catches Rafe to talk to him. Suzanne can be seen just beyond them, coming toward them.~

Jim: Rafe, could you track down a report for me from Sandy Kahn over at Cascade Tech? He's the local bug expert over there. I got a feeling he's going to be the one that's...

Suzanne: Excuse me.

Rafe leaves.

Suzanne: Bob Carlin just called me about our little visit yesterday.

Jim: What about it?

Suzanne: Milpa Technologies spends over a million dollars a year on research at our campus with another half million in endowments. If Carlin withdraws his support, there are people who will lose their jobs and students who won't be ab to afford to attend.

Jim: So that should stop me from pursuing a legitimate lead?

Suzanne: No, of course not. It's just that politically, it's a sensitive situation. You need to be aware of that.

Jim: Oh, I see. I'm aware of that. It's just that I got a feeling something's going on at that "X" farm and I intend to investigate it.

Suzanne: Then let me work with you on this. All right?

Jim: All right. I guess I could use your help, Suzanne. It's your turf.

~Cut to university, Blair's office. Same day. Alec is typing on Blair's computer when Blair comes in.~

Blair: Hey, what are you doing?

Alec: Um, I just came to hang out.

Blair: No, what are you doing to my computer?

Alec: Just making some corrections to your notes on the semantic value of the Mayan emblem glyphs.

Blair: I'm sorry. You're doing what?

Alec: Oh, um, by the way this Mayan urn is fake. (referring to urn picture) I'd say Mexican counterfeiters from the 1930s.

Blair: Look, Alec, why don't you take some of your smart-ass energy and apply it to what you came to college to do.

Alec: Uh, I forgot, I'm supposed to be a good little boy and do all my assignments -- collect my little degrees, when the fact is I already know more than you could learn in three lifetimes.

Blair: Academically, probably yes. But listen, man, you have got a lot to learn about life.

Alec: I don't need this crap. I'm going to tell Buckner I want a different advisor.

Blair: That's great. Saves me a phone call. Good-bye. (sits down at his desk)

Alec goes out the door, pausing a moment.

Blair: Good-bye.

Alec closes the door

Blair: (picking up the picture and looking at his computer screen) How did I miss that?

~Cut to university. Night. Alec skates down the hallway to Buckner's office. He starts to put an envelope under the door, then realizes the door is open and goes inside.

Alec: Professor Buckner?

He finds Blair's urn and lifts it from the crate.

Alec: What a bunch of chumps.

~Cut to a shot of the man from earlier with the glass case of scorpions coming down hallway.~

~Cut back to Buckner's office. Alec hears the footsteps and starts putting the vase back. He drops it, shattering it on the ground. A silver cylinder is among the shards. He picks it up and stuffs it in a pocket. The man comes in the office.~

Man: Hey?

Alec: Uh, what a mess. Somebody really should clean that up.

Man: What are you doing here? (advances toward Alec)

Alec: Um... I, um.... (runs past man and gets out of office)

Man: Come here, kid.

Man chases Alec down the hallway. Alec leaves the building and heads down the stairs, the man chasing him all the way. Alec, on his skates, almost outruns the man as the chase goes down the street. He goes down another of steps, falling once, then keeps going. He ends up at Blair's car. The man stops at the top of the steps, looking for him. Alec gets in Blair's car, finds the key, starts up the car, and takes off. The man sees him and takes off again.

~Cut to Jim and Blair in the Expedition driving down a road. Same night.~

Jim: Come on, Chief. What are you stewing over, huh? Spit it out.

Blair: Is it that obvious? This kid -- Alec Summers, man. He breaks into my computer, and he fixes a mistake... well, that I made -- and then he tells me my Mayan urn is a fake.

Jim: (laughing) How would he know that?

Blair: Jim, this isn't funny.

Jim: Come on, he's just trying to get your goat.

Blair: He got a bunch of them.

Dispatcher: All units in the vicinity of University and West. Reckless driver reported heading west on University Drive, possibly underage. Subject's vehicle is a gray '62 Corvair, plate number 743 SFU.

Blair: Jim, that's my car.

Jim: Yeah.

~Cut to Alec driving down roads. The man chasing him pulls out in a Jeep Cherokee and starts to chase him, trying to force him off the road.

Alec: Force equals mass times acceleration, so...

Alec takes a hard right, turning quickly down anther road. The other vehicle goes past the turn and spins out a bit before the man gets it under control and starts after him again, hitting the Corvair, still trying to force him off the road. They come to the end of the road where a construction site is blocked off. Alec can't stop and therefore goes up and over onto the concrete highway dividers. The man stops and starts to get out of his car. He hears sirens, gets back in, and takes off. Camera pans up to show Alec unconscious behind the wheel.

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

~Same continuing scene a bit later. Jim and Blair arrive. Alec is standing next to the wrecked Corvair, wrapped in a blanket. Other police vehicles are there. Blair jumps out of the Expedition and heads toward Alec. Jim follows him.~

Jim: All right, Chief, take it easy now. Come on. Settle down.

Blair: What did you do to my car?!

Alec: Why don't you go after that maniac?

Jim: What maniac?

Alec: The guy who was chasing me.

Jim: What guy?

Blair is pacing a bit.

Alec: He was, I swear. I was in Buckner's office. I found your phony Mayan urn. There was this cylinder in it. Here. (searches for cylinder, can't find) Well, I had , I swear. It must have fallen out in the chase.

Blair: Yeah, right.

Alec: The urn was there. Ask Buckner.

Blair: Oh, I'm gonna ask Buckner. You can count on that, but until then...

Jim: Settle down, okay?

Blair: Ellison is putting you under arrest for auto theft. (walks off)

~Cut to university. Next day. Jim and Blair walking down hallway toward Buckner's office.~

Jim: Oh, now, come on, come on, look, Chief. You are ignoring the facts. A witness reports seeing a second car.

Blair: Jim, witnesses get things wrong.

Jim: Why are you letting this kid get under your skin like this?

Blair: Because he stole my car. Why didn't you arrest him?

Jim: That's not what this is about.

Blair: Jim, that's exactly what this is about.

They arrive at Buckner's office -- the door is open. Blair gets Jim's attention.

Jim: What?

They go inside the office.

Blair: Professor Buckner? Professor Buckner? Hello?

Jim: Does he usually leave his door wide open?

Blair: No. No, he doesn't. That's weird. See, look, there's no urn, no nothing. I told you Alec made the whole thing up.

Jim sees something on the floor -- a shard of the urn -- and picks it up.

Jim: What is this? (gives shard to Blair)

Blair: It's a piece of my Mayan urn. How'd it get broken?

Jim: So the kid was telling the truth.

Blair: But I just asked Buckner about this yesterday. Why would he lie to me?

Jim's cellphone rings and he answers it.

Jim: Ellison. Yeah, Simon. When? All right, we're on our way. (hangs up) We got a problem with the professor.

~Cut to just outside of university, at the second set of steps where Alec fell. Same day. Alec is looking through the bushes. He finds the cylinder, then opens it. There's a bunch of larvae in it.~

Alec: Oh, yuck!

~Cut to a parking garage. Same day. Scene of Buckner in his car, quite dead. Camera pans over as Jim and Blair arrive in the Expedition. Suzanne is there. Jim shows his badge to another officer before he and Blair join her.~

Jim: Cascade P.D.

Suzanne: It has the earmarks of a suicide -- hose running in from the tailpipe, window closed, engine running. There was no sign of a struggle and there was a note on the passenger seat. Apparently, he was the victim of a major depression.

Blair: No, no, I don't believe that. Hal was six months away from retirement. He even put down a down payment on a house in the mountains. (walks away)

Jim: I'd have to agree with him. I don't think it was suicide. Notice the way he's sitting. Carbon monoxide would have made him more relaxed, put him to sleep. His body wouldn't be so contorted.

Suzanne: Possibly.

Jim: His jaw's clenched. His fists are knotted up. What do we have here? (zooms in to see a puncture wound) It's a mark at the hairline.

Suzanne: I don't see anything.

Jim: Uh, it's needle mark. I'd bet an autopsy would reveal this guy's been injected with some sort of paralyzing agent.

Suzanne: I thought when I took this job I'd get away from crimes like this. You think this could be tied in to what happened to Turlock?

Jim: All I know is that you've got two deaths in four days on your peaceful campus here. (joins Blair) Let's go, Chief.

~Cut to Simon's office. Simon is on the phone. Jim and Blair in office as well.~

Simon: Uh-huh. Yes, I got it. Thanks. (hangs up) The medical examiner says the guy was killed with a paralytic poison called "mercy quick." Evidently veterinarians use it to put down sick animals.

Blair: I told you it wasn't suicide.

Jim: I still think they're covering up something at that experimental farm. They do research on insects there. Turlock also did maintenance work out there at one time.

Simon: Jim, but none of the insects are poisonous on the farm.

Jim: Well, that's what they tell you.

Blair: You know, if Buckner was killed because of this Mayan urn, I bet they're after Alec and whatever this cylinder is.

Simon: Who's Alec?

Blair: It's this teenage brat genius at the college I'm advising.

Jim: Why don't you see if you can track him down?

Blair: Right. (leaves)

Simon: Jim, help me out a minute here. So far, we have two murders, poisonous spiders, a Mayan urn, a mysterious cylinder, and a teenage genius. I mean, this whole thing is really beginning to bug me.

Jim: You didn't just say that, sir, did you?

~Cut to Alec entering Blair's office. He looks up a phone number, then calls it on Blair's office phone.~

Alec: Shipping and receiving? Yeah, hi. Listen, uh, I'm a work study student from the anthropology department. Yeah, the other day, there was a crate from Yucatan that was supposed to be delivered to Blair Sandburg in 211. But instead, it was delivered to Professor Buckner in 314. Oh, really? He asked you to. Oh, no, no, no. Everything's fine. No, I'm just supposed to send a thank-you note to the sender, only, stupid me, I forgot their address.

~Cut to Carlin and the other man at the X farm.~

Carlin: How hard can it be to find a 14-year-old boy at a university?!

Man: I've been looking! He's not in his dorm room and he hasn't been to class today.

Carlin: I don't want to hear any excuses! I want you to go out there, get him, bring him back.

Phone rings and Carlin answers it.

Carlin: What? Yeah. Yeah, this is Bob Carlin. How did you get this number? All right, I'll meet you. Yeah, I know where that is. 4:00. (hangs up) Well, looks like we're not going to have to go out and find that boy. He just found us.

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

~University. Day. Alec (on skates) is waiting by a tall flagpole. Carlin arrives.~

Carlin: So, I'm curious...Alec is it? How did you track me down?

Alec: Once I found out that the urn came from the Yucatan Science Institute, I hacked on to their server and downloaded the shipping records, phone lists, and e-mail.

Carlin: What did you discover?

Alec: That you and Buckner have been using the university's artifact shipments from Mexico to smuggle exotic insects. The question is, why.

Carlin: Oh, that's my business. Where's the cylinder?

Alec: It's in a safe place.

Carlin: How much do you want?

Alec: How much are you willing to pay?

Carlin: You know, this is a little too public for this kind of negotiation. Why don't we go someplace more private?

Alec: I like public. It makes me feel safe.

Carlin: Well, it looks like you got it all figured out.

The other man walks up behind Alec.

Alec: Looks like. (turns to see other man) Look, you guys try anything rough people will see.

Carlin: You're right, but you know what? We don't care.

They grab Alec and other man injects Alec with a needle.

~Cut to Blair walking along an iron fence overlooking the rose garden. Molly walks over to him.~

Molly: Blair!

Blair: Hey, Moll.

Molly: Hi there, stranger. I haven't seen you for a couple days.

Blair: Yeah, look, sorry about that. I'm sorry I haven't called. A lot of things going on.

Molly: How are you and Boy Wonder doing?

Blair: The Boy Wonder, right. That's actually who I'm looking for right now. I've got to find him.

Molly: Do you need help?

Blair sees Carlin and the other man carrying Alec towards their car.

Blair: Yes. I think that's him right there. (takes off)

~Cut to Carlin and other man putting Alec into the Jeep Cherokee. Blair runs up to them.~

Carlin: (to bystanders) He's all right. Right here in the car. He'll be okay.

Blair: Whoa! What's the matter?

Carlin: He passed out in front of the student union. We're taking him to the clinic.

Alec: (weakly) Sandburg, help me.

Blair: Are you okay?

Carlin pulls a gun and sticks it in Blair's side.

Carlin: Why don't you come with us?

~Cut back to Molly who is watching from a distance as Blair gets in car and leaves.

Molly: Blair? Blair, where are you going?

~Cut to X farm. Alec (in stocking feet now) and Blair tied up in chairs. Carlin and other man stand in front of them, questioning them.~

Carlin: Where's the cylinder?

Alec: Like I'm going to tell you.

Man: Listen, punk...

Alec: Blow it out your ear, you steroid-induced mutant.

Blair: Hey, Alec. Let's not provoke these guys, all right.

Alec: Relax. They're not gonna hurt us. And if they do, they'll never see their precious cylinder.

Carlin and other man haul Alec over to a glass case of spiders, pull off the lid, and force Alec toward it.

Alec: Hey, what do you think you're...

Carlin: Don't count on it.

Alec: Come on, man. This isn't funny. I've got a thing about spiders.

Blair: You're arachnophobic?

Alec: Well...

Carlin: You know, I'm sure you're smart enough to know how deadly these guys are. (forces Alec's head down on the counter top)

Other man gets a spider out of the case and puts it on the counter, letting it crawl toward Alec's face.

Carlin: I'm going to start counting. I get to five and you're gonna find out that your fears are totally justified. One...

Alec: Please.

Blair: Come on, let him go.

Carlin: I'll deal with you later. Two...

Alec: Please.

Carlin: Three... Four...

Alec: All right, all right!

Carlin hauls Alec upwards.

Alec: I hid it in Blair's office. Hargrove Hall, 211. It's taped to the underside of his desk.

Carlin: (to other man) Go get it. You better be telling me the truth.

~Cut to Major Crimes. Night. Jim is at his desk. Suzanne comes in.~

Suzanne: Hey, Jim.

Jim: Hey, Suzanne, what's going on?

Suzanne: I took a drive to the "X" farm like you asked. No sign of Carlin. In fact, the whole place looked pretty deserted.

Jim's phone rings and he answers it.

Jim: Excuse me. (into phone) Ellison. Yeah, Molly. No, I haven't seen him. Why? Do you know what they looked like? What kind of car were they driving? Uh, all right. Just sit tight. Don't worry. We're going to find him. Thanks. (hangs up) That was Sandburg's girlfriend. Said she and Sandburg saw a couple guys putting Alec into a car and Sandburg went to find out what was going on and got in the car with them and they took off.

Suzanne: What kind of car?

Jim: Jeep Cherokee, green. Do you know anybody at the university that drives one of those?

Suzanne: Bob Carlin.

Jim: Let's go.

~Cut to X farm. Same place. Man comes back with the cylinder and gives it to Carlin.~

Man: Right where he said it was.

Carlin: Call Jaron and Kate...tell them to go back to work. We got the breeders.

Alec: I still don't get it. You got a lab full of insects here. Why smuggle more in? Unless...all the insects here are sterile and the ones in the cylinder...

Blair: Alec, why don't we just drop this, okay?

Alec: You're developing some kind of superbreed, aren't you? An insect that kills crops and that nobody can stop? What's the value?

Blair: Alec!

Alec: I've got it. You've also developed a virus to kill it. So you unleash the bug, then sell the virus. The farmers will have to pay whatever you want because you're the only ones with the solution.

Carlin: Smart kid.

Alec: I try.

Carlin: Think about this, genius. If I had any doubts about killing you before, they're gone now.

~Cut to Jim and Suzanne in the Expedition driving toward the X farm. Same night.~

Suzanne: We don't have a warrant. We don't have probable cause.

Jim: Do you want to turn around and call it a night?

Suzanne: No.

Jim: Here. (pulls out a gun to hand to her) Take my backup.

Suzanne: That's not my style any more, Jim.

Jim: If they've got hostages, it might be your only choice. I know Captain Hollander in Tacoma. He told me what happened. Domestic dispute. How he threatened to kill her if you didn't put down your gun. I know about it.

Suzanne: I thought if I did what he said...he'd let her go. Instead, he picked up my gun and he shot her. And then he shot himself.

Jim: They wanted you to stay on the force.

Suzanne: I couldn't afford to make that kind of mistake again. Then this job comes a university campus...I think, what could possibly happen? Then Turlock show up...and Buckner. And all of a sudden, my safe little college world starts to fall apart.

Jim: The only way to deal with your past is to face it. Come on.

Suzanne takes the gun.

~Cut to a bit later as Jim and Suzanne arrive at the X farm. They get out of the truck.~

Jim: There's his jeep. Why don't you check the perimeter?

They split up and walk around. Jim walks up to one of the buildings and starts to listen. He hears Blair talking inside.

~Cut to inside with Carlin, Blair, and Alec.~

Blair: You've already killed two people and the police are suspicious. If you kill us, you're finished.

Carlin: Wrong. If I don't kill you, I'm finished. The way I see it, there's not a whole lot of difference between two murders and four.

~Cut to back outside with Jim. Man comes up behind Jim and puts a gun to his neck.~

Man: Freeze! Put it down.

Jim lowers his gun.

Suzanne shows up in front of them with the gun and a flashlight. She points her gun.

Suzanne: You put it down! Now!

Man: (cocks gun) I don't think so. Drop it, or he dies.

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

~Same continuing scene.~

Man: I said drop the gun!

Suzanne starts to lower her gun, then brings it back up in a rush and fires, taking out the man.

Jim: Nice shot.

~Cut to inside where the gunshot is heard.~

Blair: That's got to be the police. The best thing that you can do right now is just put your gun down and give yourself up.

Carlin: The best thing I can do right now is get the hell out of here. Here. Keep an eye on my friends, will you?

Carlin opens the case of spiders and puts it on the ground, then leaves.

Alec: You got to get me out of this.

Spiders start to crawl out of the case and creep toward Blair and Alec.

Blair: Ah, geez.

Alec: Those are funnel web spiders. They're...bad news.

Blair: All right now, just calm down. You got to relax. Don't look at them. Just breathe, all right! You don't bother them and they won't bother us.

Alec: Oh, yeah?

Blair: Ah...

~Cut to Carlin exiting entrance to basement area where he left to Blair and Alec.~

~Cut to outside with Jim and Suzanne.~

Suzanne: Should I call for an ambulance?

Jim: Nah, don't bother.

Suzanne: I just wanted to stop him.

Jim: You did what any good cop would have done. You all right?

Suzanne: Yeah.

Jim: All right, use the radio my truck and call for backup. I'm going to go inside. Sandburg and the kid are in there somewhere.

~Cut to Carlin creeping around in the above lab.

~Cut to Blair and Alec. Spiders are approaching. One creeps just in front of Alec's foot.~

Alec: Blair.

Blair: Oh... All right, just... Just don't freak out, man.

Spider creeps across Alec's foot and starts to climb.

Alec: Don't let him get me. Don't let him get me, no.

Blair: How the hell did you do that arachnid study with this phobia?

Alec: My shrink said it would help, but it didn't.

Blair: Right. Try not to move. Try not to move. Keep breathing. Don't look!

~Cut to Jim entering the lab. He and Carlin exchange some gunfire. Carlin disappears behind a set of doors. Jim goes closer. Carlin comes out with an axe. Jim dodges aside, then attacks, holding Carlin on a counter. Suzanne is behind Jim.~

Jim: Where are they?!

Carlin: Find 'em yourself.

Jim cuffs Carlin, then hands turns to Suzanne.

Jim: All right, keep him covered. If he tries anything, blow his kneecaps off.

~Cut to Jim walking around lab, looking and listening for Blair. He hears them.~

Blair: They're not that close to your face. They're on your jacket, but just calm down.

Alec: They're too close for comfort.

Blair: Just calm down. They won't hurt you.

Jim sees plants rustling over a small crack in the hidden entrance to below and goes over to it.

~Cut to Blair and Alec. Spiders now crawling on them.~

Alec: Oh, my god. Oh, my god. Oh, my...

Blair: Alec, just calm down. Stay perfectly still and they won't bite you. (looks behind and above them to see a shower head)

Alec: Blair, I think I'm going to be sick.

Blair: That wouldn't be good. Now I got an idea. All right? Now stay calm!

~Cut to Jim opening the entrance and going down.~

~Cut back to Blair and Alec.~

Blair: All right. Just straight back. Just like I told you.

Alec: Tell me when to go.

Blair: There's one on your foot. Don't move your feet yet. Get off his foot! (to the spiders on his chest) Hi. Hi.

Alec: Now?!

Blair: No. No. No, no, no!

~Cut to Jim jumping down ladder to start looking for Blair and Alec. He sees them inside the room -- with all the spiders.~

~Cut to Blair and Alec.~

Alec: Go?

Blair: Uh, not quite. Almost. All right, now!

Alec: I can't move.

Blair: Go now, damn it!

Alec leans back and turns on the shower. At the same time, Jim busts through the window with a fire extinguisher. The water starts to wash off the spiders.

Blair: There they go. It's working! It's working! You did it, man! Whew!

Alec: I'm drowning here.

Jim comes in and turns off the water.

Jim: Anyone hurt down here?

Blair: No, we're all right. We're all right. We're okay.

Alec: Yeah, just get me out of here, Officer...Detective.

Jim unties Blair, then Alec.

Jim: It was a good game, boys. Why don't you hit the showers? (leaves)

Blair: That's funny, Jim, real funny.

Blair: Nice job.

Alec: Right.

~Cut to university. Day. Sidewalk. Blair and Alec. Camera slowly pans down from above to show Alec attempting to teach a rather wobbly Blair how to roller blade..~

Alec: All right, just relax, man. Can't believe you've never done this before.

Blair: Call it a gap in my education.

Alec: You'll do fine. What's the worst that could happen?

Blair: I could break my neck. Something like that.

Molly comes up behind them.

Blair: Hey, how you doing? (he and Molly hug and kiss)

Alec: Excuse me. There are minors present.

Blair: Right. Right. Of course.

Alec: Oh, by the way I didn't tell you, but...well, after this term, I'm going home.

Blair: What are you doing that for?

Alec: Well, you know, I did the math and I figured you get to be a kid exactly once and you better not squander your shot. But I won't forget you, man. I mean, astoundingly enough, I...I learned a lot from you.

Blair: You know, I think that was almost a compliment. (tries to high-five Alec and loses his balance) Whoa!

Alec: Whatever, man.

Blair: All right. All right. I got it. I got it. Okay, watch this. Here we go. Watch this.

In the background, Jim and Suzanne pull up in the Expedition.

Alec: Now the hands are not supposed to touch the ground.

Jim (on the phone) and Suzanne get out of truck and walk up the sidewalk.

Jim: Well, good. That's great news. Thanks, Simon. (hangs up) Two grad students who work for Carlin, Freeman and Howell, have all agreed to turn state's evidence. A field agent for the EPA said that mess at the farm is under control.

Suzanne: Great. Well, Jim, thanks for the lift. I need to get back to work.

Jim: Sure I can't persuade you to jump ship and come to work for the Cascade police department?

Suzanne: No. Thanks, anyhow. This place needs cops, too.

Jim: Yeah, well, they got one of the best. Even if she still refuses to carry a gun.

Suzanne: I'll see you. Take care.

Jim: You, too.

Suzanne: (to Blair and others) Hey, you guys take care now, okay?

Blair: Bye-bye.

Suzanne: See ya. (walks away)

Jim: All right, what do you say we grab some lunch, huh?

Alec: Great idea. I'll drive.

Jim: Over my dead body.

Blair: The way he drives, it will be.

~ The End ~