Onion Field, The (1979) Movie Script

- I'm sorry. You wanted me?
- I'm Karl Hettinger, your new partner.
Ian Campbell.
Welcome to the felony squad.
I thought they were woofing me
when they said I could find you here.
I was just bouncing
a few notes off the walls.
If I do it at home,
the neighbors call the cops.
I don't know how you can stand it.
This place gives me the crawlies.
It's like a tomb.
A piper plays where he can.
It's in me blood, you know, laddie.
- Strange music. What's it called?
- Cha Till MacCruimen.
It's an ancient funeral dirge.
And that means,
"MacCrimmon will never return."
- Ian?
- Yeah?
How long have you been
hanging around in cellars?
Talk to anybody about it?
Hey! Youngblood!
Jimmy Youngblood!
- Say, old thing, how you doing?
- Jimmy, my man! When did you get out?
- Yesterday.
- Damn! Ain't that a mother?
Hop on up and let me
have this boy clean some skates.
They could do with some help.
I could do it my own self, if it's okay.
Like they say,
once a shine boy, always a shine boy.
Go ahead, help yourself.
My man, buy yourself a trip to Hawaii.
You look like new money.
Guess your ship came in.
Sure did. Jimmy, meet my partner.
- I'm Greg Powell.
- This is a homeboy, Greg.
Always called him Youngblood.
Everybody on East Sixth Street
got an alias.
- Youngblood your righteous name, Jimmy?
- Good as any, ain't it?
Now, a man's name ain't important.
Being a loyal, standup guy,
that's what's important.
And any friend of Billy's, etc., etc...
Say, Jim...
You know, those kind of look
like jailhouse hot dogs.
You just got out of the slammer,
didn't you?
Seems like everybody in LA
got a thing for shoes these days.
Used to be pussy before I went away.
Greg, my man, come on,
let's go do our business.
Jimmy, see you around.
Say, brother, how about loaning me 10 scoots
till I get myself together?
Go see the car wash boss.
He pays minimum wages
to any ex-con who wants a job.
Minimum wage?
I expect more than that
for watching flies fuck.
Say, Jim, now,
I just got out 10 months ago, myself.
Paroled from Vacaville.
And I know how you're feeling about now.
- Like, thanks for the loan.
- Hell, Jim, that ain't a loan, it's a gift.
Billy, give him $5 more.
Shit, what do I look like,
the Bank of America?
Man, go see the car wash boss.
He pays minimum wages.
- Where you staying, Jimmy?
- A little hotel on Sixth and Wall.
- How you planning to make money, Jim?
- Same way you guys make yours.
See you around, Jimbo.
Catch you later, Greg.
Cornpone, jive-ass, peckerwood.
Think you're gonna like felony, Kars?
It beats wearing a blue suit.
Beats writing traffic tickets.
It might be boring most of the time,
but who knows?
There might be something
right around the corner.
Not thrills,
but something other folks don't see.
What if it's something
you don't understand?
I don't know.
It doesn't matter, I guess,
just as long as it's something.
To be there is the thing, partner.
Yes, sir?
- You feel like another piece?
- I finally got my weight below 200.
I'll get it for you.
At least you're tall enough to carry it.
Married life's making me feel
like an avocado with feet.
That's just a little excess
adipose tissue.
What were you going to do
before you became a cop?
You'll never guess.
I was a premed student.
I could have guessed.
There you go.
- What did your dad do?
- He was a doctor.
He died when I was a boy.
My mother and I always figured
that I'd become a doctor, too.
College dropouts sure end up
in the strangest jobs.
When I worked vice,
I busted that pig for beating up a whore.
There's a guy that could use a doctor.
Dr. Smith & Wesson,
for a frontal lobotomy.
- A large cheese to go.
- Come back in 20 minutes, okay?
I'm a fellow dropout.
Let me guess. Engineering.
Agriculture, beer, and poker,
not necessarily in that order.
My life's ambition was to own a farm.
Truck crops.
You know, smogless sky, clean earth...
clean people, all that corny stuff.
And acres of dewy, wet...
fat, ripe tomatoes.
- Tomatoes?
- Tomatoes.
Police work's so noisy.
- Tomatoes are so...
- Quiet.
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
Bet you never thought
you'd see me again.
No, like, I meant to look you up.
It's only been two days.
I ain't made a sting yet.
- I'll pay you and Billy back.
- Hell, Jim, I told you, that was a gift.
That ain't why I'm here.
- This sure is a dump, Jimbo.
- Yeah.
It ain't forever.
My parole officer paid for a week.
- By then, I should have...
- Come on, get your clothes on.
- We are going somewhere.
- Yeah?
- I thought I'd go look my old partner...
- I won't take no for an answer.
I got a feeling about you.
I think I can help you
make some real money.
Real money, Jimbo.
Youngblood, what you doin' here?
- Greg brung me.
- Yeah.
We all don't need nobody else
working with us, you understand?
Jimmy, this here is my little woman.
- Hi, Jimmy.
- You fix us a whiskey and 7-Up?
- Okay, honey?
- Okay, buns.
Honey, buns. Just sit down, Jim.
So, Billy...
My woman says
you took that roll of $1 bills...
I had stashed in the bedroom.
- Bullshit.
- Yes, it's true. She can't find it.
And furthermore, I've been told,
you gave her a pat on the fanny today.
I don't care about the pat.
We're sort of a family here.
I'd appreciate you don't make it a habit.
- Greg, please...
- Billy, I want my dough back.
Maybe she took it.
After all I've done for you,
and you dare steal from me!
I know that whiskey
makes you do wrong things.
Or I'd bust a cap in your goddamn head.
Now, Billy,
we're gonna go out again tonight.
Only this time, you're gonna
pull your own weight.
And if you don't get me my money...
Anything you say, brother, anything.
Jimmy, you're in. Can you drive?
- Greg, like, I've been away five years.
- Goddamn it! Can you drive?
Yeah, I can drive.
All right, then.
- How do you like my car, Jimbo?
- Yeah, it's groovy, Greg.
The clutch slips bad, though.
Maybe after a good score, you ought
to think about getting another car.
I had the clutch fixed
that way on purpose.
Keeps the guy from speeding away
from a job and drawing heat.
On purpose? Yeah!
By the way, Jimbo...
- Notice anything unusual about me?
- No.
Yeah, Greg.
I mean, you do look different.
But I can't figure out
why you look different.
Goddamn it,
it's pretty obvious, isn't it?
Like, you're wearing
a Humphrey Bogart trench coat.
That it?
Greg, I can't see too good.
I need glasses and all.
Jim, for Christ's sake, look at my ear!
Look, see there?
I put a little mole on my ear
with my honey's mascara.
Stuck a few hairs in it.
Then I darkened my eyebrows,
made them bigger, see?
Any witness will say, "The guy had
bushy eyebrows and a mole on his ear."
Now, that's slick.
That's slicker than slop!
Okay, Billy, this is the job I cased.
Now's your chance to get back
the money you stole from me.
- And you better get it.
- I swear, I didn't steal no money, man.
Just go in there
and get me at least $50...
and maybe you'll prove to me
that you didn't do what I know you did.
This is the last night for old Billy.
I got to cut him loose.
He drinks too much.
I think, after tonight, it's gonna be you
who's a part of our little family.
I can't do it, Greg.
The guy in the store knows me.
- What?
- He knows me, Greg.
Guy used to work at the shine parlor.
You lying, thieving...
Jimmy, tell him. Guy named Hellfire Jack.
Ain't that right?
When we drove by,
I did think I saw Hellfire Jack.
I think it's Hellfire Jack in there.
See? I told you.
Used to work over there
on East Fifth Street. Used to...
It's the truth. He used to work
in a process parlor over there.
- I thought you said a shine parlor.
- Process parlor, man! He did my hair.
He said a process parlor.
Fuck it.
- I'll do it myself.
- Yeah, you go ahead on and do it.
I'll help Jimmy drive.
I use this little hop, skip, jump,
which moves me fast.
It isn't noticeable to someone
passing by, like running is.
When you see me skip,
start this baby moving!
"Skip, jump."
Like a goddamn kangaroo
jumping around out there.
All this funny talk!
"Furthermore, wherefore!"
Don't give me any more
"furtherfore" or "whereover"...
or any more of that funky-ass bullshit!
Greg said he was paroled out of Vacaville.
That's a nut jail.
Let her go, Jimbo.
- Goddamn it, let the clutch out!
- I did. It ain't going nowhere.
Let the goddamn clutch all the way out!
Now you're rolling. Go left!
- He's shooting at us!
- Lord, are we hit?
Goddamn it, you'd know if we were hit!
Let's go!
- There must be over $300 here!
- Help me, Jesus!
Hold it! Don't touch that!
Lord, don't touch that! Now, look!
Now, look! Hold it!
This is the humbug! This is the wrong...
- Move it, sweetheart!
- Don't know why you wanna put me in jail!
That man tried to rape me! Yes, he did!
Why don't you let me go?
I've never been arrested before.
I don't know why I did it.
I never done that before.
I never... No!
Watch it, Harry.
Grab that son of a bitch!
I'm not a queer.
Son of a bitch!
Believe me, I'm telling you,
I never did it before!
- What the hell was that all about?
- Probably homosexual panic.
I've seen it before.
- What is that?
- The boy suddenly realized who he is.
He's confused and he's scared.
Married six months,
I come home at 1:00 a.m...
and find you alone with three men?
I'm keeping your seat warm.
- I lost $2 already.
- I didn't win it.
Just a second, Helen.
He's holding what? Thanks, junior.
The kid said you gotta
fill an inside straight.
- I'll bump the pot a quarter.
- It's a week till payday.
It's your house.
Tell him the limit's a dime.
The limit's a dime.
What a night.
1:00 in the morning,
clear, beautiful out,
And the weather, the same for tomorrow,
Another beautiful day here in Los Angeles,
The limit just went up to a quarter.
- Had a bad night?
- There are no bad nights.
Any good ones?
Want to tell me some
cops-and-robbers stories?
I just can't go home right now, Mom.
Adah's asleep, and the kids are asleep.
- All normal people are asleep.
- Really?
What did you do when Dad was out
on a house call in the middle of the night?
Was he able to sleep when he came home
after putting somebody back together?
- He'd just sit and play his violin.
- That's what I'll do.
I'll play the bagpipes at 2:00 a.m.
The kids are still too young
to run away from home, right?
- What was I playing here?
- Rachmaninoff.
- How do you remember?
- I remember.
Why did I go from piano to bagpipes?
Fifty generations of Highlander blood
won out.
- Have some tea.
- Thank you.
You know, I always hated
dissecting frogs in premed.
But you should see me treat a mental case
on the floor of the Hollywood station.
Ian, a policeman helps people
just as much as a physician.
Sometimes you just see
more than one should, and then...
What was it we used to say about Dad?
"A country doctor dies
with a shoebox full of bills and..."
"A trunk full of gratitude."
There's no gratitude
in a policeman's trunk.
- She's asleep?
- Just about,
She's invited us to her house next year,
- You going to be part of our little family?
- I don't think so.
I've been alone all my life.
Never had no family.
- Why is Greg always talking about family?
- He's real close with Mom, Dad...
brothers, sisters. Real close.
Sort of runs their affairs, always has,
even when he was in prison.
- Yeah, I can see he likes to run things.
- Real smart.
About the smartest guy I ever met.
You know, Jimmy...
you got a bold eye.
I'm sorry if I was staring.
I just got out, you know.
It's all right. I don't mind.
In fact...
when a woman's swelled up like this,
she appreciates a man's approving look.
Especially a handsome man.
You only part negro, or what?
Baby, I don't know.
I honest-to-God don't know,
and that's righteous.
Did Billy really pat you on the fanny
like Greg accused him?
- You scared of Greg?
- Why?
'Cause if you're scared of him,
it'll only make it better.
More naughty.
More exciting.
- How much pregnant are you, little mama?
- It's okay. I had kids before.
Besides, it's all in the family.
Nothing much,
I think I'd better change clothes,
It's not going well, is it?
See you around, Billy.
I'd like to stab the paleface motherfucker!
You understand what I mean, baby?
Damn, Jimmy, you're nice,
but can't you give a girl a little more?
Talk about "wham, bam".
Greg's going to pull up out front
just about any minute.
- You're right. Here he comes.
- Jumpin' Jesus!
You got any house spray? Anything?
- House spray?
- Light a match! Something!
Goddamn you, Jimmy. You...
Had to dump that drunken Billy
on Fifth Street where I found him.
He didn't want to be expelled,
but it's the only way.
We're going to Las Vegas.
I need to get some new guns.
Then, we'll do a little gambling,
and from there, who knows?
Frisco? You name it, Jimbo.
What the hell's the matter with you?
You keep sniffing the air like a bird dog.
I'm catching cold, I guess.
My nose is running.
You take care of yourself.
Honey buns!
Get ready. I decided to take
my family on a trip today.
- Las Vegas!
- Daddy, Las Vegas!
- Maybe I'll get another car.
- Daddy, Las Vegas!
- My lucky day.
- Daddy!
How's it feel to be part
of a real family?
- Want one?
- I ain't got no bread left.
These kicks cost $35.
Here you go.
This is one you should have.
This suits you. I want you to have it.
Nobody ever gave me a present before.
Really? You city kids.
You should've been from a small town
like Cadillac, Michigan.
We were poor, too.
But gifts? My heavens!
Family is what you need.
I really like the watch.
It's a good watch for a cheap watch.
You ain't seen nothing yet.
Wait till you see what else I got for you.
That's real nice, too.
Where the hell are you going?
I was going over to Cottonwood Road.
I know Bakersfield real good.
I swamped spuds here.
I used to pick beans and grapes here,
just like a goddamn wetback.
What's at Cottonwood Road?
It's the black part of town, Greg.
There's women there.
I was laying in bed listening to you
and your lady going at it.
And I'm horny, you know.
You know what I mean?
Turn off the keys,
and get out of the car.
- We're going back to LA.
- L.A.?
Jumpin' Jesus. One night in Las Vegas,
one night in Bakersfield...
We're doing okay. We bought
this cherry little hot rod, didn't we?
Bought us some presents,
and we had us some fun.
Fun? I got to lose 10 nickels
in a goddamn slot machine.
Greg, the last thing you said,
we was going to Frisco.
L.A. is a two-hour drive
in the wrong direction.
We're moving around
like goddamn gypsies!
Jimbo, you just don't understand.
We are going to Frisco,
but first we gotta go to LA...
and get some money
by pulling another job there...
so we can go to Frisco.
You understand?
We're just gonna leave the wagon here,
and we'll be back by midnight.
What you gotta do is remind me to get
the brake lights fixed on that coupe.
'Cause we can't get stopped by the cops
for faulty brake lights, can we?
Me and my little honey buns
got you stirred up, there, did we?
You know,
I'm kind of a virtuoso, sexually.
That means that I'm a master
at pleasing women.
She says that she could never imagine
herself with another man ever again.
How about that?
- Can I have some money for popcorn?
- Yes, you can.
Let's see now.
There you go. Kissy, kissy.
- Toodle-oodle.
- Toodle.
"Toodle." I love it.
Why do I got to carry this gun in my belt?
Why not in my pocket?
What if this thing goes off
and shoots my dick off?
- That's all I need.
- Jimmy...
Anyways, why do we got to
wear matching leather jackets?
These goddamn, dumb caps?
These things make
an impression on witnesses.
They'll see this leather
and describe us as 6-foot-4.
And that cap will hide part of your face.
I know what I'm doing.
Jumpin' Jesus! We look like the
goddamn Katzenjammer Kids.
Hear you were in the Marine Corps.
Seems like everyone at the station
was a jarhead.
- You, too?
- Communications.
Yeah? So was I. The voice with a smile.
The liquor store's back on Hollywood Blvd.,
for Christ's sake.
I think the street dead-ends.
I gotta go back the way we came.
Dead end. That's all
we ever run into is dead ends.
- We should check these two.
- Yeah.
- What's our probable cause?
- Try no brake lights.
Let's be careful.
Code 6 at Carlos and Gower.
Six-zebra-four, roger,
- Cops.
- Take it easy.
- It may just be a traffic ticket.
- Jumpin' Jesus.
- What's the trouble, Officer?
- Stay right there.
I bet I know why you stopped us.
That little U-turn back there.
- Would you mind stepping out of the car?
- Sure, Officer.
Take his piece.
He's got a gun in my back.
Give him yours, Karl.
Take his goddamn piece!
Put your hands down.
Put your goddamn hands down!
Get in the car.
You, big man, get behind the wheel.
You get in the back.
Goddamn it, move!
Put the flashlight on the floor and those
hands on the wheel where I can see them.
Get in the back of the car.
Shut the door.
Head towards
the Ridge Route, Bakersfield.
- All right.
- Don't break any laws.
Don't try anything, or you're both dead.
Keep your eye on him in the back,
and watch out for a tail.
Let's go.
You guys got any money?
I've got about $8 or $9 in my pocket.
I've got $10.
Okay, here's the plan.
I'm gonna take you guys
out on the Ridge Route...
drive you up there on a side road...
drop you off, and make sure you got
a long walk back to the highway.
Do us a favor after you drop us off?
Heave our guns in the brush
so we can find 'em.
We pay for 'em out of our own pocket.
Yeah, I think we can do that.
Come on, let's go.
Go on, let's move it!
- Where does that road go?
- I don't know.
It's a mid-canyon turnoff.
My wife and I go fishing there.
- It's...
- Shut up!
Shut your mouth!
I don't want nothing about it!
Fuck the fishing and the lake!
- And fuck...
- Jimmy, calm yourself.
Let the man talk.
He can't do anything.
You can start firing through the seat.
Big man knows that if he even flinches
with that steering wheel...
I can start jerking the trigger.
Is this gun hurting your ribs?
I'll manage.
Remember the Lindbergh Law.
I've decided not to take your money.
I won't need it.
Big man...
how big are you?
Not that big.
"Not that big."
I got a brother as big as you.
My daddy's bigger.
Not as tall.
- What kind of pistol shot are you?
- Not very good.
- Were you in the army?
- Marines.
See any combat?
I was in Korea.
I happen to be an expert pistol shot.
In my business, you got to be good.
I'll give you a chance
to see if you can beat me on the draw.
I'll give you your goddamn gun back.
We'll have a contest.
You better not, man.
My partner here is some shot.
I seen him make a tin can jump
like a farm girl at her first dance.
- Some shot, yeah!
- Yeah!
You know the country around here.
- Where's there a dirt road?
- Anywhere around here.
You take the next one you see.
Right here. Big man.
This is farm country.
Smell the onions?
Just keep on going.
You get this car stuck,
and you're a dead man.
See that farmhouse in the distance?
That's where you're gonna hike back to,
to make your call.
- We gotta tie these guys up.
- "Tie these guys up"?
They'll be here all night
and freeze to death, for Christ's sake.
Stop the car. Easy.
Turn off the headlights.
This is where we let you go.
You told me we was gonna be
in Bakersfield at midnight.
At least you're right about one thing.
Get out, Jim.
That's the onions.
They make your eyes water.
We told you
we were going to let you go...
but have you ever heard
of the little Lindbergh Law?
What's wrong with you?
He's getting away!
Come on.
All right. Here.
Listen. Don't waste bullets.
I'm gonna drive down the road,
stop, wait for you to walk your way down.
Don't waste bullets.
Jumpin' Jesus.
Excuse me.
Look, Officer, here he comes.
He's on foot.
He can run faster
than this damn old tractor.
Leave the lights on.
Looky here, Officer.
If you don't quiet down,
I'm gonna have to run off and leave you.
This ain't my business nohow.
This is white man's business.
This is police business.
I don't want to die.
- What's your name?
- McFadden.
Emmanuel McFadden.
You go. I can't go.
There's a farmhouse.
It's out there to the left.
Only one of us can take a chance
and cross in this here last field.
'Cause there ain't no cover.
You stay here and watch out for lights.
If I yells...
you come back to me here in the dark.
You come back to me.
Jimmy! Goddamn you, Jimmy!
Goddamn you!
Suspect may be driving 1967 Plymouth,
four-door, white over red...
Edward-ocean-boy, 940,
Use caution, Vehicle may contain 187...
- They're long gone by now.
- Probably heading north.
- What's that?
- Right model and color.
- Wrong license though. Only one guy.
- Let's check it out, anyway.
Goddamn it!
Damn it!
Good evening. Can I see your license
and registration, please?
I wasn't speeding, was I?
No, but this is a registration
for a Chevy wagon, Mr. Powell.
No. I know what happened.
I have two cars. A Chevy wagon, which
my wife drives and this one, which is mine.
And I registered the cars the same day,
and inadvertently, I switched the...
the registration cards.
I'm sorry.
I hope you don't give me a ticket.
We won't write you a ticket.
Just to satisfy me,
would you open your trunk?
Thank you.
What for?
Two men killed a police officer
out in those fields tonight.
A car like this was stolen
a few minutes later.
Killed a police officer?
Surely, you don't think it was me.
It's stuck.
The license said you lived
in Oceanside, Mr. Powell.
My parents live there.
I live in Los Angeles.
Just north on business.
That's an irrigation shovel.
This car doesn't belong to any city man.
You're making a big mistake.
I'm a taxpayer and a citizen.
You're making one big mistake, pal.
Turn around.
I'm Sgt. Pierce Brooks...
Los Angeles Police Department.
I'm the investigator on this case.
Yes, sir, Sgt. Brooks,
it's nice to meet you.
Before we start, I want to tell you right off
that I'm happy to cooperate.
My partner, Jimmy Youngblood,
fired that shot into that officer's face...
then shot him again when he went down.
I wasn't even armed at that time.
As far as finding Jimmy,
I can describe him for you.
He's a negro, about my age and size.
Very nice looking.
Youngblood may not be
his real name, but...
he got out of Folsom Prison eight days
ago, so he shouldn't be hard to identify.
Yes, he knows
the Bakersfield area real well.
You might want to spread some mug shots
around an area he called Cottonwood Road.
Get that son of a bitch!
Get him down on the floor!
Come on, roll over, cop killer!
- Move!
- Cop killer? Wait, please!
I ain't no killer!
I never shot that man!
I didn't shoot nobody! I'm just a thief!
I've been a thief all my life!
I'm just a thief! I ain't no killer!
They gas people for that!
Ian will be grievously missed
by his wife, Adah...
and his daughters, Valerie and Lori...
and his mother, Chrissie Campbell.
And he also will be missed
by his fellow officers.
Ian James Campbell
has completed his tour of duty.
May the love of God be with you all.
Detail, ten-hut!
Present arms.
Order arms.
Left march.
Parade rest.
You know, Jimmy...
Your story of the kidnapping and the ride
isn't really far off from Officer Hettinger's.
Thank you, Sgt. Brooks.
I thought maybe you didn't believe me.
The big problem, Jimmy,
is you left out a very significant detail.
What's that, sir?
After the officer
was shot down by Powell...
someone, using Officer Campbell's gun...
fired four shots into his chest.
- Powell had two guns, a gun in each hand.
- So did you, Jimmy.
One of you had Officer Campbell's gun.
Four shots.
I guess I was too scared.
I remember those shots.
Down they went.
The fireballs went down into him, and...
Go on.
It was like...
the hand...
The Officer's hand kept...
reaching for my leg.
It was jerking, like,
reaching for my leg.
It jerked every time a bullet hit him.
I sort of get a picture
of Powell shooting down.
It would've been hard for Powell to fire
four shots into Officer Campbell...
at the same time
he was shooting at the fleeing officer.
The gun...
The bullets...
We have all of the guns
and the shells and the slugs.
And of course we have Officer Hettinger.
And what's he saying?
He don't say I fired those shots.
He don't say that, does he?
Did you?
Sgt. Brooks, I'm just a thief.
I never hurt nobody in my life.
I'm just a thief.
Have you ever felt bad
when you did something wrong?
- Like how?
- Has your conscience ever bothered you?
Like feeling guilty?
Mr. Brooks.
I believe...
I think...
that is something
that rich white guys dreamed up...
to keep guys like me down.
I honest don't believe there is
such a thing, such a feeling.
That's just something the man says
in court when his luck runs out.
You want to talk to me?
Yeah, Karl.
You've probably had to tell the story
of the onion field to everyone today.
They've got an idea downtown.
I think it's a good one.
How about telling it to all
the roll calls for a few days...
and just getting it over with?
- All the roll calls?
- Yeah.
You know, there are questions.
Like, why can't you say
who fired the last four shots into Ian?
I know it was Jimmy Smith.
But I can't swear to it.
It was dark. I can't be sure.
It doesn't matter because they're both
gonna go to the gas chamber.
When you get in there, I just want you
to tell it in your own words.
Tell how you guys followed them.
I mean, you can't bring Ian back...
but if you tell them
the things you did wrong...
the things that you wish
you would've done...
you just might save the life of
one of those boys. All right?
- Hello, Sgt. Brooks. How are you today?
- Greg.
I want you to say hello
to a couple of people.
Let's take a walk.
I got news for you.
Jimmy Smith's been arrested.
That's his real name.
He's here in this building.
Will you tell the same story
in front of him that you told me?
Why not?
All right, this is Sgt. Pierce R. Brooks,
serial number 5702...
Los Angeles Police Department,
Homicide Division.
Present is my partner,
Officer Glenn Bates.
It is 3:05 p.m., March 12th, 1963.
We are recording
the statements of Gregory Ulas Powell...
and Jimmy Lee Smith, who are together
for the first time since their arrest.
Okay, Glenn.
You want to bring Officer Hettinger in?
Officer Hettinger.
All right.
Officer Karl Francis Hettinger
has entered the room.
Would you like Officer Hettinger
to begin or do you want to?
I may as well tell you.
I popped the first cap into that officer
and Jim popped caps after he went down.
That's a lie. I never hurt
nobody in my life.
You're a liar. You're just a fucking punk
and too chicken-shit to tell the truth.
- He's lying.
- Why would I lie?
I'm going to the gas chamber.
And he's going, too.
No matter who fired the last shots.
Why the hell would I lie?
What could I gain?
You buzzard. I'm putting a curse on that
unborn baby your lady's carrying around.
It's gonna be born dead!
You hear me, sucker? Dead!
You fucking...
All right, Glenn. Take Jimmy next door
and let him cool off.
Thank you.
Did you take care of my woman?
She said she was going home
to stay with her parents.
As I got out of the car,
I was trying to think up some alternative.
I thought of handcuffing them but I realized
there was no way to go back for my girl...
and get a running start.
I walked around the back of the car,
raised my gun and shot the officer.
- And Jimmy?
- He shot him when he was down...
at the same time
I was shooting at Hettinger.
Surely, he saw it that way.
One thing, Greg.
Would you object to talking to me
from time to time, to clarify details?
I really like
to talk to you, Mr. Brooks.
You've been very fair.
- And I do feel a certain friendship...
- Greg...
- It's part of my job.
- More than a policeman doing his job.
You show me consideration.
And I appreciate it.
I wish my father had...
- You must be a good father.
- One thing, Greg.
Yes, Mr. Brooks?
Did someone mention the little
Lindbergh Law just prior to the shooting?
Little Lindbergh Law...
No. Can't say as I heard that.
- Do you know what the Lindbergh Law is?
- I have a general idea.
What is your general idea?
That kidnapping carries
capital punishment.
You're wrong.
The Lindbergh Law applies to
kidnapping for ransom with bodily harm.
Up until the first shot was fired,
the little Lindbergh Law didn't apply.
It wasn't a capital crime until then.
I never shot nobody!
- I've gotta take Jimmy back to his cell...
- I never shot nobody!
I'll go to the gas chamber,
but I never shot nobody!
Powell, you lying maniac!
I screwed your old lady, you hear me?
I fucked the fat dog, you hear me?
You lying maniac!
"For all watches, citywide.
Memorandum Number 11.
The brutal execution
of Officer Ian Campbell...
proves that you cannot make deals
with vicious criminals.
The individual officer enters a sacred trust
to protect his community...
to lay down his life, if necessary.
All men return to dust.
The manner of a man's living and dying
is of paramount importance."
All right. Come on, guys. That's enough.
I say, "Balls."
Sometimes I think there ain't...
two hairy balls left
in this whole police department.
Who wrote that one? Billy Graham?
- Just a minute, now. If you disagree...
- I've been walking a beat...
longer than some of these babies
have been on this earth.
And there was one thing
you might say was always kind of sacred.
Police work is the kind of business...
where only you know
what you should or shouldn't have did.
Nobody else had a right
to question a judgment call.
- Just one minute about all this...
- I come up against...
some asshole one time.
He had a .45 pointed at my belly.
What I did was,
I looked in his mean little eyes...
and I knew, as sure
as there's shit in a goat...
if I didn't do what he said...
the coroner would be putting in
a special order for sawdust...
to fill this here slop bucket.
So I give him my gun real careful.
And I would've given him
my Sam Browne and my pants...
and my shit-stained skivvies,
if he'd asked me.
- Look, men. The point of this training...
- The point is, Lieutenant...
that total authority belongs
with the cop on the street...
when it comes to his life...
and the life of his partner,
which is the same goddamn thing.
This is a panicky order you're reading.
And no matter how you read it...
it's still criticizing these kids
Campbell and Hettinger...
for doing what they had to do.
And what I did, too.
Good afternoon, Captain.
Anybody who gives up his gun
to some punk is a coward.
Anybody who does it can kiss
his badge good-bye, if I can help it.
You're policemen.
You put your trust in God.
And when I returned to the...
scene of the shooting...
I found Ian lying face down in a ditch.
There was a great deal of blood
on the ground.
- Your Honor, may I approach the witness?
- You may.
Officer Hettinger?
Would you identify the party
in this picture?
That is my partner,
Officer Ian Campbell.
And you saw him in life.
- ls that correct?
- Yes, sir.
And you saw him like this in death?
Yes, sir.
Karl, wake up! Karl! Stop!
Wake up!
- Wake up.
- Oh, God!
Are you all right?
You were having a dream.
Honey. Every night...
They're just nerves. They'll go away.
They'll go away.
When they stop making me tell it
over and over and over and over.
I'm not those men. I know, but...
Karl, you have to tell someone
when things bother you.
it'll go away.
I had a bad time.
It'll go away when the trial's over.
Don't worry.
Your Honor, there is no meeting of the
minds between the defender and myself.
I desire and insist and demand
that I be allowed to defend myself for...
the duration of this trial, and I am
prepared to go forward immediately.
If he can do it, why ain't I allowed?
I would like to have the use
of the law library just like him.
And there's something else
I wish to complain about.
There's vermin in my cell. And the food
ain't nothing to scream about neither.
Your Honor.
This trial will drag on
all summer long...
if they are allowed to continue
with their frivolous motions.
Next thing you know,
they'll move for a mistrial...
because the air conditioning went out.
Your Honor, I will cite the district attorney
for misconduct...
and again move for a mistrial.
Your Honor, this is turning
into a carnival and I...
Counsel will be seated!
I'm going to grant Mr. Powell's motion
to act as his own counsel.
Thank you, Your Honor.
I've decided to grant the defense a trip
to the onion field to reenact the crime.
Will the bailiff
please turn off the light?
We have now seen
what the onion field looked like...
on the night of March 9.
Your Honor.
I believe, in this trial, we have done
everything humanly possible...
to accede to the requests
of the defense.
Let the record show it's now about
six minutes after 10:00.
We're going to take our adjournment
at this time until 9:30 a.m...
when we'll reconvene in Department 104
of the Superior Court.
I would ask your relationship
to anyone in this case.
- I am your mother.
- Mrs. Powell.
Could you tell us what your health
has been like in the past 20 years?
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to
object to that as immaterial to the issues.
This testimony will prove that during
the formative years of my life...
the responsibilities
of raising children were placed on me.
I am sorry, but I am going
to have to object to this.
Why should I be placed at a disadvantage
because he chose to defend himself?
You're not being placed
at a disadvantage.
It is not up to you to feel
one way or the other.
Your Honor,
if Mr. Powell has anything to say...
he should direct it to the court.
If he wants to play lawyer,
he should act like one.
I would cite the district attorney
for that remark.
Just proceed, Mr. Powell. Just proceed.
Thank you.
- Was I engaged in sports and so forth?
- Yes.
We had a wonderful track event
in which you did very well.
- Did you go to this track meet?
- Yes, I did.
You participated in two things.
You would've won
top honors in both of them...
if you'd followed my advice,
which you didn't do.
- One of them was a throwing thing.
- Softball. I took second.
You won a blue ribbon.
I took second in that event.
I won the blue ribbon in the relay.
You won a blue ribbon in softball.
In the relay.
Mr. Powell,
how long have you been a schoolteacher?
About 17 years.
Mr. Powell, during the time
that you knew me as a child...
did you spend a lot of time with me?
It was limited, my time.
During the years of my mother's illnesses,
be they real or imagined...
did I not take care
of my two sisters and a brother?
And was I not the real head
of the family, even as a child?
- Well...
- Strike that.
When my mother got well, and tried
to take charge after all those years...
is it not true, that I was doing a good job
of raising the children?
And that you did not stand up to her
and tell her that in effect...
I was a better parent to those children?
- It...
- All right, now this has gone far enough.
I object.
Mr. Powell.
- Why do you want me to live?
- I strongly object to this.
Mr. Powell, assuming that
two wrongs don't make a right...
do you think it is right
for the state to kill me?
I want you to live.
You're my son.
Jimmy wasn't my real son...
but he's the only son I'll ever have.
Jimmy's mother took up
with this white boy and had Jimmy.
She was only 13.
She gave me a baby to raise up.
Jimmy was never a mean child.
He never talked back to me.
And I don't believe he'd do it now.
Excuse me, ma'am,
but we've gone far beyond the question.
You mentioned that Jimmy Smith
was never violent, but...
wasn't there an incident
as a teenager...
when Jimmy Smith pulled a knife
on the truant officer?
Mr. Schulman, Jimmy told me
that truant officer kicked him and hit him.
- Jimmy was just scared, that's all...
- Leave her alone!
You leave my nana alone!
This ain't right!
My nana never had nothing!
She never even said a swear word,
or took a drink, or went to a dance!
You leave my nana alone!
It ain't fair!
Sadistically, Gregory Ulas Powell...
led Officer Campbell to believe
that his life would be spared...
up to the moment
he took deliberate aim...
and fired one shot
into the officer's mouth.
Jimmy Lee Smith...
with revolting, inhuman barbarity...
fired four more fatal shots
into the prostrate officer.
Then they mercilessly stalked
the fleeing officer...
who miraculously escaped
the cruel execution.
The evidence in this case...
overwhelmingly justifies
the death verdict by the jury.
It is the order of this court
that you shall suffer the death penalty.
The penalty will be inflicted
within the walls...
of the state penitentiary
at San Quentin, california...
in the manner prescribed by law.
Get back! Back off!
Dead men coming through.
Fuck off, you. I'll kill you!
I'll kill you! You motherfuck! You fuck!
Fuck! You motherfucking, lying...
All right, assholes! Knock it off!
I whooped him!
Did you see it?
He's just a fucking punk!
Without a gun, he's a pussy!
I whooped him.
Shut up, you goddamn nigger!
I'll tear your fucking head off!
They're trying to shoot me.
It ain't safe nowhere.
First shot is only a blank.
Just like a lion tamer.
They want to kill you with cyanide gas.
They like to see your throat and lungs
and belly on fire.
Jumpin' Jesus.
The sad thing is,
you might not have to die.
There are cases pending
before the Supreme Court...
cases that give us all hope,
especially you.
You've got a gimmick going for you.
What gimmick?
If you get a new trial, you and Powell
split into separate trials.
You can make Powell out
a devil to your jury.
That ain't hard to do.
You can subpoena him to your trial
and have your lawyer...
ask him if he shot the cop,
or is he lying?
He's gonna mess up any chance he has
by saying I didn't shoot the cop.
He won't have to.
He can stand silent
on the Fifth Amendment.
It can't be used against him
at his trial.
And he can scare the living shit
out of your jury.
Other partners have done it.
But first, you'll have to stop using Powell
as a punching bag.
He can save your life.
Here, kiss daddy.
- Okay.
- Bye-bye.
Who's tough?
I think she'll nap now.
- So tell me, how's the detective bureau?
- It's fine.
Which means you're not crazy about it.
Maybe I'm still a little young.
Most of the guys there are old-timers.
And they're jealous because
a younger guy gets a chance.
It's like some of them think
I don't deserve to be there.
Maybe they think I could've done more.
You know, the night Ian was killed.
That's ridiculous.
How can anybody say that?
I hate that.
They send everybody...
to the academy for in-service training.
That's where they teach it.
Teach you what
every policeman should do.
They'll teach you...
like I shouldn't have
given my gun up, and...
things you should do,
and things I didn't do.
Go on.
That's it. I don't know.
I think I'm gonna like this job.
My partner, Oscar, is the best.
I think I'm gonna like working with him.
It's finally a matter of knowing them.
These pickpockets are a closed fraternity.
You get so you know them,
or you know the type.
After a while, you get to like the crazy job.
Anything for a change, Oscar?
You ought to see a chiropractor
about that sore neck of yours.
It usually starts there, and then it works
its way into a vicious headache.
- I know a good chiropractor.
- You know a good obstetrician?
My wife, I think she's pregnant again.
I can't remember his name.
He used to work with a guy named Grimes.
Best pair of purse-picks I ever saw.
We stay with him long enough,
he'll go for a purse.
How about you circling over by the counter
in case he hits and runs?
I need a new watchband anyway.
Maybe I'll buy one while I'm there.
Welcome back to The Dating Game,
Connie, you now must make a decision,
The gentlemen over there
have done their best to win your heart,
You said good-bye to the gambling man?
He asked me
if I wanted to play some poker.
Can you believe that?
Yard time, coming in,
Guard said I'm gonna die tomorrow.
I'm gonna die to save you.
I'm gonna die...
like Jesus Christ.
They'll sew him up
and put him in a straightjacket tonight.
Tomorrow morning, he'll be nice
and healthy when they kill him.
Smell the gas in the air
for days and days.
Powell can save your life.
We're all getting new trials.
Believe me.
Lock up!
Final lock up,
Stand in front of your cell door
for the final lock up,
Count time in the east block,
Count time,
Turn on your cell lights,
Stand at the cell bars,
Stand clear!
Greg, please.
I wanna be your...
I'm sorry.
We was friends.
We was brothers.
If I had only did what you told me.
It's all my fault.
Do you finally understand
that you shot that cop when he was down?
No matter what your mind
lets you remember?
I must've did it if you said so.
I want to be your friend.
We was like family.
Just a minute, sir.
You forgot your change.
Thank you for coming in.
Thank you.
Do you want to sign your resignation
papers or fight the charge against you?
- Sir, what if I don't sign?
- You'll be charged with shoplifting.
The witness is positive,
so you'll possibly be found guilty...
and get fired from the department.
Then you might find yourself
in criminal court on a petty theft charge.
Captain, what should I do?
Officer, if you're guilty,
there's only one thing to do.
Are you guilty?
You're not a thief.
You have no idea.
You think that's all I stole.
I've been stealing for over a year.
I deserve to be in jail.
You're the most honest man
I've ever known.
I stole so many things.
Some I kept, some I just...
I can't even remember
all the things I stole.
I don't know a lot.
But I know one thing.
If you stole, it wasn't Karl Hettinger.
It wasn't you.
There are reasons people do things.
Maybe you could talk to someone else.
a doctor could help.
A doctor?
For me?
I can't afford a doctor for you and the baby.
How am I gonna afford a doctor for me?
Helen, I don't have a job.
Two years of pretrial motions.
It's a war of attrition,
and the obstructionists are winning.
Our judge almost dies of a heart attack,
so we get a new judge.
Start all over again.
Two years.
Phil, I've been on this case for six years.
There's no finality in the law.
Our system of justice
is incomprehensible to the world.
Mr. Halpin.
Could you please lower your voice, sir?
I'm trying to prepare a new motion.
Motions to exhume Campbell's body.
Motions to quash the jury panel for racism.
Demands for softer beds.
What worries me is what
it's doing to me personally.
I worked 15 hours a day
to get myself through law school.
Now it just seems like...
a silly thing to devote one's life to.
That's not even an issue here.
Your Honor, at this time,
the defense would like to renew...
the motion to reenact,
film a reenactment of...
I strongly object to this frivolous motion
to film a reenactment of the crime.
These pretrial motions will go on forever
if you don't stop them.
The district attorney's rhetoric
is delaying these proceedings.
- If Mr. Halpin would please...
- Please! Please!
And may I add, Your Honor...
that Mr. Halpin said
he would knock me on my ass?
- I didn't. I didn't say that.
- He did, Your Honor.
And he directed his face
to my co-counsel and said, "Fuck you."
Bailiff! Everyone, sit down!
Did you see it? He struck my lawyer!
You try that with me,
and we're going to war!
- Order!
- He actually hit my counsel!
Just a second.
You are instructed to say nothing.
I would ask that Mr. Halpin
be arrested immediately.
The court is calling a recess at this time.
The court is calling a recess!
Your Honor, I would ask
that you have him arrested immediately.
The court is calling a recess
at this time!
I would ask that Your Honor
have him arrested immediately.
The judge ordered us
to sit and be silent.
Counsel for the defense refused...
but said that he wanted it
read into the record...
that he was deemed to have been
forced to sit and be silent.
That's when it hit me.
Physical fact is meaningless.
Lawyers can deem that fantasy is real.
Lie is truth.
Now Jimmy Smith's decided
he wants a brand new lawyer.
I guess it'll take a few more weeks...
for the new lawyer to acquaint himself
with the case and...
So I decided to quit the law.
I'm finished.
Why don't you take some time
and think about it, Phil?
Campbell's forgotten.
He may as well never have lived.
Hettinger's a ghost.
Only the legal process has meaning.
I've got to get away.
You know what I was thinking?
I was thinking
that if it were in my power...
I'd release Powell and Smith,
drop all the charges.
Let 'em walk.
If only I could send some lawyers
and judges to the gas chamber.
How about going out
for some Mexican food tonight?
You can afford to support a husband
and children...
and still go out for dinner?
At least we don't have to worry
about any more kids.
Not the way I've been
performing in bed lately.
Karl, it's just temporary.
You think you should see another doctor
about those headaches?
Maybe when this new trial is over,
things will get better.
I better get going.
Trial will never end.
Trial is never going to end.
Please, shut up.
Yes, darling? I'm here.
Daddy! The baby's crying.
Go back to bed, darling.
I'll take care of our baby.
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
Hello, Karl.
- Pierce, how are you?
- Getting older.
Friend of yours.
Emmanuel. How are you?
I'm still digging in the dirt.
I pass by Bakersfield
on my way to my fishing spot.
I stopped by there about...
a year ago, looking for you.
I hear there was a white man looking
for me. I figured it was you.
They want you now, Mr. Hettinger.
How are they treating you, Karl?
Just fine.
How many times have you testified
to these events over the years?
Maybe eight times.
I don't quite remember.
And when you testify, does it bring
the events back to your mind?
Sometimes it fades away between trials.
I'm sorry.
Could you repeat that question,
please, sir? I can't...
I'm going to renew my motion...
that this witness'
entire testimony be stricken.
Will counsel for both defendants
please approach the bench?
All right, off the record, Your Honor...
let me read a subpoenaed
psychiatric report on my chief witness.
"Mr. Hettinger is undergoing
severe depression...
formerly masked by
a compulsive need to steal.
His former thefts were
obviously a crying-out for help...
a desire to be punished.
He's experiencing
overwhelming unconscious guilt...
which he associates with not having
done his duty the night of the murder.
Suicidal behavior
is a distinct possibility."
Would the defense
like the jury to hear...
what Mr. Hettinger has suffered
the past seven years?
Your Honor, the question is
whether or not Hettinger...
is mentally competent at this time.
His testimony of seven years ago
is no longer relevant.
You may step down.
I believe he is competent.
Your Honor,
I'm gonna call Gregory Powell right now.
I object, Your Honor.
He must not be allowed
to take the stand at this time.
This is a jailhouse legal trick.
I know it, you know it,
the defense knows it.
Mr. Powell will be allowed to testify.
A trier of fact cannot draw an inference
about what a witness will or will not do.
Call your witness.
- May I stand with my client, Your Honor?
- You may.
Call Gregory Ulas Powell.
Do you solemnly swear
that the testimony you shall give...
in the cause now pending
in this court...
shall be the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, so help you God?
I do.
Mr. Powell, how many times
did you shoot Officer Campbell?
I repeat my objection to this
as being asked in bad faith.
Based on the Fifth Amendment
to the Constitution of the United States...
I refuse to answer that question
on the grounds it may incriminate me.
- I have no further questions.
- You may step down, Mr. Powell.
- How's my landscape designer?
- Your gardener is fine.
Couldn't be better.
The beer's nice and cold.
I was wondering...
if you'd mind if I took a real job.
What job?
I got an offer to go to work...
at a big, commercial nursery.
You did?
I'd have to supervise 30 men, so...
Karl. It's terrific!
You could supervise 30 men or 300,
for that matter.
- Why didn't you tell me?
- It's in Bakersfield.
Near the onion field?
Near the onion field, yeah.
It's real work.
It's a good job.
I think you should take it.
What do you think?
I think I should take it, too.
Mr. Powell, congratulations.
I hear they gave you a parole date.
- 1983, I hear.
- Yes.
Could you turn that down, please?
Mr. Powell, could you talk to me
about my appeal?
They say you got one of
the best legal minds in the yard.
I'd be glad to.
I could teach you some law,
if you were a willing student.
- You could?
- It would be my pleasure.
First, I gotta put the finishing touches
on this letter to my family.
Seems like everyone wants me
to run their affairs.
You got a family, son?
Very important, family.
It's the foundation
and wellspring of all that's...
productive and wholesome
in our social system.
Do you ever play that game?
At my age? No way.
I hear you
and your old friend Powell are...
going to be getting out in a few years.
Are you going to stay out this time?
My man...
I was born for a prison yard.
- How do you like your bacon, Mom?
- Served to me.
This is my idea of Mother's Day.
No kids...
and a cook who's gonna
double as a dishwasher.
This can go too far, you know.
Guess what?
The other day,
I went driving by the onion field...
and you'll never guess what happened.
As I was driving by, this ad came
on the radio for the Black Watch Pipers.
Can you imagine?
As I was driving by,
bagpipe music came over the radio.
And it's...
pretty nice music.
If you give it a chance, lassie.
Enough of this drudgery.
I'll drudge later.
Come on.
- Where are we going?
- Come on.
- We're going to go swimming.
- No.
- No! Karl! Karl, it's too cold.
- It's warm in the sleeping bag.
No! Karl, no!
Karl, look.
The little fish...
They're kissing us.
Those are bluegills.
They're just hungry.
They nibble at everything
that comes into the water.
- Damn it, Karl, I say they're kissing us.
- Okay, Helen.
Okay, they're kissing us.
- Hello.
- Hello.
- You're a good piper.
- Thanks.
I'm not that good.
I don't think I'll win a medal or nothing.
You may.
My son won a silver medal here once,
a long time ago.
You must know about the bagpipes then.
My people were from Scotland,
and so were my husband's.
But I always wanted my boy
to play piano.
- The pipes are so boisterous.
- No. That's the kind of brave music it is.
I hope your son stayed
with the bagpipes.
I think I'll play the bagpipes
as long as I live.
I think that's a lovely idea.