What We Do Next (2022) Movie Script

[elegant music]
[music fades away]
-[ice cubes clink]
-[cork scratches, opens]
[liquid pouring]
-[ice cubes clink]
[trumpet flourish]
[soft music]
[music fades away]
[dramatic music]
[music stops]
[lively music playing muffled]
How does that make you feel?
[dog barks in distance]
Like I fucking hate him.
[music continues playing]
I don't want you staying here.
I don't like what I just saw.
He's not a good dude.
No, he's not.
Does he hurt your brother?
But not what he does to me.
What's happening here
can't continue.
If it's easier,
I can call Child Services.
-[softly] No.
-Why not?
Because they're just gonna
split me and my brother up.
And I don't want that.
[whispering] Now listen.
You need to survive.
You need to survive.
You need to do what you
need to do to survive.
[breathing shakily]
You need to be strong.
[somber music]
I will.
[radio news host]
We're talking
with Councilwoman Sandy James
of New York's 10th District
who gave a speech last week
that's received
a lot of attention.
Not just here in New York,
but across the country.
thanks for calling in.
Oh, I'm glad to be here.
[radio news host]
So my first question is
why did this speech catch fire
in the way that it did?
I'm actually not really sure.
I was just trying to be honest.
[radio news host]
I think there's no question
that you were.
And I think people heard it
and it probably made them
want a lot more of it.
Well, that would
certainly be nice.
[radio news host]
Now, granted, you were
in a subcommittee
City Council meeting
that was essentially discussing
parking ticket rate increases.
But you somehow transcended it
with your appeal to people
to combat their alienation
from the political process
and to truly see themselves
as part of it.
Well, I'd be happy
to play any part
in encouraging folks
to become more involved.
It's, um, it's a process
I believe in.
So I'd actually be very honored.
[radio news host]
Well, there you have it.
Councilwoman Sandy James
of New York's 10th District.
-[people chattering]
-[phone ringing]
[distant traffic noises]
[door opens, closes]
Oh, man.
-You look good, Paul.
-You too.
-It's been a minute.
-It has.
Life is funny. [laughing]
It really fucking is.
-Welcome to my office.
-It's nice.
-It's a shit hole.
-Well, it won't be for long.
-Have a seat.
-Wow. I feel very special.
Take a seat. Sit.
-It's good, isn't it?
-It's a nice chair.
-Heard you got married.
-I did.
-You guys moved to the suburbs?
-You're mean.
-No, I just thought
you moved to--
-We're divorced.
-Oh, sorry.
-For the better.
-For her.
-How long ago?
-Two years.
How's, uh, Dan?
-How do you know about Dan?
-You're famous?
-Not really.
-He sounds riveting.
-Are we really doing this?
Giving each other shit
about who we're with?
I'm not with anybody.
Sorry. You got divorced.
-Thank you.
I'm sorry you're with Dan.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
You have any kids?
-Theo. Nine.
So, I mean,
congratulations on everything.
-The work, the speech.
I'm not sure how five minutes
on participatory budgeting
became a nationally viewed
rallying cry
for independent thinking.
-Lucky timing.
-Good social media team.
It was a moment.
Next up council speaker.
-If the people so desire.
-Sky's the limit.
-Speaker, mayor,
Senate, White House.
-Shut up.
-That's the straightest bet.
I mean, you can skip Senate.
-Oh, come on.
God is good to see you.
I'm so glad you came in.
-You've been on my mind.
-Oh, yeah?
Um, I just meant
we needed to talk.
Elsa Mercado is being released.
That's a good thing.
Her pardon petition
was ruled on.
It's a matter of weeks.
-Is that earlier than--
-Six years,
sentencing relief
is finally taking hold.
-She deserves it.
-She really does.
I actually got a call last week
from Jim Feingold at Slate.
They're doing a piece
on her release.
-Well, how did they--
-My name is
in that trial transcript
as having run
the resource center
where she was loaned the money
and Feingold smells blood.
She, she collected money
on a false pretense.
-Yeah. Yeah.
-Or at least
the pretense changed.
And then nobody knows
you're the one who gave it.
Or that you were the one
that supplied it.
-After being told
it was for a down payment.
-Having been told that by you.
So you wanted to let me know.
Feingold will
likely call the DA.
-Is that the same DA?
-Same DA that was a deputy DA
who prosecuted her case.
Questioned my veracity
at the time.
He's looked at me
funny ever since.
He probably wants
to be mayor himself.
Listen, I'm not asking you
to do anything
'cause there's
really nothin' to do.
But I wanted
to tell you in person.
Sounds like your life
is complicated enough.
You don't need any more hassle.
This is gonna be
a problem for me.
You might get caught
in the fallout.
[soft tense music]
-[Paul] It wasn't even
your money.
-I know.
-I was an overpaid,
first year counsel.
-We were trying to help.
-We didn't know she was lying.
-We had no idea that she
was gonna use that money.
-We, we discussed this
at the time.
-We did.
Because you thought
that she would name you.
-I did.
-But she didn't.
-Okay then.
Still tricky.
Feingold wants to smear me.
The DA wants to destroy me.
And if Elsa tells them
that I omitted the truth,
which I did back then,
-and last week.
-Everyone's got
a fucking agenda.
I'm the Council's leading
advocate on gun control.
And I unwittingly
facilitated a murder.
Feingold will locate
the police report.
He'll track the transaction.
It's from an ATM 16 years ago.
The point is
when a progressive politician
takes on gun trafficking,
people love nothing
more than to pierce
that politician's integrity.
And when that politician
happens to be darkly pigmented,
you discover those people,
especially Caucasian ones
who deeply desire Pulitzers,
will go to great lengths
to slay the strident
and hypocritical and egress.
The rules are just different.
Which is exactly
the fucking problem.
Listen, I don't plan
to give up easy.
I believe in this shit.
I'm gonna go to my grave
giving voice to people in need
and that's not
bullshit rhetoric.
I am in it for the long game.
So if they take me out for this,
I'm gonna come back
in another way.
I'm gonna... go back
to community organizing.
I'll pass out crackers
at the fucking blood bank.
I mean this... This is who I am.
The thing is
what flashed through my mind...
...is how naive
it would look for someone
to not have foreseen the problem
with handing $500 over
to a teenaged victim.
Of a man who was
repeatedly molesting her.
You were running
an entire community session.
I should have
thought it out more.
I should have cared more.
For what she was going through.
She was asking me for help.
I failed her.
By trying to be her savior, I...
I should have been her mentor.
Still. The, the, the fact
that some fuckhead reporter
wants to get you when you
were clearly well-intentioned.
It's why good people
don't enter politics.
Except for you. [chuckles]
[distant siren wailing]
As you end up in, uh,
Washington Heights.
Saw a need.
-An open seat?
I just remember how much
you used to love Brooklyn.
-Yeah. It's not
the same Brooklyn.
You're from Canarsie,
not Cobble fucking hell.
I don't live in Canarsie.
-Oh, that I understand.
How's your mom?
-You met my mother once.
-Three times.
She, uh, she called me Paulie.
-She didn't call you Paulie.
-Yes, she did.
No, we're not
the Gambinos, Paul.
She used to laugh at my jokes.
-She's being polite.
-Oh. Oh.
Oh, come on.
That doesn't hurt your feelings.
I no longer have feelings.
I mean... I did back then.
Paul, you were
a flash in the pan.
You can't flash
in the pan for a year.
It was a dalliance.
You were slumming
with a Black chick.
-Not true.
-Plus you were
sleeping all over town.
-You didn't cheat?
-You cheated three months in.
-With who?
-With, uh, that little redhead
at the center.
-You cheated
with little weird Hannah.
-You think I slept with Hannah?
-I know you slept with Hannah.
I mean...
-I was your side piece,
while Hannah was more palatable
to the likes of you.
You don't think I had feelings.
I think you like coming up
to Harlem once a week,
dippin' your toes in the water.
Get a little taste
nibbling on the collard greens.
But you always had
a little Hannah or...
...Becky, back at the law firm
getting into your briefs.
Maybe you were just
upwardly dallying
with a downtown lawyer.
-No, you can't upwardly dally.
-You can dally every which way.
No, you can't.
You can't dally with the world
that doesn't want to.
I mean, you can go
on a couple of dates with him
when he comes up
to Harlem once a week.
But one dallies down
in this world.
Not up, especially back then.
Oh, yeah, because now
you're the one with a, uh--
You should just stay
in your lane on this one.
I had feelings too,
for what it's worth.
And who knows
if back then had been today?
-What about Dan?
-What about Dan? He's great.
-It's not the same.
-Don't you fucking emotionally
manipulate me.
-I'm actually not.
-I thought I was a dalliance?
It was. But you still showed up
once a week with your law degree
and your integrity
and your horniness.
And there I was
with my idealism and my...
...arrogance and my ignorance.
And we connected.
We wanted to change the world.
And that was real.
Even though I like
to give you shit.
-Keep up a lie.
[soft music]
Why don't you let me do it?
Say I gave them money to Elsa.
-Save you the hassle.
I'm the loser living
in New Rochelle.
Let me be the naive asshole
who gave gun money
to a murderer.
-Your entire career is built
on fighting violence
through governance.
And now this asshole
wants to crucify you for sport.
Fuck that.
Let me take the blame.
-Because I'd like to help
keep you on mission.
Which is helping people.
Including Elsa.
Who's done her time
and doesn't deserve
to get caught up
in some bullshit scandal
aimed at your integrity.
You're, you're on the right side
of every issue.
Including those issues
that make it possible
for girls like Elsa
to have recourse
for when their asshole father
is molesting her every night.
And it, and it'll help me
look good too.
A man who was willing
to help a girl in need.
A good dude in the era
before dudes like me
were woke to the fact that
girls like Elsa were victims.
-I've created a monster.
Anybody asks, the money
came directly from me to Elsa.
You can't let them trip
you up on the bullshit.
And if I can help in my own
little way once a week...
...let me.
And who knows,
maybe you'll hit me back.
Mayors need lawyers.
[scoffs softly]
When was the last time
you saw her?
Saw her a couple of times
after her trial.
Why'd you stop?
She's upstate, I mean, like...
...we grew apart.
Let me do this, Sandy.
[radio news host]
Today, we're discussing
the upcoming race
for New York's
City Council Speaker.
Front runner, Sandy James,
has proposed a bill
that would deny tax credits
to landlords
who abuse their tenants.
A problem
that disproportionately
affects the poor.
In calling for action,
James challenged her fellow
council members
to dream of a better
version of New York.
We'll discuss coming up.
[calm piano music]
It's good to see you,
Elsa, it really is.
I take it this
isn't your office.
No, my office is down the block.
We're, we're just, uh...
-We're borrowing this.
-Trying to keep it private?
No, it's right across the street
from the coffee shop.
-What's he get out of this?
-Paul's doing me a favor.
He doesn't get anything.
-You think?
-What would he get?
-I don't know. Somethin'.
-[Sandy] Elsa--
He ain't gonna answer.
I'm doing her a favor.
Because I believe
in what she's doing
and I'd like to see her
keep doing it.
You guys been in contact
this whole time?
Only once or twice
till a couple weeks ago.
And she just called you
out of the blue?
-[Paul] Sort of. Yeah.
-And you were just like,
-"Yeah, I got your back.
No problem."
-Actually, I offered to do it.
Oh, so you guys just thought
I'd be down with it.
We were hoping you might.
-What was prison like?
-What do you think it's like?
-[Paul] Not very fun.
-You didn't get
to finish high school?
-I finished.
-Anything after that?
-You mean like college?
-Yeah, had a couple people
come in and teach courses
or seminars or whatever.
But for college you gotta pay.
-And my mother never had enough.
-[Sandy] How's
your mother doing?
-She's still working?
She's been in a wheelchair
since I was ten.
-[Sandy] No.
I remember that. I--
-She just babysits
for people in the building now.
So why aren't you staying
with her?
-[Elsa] 'Cause I don't wanna.
Plus they moved her
to a smaller unit.
My brother's place is bigger.
You thought about jobs?
-Have I thought about it?
-[Sandy] Yeah.
-You have a job in prison?
You think I should get
a laundry job out here?
I think you can
probably do better.
-Like what?
-I'm not sure, but I do
know there are programs.
I can help get you in one
that can help
with job placement, housing.
Yeah? You mean,
if I do what you're asking.
I can help you either way.
I would like to
help you very much.
[distant traffic noises]
[sighs] So, Sandy.
What do you do
when you are in your office?
I mean, I, I know
you're city council
and you don't
wanna lose your job
'cause you helped me buy a gun.
-But what do you actually do?
-[Sandy] Well, I have
a small support staff.
Policy director, press persons,
constituent liaison,
and, uh, really our first duty
is to provide a power check
against the mayor.
Okay. How much you make?
Approximately 148,000. A year.
-That includes your staff?
-No, that's just
a council member.
There's a small budget
for staff.
Plus extra space for
private meetings like this one?
No. We're just borrowing this.
I know the owners.
-What do you do?
-I'm a lawyer.
-Fuck, man.
-You help people like me?
Uh, well, I'm more of on the,
uh, the corporate side.
White collar.
-What does that mean?
You defend, like, corporations?
-Yeah. Yeah. I do that.
Uh, I'm, I'm trying to get more
into representing people
suing corporations.
-You know, whistleblowers.
-[Elsa] Uh-huh.
And people fighting
corporate malfeasance,
corporate greed.
-Uh, that's my goal.
-How's that going?
[stutters] You know,
it's getting there.
-[Elsa] You got a lot of cases?
-No, no, not really. No.
Oh, not enough blowers
calling out greed?
-Guess not.
-What's the worst
thing you ever did?
-Yeah. I mean,
you know my worst thing.
I'm just curious yours.
Now that you're asking me
to conspire with you.
I guess I was a shitty father.
Or am one. Seeing as how
I don't live with my kid.
At least you're not fucking him.
-Or her.
-My kid?
-[Elsa] Yeah.
I mean, my worst thing wasn't
actually killing my father.
If you could believe that.
My worst thing was
when my mother had her accident
and my father started acting
the way he started acting,
my mother had this idea
to let my little brother
go live with a sister of hers
up in the Bronx.
As a way of getting him
out of the apartment
and away from my dad and shit.
And, and my whole thing was...
...I really wanted
my brother to stay.
'Cause I didn't wanna be alone.
And so, I convinced my mom
to let him stay with us.
And so that led to him having
to deal with all kinds of shit
from my father as well.
Not to mention the day
I shot my father...
...my brother was
standing right there.
I mean, he was,
he was right there.
And so obviously, you know...
...he ain't never gonna
unsee that.
So that's my worst thing.
Similar to yours, I guess.
Not doing the right thing
for the people in our lives.
Here's the thing, Ms. James.
I don't wanna lie for you.
I mean, first off,
I just spent 16 years
deceiving and lying and doing
whatever I had to do.
So I find it kind of funny
that the first thing
that happens once I'm out,
is, like, supposedly
respectable people asking me
to start deceiving straight off
again, in a fucking warehouse.
And I also don't think it's so
smart for me to do as I'm trying
to get back on my feet,
'cause if I get caught
in a big lie like that, they're
just gonna throw me back inside.
It's not a lie, Elsa.
All we're asking is
that you say you got
-the $500 from me.
-But she's the one
who gave it to me.
-I realize that.
-So it's a lie
if I say something else.
-Paul is the one
who supplied it.
-[Elsa] I already didn't say
-anything during the trial.
I said, I didn't remember.
-Which I appreciate.
-That's right.
-And even that,
I don't think they believe.
No, I don't think they did.
You're right.
And now the press is digging
deeper because they know
that I knew you,
which is why
I'm asking you for help.
But he is not the one
who gave it to me.
Right. But at the time
I was helping you.
-I know that.
-I was doing you a favor.
-I get that.
-Which you completely abused
by using that money
to go out and buy a weapon
and kill someone.
Which I told you I was.
You told me?
I told you I needed help
to defend myself...
-[Sandy stutters] Yes.
-...against my father.
Well, yes, by moving out.
-[Elsa] Or by other means--
-No. That's, that's--
I said I needed protection
for the next time
-that motherfucker touched me.
-I'm sorry.
That's not what happened.
-I didn't say
I needed protection?
-Maybe, but I certainly
-didn't understand that
to mean that--
-That I was gonna buy a gun.
-Yes. That's definitely
not what I understood.
-Is that what she told you?
-That she thought protection
meant something else?
I think she thought that you
needed it for a down payment.
-She didn't say
I needed protection?
-[Paul] Not to me.
No, she didn't say
you said anything
about that at all. No.
-You're a fuckin' liar.
-[Sandy] Elsa,
let me be very clear.
You may have used
the word "protection,"
but not in the context
of buying a gun.
You said you needed
a down payment.
And after I asked
Paul to fund that need,
you said it would help you--
-Protect myself.
But you never said that
meant going out, buying a gun,
so a month later you could
point-blank murder a man.
-Right. Right.
-[Sandy] I'm sorry,
but that is not
-how that--
-She's got you around
the fucking barrel, man.
Elsa, do you really think
I would've given you the money
-if you were telling me--
-I think back then
you understood
what I was going through.
-Yes I did. I understand.
-I know you did.
And maybe you're
a different person
now that you're
power-checking the mayor,
but back then you were
like my cool older sister
and you knew exactly
what I was going through.
'Cause I had sat with you
and told you all about what
that asshole was doing to me.
So I think you knew exactly
what protection meant.
-[stutters] Maybe you had--
-Shut the fuck up.
What the fuck do you know?
-I knew Sandy
very well back then.
-Oh, yeah?
-You knew her well back then?
I bet you did.
-Yeah, I did.
She worked tirelessly
for the people who came
to the resource center.
And on some
of the volunteers as well?
-She worked tirelessly
on your behalf, Paul?
-Oh, that's not what
I'm talking about.
-That's what I'm talking about.
-Fine. But that has
nothing to do--
-Well, it does now,
because you are the one offering
to be the one to take the blame.
Which it seems
you're pretty good at.
Just standing there
taking the blame
'cause you got
nothing else to do.
Or maybe you feel guilty
about whatever went on
with y'all back in the fucking
day, I don't know.
I offered to take the blame,
not out of guilt,
but because
I don't want the situation
to become politicized.
You sure you did or she just
make you think you did?
-I never understood what you
were saying when you said--
-That's bullshit.
-All you said was
that you needed--
-You're fucking lying, bitch.
You knew I didn't
have any options.
And you knew I knew people
who sold guns
'cause they were fucking
everywhere back then.
Including people
you and me both knew
who you kicked outta the center.
So don't stand there
and act like you don't know
what I was fucking thinking.
Fine. This was
obviously a bad idea.
-And I-- It was a mistake
to bring it up.
-[Elsa] Yeah.
So if you don't wanna say
you got the money from Paul,
I respect that.
But let me reiterate
I had no inclination
-of the degree to which you were
willing to self-protect.
-I told you I was desperate.
You were desperate
to get out of that situation--
I was desperate
to stop him from destroying
and breaking my life
and my womanhood
and my little brother
and my entire fucking humanity.
That's what I was doing.
And I couldn't do that
by just moving out
because I couldn't afford it
every day 'cause I was 16.
And because he would still be
in my head every single night.
-To make him leave my head,
I had to fucking end it.
-[Sandy] Okay.
-Okay, so we clearly
understood different things.
Can you get me a job?
What do you mean?
If I help you,
can you get me a job?
-I mean, you want a favor?
I want a favor.
-[Paul] Like she said
that she could try to get you
into a reentry program,
which has
-a job-placement dimension.
-[Elsa] No, that's not
what I'm talking about.
-[Sandy] What are you
talking about?
-I mean, like a good job.
As in no $15 an hour shit.
-$15 an hour is a good job.
-Yeah. Well, I don't want that.
I'm not stabbing trash
in Times Square
for fucking Chinese tourists.
I know I'm not gonna get
148,000... [scoffs]
...but I don't want
fucking 30 either.
I need more like...
-[Paul] Elsa.
You want me to lie
to a reporter?
I'm asking you
to find me a decent job.
You need certain qualifications
for a high-paying job.
Then give me a city job.
I know those ain't exactly
all rocket science.
This is starting
to feel like a shakedown.
Shake it however
you want, Sandy.
-That's blackmail.
-[Elsa] Are you joking?
I need a good job so my mother
who's in a wheelchair
don't have to eat
fucking dog food.
And then you start talking
about putting the blame
on this motherfucker over here.
And I ask you to up
the ante a little
and you start talking
about shakies.
-That's what I call
fucking call it.
Okay. Okay.
What do you want?
In terms of jobs?
I don't know.
-How about policy director?
-For who?
-For you.
-I can't just get you
a high-paying job
-as soon as you--
-75's not high.
-Still, I--
-People get outta prison
and get good jobs every day.
-Like who?
-Like all 'em people
Paulie works for.
-All them fucking white collars.
-[Paul] White collar criminals.
Yeah. All them fucking dudes.
They walk outta prison
-and right back
into 5,000,000 bucks a year.
-She's got a point.
-What are you qualified to do?
-I don't know, fucking--
-Oh, because of your own.
Because of my own shit.
And 'cause I just spent
16 years in prison.
'Cause there's a lot
of trauma in prison, Sandy.
We take seminars on that shit.
'Cause ain't but 1%
of women in there
ain't got fucking level A trauma
going back
to the second they were born.
Them bitches got drama
with a capital fucking T-Rex.
-Well, that makes you an expert?
-[Elsa] Fuck, yeah.
It's not like I killed
my father for fun.
And no, I didn't take
no college courses
on policy directing.
But I spent 16 years
in circle time
talking with people in pain.
Broken... broken people.
So what do you wanna be?
A... trauma counselor?
How much you pay?
-Well, what about a, uh,
abused women's shelter--
-Excuse me. I'm sorry. You--
-Could you get her a job
at an abused women's shelter?
-I can't just do that.
-Why not?
-Because you need
a degree in social work
-and then mast--
-[Elsa] Okay then.
Put me on a SWAT team.
Give on get me one
of them stun grenades.
I'll go in there
and extract all them battered
wives from their apartments
and do a little damage
on their husbands too.
"Oops. Sorry about that
battering ram up your ass.
Oh, you don't like that?
Does it hurt?
Does it hurt?
Does it fucking hurt?"
-I was joking about that part.
-You probably shouldn't
joke about that topic.
-What? Abused women.
-[Paul] Yeah.
Why? Because you had
abuse in your life.
-I'm just saying.
-[Elsa] Do you?
-A lot of people do.
-I know they do, d-- but do you?
Okay then. So you know
what I'm talking about?
Yeah. You probably
shouldn't joke about it.
-Who in your family was abused?
-Okay. Wait, we can move on now.
-[Elsa] Was it you?
Your wife?
Can we move on?
Or was it, like, your mom?
It was, right?
-Your mother was abused?
-By her father?
Okay then.
You're right,
I shouldn't joke. I'm sorry.
Thank you.
[Elsa sighs]
Look, you're asking me
for something.
I'm just asking
for something in return.
My life got fucked, Sandy...
...and I'm just trying
to get it back.
I wanna help my mom.
Even though she never helped me.
I wanna help
my little brother's kids
go to college, and...
Just in general,
'cause he's got girls,
and I wanna be there for them.
Just like you were there for me.
'Cause I know you
at least tried to help.
-[Sandy] I did try to help.
-I know you did.
You once told me I was
the most promising young lady
you ever met.
[snickers] And I believed you.
And when I was in prison
talking to the other women,
I'd tell them you told me that.
And sometimes
I'd say it to them.
When the young ones
would first come in,
I'd tell them
that they have promise.
And that they can make it.
Glad to hear that.
And, and I know they don't just
give out jobs like that.
So basically I'll take
whatever you got.
...just something
with self-respect
and givin' a shit for others.
'Cause those two things
right there,
that, that's intimate.
That's revolution.
That's like...
[melancholic music]
That's like revolution
of the intimate.
I hear what you're saying.
I may be able to find you
something, if you give me
a couple of days, no promises.
-But if I do get you something--
-Then you can rest assured,
secrets go with me.
So long as it's
still okay with Paul.
Yeah. You can count on me
not to blow the whistle.
[melancholic music]
[radio news host]
Later in the hour, we'll be
talking with the newly elected
Council Speaker Sandy James,
who has pledged to use
the power of her position
to steer the Council, to quote,
"Act as a voice for those
who have been shut up
and shut out
of the political process
for too long."
And we'll open up the phones
for your questions
to the speaker.
-[distant siren wailing]
-[rain pattering]
It's so good to see you, Elsa.
-[Elsa] You too.
Glad I had a moment.
-[Sandy] How's the job?
-[Elsa] It's all right.
Yeah. I was in the purchasing
department at ACS--
Clerical associate
at the Office of Procurement
for the Chief
Contracting Officer
-at the Administration
and Children's Services.
[laughs] You like it?
-It's all right.
-Decent money. Good benefits.
I'm very thankful.
-So it's been what? Five months?
You know, hopefully
you find it meaningful
as you move up in the ranks.
It's really nothing
more important
than the care of children.
So, what do you wanna
talk about? [grunts softly]
I saw in the paper
how you won that big election.
Oh, yeah. Council speaker.
-Thank you. [chuckles]
-You gotta raise for that?
-[laughing] No. I don't.
Same salary
for all the council members.
But I do get a new office
next month.
[mouths] Oh!
I, I also wanted to thank you
for what you said in the paper.
About how I deserve
a second chance from when
you first got me the job.
[stutters] You do deserve it.
Given what you went through
when you were a child and, uh...
...and you served your time.
[softly] Yeah.
What's on your mind?
I wanted to talk with you
to discuss something.
-Is it the job?
-No, no, no, no.
-The job's good. I mean, yeah.
It's got more to do
with something
that happened outside of work.
-At a bar. [clears throat]
At a bar?
Yeah. Half bar, half club.
Do I like where this is going?
-I don't know.
What happened
at the half bar, half club?
I was there with my girlfriend
on Friday night.
-It was after work.
And this guy came up to me.
Big dude, and thought
he was all that.
And he's started, you know...
...getting in my face.
Like menacing?
No, you know, like...
-...like flirtatious.
Like aggressive.
Like actually, yeah.
-To the point of menacing.
So I was like, "Yo, back up."
-'Cause I don't have time
for that shit. I really don't.
-Okay. So what happened?
[sighs] Well, it just got
outta control after a while.
Like, I kept telling him,
"Listen, I'm trying to have
a discussion here."
And he wouldn't back down.
Kept talking about
how luscious I looked.
And finally I was like,
"If you don't back up,
-you're gonna
fucking regret it."
-Okay. So then what happened?
-So he didn't back up.
-What did he do?
-He touched me.
Like, on my shoulder at first
and then his hand sort of...
...grazed down over my breast.
-His hand grazed down
over your breast.
And as it did,
he sort of stopped
and basically
momentarily cupped me.
He cupped your breast?
What did you do?
I hit him.
With what?
My hand.
[soft tense music]
I was like...
[speaks in Spanish]
-Okay. So what happened next?
-Well, he fell down,
and I guess it turns out
he basically
bit off a part of his tongue
'cause I got him under the chin
with the whole palm of my hand.
-He bit off his tongue?
-Part of it.
Which part?
The front part.
The tip, I guess.
-A decent part of the tip.
-Okay. Is he okay?
Yeah. It's not like
an entire major organ.
-Did he go to the hospital?
And now he's pressing charges.
-Against you.
-And as you know, I'm on parole.
-That's not a good look.
-It's bad.
It's like a major,
major problem.
'Cause I can't go back inside.
-It's a parole violation.
He's pressing charges on me
for drunken assault and battery
with a deadly weapon.
-Wait, what's the deadly weapon?
-I had a number of rings
on my fingers.
You said you hit him
with a palm of your hand.
I guess some of my rings
hit him too.
So he says.
Have the charges been filed?
They arrested me on Saturday.
I spent that night
and Sunday night in jail.
And this morning I had
a preliminary hearing
and after that
they let me post bail.
-Was that, ah...
-I asked someone to help me.
-Paul. The guy--
Yeah. No, I kn--
How did you-- How'd you--
He gave me his number.
-And he--
-He posted my bail.
That was very nice of him.
[soft tense music]
[music fades away]
Elsa, I'm so sorry
that happened to you.
-Clearly that guy
was a fucking asshole.
Just the fact that
he wouldn't leave you alone.
There isn't a woman
out there that hasn't had to--
And have him take it further.
God, fuck this guy.
It's obviously very frustrating
as a woman
who's tried to fight
this legislatively.
It's just debilitating,
you know?
You just wanna stop trying.
It's like it'll never end.
Well, you don't seem
like the type to stop trying.
No, I'm not.
Makes one of us.
Don't lose faith.
Like you said, one day
there's gonna be a revolution
at the end of it.
I bet once you
explain the context,
it's gonna be you
pressing charges against him.
Yeah. Like I said,
it's a parole violation, so...
...I think I might
need your help.
What kind of help?
Well, I was
thinking you probably
know the, um,
District Attorney or something
and that maybe
you could influence him
and make this
whole thing go away.
Or at least cut some slack.
That's a very big ask.
Because you're asking me
to circumvent the law
so as to get you
out of a bar fight.
-Haven't we been
doing that already?
-No, no.
What we did was
minimize my participation
in a crime
that happened 16 years ago.
Which is very different
from interfering
with the standard
judicial process.
You want me
to go back to prison?
[sighs] I think when you
explain the circumstances--
It's a parole violation.
There's no explaining.
-Maybe I can help you
find a lawyer and you--
-You're not listening.
If I assaulted someone,
then I have to
reserve the years
they let me out early,
plus whatever time it is
for the assault.
-You can plead self-defense.
-[laughs derisively]
It didn't work so well
for me last time.
Well, last time it was
first degree murder.
Okay. Well, it doesn't matter.
It's about them not caring.
Can your friend testify
that this guy
was being aggressive?
They're just gonna try
to prove that she was drunk.
-Was she?
-I don't know.
-Were you?
-We were at a bar.
Is that a yes?
-What time is this?
-I don't know.
Was it right after work
or... midnight?
It was like 10:00, maybe 11:00.
Were you drinking
the whole time?
-I had a few drinks.
-Can you do that
on parole though?
Yeah, you can drink
while you're on parole.
-But you're not
allowed to abuse it.
-I wasn't.
-So how many drinks
did you have?
-I wasn't counting.
So you got there after work
and then the fight got--
I wasn't abusing my alcohol,
Sandy. I had maybe three.
Elsa, I am, I am really sorry.
I'm sorry this happened.
But I cannot get involved.
You're gonna have
to hire a lawyer
-and let this thing--
-No. I'm not going back
to prison.
-Well, you might have to
for a little bit--
-I ain't doin' that, Ms. James.
Elsa, if you were at a bar
drunkenly cutting
-people's tongues off--
-Why are you talking like that?
-Isn't that what happened, Elsa?
-This ain't no fucking joke.
Have you ever been to prison?
-I visited prison.
-Where'd you visit?
I went to, um, Rikers Island--
-That's a jail.
-Okay. I went to Sing Sing, uh,
-Green Haven, Five Points.
And like I said--
-Why where were you there?
-My cousin did time.
-Okay, so did they tell you
what it's like in there?
-A little bit.
-Did they tell you
what it does to your head?
-To a degree.
Did they use that word?
-What, "degree"?
-Yeah. No, they didn't. 'Cause
they don't use words like that
-when you're in there.
-Okay. I had one cousin
who earned a college degree,
-speaking of degree--
-[laughs] Who paid for that?
-His mother and I.
-Okay, well then
he's a lucky fuck.
-Because most people
don't get that, Sandy.
-I realize that.
And you can get
all the degrees you want,
but that ain't gonna
make you whole.
That ain't gonna make you
one of those people
walking around
with a leash on their dog,
sipping their coffee with
a big shit grin on their faces,
like the world's
a fucking oyster. Okay?
-Okay. Okay. Okay.
Okay, Elsa...
...I hear you.
I know you don't
wanna go back in,
but I can't put my finger
on the scale for you.
The DA thinks
you should still be in prison,
and he genuinely
doesn't like me.
And frankly human beings
are under an obligation
to take responsibility
for what they've done.
And more importantly to not
have done it in the first place.
So if you were at a bar
drinking for many hours
when you were specifically
prohibited from doing so,
and if you were then
so out of control
that you brass-knuckled
a guy's tongue off...
...I think you gotta own that.
Sorry... but you do.
-He was being aggressive.
-I understand.
-No, you don't.
-Yeah, and how do
I not understand? That--
Because for someone
like me and my past,
that's like a full-on
fucking whatever,
a fucking trigger.
-Elsa, I understand.
-No, I just said
you don't understand.
You don't. To be in my shoes
and who I am is not the same
for someone who hasn't been
abused for six years.
Unless I'm wrong
and that happened to you.
-Okay then,
so you cannot be in my shoes.
I'm allowed to have
a few drinks at a bar
and not be treated like
a fucking piece of candy
someone wants to chew on.
Which you said yourself,
you knew shouldn't be that way.
I served 16 years.
And thanks to you,
I have a good job.
And I'm just trying
to live straight.
And maybe because of
my past, I overreacted.
But let God judge me.
That asshole doesn't need
the tip of his tongue
nearly as much
as I need my freedom.
I've been out five months
and I haven't fucking
jaywalked, Sandy.
I'm contributing
to my niece's schools.
I'm living right.
And all I'm asking you,
with my head
and my fucking hand,
is that you pick up the phone
or walk down
the corner of power,
where you walk every day,
where you are trying
to make people's lives better,
and ask them
to let this case go.
Elsa, I can't do that.
[thumping table]
[soft melancholic music]
Then ask them to, like,
get rid of the fact
that I was drinking.
All they have is
a bartender's word.
He wasn't even paying attention.
Just... Just ask whatever
prosecutor it is
to let go of that part.
And if they put me back
inside for hitting that man,
then so be it,
I'll do my time, but...
...I could really use
your help on this.
It's not like the whole world
doesn't rely on favors.
I can't help you.
If I bring it up with the DA,
it's only going to inflame it.
-Sandy, please. I--
-I can't.
It's not gonna happen.
[soft melancholic music]
[melancholic music]
[radio news host]
At a City Council meeting last
night, speaker Sandy James
checked off a list
of policy goals
she intends to achieve
in her first term.
Including legislation
to combat income inequality
and increased
corporate investment
in community healthcare centers.
James was adamant
in her insistence that the city,
quote, "Finally think big
when it comes to who we are."
[jaunty music playing on stereo]
[dishes clanging]
[doorbell ringing]
-[button clicks]
-[music stops]
[door creaks open]
-[Elsa] Hey. Hey.
-[Paul] Hi. How ya doin'?
-[door closes]
-[Elsa] Not bad.
-[both laugh]
-You were just
in the neighborhood, huh?
-Yeah. Yeah.
-I remember you told me
you live around here.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
This is, uh, this is my casa.
Uh, could I get you
anything? Some tea.
-Um, yeah, yeah.
-Yeah. Yeah.
-That works.
-Uh... caffeinated?
-Whatever. Surprise me. [laughs]
-All right.
Oh, I saw you on TV.
-[cup clangs]
-[microwave beeps]
-With the lady.
-Rachel Maddow.
-She's got a lot of energy.
-She does.
-You looked good.
-Thank you.
-So you got a new case?
I do.
-A fucking whistler?
-Yeah. Well,
you know, in large part,
thanks to you.
How's that?
Well, it, it seems
that when, uh,
you know, when I was mentioning
to the papers,
having helped you out
with the money back then
I guess my client
read about that
and thought I'd be a good lawyer
for her to hire
when she took on her company.
All 'cause you
helped out little ol' me.
[both laugh]
It's, it's funny
how the world works.
You're like
a champion for women.
I, I, I wouldn't go that far.
Well, I'm going that far.
And so is cutie Rachel. [laughs]
I mean she fucking
loved you, man.
-[microwave beeping]
[microwave door opens, closes]
So, um...
-You okay?
-Oh, yeah. I just
wanted thank you for,
for, um, the bail situation.
Oh, yeah. No.
I'm glad I could help.
You must think I'm a lost cause.
No, no. I think...
I think you got a lot going on.
Meaning what?
What? It's just you're,
you're a complicated person.
We all are.
Um, but you've had a,
uh, you've had a hard road,
Elsa, and um...
I mean...
...I carry a lot of rage
and I've had it relatively easy.
Thanks. For saying that.
Um, when's your parole hearing?
-The 16th.
-You have a lawyer?
Yeah. Yeah. They gave me one,
but I'm pretty sure
he's a retard.
-Ar-- Are you here to ask me?
-No. No, no, no.
-Because this is
a conflict of interest.
I wouldn't know my way
around that kind of case anyway.
-You do more business stuff.
Well, I'm glad
your career's working now.
No, I haven't had one
for five years, so...
You look good.
-Oh, yeah?
Less circles under the eyes.
I, I finally
started exercising again.
-Yeah. Mostly metabolic.
I've been doing some,
you know, cardio boxing,
some boot camp.
So, uh, you know,
just trying to...
-...work the oxidative pathways.
-It's totally working, bro.
So you got that.
You got your name in the paper.
You got Ms. Rachel.
-Things are looking up.
Funny how the world works.
Is all that parlaying
into you getting laid?
-Uh, not really.
-Not really?
-I-- Yeah.
-Who knows how that stuff works?
-Oh, man.
Oh, it's all silly. Really.
Nah. It's cool. You deserve it.
-Come on.
-You do.
You understand what I'm saying?
You're a good-looking dude.
You do something honorable
you didn't have to do.
I think you deserve
some good press coverage and...
...maybe a little bouncy bumps.
-It's a nice place.
I was glad to leave
New Rochelle,
-I'll tell you that.
So I, I talked
to that guy from Slate.
-The reporter?
But he already
wrote his article.
He wants to do another.
A follow-up.
I didn't tell him
how it all went down,
but I thought about it.
But you, you probably
shouldn't do that.
I need you to help me
convince Ms. James
to help me out.
She just needs to talk
to the DA's office,
and tell them I was only
drinking soda that night.
-[softly] Elsa...
-There's a difference
between me being drunk
and beating people up,
versus sober
and fending off a predator.
I was thinking...
...you might have
more influence.
-Because you're a lawyer
and you and her
go way back and...
...you seem to better
understand me.
Why? Why do I
better understand you?
-It's just a sense you give off.
-What kind?
Well, A, you ain't
a fucking politician.
So you're automatically
less full of shit.
And, B, you--
-You know what it's like.
-What what's like?
To live in a place
where abuse is going on.
And so you think
that I better...
Understand where
I'm coming from.
Not be a cold-hearted bitch.
[soft tense music]
And what would
you want me to do?
Please? Just, just ask her.
She respects you.
You all work in the same system.
I'm just peering
through the window.
Besides, is she trying
to change it for people like me?
There's a hole in the system.
The whole system's
in a fucking hole.
I can't go back inside, like...
...it's terror.
Just empty fucking terror.
I used to smile
all the time, Paul.
I was like ice cream happy.
Now, I'm just...
Is your father still alive?
[both chuckle]
Actually, he still is.
-You're lucky.
It's rare that I talk to him.
I wish I could talk to mine.
-Even though?
-No matter what,
the guy was my father.
You missed the idea of a father.
I miss him.
At least the him
before it all started.
Guy used to take us
rollerblading in Yonkers.
The guy was funny back then.
He used to hurdle
all the kids who'd fallen down.
Just hurdle right over them.
The guy was a good athlete.
And he loved my mom, too.
I think that's what
I feel bad about most.
Like, she doesn't have a guy
to carry her up the stairs.
Even when he was
doing shit to me,
he still always carried her
up and down the subway stairs.
Dads are funny.
-I wouldn't say, "funny."
-Fucked up?
That works.
[Paul sighs]
You know, when my son was four,
I decided I was gonna do one
of those Big Brother programs
-where they match you up with
a kid that doesn't have a dad.
You'd take him out
to the movies.
You go to his games, and
I swear to God,
my son picked up on it.
I remember one day, I...
...I told him I was gonna go
take Jacobi to the movies.
And, uh, he was like,
"What about me, Dad?"
And I, I tried to explain
why I was doing it.
And I think he understood it.
But when I came back,
Theo and my wife
were all curled up in bed,
watching a movie, and...
...he wouldn't let me join.
He just refused to let me in.
You fucked that kid up.
Did I?
No, man. [scoffs]
-[both laugh]
-Tell him to fucking chill.
I, I stopped being
a Big Brother after that.
I always regretted it.
Your boy, Theo,
had you around a barrel.
You know, I pulled
a knife on my dad once.
I was ready to stab him
in the throat.
I really fucking was.
Maybe I should have.
Because you know, after that
it was never the same.
We never had
a single good moment.
Maybe if I'd killed him
I'd, I'd miss him more.
I'd still have that.
They all got us around a barrel.
Will you help me?
[melancholic music]
How so?
Don't pretend like you
don't like dipping your finger.
-[softly] You can't do
stuff like this.
-Like what?
You know what I'm talking about?
Tell me what you mean.
Move back.
I'm not touching you.
[loudly] Get the fuck back!
[breathing loudly]
I just need you
to step up, Paul.
It's not just the system,
it's all the people
inside it too.
You guys are the ones
who can make shit happen.
-I realize that.
-I know you do.
That's why you fight the fight.
You always have.
Or at least been
willing to help out.
All the way back to Harlem.
You're a moral person, Paul.
I just need you to be moral now.
[siren wailing in distance]
[door opens, closes]
[slow pensive music]
[radio news host]
Well, the mayor's race
is heating up
with two more
candidates declaring,
but most folks are watching
Council Speaker Sandy James,
who's been speaking a lot
about a more compassionate
New York.
Or, in her words,
"less a shining city on a hill
and more a hill upon which
our shining citizens live."
Okay, I'm gonna say
this one more time,
and then I gotta go.
I'm not gonna interfere
with this case.
Even if your own dead father
was standing right here
in front of me,
he said he was
a victim of abuse,
it wouldn't justify
what he did to you.
-So in that same light,
I can't make an exception--
-I'm gonna interrupt you, Sandy.
-I'm not done yet--
-I'm still gonna interrupt.
-Because there's
certain factors you need
to take into account.
Beginning with the fact
that Elsa lied to the press
on your behalf
and is now prepared
to set the story straight.
Starting with Jim Feingold,
at Slate, who wants
to write more on this.
But if you're willing
to help her out--
-You should be ashamed.
-I'm not advising her
to do this,
-but you need to know
she's serious.
-Fuck off.
-She deserves a second chance.
-A third chance.
-I don't count the first chance
as a chance.
-She committed murder.
The point is she doesn't
deserve to go back to prison
for the sole reason
of having fended off
a sexual assault at a bar.
That's what she did.
And she doesn't
deserve prison for it.
It is the incorrect
legal and moral path for this.
So with that in mind,
I'd like to make sure
that you are warned calmly,
which I'm not sure Elsa
is currently capable of,
of the chance
of public disclosure.
Yeah. Mighty fancy,
mighty quick, Paul.
-Belongs to a client.
-No doubt.
I knew no one would be here,
which I thought
you'd appreciate.
I went through the case files
for Elsa's original trial
in which there's a statement
made to investigators by you.
You're un-fucking-believable,
you know that?
-Do you recall speaking
to investigators?
-Of course.
-You remember what you said?
-Yes, I do.
You told them you met
her father and suspected abuse,
-but you said nothing
about lending her the money.
-That's true.
-Do you remember
where you met him?
Because it's not specified
in the interview.
-I remember.
-It was in my apartment.
-Do you remember when it was?
-Yeah. You do.
No I don't.
And I actually don't.
And I'm not interested
in you trying to catch me
-in some little detail--
-I ain't trying to catch you.
-I already had the gun by then.
Then my meeting her father
actually had nothing
to do with it.
-Why are we--
-It was three days before
Elsa shot her father.
-You don't remember that?
Does it say it
in the transcript?
-Then how do you know?
'Cause I told him.
-You don't remember?
I remember meeting your father.
-But not that
it was right before?
Do you remember
what you and me talked about?
-How we went into my room after
and I was all messed up?
I, I only remember
meeting your father.
Yeah, but do you remember after
when I was messed up
and you told me
I should go to a shelter
and I said I didn't wanna leave
-my little brother?
-I'm sorry.
I don't remember this.
You told me that
if I was gonna stay,
and that if he
did anything again,
I should do what I have
to do to survive.
-I would never have said that.
-Sandy, I ain't
trying to threaten you.
Like I said,
I already had the gun.
I knew what I might do with it
if he came at me again,
so it ain't your fault.
But you said that.
You gave me permission.
-That's not true.
-It's fucking true.
And we both know it.
And I ain't gonna
let you lie about it.
The point is, Elsa is prepared
to tell investigators
about that night as well.
Unless you help her out.
I'm not saying this as a threat.
Of course it's a fucking threat.
Either way, you should
reconsider helping her out.
Everyone knows
you're running for mayor.
Jesus, Paul.
Maybe there's a trade
you can make with the DA.
-I'm not trading shit
with the DA.
First off,
even if I did say that,
it was because at the time,
-it made sense.
-Killing her father made sense.
Telling her to survive
made sense.
-Which is why we gave her
the money in the first place.
-I understand.
That was the need
I was addressing.
She was the need. That was
my job to end that situation.
-And now?
-Now the needs are different.
-Says the politician.
-I am a fucking politician.
-Exactly. Back then,
you were the priority.
Today there is an entire city
that needs protection.
-Which is what I do every day.
I protect people
from shitty men,
shitty air,
shitty corporate greed.
What we're talking
about now is Elsa.
[soft tense music]
I would never have told her
to kill someone...
...or implied it.
Or let her infer it
from my words.
You know, that's not
the fucking truth in your heart.
So then what did you mean?
You knew I wasn't gonna leave
the house. What did you mean?
Politely ask him to stop?
You knew I had a gun.
Even if you didn't know,
you knew 'cause you gave me
money and you knew
how I lived back then.
I ain't trying
to threaten you, Sandy.
I just need a chance.
I need fairness. That's it.
I wanna be a person
of promise again.
-I don't like being blackmailed.
-It's not what this is.
Shout your information
to the world.
I'm not gonna cheat
the law for you.
-What you definitely
did for yourself.
-I got you a job
as a favor
for the favor you did for me.
-I'm a fucking secretary.
-And I told The New York Times
that you deserved
a second chance
after you served your term.
-I did deserve it.
-And now I'm the asshole
because you can't
manage your anger.
-Why am I listening to this?
-Because he asked to see me.
-I wanted to talk to you.
-You're trying to threaten me
into manipulating the system,
-and I will not do that.
-[Elsa] You wouldn't be
saying this
-if I was Black.
-Have you fucking lost
your mind?
-...not go there.
-If I was Black,
you'd be helping my ass out.
-You are so far off the mark.
-You just have to help your own.
-This has nothing
to do with race.
-Of course it does.
I represent Washington Heights.
Which is full of Black people.
-Half of Puerto Rico
has African blood.
-Not the good half.
-[Paul] You really
need to focus.
-Oh, Paul!
-Don't tell me what I need--
-Sandy, isn't a racist.
-How do you know?
-She lives with
a white guy named Dan.
-It's who she helps.
-Are you done?
And no one wants
your opinion on racism, Paul.
-Okay. Let's all just
stop yelling here.
-[Elsa] Can you stop acting
like the guilty white guy
and pull your balls
back out your ass.
-You want my help or not?
-Yeah, I want your help.
-Shut up.
-No, you shut up.
I'm not fucking kidding!
This is not how you handle this.
So you need to shut
your entire mouth,
and let me deal with her.
-[Sandy] I have a meeting
I have to go to.
-Sandy, you lied
to investigators at the time.
-I omitted information.
-You bent the rules.
-To protect yourself,
which you now
refuse to do for Elsa.
So the question is,
why not bend them now?
-Because now my job
is to protect them.
Because now they protect you.
-No, because now
I work for the citizens--
-I am a citizen.
I am one of them.
Twenty years ago,
you would've helped her.
I will not damage
the greater good.
It's bigger than me.
It's bigger than her.
I'm sorry, but it is.
It's called growing up.
The older you get,
the more you think
you can make a difference.
You mean the more
powerful you get,
the more you get
to call the shots
for whole groups of people.
And don't tell me
a white guy like you
doesn't understand power.
Let's go find the reporter.
I heard about your case, Paul.
-She's messing with you, man.
-[Sandy] No, no.
I'm just noting that
suddenly he's a public figure
fighting the good fight.
So if it comes out
that five months ago,
he lied on my behalf...
...it's gonna look bad.
In fact, it's pretty
obvious from where I stand,
if I go down...
...you do too.
He doesn't care.
Of course he cares.
Say something, man.
-I'm trying
to make a difference.
-So am I.
Which starts
with the individual,
which right now is Elsa.
-Paul, but you can't let her...
-I need you to be quiet.
I, I really do.
...do that.
I ain't a fucking stat.
She's manipulating you.
She's standing her ground,
which I think
we need to recognize.
I should just fuck you up.
-Okay, we're done.
-Do not say things like that.
-[Elsa] Why not?
-Listen to me, I don't know if
that's some sort of a joke
or some sort of a threat,
-but it's really not cool.
Because when I get outta prison,
I'm supposed to be
some saint with inner peace?
No, but if you wanna
talk about parole
-I don't give a shit!
[exhales sharply]
Sandy, you don't think
16 years just drowns you...
...to where
you can't get above it?
No magic carpet.
It's just you in the water
and all them happy people
on the beach.
We can get you help.
You were my help.
We can get you more.
-Where's the guy
who used to help people, man?
-[Paul] We can look
-at our options, but first
you've gotta calm down.
-I'm calm.
We can get you a good lawyer.
Your son proud of you now?
I want to help you, Elsa,
but we have to be realistic.
[distant traffic noises]
[soft tense music]
It's not working.
-Put that down, Elsa.
-I ain't hurting no one.
Look, if we can't change
your mind a-- at a certain
point, we, we find another way.
At a certain point,
no more Big Brother.
I'll still help you,
but first you gotta
put that down.
-[Elsa] You only help
when it's fun.
-[Sandy] Bullshit.
He's standing right here.
He doesn't have to.
[glass shattering]
[tense music]
Where you going?
-Back up.
-[Elsa] You don't like
being scared?
-Get back, Elsa.
Fucking make me.
Is this what you want me to be?
The fucking crazy Puerto Rican.
This isn't you.
But it's what you
expect me to be. Right?
-I'm calling security.
-[Sandy sighs]
-Is this better?
I don't know.
[music intensifies]
[Sandy groans]
-Get off me. Get off me.
-You need to calm down!
Get the fuck off of me!
Get off!
-Paul, get the fuck off me!
-[voice breaking]
Get off! Get off!
-[whispers] Stop. Stop.
-[Paul] Stop.
I'm done. I'm done.
[melancholic music]
[whispers inaudibly]
[Elsa sighing]
-Listen to me.
-I don't care.
Well, I do.
I'll prove it by what I do.
You're so full of shit.
Watch me.
I swear I will care
for girls like you were.
I'll stop people
from hurting them.
And I will do it every day
for as long as I can.
You're just talking
so I don't hit you.
It's real.
I'm gonna talk to the reporter.
It'll be your word
against Sandy's.
Who do you think
they'll believe?
[Elsa sniffles]
Not if you're with me.
[distant traffic noises]
She's got around
a fucking barrel, man.
You all should be together.
You make a great couple.
You're a fucking pussy.
And you...
...the speaker...
...speak loud, bitch.
[melancholic music]
[sobs, scoffs]
You all probably
should call the police.
They're coming for me anyway.
Let 'em come.
[music swells]
[music fades away]
-[birds chirping]
-[slow gentle music]
Mayor James. Thank you
for being on the show.
Well, that's absolutely
my pleasure, Cindy.
And congratulations
on your latest budget victory.
-[Sandy] Thank you.
-[Cindy] A deep reallocation
of police funding.
Large increases
in K-6 education.
Debt relief
for small businesses.
This is truly a landmark
moment for the city.
Well, my hope
is that we keep going
in making life better,
safer, and fairer
to New Yorkers.
Especially those who have been
neglected for far too long.
You know, Frederick Douglass
taught us that power
can seize nothing
without a demand.
And we now have the power
to make those demands
come true.
So I'm happy with where
we've currently landed.
[music fades away]
[background chatter]
[people chattering]
Thank you...
[in normal tone]
Good morning.
-[chatter dies]
-[cameras clicking]
Thank you for coming.
I see we have a few
of our regulars here.
Jerry just told me I should
tout my new approval numbers.
-I'll let her do that.
More importantly
and why we're here today,
the progress report for our
target trafficking task force
with the ATF
is deeply encouraging.
A hundred and thirty-nine
arrests of gun traffickers
and their purveyors since April.
Very pleasing.
But first and, and on
a quite personal note...
...I was informed of a death...
...that took place last night
at the Bedford Correctional
Facility, upstate.
[soft melancholic music]
An inmate named Elsa Mercado...
...was found hanging
in her cell...
...at approximately 9:45 p.m.
Elsa was someone I hadn't seen
in five years...
...but I had known for over 20.
She and I had many clashes.
And like myself...
...she was far from perfect.
Her second prison sentence
was relatively short, uh...
...but she kept
incurring infractions...
...and her time in the system
kept getting extended.
Elsa could be very blunt.
She spoke her mind,
and her mind had a lot to say.
Watching her stumble
and survive...
...and continue to survive
for as many years as she did
taught me what it means
to be human on this Earth.
She was the embodiment...
...of yearning and striving.
Glory and grace.
[camera clicks]
[camera clicks]
Her loss is unspeakable...
...to me.
I, uh...
[somber music]
I'm off topic.
I'm gonna let Jerry
answer some questions
about the task force.
[reporter 1]
Mayor James,
how will this affect
your social and criminal justice
reform legislation?
[voice fading]
Miss Mayor? Miss Mayor?
[reporters speaking muffled]
[rising high-pitched beep]
-[beep stops]
-[reporter 2] Miss Mayor.
What are you going to do next?
[somber music]
[music fades away]