The Golden Poppy

While clearing out some old files I came across the first draft for an outline for a episode of a show called The Fallen which was about a former secret agent, down on her luck and trying to make ends meet as a PI.

Here is the unedited outline tell me what you think

The Golden Poppy


We open in the dress section of a large department store such as Beaties or Rackham’s, it is an average day in the shop so there are a fair few customers but not enough for it to be heaving. We home in on a young store assistant helping a woman with some style tips. The assistant’s name is Erin, she’s quite short and has chosen to have a more formal look with her uniform allowance so is dressed in a long-sleeved blouse and trousers, once her business is concluded she takes payment for the purchases and when the customer has left engages in some playful banter with Clair, another shop assistant who has taken on a more glamorous approach with her uniform allowance. Noting it’s time for her to finish Erin gets Clair to put aside some clothes for her to collected later on, Clair duly does this and stores them ready for Erin to collect later and they’ll go for a coffee afterwards. The idea being that Erin will come just before Clair finishes, collect the clothes then go off for coffee. A till alarm goes off somewhere and Clair gets one of the assistant who has just come on to take over her position. Clair crosses to the men’s wear department where the till has crashed or some such. Clair solves the problem and notes two business-suited gents in long coats idly browsing round the clothes, we should immediately identify that Clair recognises them. Clair goes over to the gents and is trying not to be apprehensive; she offers to give them a hand in finding some lightweight shirts and trousers for a summer holiday in the Caribbean. She suggests a few items and one them produces a voucher and asks what it can be redeemed against, a little hesitantly she confirms that the items she selected are viable. One of the gents goes off to the changing room to try on his clothes and the other stays behind, joking that he feels like a child minder. Clair waits for a moment and the man returns and confirms he’ll buy these items. Clair tells him that since he’s presenting the voucher and making a purchase he is welcome to come into the VIP suite for complementary coffee and biscuits, while the items are bagged.

Up in the VIP lounge, Clair seats the two gents and she goes off to make the coffee. As she leaves, Jim the store manager enters, he is about forty-five and looks a bit seedy with hair greased back and a laugh and smile which channels Rigsby. He asks about how business is proceeding and one of the gents’ replies, ‘I’m expecting developments very soon’. Jim smiles; informing them their special offer is certainly helping business for them and asks to see the voucher. The gent presents it and Jim nods and sees that it is a friend-introduction voucher. The second gent smiles and asks what it means; Jim replies it gives you a sample taste of our service, not the full one. He smiles sinisterly as Clair enters with the coffee. She is now dressed in a dressing gown, she places down the coffee and begins to talk as if it she’s giving a sales pitch, as she does so she slowly unties her dressing gown and teasingly reveals that she is now wearing lingerie. She straddles the second gent and whispers suggestively ‘full members received a far more interactive service.’

  1. Titles

Erin returns to the shop and picks up her clothes off Clair, who is now back in her uniform. Clair tells Erin she’ll meet her in Nero’s in ten minutes and goes into the staff office to get her coat and handbag. Jim passes by and congratulates her on her ‘sales technique’, Clair smiles and thanks him and once he’s left she shudders and rather vigorously washes her hands.

Clair meets Erin in Café Nero, where Erin has already bought her a large coffee and a Danish. Erin asks how the shift was and Clair is a bit vague about some details, just that she had to redeem an introduction voucher. Erin is curious as to why she has to pass those onto Clair or other members of staff. Clair puts it down to being a full time worker and being a supervisor, which satisfies Erin’s curiosity. They finish their coffees and head off to Clair’s home; Erin’s forgotten her key and her landlord won’t be back for another hour, once at Clair’s they put the kettle one and dig out the biscuit tin. Some idle gossip and Clair goes to change into civvies and suggests that Erin should try one her new clothes, as it’d be a change to see her out of uniform. Both girls change and as they do so we note a couple of things, Clair is now wearing more sensible underwear and Clair is semi-watching Erin as she changes. Not obviously, so perhaps as a reflection in the mirror or from behind if Erin is facing the other way. Clair complements Erin on her more relaxed clothes which are much more feminine, to which Erin finds amusing. Erin notes the time and leaves for home, once she’s gone Clair picks up the phone and dials a particular number, saying ‘I may have found a girl who may be able to fill a vacancy’.

Erin returns home and is giving a mouthful by her landlord about leaving her key behind and she laughs it off and prepares for an evening out, she receives a phone call from Jim asking her if she minds coming in for a talk about promotion. Erin tells him she’s busy tonight but is free tomorrow. She arranges an interview in the morning.

It’s the morning of the interview and Erin arrives at the business entrance where Jim meets her giving some ideal gossip about how the morning’s been, this is being watched by a man in a car, he is a little indistinct but we will later discover this is Hopkirk, once Erin and Jim have gone in. He returns to reading a newspaper.

In the office Jim makes Erin comfortable and begins his talk as if recruiting for a regular job. Erin twigs something is going to be a bit different and figures that there is more to the VIP service than usual, he explains she’ll be recruiting patrons and that this will be outside the usual methods. He outlines the scheme to her and indicates pay bonuses etc, reluctantly she agrees and is then asked to take part in a role-play. Clair enters and explains she’s going to be playing the part of a introduced member and that it’ll be her job to entice her. Erin begins her performance and undresses down to her underwear but Jim stops her before she undresses completely. ‘You’re only enticing’ he informs her. A little relieved at that Erin agrees and signs the contract and leaves, clearly a bit overwhelmed. Clair talks to Jim about progression in the service, Jim replies it’s looking like it’s going to plan. A bit longer and we’ll be where we need to be.

Cooper is unusually happy, she’s just paid off all her bills and is on top of her finances for once and as a result has taken Hopkirk out for a big lunch and they have just returned. Hopkirk apologises for work over running and wonders why Cooper is so happy. She outlines why but they are interrupted by a knock on the door, Cooper realises it’s a client and asks Hopkrik if he’ll excuse himself while she talks with the client. He does so and Cooper brings her client in, it is Erin’s landlord. He briefly explains about Erin being a student on a part time wage and how she often was a bit late with the rent, but all of a sudden she’s being paying not only on time, in advance as well. Cooper asks what the issue is and the landlord goes to explain that she’s bought a lot of new items and seems spending a lot of time out. Cooper dismisses this as just being a student, but is knocked back by the landlord saying she’s quite a sensible girl but he’d seen her and a work friend seemingly talking to a lot of men and she heard her mentioning giving one of customers VIP privileges. Cooper now is curious and makes a deal for a weeks investigation. She’ll start in the morning and have a look round Erin’s flat.

The next morning Cooper finds herself in Erin’s flat and makes a few observations, noting that she seems to have a lot of lingerie tied up with her store clothes. While not odd in itself as many girls brighten up a dull job by wearing sexing underwear under their work clothes, she decides to check out the store.

She arrives in the store and is greeted by a store assistant called Ted whom she slips a few quid to talk about the store. She spots Clair talking to a female customer and notes that they are both wearing gold rings with a poppy on it. She asks about that and Ted shrugs, he thinks its part of the VIP club. Cooper thanks Ted and hides behind a clothes rack, she recognises a large man who enters. His name is Damon and he’s a lacky for a local gangster, Damon goes over and talks to Jim who is on the shop floor, reprimanding Clair for chit-chatting away. We don’t here the conversation between Jim and Damon. Cooper spots Erin who is serving a customer, Cooper picks up a random selection of items and joins the queue. The man in front presents Erin with a voucher and she smiles and calls an assistant to deal with Cooper and takes the man towards the VIP lounge. After making the purchase Cooper stealthily slips towards the VIP lounge and notes the door is controlled by a key the staff have. Wondering how to get a VIP voucher Cooper returns to her office and phones a snout, hoping she can buy some information.

We cut to the VIP where Clair has just bought up a client who is chatting with Erin’s client. Clair goes to Jim’s office and reads a note left on the desk. She smiles soon it’ll all be over, crumples up the note and tosses it behind her into the office bin. We don’t actually see it land in the bin… this’ll be important later on.

Out in a park area we meet Hopkirk who is just arriving to a scene where a distraught dog walker is sobbing and garbling away about a body. We cut across to the lake, on the embankment is the body of Jim, his head is covered with blood, he’s had his skull smashed in.

Act Two

We rejoin with Clair and Erin redressing into their shop floor clothes. Erin inquires as if fully interactive service means what she thinks it does to which Clair answers at this stage it’s not going to part of her duties, but essentially doesn’t give an answer. Clair hears the buzzer in the office and picks up the phone and takes the message. She gets Erin to return to the shop floor and lets in Hopkirk and another policeman, they ask her to go to the station to identify a body. As she leaves we note Erin just disappearing out the VIP lounge from the office…

…we pick up Cooper who starts to tail Erin around the store and ‘accidentally’ bumps into her, which allows her to palm the VIP lounge key. Cooper enters the lounge and using her mini-camera takes a few snaps. She discovers in turn various arrays of sexy underwear, a few notes with names written on it, a few VIP member profiles and a lot of store related documents. In the office she notes the photocopier is warm and gets it to reprint the last job. It is the crumpled note which Clair through in the bin, it reads “BEARING PARK, BLUE LAKE, 2PM”. She keeps the note in her pocket and slips back into the store. She finds Erin and presents her with the key saying it fell into her handbag by mistake when she bumped into her. Erin thanks her and gets on with her job; Cooper finds it most interesting that she’s changed her hair during the course of a shift.

Clair is present and the morgue and identifies Jim and is visibly upset. Hopkirk asks if she has any idea as to why he would have been attacked, she guesses it must have been robbery. Hopkirk gets of the officers to get her some tea and do the counselling bit. He crosses over his final and opens it; here we see the photos of Jim meeting Erin on the morning of her ‘interview’ and one of Jim talking to the big gents from the teaser.

Cooper is walking through the park when she sees the crime scene markings; she looks at the note and identifies it as the same location. She returns to her flat and sees about finding local news updates via various sources. She is reluctant to use Hopkirk as a source at the moment, but wonders if her information is worth anything off the record.

The desk sergeant calls upon Hopkirk; apparently an anonymous woman has a piece of information that may be of use to him. It’ll be left in the usual place at the usual time. Hopkirk notes this and returns to Clair who has decided that she’d better return to work and pass on the bad news to the staff before they read it in the newspaper.

In the store Clair calls the supervisors and breaks the bad news to them and gets them to break to the rest of the staff. Erin asks how it’s happened and Clair puts it down to a mugger. Putting a brave face on Clair goes back to work and spots the one of the men from the teaser sequence who approaches her and presents her with another voucher. They begin to go through the shop floor routine and after a short while she gets Ted to cover her zone while she treats the VIP. She pages Erin and gets her to join them.

Back in her office Cooper does a background check on Damon from various sources. It is believed he is working for Ricky Jermain, a northern gangster better known as the Panther of Newcastle who appears to have moved out of his patch. Amongst his many rackets were a large drug ring which was recently uncovered, but he was know where to be seen. It is always believed a number of other gangsters are after his blood after the racket collapsed. She decides this information needs to go to Hopkirk and she gets ready to depart when the client turns up and she gives a brief summary of what she’s uncovered.

Clair is in the VIP lounge with the gent and Erin. She explains to Erin that she’ll need to be there in case we have intro VIP’s, so she can give her time for the VIP to make a discreet exit. Until they’re fully signed up, discretion is key. Clair looks at the gents card and notes he is a full VIP, she excuses herself to ‘make the coffee’ while Erin goes through the ‘introduce your friends pitch’.

Cooper arrives at the police station to find Hopkirk has left to meet a contact and it’s not public knowledge, so Cooper decides to return to the store and try and gain access to the VIP lounge.

Clair emerges with the coffee and in her dressing gown and as before suggestively reveals her lingerie clad body and begins a similar routine as in the teaser. The gent informs he is now a full member so he is on interactive package. Nervously Clair smiles and leads the gent away being to undress him, Erin watches a little concerned and follows her as far as she can. We see Clair and the gent disappear into a room and unknowingly to Erin are deliberately reflected in the mirror as she lets her underwear fall to the floor and fall out of sight. Erin checks the time and realises she’s got an appointment to keep.

We cut into the room, Clair and the gent are mid embrace when Clair spies in the mirror Erin’s gone. Giving an all clear they break off. Clair did they manage to do disposable clean enough so there’s no trace to them. The gent nods but there conversation is cut short, Cooper enters the room and announces not exactly, she’s got enough evidence to expose the ring her. I’ve enough evidence to inform the police about the golden poppy. There’s no way that the Panther is setting himself here. “Quite right” replies the gent. “That’s not we’re here for.”

Hopkirk arrives at his meeting place which is a luggage deposit in the railway station. Inside is a fully-interactive VIP pass and a copy of the note. Hopkirk smiles, now he can get them right in the middle of it, he calls for back up.

Act Three

Clair begins my showing her the ring with the golden Poppy on it. She explains that her sister, Maris, always loved poppies as a child and she had made it obvious from the outset that her wedding ring would be solid gold with a poppy as a motif. She was working in a store in Newcastle where she got tied up with the wrong crowd and her love of poppies ended up being the death of her. One day, she’d gone to visit Maris and found that she was hooked on heroin was very ill; she was desperate for her fix so the dealer put his price up and in order for her to pay for her fix; Ricky Jermain started to use her as an escort for his gang. However, a man called Hemmingway found her but it was too late, as a result of heroin and prostitution she’d picked up Syphilis and because her body was so doped up she died from it. Hemingway was an ex-cop who’d been kicked out of the force, but still felt it his duty to fight the gang. He arranged a set up and the heroin racket was dismantled. Realising that Ricky was moving down south Hemingway contacted his brother Jim… who ran the store and they conceived the idea of setting up a trap for Ricky and with Clair’s aide they set up the golden poppy. A network of avenging angels set up to trap Ricky, after a failed few attempts Ricky got wise and started to move around his digs. Changing street, flat number, hotel room, even which bed he’d sleep in. Through various contacts we’d learnt where he was this week and Jim set off with intent to finish Ricky off and keep the streets a little bit cleaner. But there must have been a break in the chain and Ricky found out where his intended assassin would be and dealt with him. Clair goes on to explain that the VIP idea was hers, if they could recruit enough people Ricky would turn up to demand a cut or some such. With Jim out of the picture it may, the gent is making arrangements for a takeover. We’re not sure who the mole is but we’re working on it.

Hopkirk turns up at the store and is greeted by Erin, he presents his VIP card and she starts the whole routine with the shopping.

The gent, who introduces himself as Noel, receives a coded text message which details the place of meeting for the take-over of the racket. Clair asks Cooper if she saw Erin in the main lounge, Cooper shakes her head. Clair is relieved, she had to give the impression that she was having sex and she’d probably go.

In the VIP lounge Erin starts the talk about coffee and to Hopkirk who is carefully timing his cue for the officers to arrive. Erin disappears off and Hopkirk quickly noses round and notices the crumpled note behind the bin. Erin returns in a dressing gown and starts the fully interactive service pitch.

Clair and Noel, now fully dressed or in Clair’s case as fully dressed as she can be, are going through the meeting plan with Cooper. Who looks at the plan as is concerned about taking the fight to Ricky’s turf as he has the advantage, but concedes that he may not come to their territory.

Erin and Hopkirk are making their way to one of the suites, with Erin undressing him slowly until they arrive in the room, where she hesitantly slips out of her underwear and Hopkirk checking the time slowly slips off his underpants.

Clair and the others are disturbed by the commotion and instantly realise that one of the girls has got a customer and they rush out hoping to interrupt. At this moment the raid occurs and the place is swarmed with policemen, Clair recognises Hopkirk as does a not at all amused Cooper. The arresting officer clamps the handcuffs on Clair arresting her for conspiracy to the murder of Jim. Erin informs her that she should really watch where her rubbish lands, she saw the note and passed it onto Hopkirk. Cooper realises that Erin’s be paid as an informer which where all the money the landlord was worried about had come from. The head of the investigation team, Inspector Dean arrives and informs them that they were suspected to be money laundering as there were many known gang members visiting the store. Also they have a case of the shop being used as a cover for a brothel and since we have ‘caught you in the act’ it’ll hard to pass it off. Clair and says to Erin, “I’m glad it’s the police you… wait if you’re not the mole. Who is?”

Dean is a little confused by this, Cooper say long story and simplifies it to setting up a trap to capture the Panther of Newcastle, a trap which cannot be sprung now. Dean makes a deal to help them capture Ricky, by having back up set up. Hopkirk is told he’ll have to return the station and start his report. Clair, Noel and Cooper are made to go with Dean to plan their coupe. Erin and Hopkirk redress, as Hopkirk is amused at the irony of them ending on the same case.

Out in the street we Cooper outlines the plan. They tell Ricky a different venue then go to the original venue, just in case of double crosses. Ricky arrives at their new meeting point and Cooper persuades them to change back.

In Café Nero we see Clair, Dean, Noel and few assorted cops in various locations. Cooper, Ricky, Damon, the other gent from the teaser, two generic heavies arrive. They begin to talk business when Ricky spots Noel and a fracas with much carnage in the café. Damon and the gent are shot and wounded whilst the two thugs are killed. Ricky is over powered and arrested, Dean giving him his rights while he’s bundled away.

Hopkirk is coming off duty and meets Cooper at the desk and they ponder on whom the mole was. As they leave we see a man arrive who says he’s Jermain’s lawyer. As he turns to face the camera we see it is Hemmingway, he approaches Ricky cell and twists the cap off the his golden poppy ring and drops a small tablet in the coffee going to be served to Ricky. We should close with the coffee cup in the foreground

Daily Word Prompt: Gold

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