Night on the Town

This is an extract from a screenplay I wrote as a possible pilot episode about a down on her luck former spy turned private eye. I outlined two potential pilots with the idea that either could be shown first. The general premise was created by myself and Neil Howard and indeed my partially completed script for this episode denotes that it includes material by Neil Howard. What he contributed at that stage I cannot recall and it is possible that at that stage he hadn’t and my intent was for him to make any edits and changes he felt necessary once I submitted the full script.

So without much more  ado here is one of the early scenes in which we meet the Detective for the first time in the episode.

 

INSERT TITLE SEQUENCE
Series of establishing shots of Cooper’s office as the episode title and billings appear.
Street (day)
(We see Sidney pull up in his car and get out. He checks a card for the correct address and matches it with Cooper’s office. The office exterior should look very humdrum and just the very basics. Sidney cross over and pushes the door open.
Cooper’s office
The office itself is much like the exterior very basic in design and not very well organised. There is a desk, phone, computer and some various shelves with phone books, directories and other research aides. There are several cups dotted around the place. An opened bag of sugar, a kettle which has just finished boiling and various teabags are on a side desk. Cooper is sitting on her desk with a cup of tea and dipping biscuits in. She hears the bell goes and loses her concentration for a moment and the soggy biscuit collapses on her chin, she is about to mutter something rude when she realises Sidney is there.
Sidney
Cooper investigations?
Cooper
That’s me, I’m Cooper.
Sidney
Miss?
Cooper
No need to get personal, just Cooper.
Sidney
Hello my name’s John Sidney, I understand you’re a detective.
Cooper
I am at the moment.
Sidney
Look I’m in a spot of bother of sorts.
Cooper
Naturally, else you wouldn’t be consulting a detective now would you?
Sidney
No I suppose not.
Cooper
So what is the case, let me guess… adulterous wife?
Sidney
No!
Cooper
Oh I’m surprised, especially with your face.
Sidney
Well I was told you could be brash and curt-
Cooper
Oh a client recommended you. Which one?
Sidney
J Williams.
Cooper
Oh Williams. Short fat hairy man with ugly big glasses?
Sidney
A rather colourful description, but yes.
Cooper
He thought my attitude was suspect and that I was a drunk. He’s probably right on both counts, but I get results. So what’s your probably then uncle?
Sidney
Uncle??? Well basically it’s about of my students. I’m lecturing in Physics at the city University and one of my students has stolen something from my lab.
Cooper
That’s a police job mate, so it must be something you don’t want to get into the public domain.
Sidney
Well it’s a delicate situation, while it is theft I don’t feel it is right to go the police just yet.
Cooper
You’re hiding something then.
Sidney
Look Cooper, if I can get this sorted now it need not go that far.
Cooper
Look, it may well be that you don’t want it to go the police if can be helped but let us get this straight. She’s taken an item without permission, evidently important else you wouldn’t be here now, so she’s a thief.
Sidney
That’s a bit unfair, she was in a state of distress…
Cooper
Look Sidney, you can dress it up as much as you like. Put a name on it but what’s in a name? Dog shit by any other name smells just as foul and it still sticks to the bottom of your shoe. You’ve trodden in something nasty and want me to clean it up right?
Sidney
Inelegant description but I guess so.
Cooper
We, detectives, we’re the ones people come to when they want something cleaning they don’t want other people to see. So I’m guessing that this may cause an embarrassment to yourself as well as the girl. So sit down and tell me about it.
(Sidney sits down)
Cooper
Tea?
Sidney
Yes please,
Cooper
Milk?
Sidney
Please,
Cooper
One lump or two?
Sidney
One,
Cooper
Sugar?
Sidney
Eh?
Cooper
Just checking your listening.
(pours the tea for Sidney and hands it over).
Cooper
Well what’s your problem then uncle?
Sidney
Don’t call me uncle. There’s a promising student in my third year class called Katy Wilcox. She’s twenty years old and she’s been working on a prototype nuclear reactor which cuts down on waste emissions. It totally eliminates alpha and beta particles and reduces gamma radiation by 30% before it goes through a lead lining.
Cooper
I’m guessing that’s good, my knowledge of physics is not great.
Sidney
Well she finished the prototype and demonstrated it to mean yesterday. But over the past few weeks she’s seemed distracted and this morning she broke down in my tutorial.
Cooper
Any reason why?
Sidney
She mentioned something about going against her church…
Cooper
Church?
Sidney
Yes, she’s something of a strong Christian. Does soup kitchens, church three days a week…
Cooper
I get it. So what is it about this work which has made her doubt herself?
Sidney
I don’t know, maybe it’s the old thing of religion versus science.
Cooper
Or nothing to do with it at all. Perhaps it’s something outside of University which has reached a peak.
Sidney
It may well be, I know she had been spending a lot of time with one of the students who works at the coffee shop across the road. But it’s vital we get that device back.
Cooper
How do you know she took it?
Sidney
I left for a few minutes, when I returned Katy and the device had gone. I called her on her phone but she hung up and then turned it off.
Cooper
What makes it vital to get it back?
Sidney
I was going to run a test with it, so I put an isotope in it. In its present condition it may well go unstable and it is highly radioactive.
Cooper
So, to sum up, you want me to find this girl and her device.
Sidney
It’ll kill her and many others if it’s not found.
Cooper
Ah, so that’s why you don’t want to go to the police just yet.
Sidney
For my shame yes, it’s very dangerous. I’ve got twenty-four hours before the university calls the police, I don’t want a scandal. More importantly I don’t want Katy hurt.
Cooper
So I guess this prototype is worth a lot.
Sidney
Will be if it works in practice.
Cooper
So I’m guessing she’s planning to sell it, but why?
Sidney
I don’t know. Will you help?
Cooper
Why me? There are plenty of other private detectives out there.
Sidney
You’re the only female one in this area. I thought it may be better for Katy to talk to a woman.
Cooper
Fair enough. Okay, this’ll be £150 plus expenses.
Sidney
One hundred- Oh ok.
Cooper
A girl’s got to make a living Sidney. First of all I need to know the name of this student she was hanging out with. Also I need a picture of the girl, recent as possible, also general background. Where she lives, the address of this church and soup kitchen of hers, details of her friends, place of employment, that sort of thing.
Sidney
Well this has her address and her Uni-ID photo on it, also her next of kin details.
(He hands Cooper a piece of paper as he talks, Cooper takes the paper and reads it briefly)
Cooper
(mutters to herself) Number 17b, Barnaby Street, hmm that’s about ten minutes from here. (outloud to Sidney) This coffee shop, where is it?
Sidney
It’s just down from the Uni, it’s an independent one but evidently the owner doesn’t have much imagination, it’s called “Bob’s Coffee Shop”.
Cooper
Oh that’s original.
Sidney
Quite, the lad’s name is Ted I think. Possibly Ed.
Cooper
It amounts more or less to the same thing. Anyway I better get cracking, twenty four hours isn’t a long time.
Sidney
Indeed not.

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