Chimerica (2019) s01e02 Episode Script

Gray Areas

Don't shoot.
It's two shots, we'll splice them together.
We're done, son.
You've made all of us look dirty, right at the moment we need more than ever to be immaculate.
Zhang Lin.
Oh, man.
I missed you.
- You the famous photograph? - No, I took one pretty famous photo.
- Do you know what happened to him? - No, I wish.
In news, you don't have anything except your credibility and you don't have that anymore.
You know this isn't just about the Tank Man.
Zhang Lin, he lost his wife.
She was shot in the street and nobody remembered.
Look, I'm sorry you lost your job, but don't take it out on me.
If I get a photo of the Tank Man alive and well This is extracurricular, OK? Tank Man, Tank Man.
What did he do? He stood in the road.
Do you have his name? Wang Pengfei.
He painted a perfect copy of van Gogh's Sunflowers.
As the peaceful protest in Tiananmen Square continues, the hunger strikers are hoping for nothing less than a democratic revolution.
Excuse me, do you speak English? Er, I do, but my wife doesn't.
Are you hunger striking? That was great.
That was really Can we check that for sound? Liuli! Liuli! We've got the immigration searches back.
Nothing for a Wang Pengfei.
Right age, any time, '89 to '95.
If he came into the country, he didn't do it legally.
Well, I talked to the Beijing Art School, - guess when they have him on file till.
- December, '89.
That's right.
Then he just disappears.
Hey, by the way, what happened with Margaret Thatcher? - Oh, nothing.
I just thought it was a - Vile mistake? Yeah.
I hope you used a condom! You know you can't photoshop one in later.
That's going to get old real quick.
I don't think so! Here.
Here we go.
I don't want to take up too much of your time.
We're reporters and we're trying to track down a man called Wang Pengfei.
Probably came over from China around 1989.
Sorry, that's before my time.
You should ask around, someone might know him.
Do you speak Mandarin? - No.
- Cantonese? - Nah-uh.
Oh, well.
Good luck.
I know a Wang Chung.
Wang Kao.
They came in Oh, I don't know Do you know who this man is? - Hey, excuse me.
Do you speak English? - Yes.
Can I show you a picture? Do you know who that is? Tank Man? Hey.
Zhang Lin, how you doing? Hey, my brother said you haven't called Benny yet.
You remember? My nephew, he moved to New York.
Oh, shit.
I'm so sorry, man.
I'll do it today.
I've been kind of busy.
- We're looking for him.
- Who? Wang Pengfei.
What are you going to do when you find him, Lee? Put him on the cover of Time magazine? Person of the Year.
30 years ago, you and Liuli sat in that square with 1,000 other people and it's been forgotten.
It's completely erased from the history books.
You don't want people to remember it? You don't want people to remember her? Just call Benny.
So, Benny.
You're at Harvard? I graduated last summer.
I work for the Koch Brothers now.
You heard of them? Uh-huh.
Yeah, I know they're like the devil, but they helped me get a Green Card.
It's just data analysis.
So, how do you know Zhang Lin? I spent some time in Beijing.
After Tiananmen I was trying to track down the Tank Man.
Oh, right.
The dude with the with the bags, right? Yeah, the dude with the bags.
Yeah, that was crazy.
But you know there was, like, a whole protest before that, right? Yeah.
Yeah, I was there.
I saw the hunger strike, all of it.
What? They weren't hunger striking.
There were people fainting.
I have pictures.
Sure you do.
That was the point.
Kids fainting, it's a better story.
But people were coming home, having dinner, coming back, sneaking in food.
Come on, you think Nixon invented fake news? We're the fucking masters of that shit, man.
- Let me get this.
- No, no.
You enjoy your greenbacks while you can, dude.
All going to be Yuan soon.
We're coming for you, bitches! It's a joke.
- I'm in this improv group - Actually, can I ask you a favour? - It's about Tiananmen.
- Sure.
My phone's being weird.
I think someone's turning on my microphone.
You think you're that interesting, do you? They won't bother you if you don't do anything wrong.
- I really appreciate this.
- No worries, man.
Is it always this empty in here? Yeah.
- We're doing some cost-cutting.
- Right.
Hannah, hey.
This is my friend Benny.
Benny, this is Hannah.
She's going to show you how the archive works.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Let's get this keyboard setup here, with the Chinese characters on it.
Ad revenues are down 8%.
Steve told me he heard their meeting with Murdoch.
So, the name is Wang Pengfei.
But we're also looking for references to the Unknown Hero, - Tank Man, June 4th, maybe.
- Right.
We've already done a search through the Western media, but we need to do the same for the Chinese press and my Mandarin is kind of basic, so Do you mind? I'll pay you.
No, man.
Happy to help.
OK, let's get you logged in.
Lee, come see this.
So that says, "In memory of the mothers who lost on 6/4.
" - 6/4 is June 4th.
- That was Tiananmen.
So? So, that's insane.
This is the China Weekly Herald.
There's no way that that should have gotten through the sensors.
Wait, this is better.
Hang on a sec.
Mel! What does it say? "A message to Wang Pengfei, the unknown hero of the Square.
" "We remember.
" Frank's going to want more than that.
My dad has friends at that newspaper.
We've got to find out who placed that ad.
We will build a great wall along the southern border Hey, girl.
Did you see it? Did you love it? I want to get it.
Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation.
That is what it means to have walls and to have a country.
Fucking arsehole! Look where you're going! Dude, are you OK? - You want me to call the cops on that guy? - No.
No, no.
No police.
No police.
So, what have you got? In June of last year, a woman makes a long-distance call to China from Manhattan.
Places two personal ads in the China Weekly Herald.
"Mothers who lost on 6/4.
" The girl on the desk takes the copy, the woman pays by credit card.
A middle-aged Chinese guy yells, "Go to print.
" Wait.
She didn't censor it? No, the girl wasn't even born when Tiananmen happened.
It's been completely erased from the history books.
So when some lady calls with a bunch of messages about one of the worst atrocities in her country's history, the girl doesn't think anything but how long until lunch? - Didn't the party pick it up? - Sure.
The editor gets fired, the girl gets fired, can't get a reference, doesn't even know what she's done wrong.
So, when a friend of a friend says I can get you to New York Well, great.
But she has no qualifications, no work permit, ends up in the garment district sleeping in the dressing room of a fucking strip club.
So, what are you waiting for? Lee.
You can't keep coming back to the office.
- If Lou sees you - She won't see me.
I know she won't, because you won't be there.
Are we copacetic? I only have like five minutes, they don't like guests back here.
We only want a minute of your time.
You work for a newspaper? - Yeah.
- So I can get a job? Because I used to work for a Chinese newspaper, you know? Yeah, we're sorry to hear about what happened there.
Mary? Jessie? Two minutes.
Listen, Mary.
We know this is kind of a long shot, but you don't happen to remember the name of the woman who placed the advertisement, do you? That's the woman who ruined my life.
Yeah, I remember.
Feng Meihui.
I have my notebooks, though.
We can check.
Feng Meihui? Do you think that's her real name? Unless she used a fake credit card.
You look for her, yeah? You find her, tell her thanks for nothing.
Mary Chang says fuck you.
This is a one time thing, OK? OK.
So, we have three Feng Meihuis on record in Manhattan.
One, she died last year.
Second's in Penn state.
Nice lady attacked a real estate agent with a fire iron.
Last one lives in Chinatown on Mott Street.
Clean record, except for a speeding ticket up in Maine, 2002.
It's a fish stall.
Feng's Seafood Market.
But listen, if I get a report of a Chinese businesswoman being harassed by a prick with a camera, I will find you and throw away the key.
Remind me why we broke up! Because you were cheating on me with Chechnya.
- No photo! - Sorry.
You got the money? - Yeah.
- Yeah, yeah.
Here you go.
So, we wanted to speak with you about two ads that you placed with the China Weekly Herald, last year.
The first one, "Mothers of 6/4.
" I'm sorry to ask this, but did you lose someone? In Tiananmen? Twins.
Very small.
The apartment, bullet come through the window into the kitchen, into the crib.
When I have twins, I think I am so lucky, right? I beat the one-child policy.
Yeah, they get you in the end.
The second ad, "The unknown hero.
" I don't know nothing about that.
I do it for someone else, he don't have a credit card.
Could you tell us his name? Oh.
Er Hey, maybe, erm Could this help? He call himself Jimmy Wang.
And don't hassle him, OK? Is it possible that his Chinese name might be Wang Pengfei? I don't know.
Do you know who that person is? Yeah.
He's famous.
Did you bring him to New York? - No.
- OK, but the ad that you placed for Jimmy Wang, was that a favour? Like guanxi.
Not guanxi.
Just money.
So, how do you know him? - I help him come into the country.
- And when was this? October, 1989.
- Where is he now? - He worked restaurant, then some flower shop.
Which flower shop? Glorious City, Flushing.
Thank you, thank you.
Here pollock.
Similar to cod.
Xie xie.
- Hi, there.
- Hi.
Oh, what a beautiful shop.
What are those? Are they dahlias? - Chrysanthemums.
- Oh, my mum loved those.
I never can remember the name.
I'm Mel Kincaid, I'm a reporter, and this is Lee Berger.
I don't know if you can help us out.
We're looking for someone called Jimmy Wang or Wang Pengfei.
- Sorry.
- No one by that name working here? Maybe worked here sometime in the past? No.
I can't help you.
They're apartments upstairs, right? I saw the AC units outside.
No, he doesn't live there.
We're not cops.
He knows that, Lee.
OK, well thank you so much for your time.
I'm just going to leave my card here, OK? And if you think of anything, you can just call that number.
Can I just show you something here? I promise, we're not cops.
Have you ever seen this photo before? Do you know who that man is? Erm I don't know this man.
- Excuse me.
- OK, well thanks so much for your time.
Lee, come on.
You want to buy something? Oh, yeah, yeah.
Erm, sure.
I'll take some of those sunflowers, thank you.
- Hey, Zhang Lin.
- What's wrong with you? You don't put those words in an email to me.
Wait, wait.
What are you talking about? Do you think an email like that from an American journalist gets past the censors? Oh, shit.
I'm such a fucking moron.
I'm sorry.
Are you OK? No.
- I kissed Joy.
- What, who? What, who, why? Do you ever stop being a journalist for one minute? My next door neighbour's daughter.
It was awful, I have to move.
Why, what did she say? Nothing.
I don't know, I ran away.
It's OK.
It's been a while, right? I'm sure it wasn't that bad, just give her call and apologise.
Hey, Zhang Lin.
I'm sorry.
Did you get a chance to look at that picture that I just sent? Yeah.
I don't know that guy.
The Glorious City Flower Shop, owned since '92 by a Mr Lum, lives in Shanghai.
One employee, same the past 20 years from the looks of things.
I've got the Social Security number, he's definitely undocumented.
How do you know? I don't, but he doesn't look like a 100-year-old black woman to me.
Call it female intuition.
So, he's been paying taxes on his stolen Social Security number since 1989? That doesn't make any sense.
It's not unusual.
Undocumented immigrants pay millions in taxes.
They think if they ever get caught it'll look good for them.
I did a whole series on this, do you actually ever read any of my work? This man in Shanghai, I'm calling him.
Hi, this is Mel Kincaid, I'm a reporter.
Do you speak English, sir? Oh, great.
I have some questions about your employee Wang Pengfei.
Or Jimmy Wang, he runs your store.
I can't say anything about that, please do not contact me again.
Don't get excited, it could be he just doesn't want to have immigration on his ass.
Your refrigerator is a cry for help.
Oh, I know.
It's broken.
It's the coils, or something.
We'll go back to the flower shop tomorrow and try again.
Do you know who Maria Meng is? Yeah.
Do you know, she's not Maria Meng anymore? She married a dentist.
She is Senator Dubecki.
- You know her? - Why? Well, she's done a ton of advocacy work for the Chinese community, maybe she could help us out? Our votes don't go straight to the candidates, you see.
So on election day, we elect the electors who then elect the president.
You got it? And so that's how Electoral Colleges work.
- Thank you, Senator.
You're welcome.
This has been my favourite interview ever.
You guys better watch out, huh! Thank you, Tyler.
That was great.
Thank you so much.
We'll see you next time.
- Excuse me.
- Maria? Mel! Good to see you.
So, that is a great looking pant suit, Senator! You been raiding Hillary's closet again? I know, I know.
It's awful.
It's just Mondays I let my daughter pick my outfits.
She's nine, she's got terrible taste! Where are my manners? This is my legislative assistant, Dave.
- David.
David Barker.
- David.
We just want to say good luck.
Luck? Honey, it'll be over by Ohio! - Excuse me.
- Oh, wait just one second, before you We're working on a story and we're trying to track down a source.
He's Chinese and we think he might be undocumented.
Erm, you do realise we're pretty busy here trying to get a woman into the White House, right? He works at the Glorious City Flower Store, his name is Wang Pengfei or Jimmy Wang.
Do you know him? Because we all know each other, right? You'll have to excuse me, I need the bathroom.
These pants are cutting me in half.
Nice seeing you guys.
Vote, vote, vote.
You know, I slept in this square for a month when I was 22, - right over there.
- You were on the street? No.
God, no.
There were about 500 of us here.
The stink, that's what I remember.
I wore the same pair of jeans for a straight month.
You protested? You know, that is not the big surprise.
The big surprise is, I used to wear jeans! Sorry.
School carpool.
Don't ask.
So, what's going on? I need you to drop the story.
What? There's some stuff going on upstairs, it's not a good time.
Is it Murdoch? No, no, no.
The parent company's in trouble, they're seeking investment capital and they're seeking it from the only place in the world there is any right now.
- China? - They're not saying kill it, they're just saying cool it till the ink is dry.
- Maybe a year.
- A year?! No, no.
You can't do that.
We're onto something here.
And this is censorship.
I don't think you can sum up what this is in just one word.
So you seriously want to work for a newspaper with less transparency than the People's Daily? You're a guardian of the free fucking press! You think this is vanity, publishing what I do? This newspaper's some sort of catalogue of my favourite things? Do I look like fucking Oprah? Don't you dare stand there and suffer at me.
You think I enjoy using the word multiplatform? That I like employing the best writers in the country, then sticking a comment section under their articles because God forbid an opinion should go unvoiced? Arseholes Anonymous.
Validating each other in packs under my banner.
That's not democracy, that's a national circle jerk for imbeciles.
It's done.
I'm sorry.
Go on, you can hit me, if it makes you feel better.
Right there.
You fucking liberals.
Too much spilled coffee and not enough split lips.
You voted for Bill Clinton! Prove it! - I say we go to a different paper.
- And breach my contract? - I have a kid and a mortgage, Lee.
- Do you think you'll have trouble getting hired after a story like this? That guy in the flower shop, it's either him or he knows something.
Sure, but maybe Wang Pengfei doesn't want to be found.
Did you ever think about that? The guy's illegal, he's been living in secret for 30 years.
Do you want to be the person who shows his picture to the Feds? The IRS, the Party? So we help him get asylum, he's a political refugee.
You know, this is censorship, what you're endorsing.
- Hey, I'm not endorsing anything.
- And for what? To keep your union contract? Go on churning out your right on columns while the right wing shits all over you? The right has always been hostile to the press.
Oh, well, sure, but now they fucking loathe us.
And of course they do because Hillary's out there calling half the country a basket of deplorables and we line up to high-five her like there's no grey areas here.
You know what, Lee? You're a grey fucking area.
I need a drink.
You've reached Tessa Kendrick.
Please leave a message and I'll get back to you.
Hi, this is This is Lee.
Erm, can you give me a call back when you get this? I just wanted to I'd like to apologise.
Joy? Joy? Joy? I'm really sorry how I acted at dinner.
- Oh, no, no.
- No, no, no.
I-I-I was awful.
Do you want a beer? They're not cold.
Nah! - Oh, sorry.
I'm dripping on your floor.
- Oh, dear.
Here, let me deal with that.
Do you do a lot of that then? Protesting? Oh, no.
Not any more.
Last time I almost got arrested.
So I was thinking about your offer and I had a look through my China archive.
You wanted to licence something, right? For your - For the credit card? - Oh, you changed your mind! I thought I was like Eva Braun for even asking you.
Well, yeah.
But I've been thinking maybe I was a little fast to you know, because it's a credit card, it's not Agent Orange or anything and also - You're broke? - And also I'm broke, yeah.
Actually, we had to move on.
I'm sorry.
Oh, right.
Of course, obviously.
Was it a lot of money? No, don't tell me! Are you sure you don't want that beer? All right.
Oh, did you find him yet? My editor killed the story.
So? Aren't you fired already? Yeah.
Hey, do you have any plans today? Oh.
No, no, no.
Where did he go? Oh, shit! Let's go round the back.
Come with me.
Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Go, go, go, go.
Lee, I don't like this.
OK, on a scale of one to ten, how illegal is this? - Erm 9.
Come here, come here.
Look over this stuff and take pictures of anything that looks interesting.
I'm going to go upstairs, I'll be right back.
- Wait, wait, wait.
I'll be right back.
Lee! Lee, come on.
That's him, it's the Tank Man.
It's him! You OK? - Frank.
- Did you send me a fish? Yeah, it's pollock.
Similar to cod.
Is this about the story? There's shit all over my desk.
You remember who gave me this desk, Lee? - Henry Kissinger.
- Henry fucking Kissinger! Hello? Hello, Lee.
I think you and I have been having the same dream.
- Sorry, who is this? - My name is Tang Wen Lei, I'm a very important guy.
My friends tell me you are looking for the Tank Man.
I think I can help you, but I need to keep myself safe.
- How do we do this? - Mr Tang, can I call you right back? No, Lee.
I will call you.
Joy? Joy? Joy? Joy?