A Murder of Crows (1998) Movie Script

trimark pictures
look who's here, boys.
F. Lee Bailey.
Hey, shyster! Welcome to hell!
What happened?
Your lawyer screw you?
Not even Jesus can save youse lawyers.
Lock down number 7.
Nothing makes people happier
than a lawyer going to prison.
And who could blame them?
Lawyers represent the victory
of reason over righteousness.
It's very easy
to lose faith in the system
where the strong tread on the weak.
Trust me. I know.
It started on fat Tuesday.
Show your tits!
Show your tits!
Show your tits!
Show your tits! Show your tits!
I was having a bad night.
I'd just been introduced
to my conscience.
First impression, I can't say
that I liked him very well.
The bastard wouldn't go away.
I was trained in the law.
One of the first things they teach you
is that morality is
a private and costly luxury.
My father used to say
that jurisprudence wasn't equivocal
as long as you kept in mind
that truth is the highest law.
Judge banning, please.
Lawson Russell.
Tell him it's urgent.
This better be good, Lawson.
I'm less than a dance away
from getting my dick sucked.
Sir, I have a problem.
I'm going to recuse myself from the case.
Are you drunk?
Cold sober.
Have you informed your client?
And his reaction was...
He was unhappy.
I should think he would be.
Do you know how this
will look to the jury?
You've got the case won,
for Christ's sake!
You're out of your fucking mind!
Do you know that?
This is a monumental mistake
you're making here, son!
I cannot successfully
serve the needs of my client
at this time.
It is my duty...
To withdraw.
I'll have the paperwork on your desk
at 8:00 tomorrow morning.
And I'll be in at 10:00 to rip it up.
I'll see you in my chambers then.
Son of a bitch!
Your lawyer is losing it, thurman.
Why didn't you call me?
It was a monumental mistake,
professional suicide.
My client was thurman parks III.
I grew up with thurman.
His daddy was a former
mayor of New Orleans
and one nasty son of a can of human cur.
But thurman was even meaner.
He was on trial for
the brutal rape and murder
of a lap dancer from Lafayette.
She died of asphyxiation,
her panties stuffed down her throat.
I love juries. They're all the same.
They think they've come
to judge guilt and innocence.
In the end,
they vote for whichever side
has the better lawyer.
So I hammered them.
I made them look at that photo
until it was meaningless.
It was working.
You are good, boy.
Have you looked over the questions
I'm going to ask you tomorrow?
I have them memorized.
We're going to win, aren't we?
You bet your ass we are.
I told that bitch I would walk.
That reporter.
You know the one.
I know the one.
I guess I always knew thurman was guilty,
but we trained ourselves
not to think about that.
We're supposed to be impartial,
unaffected, passionless.
I didn't know it at the time,
but that sudden act of
conscience had saved my life.
A penalty, violation of...
You're questioning my ethics?
Anything unethical... it's
your whole argument.
Now shut the fuck up,
the both of you!
Wiley, he obviously knows
that this bastard is guilty.
Now I wanna know if there's
been suppression of evidence.
You know, you may have
been a great quarterback,
Billy ray, and very popular
with all the girls,
but let me give you
a little piece of advice:
You do not wanna cross
swords with me, do you?
No, judge.
Leave us.
Don't get religion on me now, Lawson.
We're too far down the road.
Now you fuck this up
between thurman Jr. and me,
you won't have a future in this state.
Now, I'll fix it
so that you never practice the law again.
And you know I can do that, don't you?
Now you get back in there
and you finish this case.
Oyez, oyez, oyez.
This court is now in session.
All rise
for the honorable wiley banning.
I had represented a lot of rotten people
in my career, gotten them off,
and never given it a second thought.
Innocent until proven guilty.
And if you have enough money,
proof is mighty hard to come by.
Mr. Russell, are you ready to continue?
You have to be rich
to get away with murder.
And thurman was.
Filthy rich.
Mr. Russell.
Are you ready to continue?
I'd like to say
I answered to that... Higher law.
The truth of the matter is...
He never should have smiled.
Mr. Russell!
Are you ready?
Yes, sir.
I am.
The defense calls thurman parks III.
You swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth, nothing but the truth?
I do.
Thurman, tell the court where you were
on the night of June 17th.
I was in the silver garter dance club.
Where you met and had
drinks with jeanie brussard.
A drink.
A drink.
What did you talk about?
No, this isn't one of
the questions that we prepared.
Tell the jury what you talked about.
Tell the jury what you talked about.
We... talked about...
Was that before or after
she danced naked on your lap?
Mr. Russell, approach the bench.
Was that before or after
you drove her down to the batcher
and dragged her up onto the Levy?
That's enough, Mr. Russell.
You are out of order!
Is that before or after
you stripped her, sodomized her,
strangled her...
You are in contempt, sir. Bailiff!
Bailiff! Remove Mr. Russell
from this courtroom!
Must have been a one-sided conversation
what with her panties
being stuffed down her throat.
Remove him from this courtroom!
Escort him out of my courtroom
and detain him for custody!
The jury will disregard
the outrageous outburst
of defense counsel.
It was declared a mistrial,
and I was fired by thurman parks III.
I never could stand him anyway.
The bad news was the disbarment hearing.
They threw the book at me.
Felt like the guy
who went into the hospital
to have his leg amputated
and had the good leg cut off by mistake.
And, of course, they had
to cut off the bad leg.
The court ruled in favor of the doctor.
Seemed I didn't have a leg to stand on.
It is the judgment of
the Louisiana supreme court
that as of this date,
Lawson Russell, esquire,
be disbarred from
the practice of law for life.
I made a mistake.
Should have hired
one of those good old boys
down at the country club.
None of them would represent you.
Lawson, do you know what the odds are
that a woman will be raped
or molested in this country?
1 in 12.
How 'bout a man who kills a woman
actually appearing in a courtroom?
1 in 3.
I should be proud of myself.
Is that what you're saying?
He's gonna be retried, pope.
And he's not gonna be convicted.
Yep. I wrecked my career for nothing.
No, not for nothing.
You stood up for a basic moral principle:
To protect the innocent
and punish the guilty.
Your daddy would have been proud.
Of what? I broke the law.
Disregarded my sworn duty.
Ruined my life.
Your life's not over.
They took your license, not your balls.
There's so many things you can do.
I hear they're hiring at the winn-Dixie!
No, come on. Listen. I'm serious.
I'm serious!
So what are your plans?
Are you gonna sit up in here and stew?
I'm gonna go down to key west.
My father kept a house there.
Hell, I might even write a novel.
I'm as smart as John Grisham.
Is there anything I can do?
You can hop up on the desk for me.
What are you laughing at?
You know, if only you asked nicely.
I don't know what you want me to say,
but I'm the best.
Pride goeth before destruction
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Too late.
I'm already falling.
That's what's so sad.
You haven't fallen at all.
Been in the Florida keys
for almost 13 months.
Was nickel and diming as a fishing guide,
mostly to take up the time
and avoid writing my book.
But business was slow.
Mr. Russell.
My name is marlowe.
I spoke to you on the telephone earlier.
That's right. That's right.
Hello, Mr. marlowe.
So you're interested in fishin'?
That's why I'm here.
Great. Come on aboard!
Mr. marlowe...
This must be the place.
It's quite lovely.
How long we got ya
in key west there, sir?
I've just moved here.
I only recently retired from teaching.
See, my wife passed on.
We don't have any children,
and this place has always held my fancy.
The old man and the sea and all that.
Well, here's your pole, sir.
All right.
Low down like that. We're gonna float
on the tide right into those flats.
So you can just cast out this way
and let the boat just drift right on in.
All right.
Ho ho!
You're up a little bit there.
I feel like a professional.
There was something
very odd about Mr. marlowe.
I couldn't put my finger on it.
Had no idea it was fate come calling.
Hearty dark, sir.
You got it.
And a daiquiri for me, please.
Anybody's favorite.
My father used to carry a pocket watch.
Very distinguished.
I... actually, this is quite a special one.
Well, that's great.
Here you go, gentlemen.
God bless you. Nice.
Well, here's to new friendships.
Well, sir, tell me.
Have you always been a fishing guide,
Mr. Russell?
No. It's kind of a hobby.
I'm working on a novel.
Yes, sir.
That's wonderful.
Before that, I was an attorney.
And you've given that up?
So to speak.
Do you realize that there are more people
in law school right now
than there are lawyers?
Is that right?
It's a fact. For every engineer
they graduate from university,
they graduate 50 lawyers.
$25 billion in liability suits last year.
That's preposterous.
They're parasites.
They're bloodsuckers. That's my opinion.
Gee, Chris, I get the feeling
you don't like lawyers.
If it weren't for lawyers, dear boy,
we wouldn't need lawyers.
We drank and talked
for the rest of the evening.
Mr. marlowe was a hoot.
It was the most interesting
night I'd spent
with my clothes on in over a year.
Good night, Chris.
Yes, good night.
In the end, though, I was happy
to get away from him.
He was so rabid about lawyers,
he left me with a queasiness in my gut
like a feeling of dj vu
or mild food poisoning.
Forget it. I'm not selling the townhouse.
My father bought that house.
Sell the rest of the stock.
Book's coming along fine, Harry.
My next question is,
how much am I paying you?
The stock. Right.
There's an old saying...
Money talks.
The only thing I ever
heard it say was good-bye.
I had to try to generate some income.
Been working on this
damn book for over a year.
Writing, my friends, is hard.
Lawson. I hope I'm not intruding.
No. Please, come in.
Thank you. Please.
I simply had to come by to talk with you.
You mind if I sit down for a moment?
No, of course.
Thank you. Have a seat.
You OK?
Yes, I'm fine.
It's just the heat.
Could I have a glass
of water or something?
Sure, sure. Thank you, sir.
Our conversation yesterday
was quite inspiring.
I simply had to come by,
talk with you.
Thank you.
Brought you something.
Right there.
That's better.
That's a novel. My first.
A novel? Yes.
I only recently finished it.
I'm such a coward,
I haven't told a soul
that I've written it.
I was wondering if you could read it
and give me your impressions.
Well, I'm no expert.
No. I...
I think you'll understand this.
It's about lawyers.
I'll read it.
All right. Thank you.
Now, I want your honest opinion.
You'll get it.
Good. All right, then.
Thank you, sir.
You can rest a bit. You don't have to...
No, I'm fine.
But I tell you,
I'll be at the pub later
if you're so inclined.
And, take your time with this.
There's no rush.
I want you to, digest it all.
Thank you, sir.
Let me get the door for you.
You are kind.
All right.
Thank you.
Happy reading, my friend.
A murder of crows.
Inside the title page
was a quote from William Shakespeare:
"The first thing we do
is kill all the lawyers."
The book was about lawyers,
all right... 5 of them,
all highly paid defense attorneys
working in major Southern cities,
all with very rich clients
who were guilty...
Very nasty bad guys
who deserved to be put away.
All acquitted.
But instead of going after the bad guys,
the killer decides
that it's the lawyers
who need to be punished,
so he knocks 'em off one by one.
Each murder was elaborately
planned and perfectly executed
to appear as a suicide,
accident, or botched robbery.
The writing was a revelation,
a masterpiece of suspense.
And that title...
I learned that a group of crows
is called a murder,
like a flock of seagulls,
an exaltation of doves,
or a covey of quail.
A murder of crows.
Quite simply, the book was brilliant.
Hey, Lawson.
Hey. Remember that old guy
I was drinking with last night?
Yeah. Have you seen him?
Yeah. He was in here earlier.
Said he wasn't feeling
well, then he split.
OK. Thank you.
Excuse me.
Roger that.
Excuse me. Yes. Is everything OK?
You a border here?
No. I'm just visiting a friend.
What happened?
Well, it appears an old man
had a heart attack.
It wasn't Mr. marlowe, was it?
"Mr. marlowe." Yes, it was.
Is he OK?
I'm afraid not. He's... he's died.
I just... i just talked
to him this afternoon.
Yeah, I know. It's a shame, isn't it?
You know him a long time?
No. I just met him yesterday.
I took him fishing.
I understand he was new in town.
Yeah. That's what he said.
I mean... I don't know much.
He used to be a teacher,
and he moved here.
He retired here.
You know where he retired from?
No. He didn't say.
Well, the landlady said that he told her
he didn't have any family.
That's right. Right, right, yes.
His wife passed away recently.
See, I've seen that
happen a million times.
First one spouse goes,
then the other one doesn't last a year.
Are there gonna be any services?
No. They'll probably
cremate him in the morning.
You could light a candle at St. Andrews.
OK. Thank you.
Excuse me.
Excuse me, detective?
What are they gonna do with his things?
Well, he's got no will,
and since he has no next of kin,
his possessions will go to the state.
Why? Is there something
we should know about?
Nope. Nope. Just wondering.
Good night.
I submitted the manuscript to 5 houses.
The first to call back
was devrie publishing.
I had an appointment with
the owner of the company.
Janine devrie.
Lawson Russell.
I thought they would like the book,
but I had no idea I would
get this kind of reception.
I've never been treated
with such deference,
not even by clients
who were in deep shit.
Thank you.
How are you doin'?
You should never
underestimate the power of art.
I'll take it.
I'll take it.
The New York times book review...
"a brilliant indictment of
the criminal justice system,
"probably the season's
best literary offering.
Mr. Russell is a star
of the first magnitude."
Kill a few lawyers,
you're bound to be popular.
You're on your way, buster.
They loved you.
Trust me. This is just the beginning.
You're going to be a very rich man.
It's just hard to believe all this.
It's amazing.
I knew it would make a fortune
before I even finished it.
How could you be so sure?
Made me wet.
Donna, do I have any messages?
It isn't much.
But I call it home.
Very nice.
Daddy built it for me.
He must have loved you.
Very much.
He gave me everything I ever wanted.
Lucky girl.
There are 15 bedrooms.
Just enough.
The book hit the New York times
best-seller list at number 6.
Janine had already ordered
a second and third printing.
I ignored the fact that the book
was condemned by the aclu,
the American bar association,
and the trial lawyers association.
I was having way too much fun.
And the name?
2 fs...
Yeah. D-u-b-o-s-e.
Got it. Got it.
It's a great book, man.
Thanks. I love it.
All right.
"Best wishes." Nice.
What's the name?
Make it out to Jenny.
I really loved it.
I can't wait to read the next one.
Neither can I.
Whenever you're ready,
I want to talk to you about an advance.
You make me rich, I make you rich.
It's a perfect deal.
Hello, Lawson.
What are you doin' here?
Well, you see, my friend wrote this book,
and I thought I'd come by
and get him to sign it for me.
This is my publisher.
Janine devrie, Elizabeth pope.
Hi. Nice to meet you.
Elizabeth is an attorney.
Excuse me.
It's good to see you.
You, too.
You look well.
Hope you enjoy it.
I already did.
You read it already?
You hated it.
I thought it was dark.
It is.
I never thought of you
writing anything like this.
I mean, it seems somehow
incongruous to me.
Surprised you again.
It's just that I didn't
expect anything like this.
That's all.
But, hey, congratulations.
I'm very impressed.
OK, good luck to you, Lawson.
Nice meeting you.
Take care.
Let's get together.
By all means.
It was like I could feel myself falling,
losing touch with the one
decent thing in my life.
It was then that
the magnitude of what I'd done
came home to me.
There would be no next book.
I was a thief.
Now, there's a sight:
A lawyer with his hands
in his own pockets.
I forgot.
You're not a lawyer anymore.
You're a big-time writer now.
What? Did I miss a little book signin'?
Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Damn.
And I went and bought my own copy
and everything.
Who let you out of your cage?
Didn't you hear?
I'm a free man.
I was acquitted.
Isn't America great?
Well, where else could a disbarred,
Piece of shit mouthpiece like you
ride around in a rolls Royce?
Are you attacking me?
No, no, wait a minute.
You only attack women,
or is that when you try
to have sex with them?
I forget. I don't know.
Keep laughin', smart ass.
You're gonna get yours.
In spades.
You know, thurman, from the list
of the most despicable
human beings on this planet,
you're at the bottom.
It was a revelation, representing you,
'cause it was then that I realized
that I couldn't sink any lower.
That's sweet.
Hello, pussycat.
Is this your latest?
Affirmative action.
Well, I'll leave you two alone.
Good night.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Don't forget to whip it.
Do you know him...
Are you coming?
No, thanks. I'll walk.
Welcome back, detective.
How you doin', cliff?
God damn it.
No, I just walked in
the door this minute.
Jamaica was beautiful, man.
Yeah. As a matter of fact,
I did buy some land down there.
That's right, for when I retire.
Since we're on the subject now,
I quit.
OK, OK. You're home.
OK, no casualties.
It won't be long.
We'll be movin' to the island.
Then you'll have fresh fish every day.
You're gonna love it.
What are you doing here, cliff?
Couldn't sleep?
Of course I can sleep.
I can do any fuckin' thing I want.
I'm finished programming.
I was just...
Shut the fuck up.
Can you work these machines?
Y... yeah.
Sit down.
Can you access files
from the other police departments
in the surrounding states? Yes, sir.
Can you access those files
as per victims' occupations?
Yes, sir. I...
Then type in there "lawyer."
That's right. Lawyer.
Start with Mississippi...
All right, bring it on.
Lawson Russell?
Who wants to know?
I do. I'm the motherfucker
you've been playin' with.
Get his left one.
What's goin' on?
You're goin' downtown.
On what charge?
Right this way.
Now, watch your head.
Read him his rights
and fasten his seat belt.
I had no idea what was going on,
but when you're guilty,
you expect the worst.
Yes. Billy ray.
Hello, Lawson.
Guess you already met detective dubose.
Yeah. I offered him a breath mint,
but you know how he is.
Want to tell me what's goin' on?
But it's my job.
It's about your book, Lawson.
What about it?
Well, it seems it's all true.
It's all true.
All 5 of the murders in
your book really happened,
just as you described them,
right down to the last detail.
All of the victims were lawyers.
All of the deaths were
listed as accidents or suicides,
except for the first one,
which appeared to be
a failed robbery attempt,
and all of the murders are connected
by a single motive...
Each of the victims
had just won a major legal victory
for an unsavory client,
just as you describe in your book.
That's impossible.
I mean, it's some kind of coincidence.
I'm afraid it's not.
See, we're not talkin' about
similarities here, Lawson.
We are talkin'...
About exact details of each crime,
details that were never
released to the press.
I mean, minute details, man,
right down to the color of the car.
We are talkin' about things
only the victims
or the killer could've known.
So I need to ask you, Lawson,
where did you get all of the information
for your book?
My legs went numb,
and I couldn't breathe.
I'd been so careful.
I'd destroyed the only
evidence that could prove
that I didn't write the book.
Of course, there's
the distinct possibility
that nobody told you any of the details
of these murders.
There's a distinct possibility
that one disgusted, disgruntled,
disbarred lawyer,
angry at the system that shut him out,
took revenge on the very men
who refused to make
the same moral sacrifice
he did.
Nobody had to tell you
any of these details
because you were there, Mr. Russell.
You killed those men.
You're out of your mind.
Why'd you send me your book?
Is that not your handwritin'?
You just couldn't stand the idea
of people not knowing
about your accomplishments,
could you?
I mean, what's the sense
of committing the perfect crime
if nobody knows about it?
So you set it down
detail-per-detail, didn't you?
And you sent a copy to the one person
you knew could understand it:
The detective that worked the first case.
You sent me that book,
didn't you, counselor?
Because you wanted me to catch you.
Didn't you?
I'd like to speak to an attorney.
Good luck findin' one.
Thanks for coming.
What the hell is goin' on, Lawson?
A really big misunderstanding.
You are being investigated
for 5 counts of homicide.
Well, I'm tellin' you,
it's some kind of mistake.
No. There's no mistake.
That's the list of victims.
They died exactly how you described it
in your book.
I didn't kill anybody,
I promise you that.
Then you're going to
have to explain to them
where you got your information.
Am I being charged? No, not yet.
They want to hear your story first.
They won't believe it.
Try me, then.
What are my options?
You don't have any.
You have to cooperate.
Tell them where you got your facts.
The law does not respect
protection of sources
in capital crimes.
Hell, you should know that.
It's obstruction of justice,
plus accessory after the fact,
harboring a fugitive.
Man, if they really want to get nasty:
Involuntary manslaughter.
You'll go to jail, Lawson.
OK, OK, all right.
Tell them that I need time
to confer with counsel
and to prepare a statement.
Tell them I'll be more
than happy to cooperate
in every way possible,
including naming my source,
but I need out of here now.
Pope, please...
Just do it.
He's guilty.
How can you tell?
Watch. He'll look back.
When the perp's holdin',
they always look back.
Dubose here.
Rabbit's on the track.
Set the hounds loose.
Billy ray, old buddy,
I need a search warrant.
I know just the judge.
I can't believe this.
But it was true.
Each one of the murders in the book
documented an actual killing.
I was... to use the vernacular...
I didn't write the book.
I didn't write the book.
It was given to me
by an old man I met in key west.
He gave me the original
manuscript to read,
and then he died of a heart attack.
I got greedy. I put my name on it.
I submitted it,
and it bup bup bup bup!
You expect me to believe that?
No, no. Hell, I don't even believe it,
but it's true.
Listen, you said yourself
when you read it
it didn't sound anything like me.
I'm guilty of plagiarism, not murder.
So where's the original manuscript?
I burned it.
So the old man from key west
is the real killer,
is that what you're tellin' me?
Maybe. I don't know.
Maybe he just knew the killer.
You don't believe me.
I don't know what to believe.
What are you doing?
I don't think you should
say any more to me.
What are you talkin' about?
This is privileged.
No, it is not.
I am not representing you in this.
I think you'd better seek other counsel.
No. Pope, listen.
Pope, listen, listen, listen.
I'm sorry, Lawson.
I need your help.
There was a time
when I would have done anything for you,
but I don't know who
you are anymore, Lawson.
I can't help you.
I'm not sure anybody can.
Your parents sure must be proud.
Very funny.
May I help you?
Hey! What the hell's goin' on here?!
Maybe this'll explain things, counsel.
Now, let me ask you,
a fine legal mind like yourself,
are you cooperatin'?
Because if you're not...
I'm cooperating.
Mr. Russell's just given us permission
to be particularly destructive.
Carry on.
Like a drink, detective?
Nah. Never touch it.
Makes me happy.
You know, Russell, I kind of admire you.
I think it's a hell of an idea,
knocking off those scumbag lawyers,
letting all these guilty men go free
to continue preying on society.
Yes, sir, it's a damn fine idea.
Goddamn shame it's illegal, though,
isn't it?
I enjoyed your book.
Lot of creepy shit in there, man.
I was particularly enamored
with the analogy to crows.
That's the right word, isn't it?
I mean, they're extremely intelligent,
wary... omnivorous.
They're also extremely
protective of each other.
A very successful species.
You know their numbers
are exploding in this country?
Just like lawyers.
That'd be a metaphor, right?
Or is it a simile? Whatever.
You know, you barbecued me
on the stand once.
You remember that?
You like being a smart ass, don't you?
Must be a genetic trait
with your profession,
like overcharging.
And you all just love
attacking the police.
Makes your day.
Bringing in those high-priced,
so-called experts.
Earn 10 times as much
as we do to tear apart
our investigations and lab work.
While we're underpaid,
overworked, understaffed,
and constantly being
pushed into the ground
as if we were the criminals.
Some of you are.
Takes a team effort
to have the highest
crime rate in the nation.
Now you're being downright offensive.
We both are.
The difference is I'm trying to be.
But you just can't help it.
You know, I followed that parks trial.
Our boy thurman was guilty, wasn't he?
How did that deal come down?
I mean, why did you
snap on him like that?
Too many twinkies.
That sounded expensive.
Lieutenant, you better look at this.
My, my.
I found them in the kitchen,
underneath the cabinets.
Well, lookie here.
Well, that's a good one.
No wonder you had all the details right.
You took pictures!
That's not mine.
I've never seen that stuff before.
No, really?
Well, I guess we'd just
better let you go?
Wait, listen. I'm being framed!
Get your hands behind your back now.
This is my favorite part of the job.
Lawson Russell, you're under arrest
on 5 counts of murder.
The goddamn rabbit's loose!
Repeat, the rabbit's loose.
The New Orleans police department
is actively seeking Lawson Russell
in connection with the murders
of 5 prominent attorneys
depicted in his book a murder of crows.
How sad. Ho ho!!
Mr. Russell escaped custody
earlier this afternoon
and is currently at large.
Come here, baby girl.
It's time to play the escaped convict
and the warden's wife.
Ms. devrie, did you have any idea
that a murder of crows
was based on real events?
None whatsoever. I'm shocked.
What is the publishing
company's position on this?
Devrie publishing only wants
to see justice served.
I hope that the police apprehend
this maniac quickly
and that he is made to pay severely
for these crimes.
When was the last time...
How was I?
This book is gonna go through the roof.
My father loved the law.
He saw in its pursuit
the highest achievement of man... justice.
And "a little bit
of justice," he used to say,
"is all we count for."
Before I went off to college at Yale,
he gave me 3 pieces of advice.
Never waste the opportunity
to tell someone you love them,
never take the credit or the blame
for something you didn't do,
and always tell the truth.
It's easier to remember.
Thank god he was dead.
- Hi.
- Hi.
I'm trying to find out what happened
to the personal effects
of a man who died here
in key west earlier this year?
All right. What was the name?
Last name, marlowe. Christopher marlowe.
When did he die?
March third.
I'm not showing any marlowe, sir.
Are you sure he died here?
Well, we have no record of it.
It's gotta be in there somewhere.
Well, if he died in Monroe county,
a death certificate would be on file.
Do you have an attending
physician's name?
No, I don't have a physician's name.
I spoke to a detective
at the key west police department,
detective goethe?
Goethe? Goethe?
You mean like the German writer?
You know, I don't think there is
a detective goethe on the force, sir.
Maybe you all have the wrong county.
She was part right.
I was on the wrong planet.
I had to retool my thinking.
Everything I knew was wrong.
Christopher marlowe
was the english writer
who first interpreted
the medieval legend faust,
the man who sold his soul to the devil.
Goethe, of course, was the German poet
whose crowning work, faust,
was the most famous version of the tale.
I'd been tempted by the devil, all right,
and sold my soul lock, stock, and barrel.
One park 14, com one.
He's here.
Are you Mrs. Evans?
I'm inspector Harris
of the department
of justice. May I come in?
Am I in some kind of trouble?
No, ma'am. I'm investigating a man
who was a tenant in this rooming house
in march of this year.
A one Christopher marlowe?
Wore glasses, walked with a cane,
english accent?
Sure, Mr. marlowe. I remember him.
What did he do?
I'm not at Liberty to say, ma'am.
How long did he stay here?
Just about a week,
and he seemed like a nice enough man.
Paid in cash.
Did he leave a forwarding address?
Did he meet with anyone
while he was staying here?
No, not that I know of.
This subpoena, as you will see,
requests the phone records
of this rooming house
while he stayed here.
No, no, no, no.
He didn't use the phone here.
And I thought that was odd.
He always used the pay phone
on the corner.
The pay phone?!
Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
You're welcome.
The supervisor at ma bell
was even more cooperative
than Mrs. Evans.
Sometimes life just works out that way.
We are police!
Stop running!
Hey, stop!
Car 4-14 calling com one.
I'm pursuing suspect,
he went over a fence at calder alley.
I'm proceeding to Elizabeth.
Attention, all units
in vicinity of calder alley...
We lost him.
The FBI is here.
Fuck 'em.
Well, you're gonna
need to confer with 'em.
What for, Billy ray?
So we do all the work
and they get to give
the press conference?
I would've thought you wanted to do that.
This is the one he poisoned.
They exhumed the body this morning.
I assume you heard about key west?
It's a bonehead move, if you ask me.
I figured he'd be long gone by now.
South America, maybe.
No way.
He's on his way back to the big easy.
You think?
I know it.
The man's not finished.
He's got another lawyer to get.
Why do you think he sent me his book?
I took a flight from Miami to Baton Rouge
and caught a greyhound down to the city.
All the calls from the phone booth
in key west were local
except for one in the 504 area code.
New Orleans. My home town.
The phone was listed
to a miss althea delroy,
616 Jackson street
in the garden district.
Thurman parks lived
in the garden district.
I didn't think it was a coincidence.
I wanted to see if althea delroy's number
was in thurman park's book.
It wasn't.
The whole thing didn't add up.
Get on.
But from the sound of it,
thurman and Janine did.
I ain't drunk.
Look at this ass. Nice!
You're so bad!
That's what you love about me, baby.
Reminded me of the old story
of Adam and Eve.
Adam, exasperated with Eve,
asked god why he made her so beautiful.
"So that you would
love her," god replied.
"Why did you make her so stupid?"
And god said, "so she would love you."
God damn it, get off me. You're such a...
They deserved each other.
Get off!
Little thing, come on, resist me.
Fight me, baby! Fight me!
All right...
Come on!
It used to be over that hotel...
Elizabeth pope.
Hi. It's me.
I can't talk to you. I could go to jail.
I know.
I need your help, pope.
The legal database
report Elizabeth gave me
said that Mrs. althea delroy
was a widowed housekeeper.
She had a 10-year-old daughter and lived
in a 2-bedroom condo on Jackson street.
She owed 59,000 bucks on it.
What she had to do with all this
was anybody's guess.
Come on, kids! This way!
Theme is the controlling idea
of a play.
It's the single thought
which the playwright tries
to prove by his own work.
Can anybody tell me what
the theme of MacBeth is?
If you're greedy, it leads to disaster.
Is it really greed, though?
MacBeth is more than that. James.
He's more ambitious.
He's ambitious, isn't he?
How ambitious?
Ruthlessly, would you say?
So, Shakespeare set out to prove
that ruthless ambition
leads to its own destruction.
I think he did that.
I figured the professor would
be tied up for at least an hour.
It's time to see where
the bodies were buried.
[Doorbell rings]
I'd never broken
into anyone's house before.
Must be a good way.
I didn't know one.
His name was Arthur corvus.
I saw all the photographs
of his wife and daughter.
They could be coming home any minute.
The daughter's room was musty-smelling.
I figured she was away
at boarding school.
So he didn't know thurman parks III.
But he was a professor of drama.
He taught acting, theater history,
What was his connection to marlowe?
I spent too many years
listening to bullshit
to not know it when I see it.
There had to be a connection.
Well, if it weren't
for lawyers, dear boy,
we wouldn't need lawyers.
Nice... poetic.
Ruthless ambition leads
to its own destruction.
OK, professor, thanks.
How you doing?
Rod, what happened?
Somebody broke into your house.
I live here. Go ahead.
Thank you.
Thank god.
Are you all right?
I'm fine. He didn't hurt me.
He just walked right out.
Who? Lawson Russell.
Lawson Russell.
The author of that novel,
a murder of crows.
The one who knocked
off all those lawyers.
You haven't read about this guy?
Yes, I've read about him.
I just thought that you were mistaken.
No, no. It was him, all right.
I looked him right in his face.
Well, what in the world
would he want here?
Well, that's what we want to know.
I'm detective dubose,
New Orleans police department,
How do you do?
Tell you the truth, professor,
I'm as confused as a nun
on a honeymoon.
May I show you something?
Over here...
Apparently, he broke the window
on the back door there.
Let himself in, he was upstairs
when the housekeeper came home.
How strange.
Yeah, ain't it?
Well, you know these serial killers,
totally unpredictable.
You may just want to check around
and see if anything's missing.
Yes, sir. I'll make it
a point to do that.
Hey, professor?
You never met Lawson Russell before?
No. Thank god.
Know anybody who knows him?
I don't think so.
So I guess you never read his book,
murder of crows?
No, sir.
Maybe he was just
hiding out here for a while.
Yes, quite possibly.
Your housekeeper, Mrs. delroy,
she says you teach
over at the university.
Yes, I do.
That wouldn't be law, would it?
No, I teach theater.
Yes, among other things.
That your family?
Agent Manning, FBI. Who's in charge here?
Detective dubose.
Here they come, the thorns in my ass.
Are you dubose?
No, I'm the fucking easter bunny.
Nice suit, Ace.
Aristotle said, "all that we do is done"
with an eye towards something else."
To understand a deed,
look to the motive.
Jeffrey lowell was the first
of the 5 lawyers murdered.
I reasoned that if there
was any personal connection
between the victims and the killer,
it would be with the first murder.
The messiest of the 5, the most violent.
I had to go back nearly 3 years
before I found it.
Jeffrey lowell represented
a banker from Baton Rouge
charged with hit-and-run driving.
A woman and her daughter
were killed in the accident.
The victims' names were
Jean and Trudy corvus.
Lowell had the case thrown out of court
on a technicality.
The investigating officer failed to,
as the court put it,
"properly advise
the banker of his rights."
The banker walked,
and a serial killer was born.
There he is!
Not a good start for your career.
Busting everything!
I'll take that firearm,
please. Thank you.
I'm very glad that you could come here
and talk to me.
Why don't you just come on in here
and stay for a spell?
OK. Sit on down.
What, you're not gonna give me
any of that courtroom arrogance?
Not gonna smile for me?
I got to tell you, I'm impressed.
You have given me quite a day,
Mr. Russell.
But then again, you've always been
kind of unpredictable, haven't you?
Like that evening in your study
when you called judge banning,
withdrew yourself from the parks case.
I'll tell you, you know, that threw me.
That threw me.
It impressed me so much
that I decided not to kill you.
So I was always on your hit list.
Yeah. Well, you see,
I decided to test you in the way
god tested job.
The book.
Yes, sir.
I loved the faust thing,
by the way. Very clever.
Thank you.
You know...
Quite a piece of work.
I can see why you felt
compelled to share it.
Yes, it was a story
that needed to be told.
Sorry about your family, though.
I'm sure that was hard.
You have no idea how it felt...
Watching that man go free
after he killed them.
You see, I could tell from his eyes
that he was remorseful
for what he'd done.
But his lawyer... His lawyer smiled...
And patted him on the back.
I'll tell you something, Lawson.
Something turned in me then.
I felt a rage inside of
me, and I swear to god,
I tried to put it out of my mind.
I tried to turn the other cheek.
"Vengeance is mine, saith the lord."
But I couldn't wait for it.
You see, he wasn't practicing law!
He was hiding behind it!
He was using it as a hammer
to protect the privileged in our society!
See, he was like you, Lawson.
See, you weren't interested in justice,
you just wanted to win
'cause it fed your pathetic little ego!
And it fed your pocketbook.
For a little bit of money,
you gave away your goddamn integrity!
For a little bit of money,
you frustrated justice.
Well, I'm here to tell you,
for all the people that you destroyed,
I want a little goddamn justice,
and I want it right now!
Stand up. Stand up.
Come on. Move away.
Come on. It's a shame
I'm gonna have to kill you
for violating my home.
You sold your soul to the devil,
Mr. Lawson Russell.
And the devil has come to collect.
May god have mercy on your soul.
Put the gun down, professor.
Put it down.
I will kill him.
It's your carpet.
Come on, now. It's over.
Put it down.
Drop it.
And step back. Come on. Step back.
Yeah, don't mention it.
Officer needs assistance.
1741 coliseum.
You may recall, Mr. Russell,
that, this is the favorite part
of my job.
You're insane.
I didn't kill him.
You killed him.
And he killed you.
With that gun.
Look at me!
It was then that I realized
I was holding the gun that killed dubose.
My gun, my fingerprints.
It was me the cops were looking for.
My name was on the book.
It's your word against mine, isn't it?
Isn't it?
Yeah. That's right.
A teacher and a Deacon in the church
versus a lawyer?
And a disbarred lawyer at that.
Man. I think you're
in a world of trouble.
I'd run if I were you.
He was right.
I was going down for this,
and there was no doubt about it.
Corvus was going to go free.
I am not innocent.
But you are guilty.
Now, here's what we're gonna do.
All the publicity sent the book
through the roof.
The royalties made me a millionaire.
Has the jury reached a verdict?
We have, your honor.
Elizabeth found me one of the best
criminal defense
attorneys in the country.
But, unfortunately,
my old pal, judge banning,
drew the case.
Defendant will rise.
Bailiff will read the verdict.
Whatever the jury's decision,
I was prepared to accept it.
"We, the jury, find the defendant.
"Lawson Russell...
Not guilty."
I'll say it again,
it's an immutable fact of life.
The strong will always tread on the weak.
But every once in a while,
we get a little bit of justice.
And that's all we can hope for.
trimark pictures
institute. Www.Ncicap.Org...
hoo hoo hoo
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I never was a believer
until you came and showed me the way
just like the rays of light
that turn each night
into day
and all the doubts
I could not live without
they all drown
in the depth of your love
you fell down
on my desert one day
like a rain from above
I put my faith in you
lay it down for you
and only you
upon your wings I fly, so high
forever put my faith in you
I put my faith in you
hoo hoo hoo hoo
I used to think I knew freedom
when I would live
to please someone else
but you embrace me for all that I am
you love me for myself
and like a rock
that remains strong and true
you anchor my heart and my soul
and if this world is ever incomplete
you're the one who makes it whole
I put my faith in you
lay it down for you and only you
upon your wings I fly, so high
forever put my faith in you
I put my faith,
I put my faith in you
lay it down for you and only you
upon your wings I fly, so high
forever put my faith in you
I put my faith in you
lay it down for you and only you
only you
upon your wings I fly, so high
forever put my faith in you
I put my faith in you
put my faith
in you
in you
in you
ho, ho
la la, la, la, la
I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe, I believe
yeah, yeah, yeah
yeah, yeah
yeah, yeah
yes, baby, yes, I do
yes, I do