Featured Script: A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin

A FEW GOOD MEN  Written by Aaron Sorkin | Revised Third Draft July 15, 1991

FADE IN:

EXT. A SENTRY TOWER —

— in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere.

Small beams of light coming from lamps attached to the tower
cut through the ground mist. We HEAR all the unidentifiable
sounds of night in the woods. We also HEAR, very, very
faintly, a slow, deliberate drum cadence. And as this starts,
we begin to MOVE SLOWLY UP THE TOWER, more becomes visible
now:… the sandbags on the ground piled ten-high… the
steel, fire escape-type stairway wrapping around the structure
and leading to the lookout post, and finally… THE LOOKOUT
POST, maybe forty feet off the ground.

Standing the post is the silhouette of A MARINE. He’s holding
a rifle and staring straight out.

The drum cadence has been building slightly.

CUT TO:

A WIDER SHOT OF THE FENCELINE. And we see by the moonlight
that the tall wire-mesh fence winds its way far, far into
the distance.

SUBTITLE: UNITED STATES NAVAL BASE GUANTANAMO BAY – CUBA.

The drum cadence continues, and we

CUT TO:

INT. A MARINE BARRACKS

We HEAR two pairs of footsteps and then

CUT TO:

THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR

where we see that the footsteps belong to DAWSON and DOWNEY,
two young marines who we’ll get to know later. They stop
when they get to a certain door. The drum cadence is still
growing. DAWSON puts his hand on the doorknob and turns it
slowly. He opens’s the door and they walk into

INT. SANTIAGO’S ROOM – NIGHT

WILLY SANTIAGO, a young, very slight marine, lies asleep in
his bunk.

DAWSON kneels down by the bed, puts his hand on SANTIAGO’S
shoulder and shakes him gently. SANTIAGO opens his yes, looks
at DAWSON, and for a moment there’s nothing wrong —

— and then SANTIAGO’s eyes fill with terror. He lunges out
of the bed — but forget about it. In one flash DAWSON and
DOWNEY grab him out of bed, and before the scream can come
out, DOWNEY’s shoved a piece of cloth into SANTIAGO’s mouth.

Everything that happens next occurs with speed, precision
and professionalism.

— A strip of duct tape is pulled, ripped, and slapped onto
his mouth and eyes —

— A length of rope is wrapped around his hands and feet.

DOWNEY
(quietly)
You’re lucky it’s us, Willy.

— An arm grabs him tightly around the neck, not choking
him, just holding his head still —

— The drum cadence has built to a crescendo. We HEAR four
sharp blasts from a whistle and we

SMASH CUT TO:

EXT. THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – DAY

and the drum cadence we’ve been hearing has turned into Semper
Fidelis and it’s coming from THE U.S. MARINE CORPS BAND, a
sight to behold in their red and gold uniforms and polished
silver and brass.

The BAND is performing on the huge and lush parade grounds
before a crowd made up mostly of TOURISTS and DAY-CAMPERS.

As the TITLES ROLL, we watch the BAND do their thing from
various angles. Incredible precision is the name of the game.
Each polished black shoe hitting the ground as if they were
all attached by a rod. Each drumstick raised to the same
fraction of a centimeter before striking. A RIFLE DRILL TEAM
that can’t possibly be human. Flags, banners, the works.

SUBTITLE: THE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD, WASHINGTON, D.C.

CUT TO:

HIGH ANGLE of the entire band an we end credits.

CUT TO:

EXT. A RED BRICK BUILDING – DAY

It’s an important building, a main building. A few SAILORS
enter and exit and

CUT TO:

A WOMAN

as she walks across the courtyard toward the brick building.
The WOMAN is JOANNE GALLOWAY, a navy lawyer in her early
30’s. She’s bright, attractive, impulsive, and has a tendency
to speak quickly. If she had any friends, they’d call her
JO. As she walks, she mutters to herself …

JO
I’m requesting… I’m… Captain,
I’d like to request that I be the
attorney assigned to rep — I’d like
to request that it be myself who is
assigned to represent —
(she stops)
“That it be myself who is assigned
to represent”? …Good, Jo, that’s
confidence inspiring.

We follow JO, still muttering, as she walks into the brick
building which bears the seal of the

UNITED STATES NAVY – JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL’S CORPS

CUT TO:

INT. WEST’S OFFICE – DAY

As JO enters. CAPTAIN WEST and two other officers, GIBBS
and LAWRENCE, sit around a conference table.

GIBBS
Jo, come on in.

JO
Thank you, sir.

GIBBS
Captain West, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway. Jo, you know Mike Lawrence.

JO
Yes sir.
(to WEST)
Captain, I appreciate your seeing me
on such short notice.

WEST
I understand there was some trouble
over the weekend down in Cuba.

JO
Yes sir… This past Friday evening.
Two marines, Corporal Harold Dawson
and Private Louden Downey, entered
the barracks room of a PFC William
Santiago and assaulted him. Santiago
died at the base hospital
approximately an hour later. The NIS
agent who took their statements
maintains they were trying to prevent
Santiago from naming them in a
fenceline shooting incident. They’re
scheduled to have a hearing down in
Cuba at 4:00 this afternoon.

LAWRENCE
What’s the problem?

JO
Dawson and Downey are both recruiting
poster marines and Santiago was known
to be a screw-up. I was thinking
that it sounded an awful lot like a
code red.

Jo lets this sink in a moment.

WEST
(under his breath)
Christ.

JO
I’d like them moved up to Washington
and assigned counsel. Someone who
can really look into this. Someone
who possesses not only the legal
skill, but a familiarity with the
inner workings of the military. In
short, Captain, I’d like to suggest
that… I be the one who, that it be
me who is assigned to represent them.
(beat)
Myself.

Jo looks around the room for a response.

WEST
Joanne, why don’t you get yourself a
cup of coffee.

JO
Thank you, sir, I’m fine.

WEST
Joanne, I’d like you to leave the
room so we can talk about you behind
your back.

JO
Certainly, sir.

JO gets up and walks out.

WEST
I thought this Code Red shit wasn’t
going on anymore.

LAWRENCE
With the marines at GITMO? Who the
hell knows what goes on down there.

WEST
Well lets find out before the rest
of the world does, this thing could
get messy. What about this woman?

LAWRENCE
Jo’s been working a desk at internal
affairs for what, almost a year now.

WEST
And before that?

GIBBS
She disposed of three cases in two
years.

WEST
Three cases in two years? Who was
she handling, the Rosenbergs?

GIBBS
She’s not cut out for litigation.

LAWRENCE
She’s a hall of an investigator,
Jerry —

GIBBS
In Internal Affairs, sure. She can
crawl up a lawyer’s ass with the
best of ’em, but when it comes to
trial work —

WEST
I know. All passion, no street smarts.
Bring her back in.

LAWRENCE goes to the door and motions for JO to come back
in.

WEST
(continuing)
Commander, we’re gonna move the
defendants up here in the morning.

JO
Thank you, sir.

WEST
And I’ll have Division assign them
counsel…

JO
(beat)
But… not me.

WEST
From what I understand from your
colleagues, you’re much too valuable
in your present assignment to be
wasted on what I’m sure will boil
down to a five minute plea bargain
and a week’s worth of paper work.

JO
Sir —

WEST
Don’t worry about it. I promise you,
division’ll assign the right man for
the job.

CUT TO:

EXT. SOFTBALL FIELD – DAY

THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB

His name is LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE DANIEL ALLISTAIR KAFFEE,
and it’s almost impossible not to like him. At the moment
he’s hitting fungoes to about a dozen LAWYERS who are spread
out on the softball field on a corner of the bass. The ’27
Yankees they’re not, but they could probably hold their own
against a group of, say, Airforce dentists.

KAFFEE’s in his late 20’s, 15 months out of Harvard Law
School, and a brilliant legal mind waiting for a courageous
spirit to drive it. He is, at this point in his life,
passionate about nothing… except maybe softball.

KAFFEE
(calling out to the
team)
Alright, let’s get two!

He smacks one to the SECOND BASE. The ball bounces right
between his legs.

SECOND BASE
Sorry!

KAFFEE
Nothing to be sorry about, Sherby.
Just look the ball into your glove.

He smacks one out to the same place. It bounces off the heel
of SHERBY’s glove and into center field.

SECOND BASE (SHERBY)
Sorry!

KAFFEE
You gotta trust me, Sherby. You keep
your eyes open, your chances of
catching the ball increase by a factor
of ten.

SPRADLING, a young naval officer, sweaty and out of breath,
walks up behind the backstop.

SPRADLING
Kaffee!

KAFFEE
Let’s try it again.

SPRADLING
Kaffee!!

KAFFEE
(turning)
Dave. You seem upset and distraught.

SPRADLING
We were supposed to meet in your
office 15 minutes ago to talk about
the McDermott case. You’re stalling
on this thing. Now we got this done
and I mean now, or no kidding, Kaffee,
I’ll hang your boy from a fuckin’
yardarm.

KAFFEE
A yardarm?
(calling out)
Sherby, does the Navy still hang
people from yardarms?

SHERBY
(calling back)
I don’t think so, Danny.

KAFFEE
(back to SPRADLING)
Dave, Sherby doesn’t think the Navy
hangs people from yardarms anymore.
(back to the field)
Let’s go, let’s get two!

He goes back to hitting fungoes.

SPRADLING
I’m gonna charge him with possession
and being under the influence while
on duty. Plead guilty and I’ll
recommend 30 days in the brig with
loss of rank and pay.

KAFFEE
It was oregano, Dave, it was ten
dollars worth of oregano.

SPRADLING
Yeah, well your client thought it
was marijuana.

KAFFEE
My client’s a moron, that’s not
against the law.

Swapp! The THIRD BASEMAN takes one in the face.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Ow. That had to hurt.
(calling out)
Way to keep your head in the play,
Lester. Walk it off!

SPRADLING
I’ve got people to answer to just
like you, I’m gonna charge him.

KAFFEE
With what, possession of a condiment?

SPRADLING
Kaffee —

KAFFEE
Dave, I’ve tried to help you out of
this, but if you ask for tall time,
I’m gonna file a motion to dismiss.

SPRADLING
You won’t got it.

KAFFEE
I will get it. And if the MTD is
denied, I’ll file a motion in liminee
seeking to obtain evidentiary ruling
in advance, and after that I’m gonna
file against pre-trial confinement,
and you’re gonna spend an entire
summer going blind on paperwork
because a Signalman Second Class
bought and smoked a dime bag of
oregano.

SPRADLING
B Misdemeanor, 20 days in the brig.

KAFFEE
C Misdemeanor, 15 days restricted
duty.

SPRADLING
I don’t know why I’m agreeing to
this.

KAFFEE
‘Cause you have wisdom beyond your
years. Dave, can you play third base?

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

About 16 NAVY AND MARINE LAWYERS (several of whom are women)
are taking their seats around a large conference table.

A PARALEGAL is handing out folders and some photocopied papers
to the LAWYERS.

We might notice that one of the lawyers is Lieutenant Junior
Grade SAM WEINBERG. Sam’s serious and studious looking. If
he weren’t in uniform, you wouldn’t guess that he was a naval
officer.

CAPTAIN WHITAKER walks in.

WHITAKER
‘Morning.

LAWYERS
(school class)
‘Morning Captain Whitaker.

WHITAKER
Sam, how’s the baby?

SAM
I think she’s ready to say her first
word any day now.

WHITAKER
How can you tell?

SAM
She just looks like she has something
to say.

KAFFEE walks in.

KAFFEE
Excuse me, sorry I’m late.

WHITAKER
I’m sure you don’t have a good excuse,
so I won’t force you to come up with
a bad one.

KAFFEE
Thank you, Isaac, that’s nice of
you.

WHITAKER
Sit-down, this first one’s for you.

He hands KAFFEE some files.

WHITAKER
(continuing)
You’re moving up in the world, Danny,
you’ve been requested by Division.

“Oooh”‘s and “Ahhh”‘S from the other LAWYERS. (Subtle Note:
Kaffee doesn’t want to move up in the world.)

KAFFEE
Requested to do what?

WHITAKER hands him a file.

WHITAKER
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A marine
corporal named Dawson illegally fires
a round from his weapon over the
fenceline and into Cuban territory.

KAFFEE
What’s a fenceline?

WHITAKER
Sam?

SAM
A big wall separating the good guys
from the bad guys.

KAFFEE
Teachers pet.

WHITAKER
PFC William Santiago threatens to
rat on Dawson to the Naval
investigative Service. Dawson and
another member of his squad, PFC
Louden Downey, they go into Santiago’s
room, tie him up, and stuff a rag
down his throat. An hour later,
Santiago’s dead. Attending physician
says the rag was treated with some
kind of toxin.

KAFFEE
They poisoned the rag?

WHITAKER
Not according to them.

KAFFEE
What do they say?

WHITAKER
Not much. They’re being flown up
here tomorrow and on Thursday at
0600 you’ll catch a transport down
to Cuba for the day to find out what
you can. Meantime, go across the
yard and see Lt. Commander Joanne
Galloway. She’s the one who had ’em
brought up here. She’ll fill you in
on whatever she has. Any questions?

KAFFEE
The flight to Cuba, was that 0600 in
the morning, sir?

WHITAKER
It seems important to Division that
this one be handled by the book, so
I’m assigning co-counsel. Any
volunteers?

SAM
No.

WHITAKER
Sam.

SAM
I have a stack of paper on my desk —

WHITAKER
Work with Kaffee on this.

SAM
Doing what? Kaffee’ll finish this up
in four days.

WHITAKER
Do various… administrative… you
know… things. Back-up. Whatever.

SAM
In other words I have no
responsibilities whatsoever.

WHITAKER
Right.

SAM
My kinda case.

CUT TO:

INT. JO’S OFFICE – DAY

JO sits behind her desk. KAFFEE and SAM stand in the doorway.
KAFFEE knocks politely.

JO looks up.

KAFFEE
Hi.
(beat)
I’m Daniel Kaffee. I was told to
meet with —
(checks notes)
— Commander Galloway.

JO is staring at him. KAFFEE doesn’t know why.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
About a briefing.

JO is finding this hard to believe.

JO
You’re the attorney that Division
assigned?

KAFFEE
I’m lead counsel. This is Sam
Weinberg.

SAM
I have no responsibilities here
whatsoever.

JO’s deeply puzzled.

JO
(beat)
Come in, please, have a seat…

KAFFEE and SAM come into the office and sit.

JO
(continuing)
Lieutenant, how long have you been
in the Navy?

KAFFEE
Going on nine months now.

JO
And how long have you been out of
law school?

KAFFEE
A little over a year.

JO
(beat)
I see.

KAFFEE
Have I done something wrong?

JO
No. It’s just that when I petitioned
Division to have counsel assigned, I
was hoping I’d be taken seriously.

KAFFEE and SAM exchange a look.

KAFFEE
(to JO)
No offense taken, if you were
wondering.

SAM
Commander, Lt. Kaffee’s generally
considered the best litigator in our
office. He’s successfully plea
bargained 44 cases in nine months.

KAFFEE
One more, and I got a set of steak
knives.

JO
Have you ever been in a courtroom?

KAFFEE
I once had my drivers license
suspended.

SAM
Danny —

KAFFEE
Commander, from what I understand,
if this thing goes to court, they
won’t need a lawyer, they’ll need a
priest.

JO
No. They’ll need a lawyer.

During this, she’ll hand KAFFEE a series of files, which
KAFFEE will pass To SAM without even glancing at them.

JO
(continuing)
Dawson’s family has been contacted.
Downey’s closest living relative is
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his mother’s
side, she hasn’t been Contacted yet.

None of this really means anything to KAFFEE.

JO
(continuing)
Would you like me to take care of
that?

KAFFEE
Sure, if you feel like it.

JO takes another beat to size this guy up.

JO
One of the people you’ll be speaking
to down there is the barracks C.O.,
Colonel Nathan Jessep, I assume you’ve
heard of him.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Who hasn’t?

SAM
(to KAFFEE)
He’s been in the papers lately. He’s
expected to be appointed Director of
Operations for the National Security
Counsel.

Passing KAFFEE another file —

JO
These are letters that Santiago wrote
in his 8 months at GITMO —

SAM
(whispering to kaffee)
Guantanamo Bay.

KAFFEE
I know that one.

JO
He wrote to his recruiter, the fleet
commander, HQ, Atlantic, even his
senator. He wanted a transfer. Nobody
was listening. You with me?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
This last letter to the Naval
investigative Service —

She hands it to KAFFEE who hands it to Sam —

JO
(continuing)
— where he offers information about
Corporal Dawson’s fenceline shooting
in exchange for a transfer, was just
a last ditch effort.

KAFFEE
Right. Is that all?

JO
(beat)
Lieutenant, this letter makes it
look like your client had a motive
to kill Santiago.

KAFFEE
Gotcha.
(beat)
And Santiago is… who?

JO
(beat)
The victim.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
Write that down.
(to JO)
Am I correct in assuming that these
letters don’t paint a flattering
picture of marine corps life in
Guantanamo Bay?

JO
Yes, among other —

KAFFEE
And am I further right in assuming
that a protracted investigation of
this incident might cause some
embarrassment for the security counsel
guy.

JO
Colonel Jessep, yes, but —

KAFFEE
Twelve years.

JO
I’m sorry?

KAFFEE
Twelve years. I can get it knocked
down to Involuntary Manslaughter.
Twelve years.

JO
You haven’t talked to a witness, you
haven’t looked at a piece of paper.

KAFFEE
Pretty impressive, huh?

JO
You’re gonna have to go deeper than
just —

KAFFEE
Commander, do you have some sort of
jurisdiction here that I should know
about?

JO
My job is to make sure you do your
job. I’m special counsel for Internal
Affairs, so my jurisdiction’s pretty
much in your face. Read the letters.
You’re not under any obligation, but
I’d appreciate a report when you get
back from Cuba.

KAFFEE
Sure.

KAFFEE gets up without waiting for JO to say —

JO
You’re dismissed.

KAFFEE
Sorry, I always forget that.

KAFFEE’s gone. SAM’s standing in the doorway.

SAM
He’s a little preoccupied.
(beat)
The team’s playing Bethesda Medical
next week.

JO
Tell your friend not to get cute
down there. The marines in Guantanimo
are fanatical.

SAM
About what?

And in VOICE OVER we HEAR —

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
Dear Sir,

JO
About being marines.

CUT TO:

EXT. CUBAN FIELD – DAY

SERIES OF SHOTS – DAY

And while we HEAR the letter read in V.O., what we’re seeing
is this: SANTIAGO’s life in Guantanimo Bay over the last 8
months. He had a rough time of it.

THE SHOTS SHOULD INCLUDE:

— SANTIAGO running along at the rear of a group of MARINES.
It’s been over seven miles and he’s matted with sweat. A
SERGEANT runs up along side, grabs his back, and pushes him
to keep up with the group. SANTIAGO falls, struggles to get
back up and keep running, and

CUT TO:

EXT. MARINE BARRACKS – DAY

— SANTIAGO doing push-ups alone in the rain. He’s being
supervised by a SERGEANT who sees to it that his face hits
the mud every time down and

CUT TO:

INT. MESS HALL – DAY

— SANTIAGO sitting alone in the mess hall, not a friend
within four seats of him and

CUT TO:

EXT. MARINE BARRACKS – DAY

— SANTIAGO being chewed out by a Lieutenant in front of his
squad and

CUT TO:

EXT. ROCKY HILL – DAY

— SANTIAGO running with the squad of MARINES again, this
time down a rocky hill. It’s hot as hell and it looks like
he’s gonna pass out.

He stumbles, and the SERGEANT picks him up and pushes him
down the hill. He rolls about 30 feet before he stops. Over
this, we HEAR

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
“…My name is PFC William T.
Santiago. I am a marine stationed at
Marine Barracks, Rifle Security
Company Windward, Second Platoon
Delta. I am writing to inform you of
my problems with my unit here in
Cuba and to ask for your help. I’ve
fallen out on runs before for several
reasons such as feeling dizzy or
nauseated, but on May 18th, I’d fallen
back about 20 or 30 yards going down
a rocky, unstable hill. My sergeant
grabbed me and pushed me down the
hill. Then I saw all black and the
last thing I remember is hitting the
deck. I was brought to the hospital
where I was told I just had heat
exhaustion and was explained to by
the doctor that my body has trouble
with the hot sun and I hyperventilate.
I ask you to help me. Please sir. I
just need to be transferred out of
RSC. Sincerely. PFC William T.
Santiago. U.S. Marine Corps.”

At this point, with SANTIAGO’s letter still in V.O., we

CUT TO:

INT. JESSEP’S OFFICE – DAY

THE LETTER – DAY

It’s the last paragraph of the letter we’ve been hearing,
and at the moment, we can’t see the hands that are holding
it.

SANTIAGO (V.O.)
“P.S. In exchange for my transfer
off the base, I’m willing to provide
you with information about an illegal
fenceline shooting that occurred the
night of August 2nd.”

And as these last words are spoken, we PULL BACK TO REVEAL
COLONEL NATHAN R. JESSEP, who drops the letter he’s been
reading on his desk, where it joins a stack of other letters
just like it.

JESSEP’s a born leader, considered in many circles to be one
of the real fair-haired boys of the Corps. He’s smart as a
whip with a sense of humor to match. As soon as he drops the
letter, he says

JESSEP
Who the fuck is PFC William T.
Santiago.

He’s talking to his two senior officers. CAPTAIN MARKINSON
is in his late 40’s. He’s a career marine and a nice guy in
a world where nice guys may not finish last, but they sure
as shit don’t finish first. Lt. JONATHAN JAMES KENDRICK is
26, from Georgia, and an Academy graduate.

If you asked him he’d tell you that the gates to heaven are
guarded by the U.S. Marine Corps.

KENDRICK
Sir, Santiago is a member of Second
Platoon, Delta.

JESSEP
Yeah, well, apparently he’s not very
happy down here at Shangri-La, cause
he’s written letters to everyone but
Santa Claus asking for a transfer.
And now he’s telling tales about a
fenceline shooting.

He tosses the letter over to MARKINSON. MARKINSON is looking
it over. JESSEP is waiting for a response.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew?

MARKINSON
I’m appalled, sir.

JESSEP
You’re appalled? This kid broke the
Chain of Command and he ratted on a
man of his unit, to say nothing of
the fact that he’s a U.S. Marine and
it would appear that he can’t run
from here to there without collapsing
from heat exhaustion. What the fuck’s
going on over at Windward, Matthew?

MARKINSON
Colonel, I think perhaps it would be
better to hold this discussion in
private.

KENDRICK
That won’t be necessary, Colonel,
I’ll handle the situation.

MARKINSON
The same way you handled the Curtis
Barnes incident? You’re doing
something wrong, Lieutenant this —

KENDRICK
My methods of leadership are —

MARKINSON
Don’t interrupt me, I’m still your
superior officer.

JESSEP
And I’m yours, Matthew.

The room calms down for a moment.

JESSEP
(continuing)
I want to know what we’re gonna do
about this.

MARKINSON
I think Santiago should be transferred
off the base. Right away.

JESSEP
He’s that bad, huh?

MARKINSON
Not only that, but word of this
letter’s bound to get out. The kid’s
gonna get his ass kicked.

JESSEP
Transfer Santiago. Yes I suppose
you’re right. I suppose that’s the
thing to do. Wait. Wait. I’ve got a
better idea. Let’s transfer the whole
squad off the base. Let’s — on second
thought — Windward. The whole
Windward division, let’s transfer
’em off the base. Jon, go on out
there and get those boys down off
the fence, they’re packing their
bags.
(calling out)
Tom!

The ORDERLY cones in from the outer office.

ORDERLY
Sir!

JESSEP
Got me the President on the phone,
we’re surrendering our position in
Cuba.

ORDERLY
Yes sir!

JESSEP
Wait a minute, Tom.

The ORDERLY stops.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Don’t call the President just yet.
Maybe we should consider this for a
second. Maybe — and I’m just spit
balling here — but maybe we as
officers have a responsibility to
train Santiago. Maybe we as officers
have a responsibility to this country
to see that the men and women charged
with its security are trained
professionals. Yes. I’m certain I
once read that somewhere. And now
I’m thinking that your suggestion of
transferring Santiago, while
expeditious, and certainly painless,
might not be in a manner of speaking,
the American way. Santiago stays
where he is. We’re gonna train the
lad. You’re in charge, Jon. Santiago
doesn’t make 4.1 on his next fitness
report, I’m gonna blame you. Then
I’m gonna kill you.

KENDRICK
Yes sir.

MARKINSON
I think that’s a mistake, Colonel.

JESSEP
Matthew, I believe I will have that
word in private with you now. Jon,
that’s all. Why don’t you and I have
lunch at the “O” club, we’ll talk
about the training of young William.

KENDRICK
Yes sir, I’d be delighted to hear
any suggestions you have.

JESSEP
Dismissed.

KENDRICK is gone.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew, sit, please.

MARKINSON sits.

JESSEP
(continuing)
What do you think of Kendrick?

MARKINSON
(beat)
I don’t know that —

JESSEP
I think he’s kind of a weasel, myself.
But he’s an awfully good officer,
and in the end we see eye to eye on
the best way to run a marine corps
unit. We’re in the business of saving
lives, Matthew. That’s a
responsibility we have to take pretty
seriously. And I believe that taking
a marine who’s not yet up to the job
and packing him off to another
assignment, puts lives in danger.

MARKINSON starts to stand —

JESSEP
(continuing)
Matthew, siddown.
(beat)
We go back a while. We went to the
Academy together, we were commissioned
together, we did our tours in Vietnam
together. But I’ve been promoted up
through the chain with greater speed
and success than you have. Now if
that’s a source of tension or
embarrassment for you, well, I don’t
give a shit. We’re in the business
of saving lives, Captain Markinson.
Don’t ever question my orders in
front of another officer.

JESSEP grabs his hat and walks out, leaving MARKINSON sitting
all alone, and we

CUT TO:

EXT. WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – MAIN GATE – DAY

It’s maybe a little hazier today than it was yesterday. An
M.P. is waving a procession of three Military Police sedans
and a fourth unmarked car through the gate. The cars drive
through and we

CUT TO:

EXT. THE BRIG – DAY

Another red-brick building. A few M.P.Is stand out front as
the cars pull up. As soon as they come to a stop, all the
doors swing open and various uniformed and non-uniformed
officers hop out and move to the unmarked sedan where they
escort DAWSON and DOWNEY, in handcuffs, out of the car.
HAROLD DAWSON’s a handsome, young, black corporal. Intense,
controlled, and utterly professional.

LOUDEN DOWNEY’s a 19-year-old kid off an Iowa farm. He’s
happiest when someone is telling him exactly what to do.

DAWSON’s his hero.

The two prisoners stand still for a moment. They might as
we’ll be in Oz.

DOWNEY
Hal?

DAWSON doesn’t say anything.

DOWNEY
(continuing)
Is this Washington, D.C.?

M.P.
Alright, let’s move.

CUT TO:

EXT. SOFTBALL FIELD – DAY

and KAFFEE’s at it again.

KAFFEE
Alright, let’s get tough out there!

JO walks up from behind the backstop.

JO
Excuse me.

KAFFEE
You want to suit up? We need all the
help we can get.

JO
No, thank you, I can’t throw and
catch things.

KAFFEE
That’s okay, neither can they.

JO
I wanted to talk to you about Corporal
Dawson and Private Downey.

KAFFEE
Say again?

JO
Dawson and Downey.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Those names sound like they should
mean something to me, but I’m just
not —

JO
Dawson! Downey! Your clients!

KAFFEE
The Cuba thing! Yes! Dawson and
Downey.
(beat)
Right.
(pause)
I’ve done something wrong again,
haven’t I?

JO
I was wondering why two guys have
been in a jail cell since this morning
while their lawyer is outside hitting
a ball.

KAFFEE
We need the practice.

JO
That wasn’t funny.

KAFFEE
It was a little funny.

JO
Lieutenant, would you feel very
insulted if I recommended to your
supervisor that he assign different
counsel?

KAFFEE
Why?

JO
I don’t think you’re fit to handle
this defense.

KAFFEE
You don’t even know me. Ordinarily
it takes someone hours to discover
I’m not fit to handle a defense.

Jo just stares.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Oh come on, that was damn funny.

Jo moves close to KAFFEE to say this with a degree of
confidentiality.

JO
I do know you. Daniel AlliStair
Kaffee, born June 8th, 1964 at Boston
Mercy Hospital. Your father’s Lionel
Kaffee, former Navy Judge Advocate
and Attorney General, of the United
States, died 1985. You went to Harvard
Law on a Navy scholarship, probably
because that’s what your father wanted
you to do, and now you’re just
treading water for the three years
you’ve gotta serve in the JAG Corps,
just kinda layin’ low til you can
get out and get a real job. And if
that’s the situation, that’s fine, I
won’t tell anyone. But my feeling is
that if this case is handled in the
same fast-food, slick-ass, Persian
Bazaar manner with which you seem to
handle everything else, something’s
gonna get missed. And I wouldn’t be
doing my job if I allowed Dawson and
Downey to spend any more time in
prison than absolutely necessary,
because their attorney had pre-
determined the path of least
resistance.

KAFFEE can’t help but be impressed by that speech.

KAFFEE
Wow.
(beat)
I’m sexually aroused, Commander.

JO
I don’t think your clients murdered
anybody.

KAFFEE
What are you basing this on?

JO
There was no intent.

KAFFEE
The doctor’s report says that Santiago
died of asphyxiation brought on by
acute lactic acidosis, and that the
nature of the acidosis strongly
suggests poisoning.
(beat)
Now, I don’t know what any of that
means, but it sounds pretty bad.

JO
Santiago died at one a.m. At three
the doctor was unable to determine
the cause of death, but two hours
later he said it was poison.

KAFFEE
Oh, now I see what you’re saying.
It had to be Professor Plum in the
library with the candlestick.

JO
I’m gonna speak to your supervisor.

KAFFEE
Okay. You go straight up Pennsylvania
Avenue. It’s a big white house with
pillars in front.

JO
Thank you.

KAFFEE
I don’t think you’ll have much luck,
though. I was assigned by Division,
remember? Somebody over there thinks
I’m a good lawyer. So while I
appreciate your interest and admire
your enthusiasm, I think I can pretty
much handle things myself.

JO
Do you know what a code red is?

KAFFEE doesn’t, but he doesn’t say anything.

JO
(continuing)
What a pity.

CUT TO:

INT. THE BRIG – DAY

And an M.P. is leading KAFFEE and SAM down to DAWSON and
DOWNEY’s cell.

M.P.
Officer on deck, ten-hut.

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention. Through the following,
the M.P. will unlock the call door and let the lawyers in.

DAWSON
Sir, Lance Corporal Harold W. Dawson,
sir. Rifle Security Company Windward,
Second Platoon, Delta.

KAFFEE
Someone hasn’t been working and
playing well with others, Harold.

DAWSON
Sir, yes sir!

DOWNEY
Sir, PFC Louden Downey.

KAFFEE
I’m Daniel Kaffee, this is Sam
Weinerg, you can sitdown.

DAWSON and DOWNEY aren’t too comfortable sitting in the
presence of officers, but they do as they’re told. KAFFEE’s
pulled out some documents, SAM’s sitting on one of the cots
taking notes.

KAFFEE
(continuing; to DAWSON)
Is this your signature?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
You don’t have to call me sir.
(to DOWNEY)
Is this your signature?

DOWNEY
Sir, yes sir.

KAFFEE
And you certainly don’t have to do
it twice in one sentence. Harold,
what’s a Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir, a Code Red is a disciplinary
engagement.

KAFFEE
What does that mean, exactly?

DAWSON
Sir, a marine falls out of line,
it’s up to the men in his unit to
get him back on track.

KAFFEE
What’s a garden variety Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
Harold, you say sir and I turn around
and look for my father. Danny, Daniel,
Kaffee. Garden variety; typical.
What’s a basic Code Red?

DAWSON
Sir, a marine has refused to bathe
on a regular basis. The men in his
squad would give him a G.I. shower.

KAFFEE
What’s that?

DAWSON
Scrub brushes, brillo pads, steel
wool…

SAM
Beautiful.

KAFFEE
Was the attack on Santiago a Code
Red?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
(to DOWNEY)
Do you ever talk?

DAWSON
Sir, Private Downey will answer any
direct questions you ask him.

KAFFEE
Swell. Private Downey, the rag you
stuffed in Santiago’s mouth, was
there poison on it?

DOWNEY
No sir.

KAFFEE
Silver polish, turpentine, anti-
freeze…

DOWNEY
No sir. We were gonna shave his head,
sir.

KAFFEE
When all of a sudden…?

DOWNEY
We saw blood drippinq out of his
mouth. Then we pulled the tape off,
and there was blood all down his
face, sir. That’s when Corporal Dawson
called the ambulance.

KAFFEE tries not to make too big a deal out of this last
piece of news.

KAFFEE
(to DAWSON)
Did anyone see you call the ambulance?

DAWSON
No sir.

KAFFEE
Were you there when the ambulance
got there?

DAWSON
Yes sir, that’s when we were taken
under arrest.

KAFFEE kinda strolls to the corner of the cell to think for
a moment.

SAM
(to DAWSON)
On the night of August 2nd, did you
fire a shot across the fenceline
into Cuba?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

SAM
Why?

DAWSON
My mirror engaged, sir.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
His mirror engaged?

SAM
For each American sentry post there’s
a Cuban counterpart. They’re called
mirrors. The corporal’s claiming
that his mirror was about to fire at
him.

KAFFEE
Santiago’s letter to the NIS said
you fired illegally. He’s saying
that the guy, the mirror, he never
made a move.

DAWSON says nothing.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Oh, Harold?

SAM is staring at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You see what I’m getting at? If
Santiago didn’t have anything on
you, then why did you give him a
Code Red?

DAWSON
Because he broke the chain of command,
sir.

KAFFEE
He what?

DAWSON
He went outside his unit, sir. If he
had a problem, he should’ve spoken
to me, sir. Then his Sergeant, then
Company Commander, then —

KAFFEE
Yeah, yeah, alright. Harold, did you
assault Santiago with the intent of
killing him?

DAWSON
No sir.

KAFFEE
What was your intent?

DAWSON
To train him, sir.

KAFFEE
Train him to do what?

DAWSON
Train him to think of his unit before
himself. To respect the code.

SAM
What’s the code?

DAWSON
Unit Corps God Country.

SAM
I beg your pardon?

DAWSON
Unit Corps God Country, sir.

KAFFEE
The Goverrment of the United States
wants to charge you two with murder.
You want me to go to the prosecutor
with unit, corps, god, country?

DAWSON stares at KAFFEE.

DAWSON
That’s our code, sir.

KAFFEE takes a long moment. He picks up his briefcase and he
and SAM move to the door.

KAFFEE
We’ll be back. You guys need anything?
Books paper, cigarettes, a ham
sandwich?

DAWSON
Sir. No thank you. Sir.

KAFFEE smiles at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
Harold, I think there’s a concept
you better start warming up to.

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
I’m the only friend you’ve got.

And as KAFFEE and SAM walk out the open cell door, DAWSON
and DOWNEY come to attention and snap a salute.

They hold the salute until KAFFEE and SAM are well out of
sight, and we

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S OFFICE – DAY

He’s packing up stuff into his briefcase at the end of the
work day. Lt. JACK ROSS, a marine lawyer maybe two years
older than Kaffee, opens the door and walks in..

ROSS
Dan Kaffee.

KAFFEE
Sailin’ Jack Ross.

ROSS
Welcome to the big time.

KAFFEE
You think so?

ROSS
I hope for Dawson and Downey’s sake
you practice law better than you
play softball.

KAFFEE
Unfortunately for Dawson and Downey,
I don’t do anything better than I
play softball. What are we lookin’
at?

ROSS
They plead guilty to manslaughter,
I’ll drop the conspiracy and the
conduct unbecoming. 20 years, they’ll
be home in half that time.

KAFFEE
I want twelve.

ROSS
Can’t do it.

KAFFEE
They called the ambulance, Jack.

ROSS
I don’t care if they called the Avon
Lady, they killed a marine.

KAFFEE
The rag was tested for poison. The
autopsy, lab report, even the initial
E.R. and C.O.D. reports. They all
say the same thing: Maybe, maybe
not.

ROSS
The Chief of Internal Medicine at
the Guantanamo Bay Naval hospital
says he’s sure.

KAFFEE
What do you know about Code Reds?

ROSS smiles and shakes his head.

ROSS
Oh man.

He closes the office door.

ROSS
(continuing)
Are we off the record?

KAFFEE
You tell me.

ROSS
(pause)
I’m gonna give you the twelve years,
but before you go getting yourself
into trouble tomorrow, you should
know this: The platoon commander Lt.
Jonathan Kendrick, had a meeting
with the men. And he specifically
told them not to touch Santiago.

KAFFEE holds for a moment. Dawson and Downey neglected to
mention this… He packs up his briefcase and cleats.

KAFFEE
I’ll talk to you when I get back.

ROSS
Hey, we got a little four-on-four
going tomorrow night. When does your
plane get in?

CUT TO:

EXT. THE PARKING LOT – DUSK

It’s dusk and people on the base are going home from work.
We can see the flag being lowered in the background.

KAFFEE’s walking toward his car. JO intercepts him and starts
walking along with him.

JO
Hi there.

KAFFEE
Any luck getting me replaced?

JO
Is there anyone in this command that
you don’t either drink or play
softball with?

KAFFEE
Commander —

JO
Listen, I came to make peace. We
started off on the wrong foot. What
do you say? Friends?

KAFFEE
Look, I don’t —

JO
By the way, I brought Downey some
comic books he was asking for. The
kid, Kaffee, I swear, he doesn’t
know where he is, he doesn’t even
know why he’s been arrested.

KAFFEE
Commander —

JO
You can call me Joanne.

KAFFEE
Joanne —

JO
or Jo.

KAFFEE
Jo?

JO
Yes.

KAFFEE
Jo, if you ever speak to a client of
mine again without my permission,
I’ll have you disbarred. Friends?

JO
I had authorization.

KAFFEE
From where?

JO
Downey’s closest living relative,
Ginny Miller, his aunt on his mother’s
side.

KAFFEE
You got authorization from Aunt Ginny?

JO
I gave her a call like you asked.
Very nice woman, we talked for about
an hour.

KAFFEE
You got authorization from Aunt Ginny.

JO
Perfectly within my province.

KAFFEE
Does Aunt Ginny have a barn? We can
hold the trial there. I can sew the
costumes, and maybe his Uncle Goober
can be the judge.

Jo steps aside and lets KAFFEE got into his car.

JO
I’m going to Cuba with you tomorrow.

KAFFEE
And the hits just keep on comin’.

HOLD on KAFFEE and Jo. JO smiles.

CUT TO:

EXT. SIDEWALK NEWSSTAND – DUSK

KAFFEE IN HIS CAR

He’s driving down a Washington street and pulls over at a
sidewalk newsstand.

He gets out of his car, leaving the lights flashing, and
runs up to the newsstand.

As he plunks his 35 cents down and picks up a newspaper, he
engages in his daily ritual with LUTHER, the newsstand
operator.

KAFFEE
How’s it goin’, Luther?

LUTHER
Another day, another dollar, captain.

KAFFEE
You gotta play ’em as they lay,
Luther.

LUTHER
What comes around, goes around, you
know what I’m sayin’.

KAFFEE
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

LUTHER
Hey, if you’ve got your health, you
got everything.

KAFFEE
Love makes the world go round. I’ll
see you tomorrow, Luther.

And we

CUT TO:

INT. SAM’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

A baby sleeping in a crib pull rack to reveal SAM is standing
over the crib. KAFFEE’s sitting on a beer.

SAM
When Nancy gets back, you’re my
witness. The baby spoke. My daughter
said a word.

KAFFEE
Your daughter made a sound, Sam, I’m
not sure it was a word.

SAM
Oh come on, it was a word.

KAFFEE
Okay.

SAM
You heard her. The girl sat here,
pointed, and said “Pa”. She did. She
said “Pa”.

KAFFEE
She was pointing at a doorknob.

SAM
That’s right. Pointing, as if to
say, “Pa, look, a doorknob”.

SAM joins KAFFEE in the living room.

KAFFEE
Jack Ross came to see me today. He
offered me twelve years.

SAM
That’s what you wanted.

KAFFEE
I know, and I’ll… I guess, I mean —
(beat)
I’ll take it.

SAM
So?

KAFFEE
It took albout 45 seconds. He barely
put up a fight.

SAM
(beat)
Danny, take the twelve years, it’s a
gift.

KAFFEE finishes off his beer, and stands.

KAFFEE
You don’t believe their story, do
you? You think they ought to go to
jail for the rest of their lives.

SAM
I believe every word they said. And
I think they ought to go to jail for
the rest of their lives.

KAFFEE nods and puts down the empty beer bottle.

KAFFEE
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Sam opens the front door for him and they stand out on the
stoop for a moment.

SAM
Remember to wear your whites, it’s
hot down there.

KAFFEE
I don’t like the whites.

SAM
Nobody likes the whites, but we’re
going to Cuba in August. You got
Dramamine?

KAFFEE
Dramamine keeps you cool?

SAM
Dramamine keeps you from throwing
up, you get sick when you fly.

KAFFEE
I get sick when I fly because I’m
afraid of crashing into a large
mountain, I don’t think Dramamine’ll
help.

SAM
I’ve got some oregano, I hear that
works pretty good.

KAFFEE
Yeah, right.

KAFFEE starts toward his car, then turns around.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You know, Ross said the strangest
thing to me right before I left. He
said the platoon commander Lieutenant
Jonathan Kendrick had a meeting with
the men and specifically told them
not to touch Santiago.

SAM
So?

KAFFEE
I never mentioned Kendrick. I don’t
even know who he is.
(beat)
What the hell.
(beat)
I’ll see you tomorrow.

We hold for a moment on KAFFEE as he walks to his car, then

CUT TO:

EXT. THE AIRSTRIP AT GUANTANAMO BAY – DAY

The whole place, in stark contrast to the Washington Navy
Yard, is ready to go to war. Fighter jets line the tarmac.
Ground crews re-fuel planes. Hurried activity.

A 36 seat Airforce Jet rolls to a stop on the tarmac and a
stair unit is brought up.

HOWARD, a marine corporal, is waiting by the stairway as the
passengers begin to got off. Mostly MARINES, a few SAILORS,
a couple of CIVILIANS, and KAFFEE, JO and SAM. KAFFEE and
SAM are wearing their summer whites, JO is in khakis.

KAFFEE and SAM stare out at what they see: They’re not in
Kansas anymore.

HOWARD shouts over the noise from the planes.

HOWARD
Lieutenants Kaffee and Weinberg?

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Yeah.

JO
Commander Galloway.

HOWARD
I’m Corporal Howard, ma’am, I’m to
escort you to the Windward side of
the base.

JO
Thank you.

HOWARD
I’ve got some camouflage jackets in
the back of the jeep, sirs, I’ll
have to ask you both to put them on.

KAFFEE
Camouflage jackets?

HOWARD
Regulations, sir. We’ll be riding
pretty close to the fenceline. The
Cubans see an officer wearing white,
they think it’s someone they might
wanna take a shot at.

KAFFEE turns and glares at SAM.

KAFFEE
Good call, Sam.

CUT TO:

EXT. CUBAN ROAD – THE JEEP – DAY

Tearing along down the road, and now we see a beautiful
expanse of water, maybe 1000 yards across. It’s a section of
Guantanamo Bay.

HOWARD
(shouting)
We’ll just hop on the ferry and be
over there in no time.

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Whoa! Hold it! We gotta take a boat?!

HOWARD
Yes sir, to get to the other side of
the bay.

KAFFEE
Nobody said anything about a boat.

HOWARD
(shouting)
Is there a problem, sir?

KAFFEE
(shouting)
No. No problem. I’m just not that
crazy about boats, that’s all.

JO
(shouting)
Jesus Christ, Kaffee, you’re in the
Navy for cryin’ out loud!

KAFFEE
(shouting)
Nobody likes her very much.

HOWARD
(shouting)
Yes sir.

The jeep drives on and we

CUT TO:

JESSEP, MARKINSON and KENDRICK are standing as the LAWYERS
are led in.

JESSEP
Nathan Jessep, come on in and siddown.

KAFFEE
Thank you. I’m Daniel Kaffee, I’m
the attorney for Dawson and Downey.
This is Joanne Galloway, she’s
observing and evaluating —

JO
(shaking hands)
Colonel.

JESSEP
Pleased to meet you, Commander.

KAFFEE
Sam Weinberg. He has no responsibility
here whatsoever.

JESSEP
I’ve asked Captain Markinson and Lt.
Kendrick to join us.

MARKINSON
Lt. Kaffee, I had the pleasure of
seeing your father once. I was a
teenager and he spoke at my high
school.

KAFFEE smiles and nods.

JESSEP
Lionel Kaffee?

KAFFEE
Yes sir.

JESSEP
Well what do you know. Son, this
man’s dad once made a lot of enemies
down in your neck of the woods.
Jefferson vs. Madison County School
District. The folks down there said
a little black girl couldn’t go to
an all white school, Lionel Kaffee
said we’ll just see about that. How
the hell is your dad?

KAFFEE
He passed away seven years ago,
colonel.

JESSEP
(pause)
Well… don’t I feel like the fuckin,
asshole.

KAFFEE
Not at all, sir.

JESSEP
Well, what can we do for you, Danny.

KAFFEE
Not much at all, sir, I’m afraid.
This is really a formality more than
anything else. The JAG Corps insists
that I interview all the relevant
witnesses.

JO
The JAG Corps can be demanding that
way.

JESSEP smiles.

JESSEP
Jonanthan’ll take you out and show
you what you wanna see, then we can
all hook up for lunch, how does that
sound?

KAFFEE
Fine, sir.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE FENCELINE – DAY

A SQUAD OF MARINES jogs by as a jeep carrying KENDRICK and
the three LAWYERS cruises down the road.

We FOLLOW the jeep.

KAFFEE
I understand you had a meeting with
your men that afternoon.

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
What’d you guys talk about?

KENDRICK
I told the men that there was an
informer among us. And that despite
any desire they might have to seek
retribution, Private Santiago was
not to be harmed in any way.

KAFFEE
What time was that meeting?

KENDRICK
Sixteen-hundred.

KAFFEE turns around and looks at SAM.

SAM
(leaning forward)
Four o’clock.

CUT TO:

INT. THE BARRACKS CORRIDOR – DAY

KENDRICK leads the LAWYERS down the corridor to Santiago’s
room.

Two strips of tape which warn DO NOT ENTER – AT ORDER OF THE
MILITARY POLICE are crisscrossed over the closed door. They
open the door and step under the tape and walk into

INT. SANTIAGO’S ROOM – DAY

The room is exactly an it was left that night. The un-made
bed, the chair knocked over… The LAWYERS look around for a
moment. The room is sparse.

Kaffee goes to the closet and opens it: A row of uniforms
hanging neatly. He thumbs through then for a second, but
there’s nothing there.

He opens the footlocker: Socks, underwear… all folded to
marine corp precision… A shaving kit, a couple of
photographs, a pad of writing paper and some envelopes…

Kaffee closes the footlocker.

KAFFEE
Sam, somebody should see about getting
this stuff to his parents. We don’t
need it anymore.

KENDRICK
Actually, the uniforms belong to the
marine corps.

The LAWYERS take a moment.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick — can I call you Jon?

KENDRICK
No, you may not.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Have I done something to offend you?

KENDRICK
No, I like all you Navy boys. Every
time we’ve gotta go someplace and
fight, you fellas always give us a
ride.

JO
Lt. Kendrick, do you think Santiago
was murdered?

KENDRICK
Commander, I believe in God, and in
his son Jesus Christ, and because I
do, I can say this: Private Santiago
is dead and that’s a tragedy. But
he’s dead because he had no code.
He’s dead because he had no honor.
And God was watching.

SAM turns to KAFFEE.

SAM
How do you feel about that theory?

KAFFEE
(beat)
Sounds good. Let’s move on.

SAM and KENDRICK walk out the door. JO stops KAFFEE.

JO
You planning on doing any
investigating or are you just gonna
take the guided tour?

KAFFEE
(beat)
I’m pacing myself.

CUT TO:

INT. THE OFFICERS CLUB – DAY

JESSEP, MARKINSON, KENDRICK and the LAWYERS are seated at a
table in the corner.

Stewards clear the lunch dishes and pour coffee. Jessep is
finishing a story.

JESSEP
…And they spent the next three
hours running around, looking for
Americans to surrender to.

JESSEP laughs. KENDRICK joins him. SAM and KAFFEE force a
laugh.

MARKINSON forces a smile. JO remains silent.

JESSEP
(continuing; to the
STEWARDS)
That was delicious, men, thank you.

STEWARD
Our pleasure, sir.

KAFFEE
Colonel just need to ask you a couple
of questions about August 6th.

JESSEP
Shoot.

KAFFEE
On the morning of the sixth, you
were contacted by an NIS angent who
said that Santiago had tipped him
off to an illegal fenceline shooting.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
Santiago was gonna reveal the person’s
name in exchange for a transfer. An
I getting this right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
If you feel there are any details
that I’m missing, you should free to
speak up.

JESSEP’s not quite sure what to say to this Navy Lawyer
Lieutenant-Smartass guy who just gave him permission to speak
freely on his own base.

JESSEP
Thank you.

KAFFEE
Now it was at this point that you
called Captain Markinson and Lt.
Kendrick into your office?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And what happened then?

JESSEP
We agreed that for his own safety,
Santiago should be transferred off
the base.

Here’s something else KAFFEE didn’t know. Neither did Jo.
SAM jots something down on a small notepad.

MARKINSON doesn’t flinch.

KAFFEE
Santiago was set to be transferred?

JESSEP
On the first available flight to the
states. Six the next morning. Three
hours too late as it turned out.

KAFFEE nods.

KAFFEE
Yeah.

There’s silence for a moment.

KAFFEE takes a sip of his coffee. Then drains the cup and
puts it down.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Alright, that’s all I have. Thanks
very much for your time.

KENDRICK
The corporal’s got the jeep outside,
he’ll take you back to the airstrip.

KAFFEE
(standing)
Thank you.

JO
Wait a minute, I’ve got some
questions.

KAFFEE
No you don’t.

JO
Yes I do.

KAFFEE
No you don’t.

JO
Colonel, on the morning that Santiago
died, did you meet with Doctor Stone
between three and five?

KAFFEE
Jo —

JESSEP
Of course I met with the doctor. One
of my men was dead.

KAFFEE
(to JO)
See? The man was dead. Let’s go.

JO
(to JESSEP)
I was wondering if you’ve ever heard
the term Code Red.

KAFFEE
Jo —

JESSEP
I’ve heard the term, yes.

JO
Colonel, this past February, you
received a cautionary memo from the
Naval Investigative Service, warning
that the practice of enlisted men
disciplining their own wasn’t to be
condoned by officers.

JESSEP
I submit to you that whoever wrote
that memo has never served on the
working end of a Soviet-made Cuban
Ml-Al6 Assault Rifle. However, the
directive having come from the NIS,
I gave it its due attention. What’s
your point, Jo?

KAFFEE
She has no point. She often has no
point. It’s part of her charm. We’re
outta here. Thank you.

JO
My point is that I think code reds
still go on down here. Do Code Reds
still happen on this base, colonel?

KAFFEE
Jo, the colonel doesn’t need to answer
that.

JO
Yes he does.

KAFFEE
No, he really doesn’t.

JO
Yeah, he really does. Colonel?

JESSEP
You know it just hit me. She outranks
you, Danny.

KAFFEE
Yes sir.

JESSEP
I want to tell you something Danny
and listen up ’cause I mean this:
You’re the luckiest man in the world.
There is, believe me gentlemen,
nothing sexier on earth than a woman
you have to salute in the morning.
Promote ’em all I say.

JO’s not upset. JO’s not mad. But she’s gonna ask her question
’til she gets an answer.

JO
Colonel, the practice of code Reds
is still condoned by officers on
this base, isn’t it?

JESSEP
You see my problem is, of course,
that I’m a Colonel. I’ll just have
to keep taking cold showers ’til
they elect some gal President.

JO
I need an answer to my question,
sir.

JESSEP
Take caution in your tone, Commander.
I’m a fair guy, but this fuckin’
heat’s making me absolutely crazy.
You want to know about code reds?
On the record I tell you that I
discourage the practice in accordance
with the NIS directive. Off the record
I tell you that it’s an invaluable
part of close infantry training, and
if it happens to go on without my
knowledge, so be it. I run my base
how I run my base. You want to
investigate me, roll the dice and
take your chances. I eat breakfast
80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who
are trained to kill me. So don’t for
one second think you’re gonna come
down here, flash a badge, and make
me nervous.

A moment of tense silence before —

KAFFEE
Let’s go. Colonel, I’ll just need a
copy of Santiago’s transfer order.

JESSEP
What’s that?

KAFFEE
Santiago’s transfer order. You guys
have paper work on that kind of thing,
I just need it for the file.

JESSEP
For the file.

KAFFEE
Yeah.

JESSEP
(pause)
Of course you can have a copy of the
transfer order. For the file. I’m
here to help anyway I can.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

JESSEP
You believe that, don’t you? Danny?
That I’m here to help anyway I can?

KAFFEE
Of course.

JESSEP
The corporal’ll run you by Ordinance
on your way out to the airstrip. You
can have all the transfer orders you
want.

KAFFEE
(to JO and SAM)
Let’s go.

The LAWYERS start to leave.

JESSEP
But you have to ask me nicely.

KAFFEE stops. Turns around. Sam and JO stop and turn.

KAFFEE
I beg your pardon?

JESSEP
You have to ask me nicely. You see,
Danny, I can deal with the bullets
and the bombs and the blood. I can
deal with the heat and the stress
and the fear. I don’t want money and
I don’t want medals. What I want is
for you to stand there in that faggoty
white uniform, and with your Harvard
mouth, extend me some fuckin’
courtesy. You gotta ask me nicely.

KAFFEE and JESSEP are frozen. Everyone’staring at Kaffee;
The OFFICERS at their tables… KENDRICK… SAM…
MARKINSON… JO… KAFFEE makes his decision.

KAFFEE
Colonel Jessep… if it’s not too
much trouble, I’d like a copy of the
transfer order. Sir.

JESSEP smiles.

JESSEP
No problem.

HOLD for a moment. JO’s very disappointed.

JESSEP stands there and watches the LAWYERS as they turn and
leave the Officer’s Club.

JESSEP
(continuing)
I hate casualties, Matthew. There
are casualties even in victory. A
marine smothers a grenade and saves
his platoon, that marine’s a hero.
The foundation of the unit, the fabric
of this base, the spirit of the Corps,
they are things worth fighting for.

MARKINSON looks at the ground.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Dawson and Downey, they don’t know
it, but they’re smothering a grenade.

MARKINSON looks up as we

CUT TO:

EXT. ANDREWS AIRFORCE BASE – DUSK

As a plane touches down on the runway. It’s dusk in Washington
and

CUT TO:

EXT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – DAY

A little one-bedroom. Just the essential furniture, barely
even that.

KAFFEE’s sitting and watching a baseball came on t.v. He’s
holding a copy of The Baseball Encyclopedia, normally his
favorite reading material, but right now he’s having trouble
keeping his mind in it. He’s holding a baseball bat and
fiddling with it.

The remnants of a pizza and Yoo-Hoo dinner sit next to him.
His white uniform in a pile in the corner. There’s a BUZZ at
the door. KAFFEE’s not expecting anyone. He goes to the door.

KAFFEE
Who is it?

JO (O.S.)
It’s me.

KAFFEE opens the door and JO walks in.

KAFFEE
I’ve really missed you, Jo. I was
just saying to myself, “It’s been
almost three hours since I last saw —

JO
Markinson resigned his commission.

KAFFEE
(pause)
When?

JO
This afternoon. Sometime after we
left.

KAFFEE
I’ll talk to him in the morning.

JO
I already tried, I can’t find him.

KAFFEE
You tried? Joanne, you’re coming
dangerously close to the textbook
definition of interfering with a
government investigation.

JO hands KAFFEE the file she’s been holding.

JO
I’m Louden Downey’s attorney.

KAFFEE’s stunned. He opens the file and begins to read.

JO
(continuing)
Aunt Ginny. She said she feels like
she’s known me for years. I suggested
that she might feel more comfortable
if I were directly involved with the
case. She had Louden sign the papers
about an hour ago.

KAFFEE looks up. Still too stunned to say anything. Then
finally…

KAFFEE
I suppose it’s way too much to hope
that you’re just making this up to
bother me.

JO
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna make a
motion for separation, you’re still
lead counsel.

KAFFEE hands her back the file.

KAFFEE
Splendid.

JO
I think Kendrick ordered the Code
Red.
(beat)
So do you.

CUT TO:

INT. A HOLDING ROOM IN THE BRIG – NIGHT

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention as KAFFEE and JO are led
in.

DAWSON
Officer on deck, ten hut.

KAFFEE starts in immediately.

KAFFEE
Did Kendrick order the code red?

DAWSON
Sir?

KAFFEE
Don’t say sir like I just asked you
if you cleaned the latrine. You heard
what I said. Did Lt. Kendrick order
you guys to give Santiago a code
red?

DAWSON
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
(to Downey)
Did he?

DOWNEY
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
You mind telling me why the hell you
never mentioned this before?

DAWSON
You didn’t ask us, sir.

KAFFEE
Cutie-pie shit’s not gonna win you a
place in my heart, corporal, I get
paid no matter how much time you
spend in jail.

DAWSON
Yes sir. I know you do, sir.

KAFFEE
Fuck you, Harold.

There’s some understandable tension in the room, broken by —

JO
Alright. Let’s sort this out. There
was a platoon meeting on August 6th
at four in the afternoon. And Lt.
Kendrick, he gave strict instructions
that nothing was to happen to
Santiago. Now is that true? I want
you to speak freely.

DAWSON
Ma’am, that’s correct. But then he
dismissed the platoon and we all
went to our rooms.

JO
And what happened then?

DAWSON
Lt. Kendrick came to our room, ma’am.

KAFFEE
When?

DAWSON
About five minutes after the meeting
broke, sir. About 16:20.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
And what happened then?

DAWSON
Lt. Kendrick ordered us to give
Santiago a Code Red.

CUT TO:

INT. THE GYMNASIUM – NIGHT

ROSS is playing a game of full-court basketball with some
other OFFICERS.

A door at the far end of the court opens and KAFFEE and JO
walk in. They head down the sideline toward Ross.

KAFFEE shouts —

KAFFEE
Jack!

But ROSS is into the game…

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Jack!!

ROSS
(waving him off)
Hang on…

KAFFEE
They were given an order.

ROSS stops cold and looks over at Kaffee. The game flies by
him. He motions to the locker room door in the corner of the
gym and the three of them make their way to privacy.

JO
How long have you known about the
order?

ROSS
I didn’t —
(to KAFFEE)
Who is this?

KAFFEE
This is Jo Galloway she’s Downey’s
lawyer. She’s very pleased to meet
you.

ROSS
What exactly are you accusing me of,
commander?

JO
I’m accusing you of —

They’re in the

LOCKER ROOM – NIGHT

and KAFFEE slams the door shut behind them.

KAFFEE
Jack didn’t know about the order.
Because if he did and he hadn’t told
us, Jack knows he’d be violating
about 14 articles of the code of
ethics. As it is, he’s got enough to
worry about. God forbid our clients
decide to plead not guilty and testify
for the record that they were given
an order.

ROSS
Kendrick specifically told the men
not to touch Santiago.

KAFFEE
That’s right. And then he went into
Dawson and Downey’s room and
specifically told them to give him a
code red.

ROSS
That’s not what Kendrick said.

KAFFEE
Kendrick’s lying.

ROSS
You have proof?

KAFFEE
I have the defendants.

ROSS
And I have 23 marines who aren’t
accused of murder and a lieutenant
with four letters of commendation.

KAFFEE
Why did Markinson resign his
commission?

ROSS
We’ll never know.

KAFFEE
You don’t think I can subpoena
Markinson.

ROSS
You can try, but you won’t find him.
You know what Markinson did for the
first 17 of his 21 years in the corps?
Counter Intelligence. Markinson’s
gone. There is no Markinson.

Some of the wind has been taken Out of Kaffee’s sails.

ROSS
(continuing)
Jessep’s star is on the rise.
Division’ll give me a lot of room to
spare Jessep and the corps any
embarrassment.

KAFFEE
How much room?

ROSS
I’ll knock it all down to assault.
Two years. They’re home in six months.

JO
No deal, we’re going to a jury.

KAFFEE
Jo —

ROSS
No you’re not.

JO
Why not?

ROSS
‘Cause you’ll lose, and Danny knows
it. And he knows that if we go to
court, I’ll have to go all the way,
they’ll be charged with the whole
truckload. Murder, Conspiracy, Conduct
Unbecoming, and even though he’s got
me by the balls out here, Dan knows
that in a courtroom, he loses this
case. Danny’s an awfully talented
lawyer, and he’s not about to send
his clients go to jail for life when
he knows they could be home in six
months.

This is now clear: Ross is as good as Kaffee.

ROSS
(continuing)
That’s the end of this negotiation.
From this moment, we’re on the record.
I’ll see tomorrow morning at the
arraignment.

ROSS turns and heads back to the gym as we

CUT TO:

INT. A HOLDING ROOM – NIGHT

Kaffee and JO are sitting at a table. Dawson and Downey are
at parade rest. Kaffee lights a cigarette.

KAFFEE
Here’s the story: The Goverment’s
offering Assault and Conduct
Unbecoming. Two years. You’ll be
home in six months.

DAWSON and DOWNEY say nothing.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
“Wow, Kaffee, you’re the greatest
lawyer in the world. How can we ever
thank you?” Fellas, you hear what I
just said, you’re going home in six
months.

DAWSON
I’m afraid we can’t do that, sir.

KAFFEE
Do what?

DAWSON
Make a deal, sir.

KAFFEE
What are you talking about?

DAWSON
We did nothing wrong, sir. We did
our job. If that has consequences,
then I accept them. But’I won’t say
I’m guilty, sir.

KAFFEE can’t believe this. He looks over at JO.

KAFFEE
Did you —
(to DAWSON and DOWNEY)
Did she put you up to this?

JO
No.

DAWSON
We have a code, sir.

KAFFEE
Well zippity-doo-dah. You and your
code plead not guilty and you’ll be
in jail for the rest of your life.
Do what I’m telling you and you’ll
be home in six months.

DAWSON just stares at him.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Do it, Harold. Six months. It’s
nothing. It’s a hockey season.

DAWSON
Permission to —

KAFFEE
Speak!

DAWSON
What do we do then, sir?

KAFFEE
When?

DAWSON
After six months. We’d be dishonorably
discharged, right sir?

KAFFEE
Yes.

DAWSON
What do we do then, sir? We joined
the corps ’cause we wanted to live
our lives by a certain code. And we
found it in the corps. And now you’re
asking us to sign a piece of paper
that says we have no honor. You’re
asking us to say we’re not marines.
If a judge and jury decide that what
we did was wrong, I’ll accept whatever
punishment they give. But I believe
I was riqht, sir. I believe I did my
job. And I won’t dishonor myself, my
unit, or the Corps, so that I can qo
home in six months.
(beat)
Sir.

HOLD ON the four of them for a moment, then

KAFFEE
Commander, I want to talk to corporal
Dawson alone for a minute.

Jo waits Just a moment before she calls out —

JO
(to Downey)
Let’s go in another room. Louden,
everything’s gonna be alright.

The M.P. has shown up and unlocked the cell door.

JO
(continuing; to M.P.)
We’re gonna go into a holding room.

M.P.
Aye, aye, ma’am.

JO, DOWNEY, and the M.P. are gone. KAFFEE paces a moment
before he says —

KAFFEE
You don’t like me that much, do you?
(beat)
Forget it, don’t answer that, it
doesn’t matter.

KAFFEE paces another moment, then sits on the cot. He’s trying
to choose his tack carefully.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You know, Downey worships you. He’s
gonna do whatever you do. Are you
really gonna let this happen to him
because of a code? Harold?

DAWSON
Do you think we were right?

KAFFEE
It doesn’t matter what I —

DAWSON
Do you think we were right?

KAFFEE gets up.

KAFFEE
(beat)
I think you’d lose.

DAWSON
(beat)
You’re such a coward, I can’t believe
they let you wear a uniform.

KAFFEE stares at DAWSON.

KAFFEE
I’m not gonna feel responsible for
this, Harold. I did everything I
could. You’re going to Levenworth
for the better part of your life,
and you know what? I don’t give a
shit.

KAFFEE calls out —

KAFFEE
(continuing)
M.P.!

KAFFEE and DAWSON are staring each other down. The M.P. shows
up and unlocks the cell door. KAFFEE steps out to leave.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
What happened to saluting an officer
when he leaves the room?

DAWSON holds on KAFFEE. Then DAWSON, a man who would rather
die than breach military protocol, takes his hands and puts
them in his pockets.

The cell door closes and we

CUT TO:

INT. THE OFFICE CORRIDOR – NIGHT

One light is on at the end of the hall.

CUT TO:

SAM has joined KAFFEE and JO. The mood is somber.

KAFFEE
Dawson’s gonna go to jail just to
spite me. Fine. If he wants to jump
off a cliff, that’s his business.
I’m not gonna hold his hand on the
way down.
(to SAM)
I want to get him a new lawyer. How
do I do it?

SAM
You just make a motion tomorrow
morning at the arraignment. The
judge’ll ask you if you want to enter
a plea. You tell him you want new
counsel assigned.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Then that’s that.

JO
(beat)
Yeah. One thing, though. When you
ask the judge for new counsel, Danny,
be sure and ask nicely.

KAFFEE
What do you want from me?

JO
I want you to let ’em be judged! I
want you to stand up and make an
argument!

SAM
An argument that didn’t work for
Calley at My Lai, an argument that
didn’t work for the Nazis at
Nuremberg.

KAFFEE
For Christ sake, Sam, do you really
think that’s the same as two teenage
marines executing a routine order
that they never believed would result
in harm? These guys aren’t the Nazis.

There’s a pause in the room.

JO
Don’t look now, Danny, but you’re
making an argument.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Yeah.
(beat)
Tomorrow morning I’ll get them a new
attorney.

JO
Why are you so afraid to be a lawyer?
Were daddy’s expectations really
that high?

KAFFEE
Please, spare me the psycho-babble
father bullshit. Dawson and Downey’ll
have their day in court, but they’ll
have it with another lawyer.

JO
Another lawyer won’t be good enough.
They need you. You know how to win.
(beat)
You know they have a case. And you
know how to win. You walk away from
this now, and you have sealed their
fate.

KAFFEE
Their fate was sealed the moment
Santiago died.

JO
Do you believe they have a defense?

KAFFEE
You and Dawson both live in the same
dreamland. It doesn’t matter what I
believe, it only matters what I can
prove. So please don’t tell me what
I know and don’t know. I know the
law.

JO looks at him, shakes her head, and turns to walk away.
She turns back.

JO
You know nothing about the law. You’re
a used car salesman, Daniel. You’re
an ambulance chaser with a rank.
You’re nothing.
(beat)
Live with that.

Jo walks off leaving KAFFEE alone. We HOLD on KAFFEE. He’s
not having a good night.

CUT TO:

INT. A GEORGETOWN BAR – NIGHT

KAFFEE sits at the bar. The place is crowded with YUPPIES
and STUDENTS. KAFFEE’s been drinking there a while now. Next
to him is a YUPPIE LAWYER, regaling his FRIENDS with the
story of his latest brilliant maneuver in the world of high
stakes corporate law.

We HOLD on a KAFFEE a moment longer, then

YUPPIE LAWYER
…So I told duncan if we leverage
the acquisition of Biotech, the
interrogatories would be there on
demand. All I have to do is not pick
up the phone and it’ll run Flaherty
ten thousand a day in court costs.

CUT TO:

EXT. A GEORGETOWN STREET – NIGHT

KAFFEE sits on a bench in the night. He takes a sip from a
bottle he’s holding in a brown paper bag.

CUT TO:

EXT. THE PARADE GROUNDS – DAY

A bright, sunny morning. The BAND is performing for a group
of day campers.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

DAWSON and DOWNEY are at the defense table, ROSS is his place.
KAFFEE walks in and joins JO and SAM at their table. Papers
are being passed back and forth between ROSS and the SERGEANT
AT AMS. Quiet activity.

The door in the back of the courtroom opens and RANDOLPH, a
marine colonel, enters and takes his place at the bench. We
can HEAR the band in the background.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All rise.

Everyone present in the courtroom stands.

RANDOLPH
Where are we?

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Docket number 411275. VR-5. United
States versus Lance Corporal Harold
W. Dawson and Private First Class
Loudon Downey. Defendants are charged
with Conspiracy to Commit Murder,
Murder in the First Degree, and
Conduct Unbecoming a United States
Marine.

RANDOLPH
Does defense wish to enter a plea?

KAFFEE stands.

KAFFEE
Yeah.
(pause)
They’re not guilty.

JO, SAM, ROSS, RANDOLPH… it’s hard to say who’s the most
surprised. It takes everything Jo’s got to suppress a smile.
The silence is broken by ROSS, who takes the two files, drops
them into his briefcase, closes the lid, and snaps it shut.

RANDOLPH looks at KAFFEE and ROSS, then turns to the SERGEANT
AT ARMS.

RANDOLPH
Enter a plea of not guilty for the
defendants. We’ll adjourn until ten-
hundred, three weeks from today, at
which time this Court will reconvene
as a General Court-Martial.

He raps the gavel.

RANDOLPH walks out. ROSS walks up the aisle without a word
to anyone. The M.P.’s come to escort DAWSON and DOWNEY back
to their cell.

KAFFEE and JO and SAM are the only ones remaining. SAM is
looking at KAFFEE with question marks in his eyes.

KAFFEE
Why does a junior grade with six
months experience and a track record
for plea bargaining get assigned a
murder case?
(beat)
Would it be so that it never sees
the inside of a courtroom?

KAFFEE picks up his briefcase and begins heading toward the
door.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
We’ll work out of my apartment.
Every night, seven o’clock. Jo, before
you come over tonight, pick up a
carton of legal pads, a half-dozen
boxes of red pens, a half-dozen boxes
of black pens. Sam get a couple of
desk lamps. I need you to start on a
preliminary medical profile and Jo,
we need all the fitness reports on
Dawson, Downey and Santiago. The
only thing I have to eat is Yoo-Hoo
and SugarSnacks, so if you want
anything else, bring it with you.
Okay?

Jo’s still stunned.

JO
Yeah.

KAFFEE’s at the door, stops, turns around, and takes it all
in for a moment.

KAFFEE
So this is what a courtroom looks
like.

He walks out the door, and we

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Among the stuff, is a blackboard that’s been hung on the
wall. Written across the top are three headings:

INTENT CODE RED THE ORDER

Sam is on the floor, sorting papers into piles. KAFFEE comes
in from the kitchen with a fresh bottle of Yoo-Hoo and joins
Sam on the floor.

KAFFEE
Were you able to speak to your friend
at NIS?

SAM
She said if Markinson doesn’t want
to be found, we’re not gonna find
him. She said I could be Markinson
and you wouldn’t know it.

KAFFEE
Are you Markinson?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
Well, I’m not Markinson, that’s two
down.

SAM doesn’t laugh.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
What.

SAM
(pause)
I was wondering, now that Joanne’s
working on this… I was wondering
if you still need me.

KAFFEE
(pause)
They were following an order, Sam.

SAM
An illegal order.

KAFFEE
You think Dawson and Downey know it
was an illegal order?

SAM
It doesn’t matter if they know, any
decent human being would’ve refused
to —

KAFFEE
They’re not permitted to question
orders.

SAM
Then what’s the secret? What are the
magic words? I give orders every
day, and nobody follows them.

KAFFEE
We have softball games and marching
bands. They work at a place where
you have to wear camouflage or you
might get shot.

Sam looks away. He doesn’t buy it.

KAFFEE
(continuing; pause)
I need you. You’re better at research
than I am and you know how to prepare
a witness.

Jo lets herself in. She’s carrying a huge stack of papers
under one arm, and a large brown paper bag under the other.
But we stay with KAFFEE and Sam a moment longer.

JO
I’ve got medical reports and Chinese
food. I say we eat first.

KAFFEE’s still looking at SAM. SAM nods his head.

SAM
Did you get any dumplings?

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APT. – LATER – NIGHT

The remnants of the Chinese food is spread around. SAM and
JO are sitting and taking notes from KAFFEE. As he speaks,
he’ll pace slowly around, carrying his baseball bat. He refers
to the blackboard.

KAFFEE
This is our defense. Intent: No one
can prove there was poison on the
raq. Code Red: They’re common and
accepted in Guantanamo Bay. The Order:
(he writes)
A) Kendrick gave it. B) They had no
choice but to follow it.
(beat)
That’s it.

SAM
What about motive?

KAFFEE
We’re a little weak on motive. They
had one.

JO
Just because a person has a motive
doesn’t mean —

KAFFEE
Relax. We’ll deal with the fenceline
shooting when it comes up. For now
we start here —
(pointing to INTENT)
I don’t know what made Santiago die,
I don’t want to know. I just want to
be able to show it could’ve been
something other than poison. Jo,
talk to doctors. Find out everything
there is to know about lactic
acidosis. Let’s start prepping for
Stone.

JO
As long as we’re on the subject of
the doctor —

KAFFEE
Here we go.

JO
Listen to me, three o’clock he doesn’t
know what killed Santiago, then he
meets with Jessep, and at five o’clock
he says it was poison? The doctor’s
covering up the truth.

KAFFEE
Oh, that’s a relief. I was afraid I
wouldn’t be able to use the “Liar,
Liar, Pants on Fire” defense. We
can’t prove coercion!! Alright,
fitness reports and biographical
information.

SAM
Cartons 3 and 4.

KAFFEE looks at the cartons and the mind-numbing amount of
paper.

KAFFEE
No Cliff-Notes on these things?

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT –

SERIES OF SCENES

The scenes cover the three weeks of preparation leading up
to the trial, and are interspersed with shots of Kaffee’s
apartment getting messier, KAFFEE, JO and SAM flipping through
documents and reference books, writing on the blackboard,
dozzing off…

We start with

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Jo’s on the phone, KAFFEE and SAM are going over testimony,
with SAM sitting in a mock witness chair. During this, KAFFEE
will go to the door, pay the PIZZA Man for the pizza, and
return without missing a single beat.

JO
(into phone)
Captain Hill, this is Lt. Commander
Galloway, I’m an internal affairs
officer with the JAG Corps in
Washington, D.C. I’m trying to track
down a Captain Matthew Andrew
Markinson, USMC…

KAFFEE
Doctor, other than the rope marks,
was there any other sign of external
damage?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
No scrapes?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
No cuts?

JO
(into phone)
He resigned his commission a week
ago Thursday.

KAFFEE
Bruises? Broken bones?

SAM
No.

JO
(into phone)
No, please don’t put me on hold —

KAFFEE
Doctor, was there any sign of
violence?

SAM
(beat)
You mean other than the dead body?

KAFFEE
Fuck!! I walk into that every goddam
time!

SAM
Don’t ask the last question.

CUT TO:

INT. A LAW LIBRARY – NIGHT

MOS — JO pulls two thick volumes off a shelf and takes them
to the table where SAM and KAFFEE are working. She plops the
books down where they join a pile of about two-dozen just
like them and we

CUT TO:

INT. A COFFEE SHOP – DAY

The LAWYERS have their books and papers spread out in front
of them.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, the type of disciplinary
action, or “training” as you say —

JO
Object.

KAFFEE
Please the Court, I maintain that
nothing could be more relevant than
what the defendants learned by the
example of, among others, the witness.

JO
Nice.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

MOS — KAFFEE’s paying the pizza boy again. He goes into the
living room where SAM is on the “stand”. It’s getting hard
to see the floor from all the papers, cartons, books, pizza
boxes, etc., and

CUT TO:

INT. THE BRIG – DAY

A HOLDING ROOM where DAWSON and DOWNEY are being put through
their paces.

JO
And what happened after Kendrick
came into your room?

DOWNEY
(beat)
He ordered me and Corporal Dawson to
give Willy a Code Red.

SAM
(to Jo)
His answers still have to come faster,
Jo. The Iowa farmboy thing’ll play
for a while, but in the end it looks
like he’s searching for the truth.

KAFFEE
(to Dawson & Downey)
He’s right, and from now on, “Willy”
is Private Santiago. You start calling
him Willy and all of a sudden he’s a
person who’s got a mother who’s gonna
miss him.

CUT TO:

INT. THE APARTMENT – NIGHT

MOS — The clock reads 3:37, and KAFFEE, in sweatpants and a
bathrobe, is pacing around slowly with his baseball bat and

CUT TO:

SAM and JO art listening to a lecture for the 14th time.

KAFFEE
Poker faces. Don’t flinch in front
of the jury. Something doesn’t go
our way, don’t hang your head, don’t
shift in your seat, don’t scribble
furiously. Whatever happens, you
have to look like it’s exactly what
you knew was gonna happen. When you
pass me documents —

JO/SAM
Do it swiftly, but don’t look
overanxious.

KAFFEE
(beat)
And don’t wear that perfume in Court,
it wrecks my concentration.

JO
Really!

KAFFEE
I was talking to Sam.

SAM
What time is it?

KAFFEE
Time to go home. Try to get some
sleep tonight.

JO
(to SAM)
I’ll give you a ride.

SAM begins to gather up his things. He stands in front of
KAFFEE.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

SAM
See you in court.

Sam steps out the door. JO looks at the ground, then up at
KAFFEE.

JO
Danny —

KAFFEE
I know what you’re gonna say. You
don’t have to. We’ve had our
differences. I’ve said some things I
didn’t mean, you’ve said some things
you didn’t means but you’re happy
that I stuck with the case. And if
you’ve gained a certain respect for
me over the last three weeks that
you didn’t have before, well, of
course I’m happy about that, but we
don’t have to make a whole big deal
out of it. You like me. I won’t make
you say it.

JO
I was just gonna tell you to wear
matching socks tomorrow.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Oh.
(beat)
Okay. Good tip.

JO
We’re ready.

KAFFEE
Bet your ass.

Jo walks out the door and KAFFEE closes it and locks it behind
her.

Then he says, very softly…

KAFFEE
(continuing)
We’re gonna get creamed.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR – DAY

A few M.P.Is are standing by the entrance. KAFFEE comes around
the corner and heads toward the courtroom. We’re immediately
stricken by something:

In his dress blue uniform he could easily be mistaken for a
real live naval officer. He opens the courtroom doors and
walks into

INT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

A few more M.P.’s are standing around. THE JURORS, nine
enlisted navy and marine men and women, are in their place,
Ross is at his table looking through some papers, and DAWSON
and DOWNEY, in handcuffs, are seated at the defense table.
The trial in a few moments from being underway and a few
people are milling about. KAFFEE walks down the aisle but is
stopped by a voice behind him.

MAN (O.S.)
Lieutenant Kaffee?

KAFFEE turns around to see a MAN and WOMAN who are clearly
Dawson’s parents.

MAN
You’re gonna save our son, aren’t
you?

KAFFEE
(pause)
I’ll do my best.

KAFFEE continues on and stops next to JO, who’s talking with
a WOMAN in her mid-30’s.

JO
Danny, I want you to meet Ginny
Miller, Louden’s aunt.

KAFFEE
You’re Aunt Ginny?

GINNY
Uh-huh.

KAFFEE
I’m sorry, I was expecting someone
older.

GINNY
So was I.

Not quite the words of inspiration KAFFEE was hoping to hear
before he does the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

He walks over to ROSS.

KAFFEE
Last chance. I’ll flip you for it.

RANDOLPH enters.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All rise.

ROSS
Too late.

KAFFEE walks back to his table as

SERGEANT AT ARMS
All those having business with this
general court-martial, stand forward
and you shall be heard. Captain Julius
Alexander Randolph is presiding. God
save the United States of America.

RANDOLPH raps the gavel.

RANDOLPH without objection, the sworn confessions of the two
defendants have been read to the jury and entered into the
court record.

ROSS
No objection, your honor.

KAFFEE
No objection.

RANDOLPH
Is the Government prepared to make
an opening statement?

ROSS
(standing)
Yes sir.

ROSS walks to the jury box.

ROSS
(continuing)
The facts of the case are this: At
midnight on August 6th, the defendants
went into the barracks room of their
platoon-mate, PFC William Santiago.
They woke him up, tied his arms and
legs with rope, and forced a rag
into his throat. A few minutes later,
a chemical reaction in Santiago’s
body called lactic acidosis caused
his lungs to begin bleeding. He
drowned in his own blood and was
pronounced dead at 32 minutes past
midnight. These are the facts of the
case. And they are undisputed. That’s
right. The story I just told you is
the exact same story you’re going to
hear from Corporal Dawson, and it’s
the exact same story you’re going to
hear from Private Downey. Furthermore,
the Government will also demonstrate
that the defendants soaked the rag
with poison, and entered Santiago’s
room with motive and intent to kill.
(beat)
Now, Lt. Kaffee, is gonna try to
pull off a little magic act, he’s
gonna try a little misdirection.
He’s going to astonish you with
stories of rituals and dazzle you
with official sounding terms like
Code Red. He might even cut into a
few officers for you. He’ll have no
evidence, mind you, none. But it’s
gonna be entertaining. When we get
to the end, all the magic in the
world will not have been able to
divert your attention from the fact
that Willy Santiago is dead, and
Dawson and Downey killed him. These
are the facts of the case.
(beat)
And they are undisputed.

ROSS walks back to his seat.

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee?

Before KAFFEE’s even stood up, these words are coming out of
his mouth.

KAFFEE
There was no poison on the rag and
there was no intent to kill and any
attempt to prove otherwise is futile
because it just ain’t true.
(beat)
When Dawson and Downey went into
Santiago’s room that night, it wasn’t
because of vengeance or hatred, it
wasn’t to kill or harm, and it wasn’t
because they were looking for kicks
on a Friday night. It’s because it
was what they were ordered to do.
(beat)
Let me say that again: It’s because
it was what they were ordered to do.
Now, out in the real world, that
means nothing. And here at the
Washington Navy Yard, it doesn’t
mean a whole lot more. But if you’re
a marine assigned to Rifle Security
Company Windward, Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, and you’re given an order, you
follow it or you pack your bags.
(beat)
Make no mistake about it, Harold
Dawson and Louden Downey are sitting
before you in judgement today because
they did their job.

KAFFEE walks back to the table and takes his seat.

RANDOLPH
Is the Government ready to call its
first witness?

ROSS
Please the Court, the Government
calls Mr. R.C McGuire.

While McCGUIRE, a civilian in his late 30’s, is being sworn
in, KAFFEE has sat back down.

He leans over to DAWSON and whispers.

KAFFEE
How you doin’?

DAWSON doesn’t change his expression.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Good.

ROSS
Mr. McGuire, would you state your
full name and occupation for the
record, please?

MCGUIRE
Robert C. McGuire, Special Agent,
Naval Investigative Service.

ROSS
Mr. McGuire, did your office receive
a letter from PFC William Santiago
on 3 August of this year?

MCGUIRE
We did.

ROSS
What did the letter say?

MCGUIRE
That a member of Private Santiago’s
unit had illegally fired his weapon
over the fenceline.

ROSS
Was that marine identified in the
letter?

MCGUIRE
No sir. I notified the barracks C.O.,
Colonel Jessep, that I would be coming
down to investigate.

ROSS
And what did you find?

MCGUIRE
For the shift reported, only one
sentry returned his weapon to the
switch with a round of ammunition
missing.

ROSS
And who was that?

MCGUIRE
Lance Corporal Harold Dawson.

ROSS
(continuing; to KAFFEE)
Your witness.

ROSS goes back to his table. KAFFEE stands.

KAFFEE
Mr. McGuire, have you questioned
Corporal Dawson about the fenceline
shooting?

MCGUIRE
Yes. He claims to have been engaged
in some manner by the enemy.

KAFFEE
But you don’t believe him.

MCGUIRE
It’s not my place —

KAFFEE
Corporal Dawson’s been charged with
a number of crimes, why wasn’t he
charged with firing at the enemy
without cause?

MCGUIRE
There wasn’t enough evidence to
support such a charge.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

KAFFEE sits.

ROSS
Mr. McGuire, I don’t understand what
you mean when you say there wasn’t
enough evidence to support such a
charge. You had Willy Santiago’s
letter.

MCGUIRE
Santiago was the only witness, but I
never had a chance to interview him.
So I don’t know what he saw.

ROSS
And now we won’t ever know, will we,
Mr. McGuire?

MCGUIRE
No.

ROSS
No more questions.

CUT TO:

HAMMAKER, a young marine corporal, is being sworn in.

HAMMAKER
Corporal Carl Edward Hammaker, Marine
Barracks, Rifle Security Company
Windward, Second Platoon Charlie.

ROSS
Corporal, were you present at a
meeting that Lt. Kendrick held on
the afternoon of August 6th with the
members of second platoon.

HAMMAKER
Yes sir.

ROSS
Would you tell the Court the substance
of that meeting?

HAMMAKER
Lt. Kendrick told us that we had an
informer in our group. That Private
Santiago had gone outside the chain
of command and reported to the NIS
on a member of our platoon.

ROSS
Did that make you mad?
(pause)
You can tell the truth, corporal,
it’s alright. Did it make you mad?

HAMMAKER
Yes sir.

ROSS
How mad?

HAMMAKER
Private Santiago betrayed a code
that we believe in very deeply, sir.

ROSS
Were the other members of the squad
angry?

KAFFEE
Object —

ROSS
Were Dawson and Downey?

KAFFEE
Please the Court, is the judge
advocate honestly asking this witness
to testify as to how the defendant
felt on August 6th?

RANDOLPH
Sustained.

ROSS
Corporal, did Lt. Kendrick leave a
standing order at that meeting?

RANDOLPH
Yes sir.

ROSS
What was it?

HAMMAKER
Well it was clear that he didn’t
want us to take matters into our own
hands, sir.

ROSS
What was the order?

HAMMAKER
Sir, he said that Santiago wasn’t to
be touched.

ROSS
(to KAFFEE)
Your witness.

KAFFEE
Corporal Hammaker, were you in Dawson
and Downey’s barracks room ten minutes
after this meeting?

HAMMAKER
No sir.

KAFFEE
Thanks, I have no more questions.

HAMMAKER gets off the stand, and KAFFEE watches while walks
past DAWSON and DOWNEY. A barely perceptible exchange occurs
between the eyes of DAWSON and HAMMAKER.

KAFFEE makes a decision.

ROSS
The Government calls Corporal Raymond
Thomas —

KAFFEE
Please the Court, I understand Lt.
Ross is planning on calling all the
other members of Rifle Security
Company Windward to testify.

ROSS
In light of the defense that Lt.
Kaffee is planning to mount, the
explicit instructions of the platoon
leader seems particularly relevant
testimony.

KAFFEE
The defense is willing to concede
that all 23 witnesses will testify
substantially as Corporal Hammaker
did, if the Government is willing to
concede that none of them were in
Dawson and Downey’s room at 16:20 on
August 6th.

RANDOLPH
(to ROSS)
Lieutenant?

ROSS
The Government’ll agree to the
stipulation, sir.

RANDOLPH
Then we’ll adjourn for the day. You
can call your next witness in the
morning.

CUT TO:

SHOT OF WASHINGTON AT NIGHT

DISSOLVE TO:

THE PARADE GROUNDS – EARLY MORNING, two SAILORS are raising
the flag.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

COMMANDER STONE, a Navy doctor in his mid-40’s, is on the
stand.

STONE
…And he was pronounced dead at
zero-zero-thirty-seven.

ROSS
Dr. Stone, what’s lactic acidosis?

STONE
If the muscles and other cells of
the body burn sugar instead of oxygen,
lactic acid is produced. That lactic
acid is what caused Santiago’s lungs
to bleed.

ROSS
How long does it take for the muscles
and other cells to begin burning
oxygen instead of sugar?

STONE
Twenty to thirty minutes.

ROSS
And what caused Santiago’s muscles
and other cells to start burning
sugar?

STONE
An ingested poison of some kind.

KAFFEE
Your Honor, we object at this point.
The witness is speculating.

ROSS
Commander Stone is an expert medical
witness, in this courtroom his opinion
isn’t considered speculation.

KAFFEE
Commander Stone is an internist, not
a criminologist, and the medical
facts here are ultimately
inconclusive.

RANDOLPH
A point which I’m confident you’ll
illustrate to the jury under cross-
examination, so I’m sure you won’t
mind if his opinion is admitted now.

KAFFEE
Not at all, sir. Objection withdrawn.

KAFFEE sits.

ROSS
Doctor Stone, did Willy Santiago die
of poisoning?

STONE
Absolutely.

ROSS
Are you aware that the lab report
and the coroners report showed no
traces of poison?

STONE
Yes I am.

ROSS
Then how do you justify —

STONE
There are literally dozens of toxins
which are virtually undetectable,
both in the human body and on a
fabric. The nature of the acidosis
is the compelling factor in this
issue.

ROSS
Thank you, sir.

KAFFEE gets up.

KAFFEE
Commander, you testified that it
takes lactic acidosis 20 to 30 minutes
before it becomes lethal.

STONE
Yes.

KAFFEE
Let me ask you, is it possible for a
person to have an affliction, some
sort of condition, which might, in
the case of this person, actually
speed up the process of acidosis
dramatically?

STONE says nothing for a moment.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Commander, is it possible?

STONE
Certainly.

KAFFEE
What might some of those conditions
be?

STONE
(beat)
If a person had a coronary disorder…
or a cerebral disorder, the process
would be more rapid.

KAFFEE
Commander, if I had a coronary
condition, and a perfectly clean rag
was placed in my mouth, and the rag
was accidentally pushed too far down,
is it possible that my cells would
continue burning sugar after the rag
was taken out?

STONE
It would have to be a very serious
condition.

KAFFEE
Is it possible to have a serious
coronary condition, where the initial
warning signals were so mild as to
escape a physician during a routine
medical exam?

STONE
Possibly. There would still be
symptoms though.

KAFFEE
What kind of symptoms?

STONE
There are hundreds of symptoms of a —

KAFFEE
Chest pains?

STONE
(beat)
Yes.

KAFFEE
Shortness of breath?

STONE
Yes.

KAFFEE
Fatigue?

STONE
Of course.

KAFFEE has gone back to his table where JO has handed him
some documents. He shows then to STONE.

KAFFEE
Doctor, is this your signature?

STONE
Yes it is.

KAFFEE
This in an order for Private Santiago
to be put on restricted duty. Would
you read your hand written remarks
at the bottom of the page, please,
sir.

STONE
(reading)
“Initial testing negative. Patient
complains of chest pains, shortness
of breath, and fatigue. Restricted
from running distances over five
miles for one week.”

KAFFEE
Commander, isn’t it possible that
Santiago had a serious coronary
condition, and it was that condition,
and not some mysterious poison, that
caused the accelerated chemical
reaction?

STONE
No. I personally give the men a
physical examination every three
months. And every three months Private
Santiago got a clean bill of health.

KAFFEE
And that’s why it had to be, poison,
right, Commander? ‘Cause Lord knows,
if you put a man with a serious
coronary condition back on duty with
a clean bill of health, and that man
died from a heart related incident,
you’d have a lot to answer for,
wouldn’t you, doctor?

ROSS
Object. Move to strike.

RANDOLPH
Sustained. Strike it.

KAFFEE
No more questions, judge.

ROSS stands immediately.

ROSS
Dr. Stone, you’ve held a license to
practice medicine for 21 years, you
are Board Certified in Internal
Medicine, you are the Chief of
Internal Medicine at a hospital which
serves over 8000 men. In your
professional opinion, was Willy
Santiago poisoned?

Jo stands.

JO
Your Honor, we re-new our objection
to Commander Stone’s testimony, and
ask that it be stricken from the
record. And we further ask that the
Court instruct the jury to lend no
weight to this witness’s testimony.

KAFFEE and SAM are dying, but they’re trying to keep their
poker-faces. RANDOLPH’S gonna try to be polite about this,
but he thought he made himself clear.

RANDOLPH
The objection’s overruled, counsel.

JO
Sir, the defense strenuously objects
and requests a meeting in chambers
so that his honor might have an
opportunity to hear discussion before
ruling on the objection.

RANDOLPH
The objection of the defense has
been heard and overruled.

JO
Exception.

RANDOLPH
Noted. The witness is an expert and
the court will hear his opinion.

ROSS
Doctor, in your expert, professional
opinion, was Willy Santiago poisoned?

STONE
Yes.

ROSS
Thank you, sir, I have no more
questions.

RANDOLPH
Commander, you may step down.

ROSS
Please the Court, while we reserve
the right to call rebuttal witnesses
if the need arises, the Government
rests.

RANDOLPH
We’ll stand in recess until ten-
hundred hours this Monday, the l9th
at which time the defense will call
it’s first witness.

RANDOLPH raps his gavel.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten hut.

And the courtroom begins clearing out. KAFFEE, JO and SAM
are packing up their various papers.

SAM
I strenuously object? Is that how it
works? Objection. Overruled. No, no,
no, no, I strenuously object. Oh,
well if you strenuously object, let
me take a moment to reconsider.

JO
I got it on the record.

SAM
You also got it in the jury’s head
that we’re afraid of the doctor. You
object once so they can hear you say
he’s not a criminologist. You keep
after it and it looks like this great
cross we did was just a bunch of
fancy lawyer tricks. It’s the
difference between paper law and
trial —

KAFFEE
Sam —

SAM
Christ, you even had the Judge saying
Stone was an expert!

KAFFEE
Sam, she made a mistake. Let’s not
relive it.

There’s an uncomfortable silence.

SAM
I’m gonna go call my wife. I’ll meet
you tonight.

Sam starts to leave. JO turns and says

JO
Why do you hate them so much?

Sam stops and turns around.

SAM
They beat up on a weakling, and that’s
all they did. The rest is just
smokefilled coffee-house crap. They
tortured and tormented a weaker kid.
They didn’t like him. And they killed
him. And why? Because he couldn’t
run very fast.

A long silence. KAFFEE makes a decision.

KAFFEE
Alright. Everybody take the night
off.

SAM
(continuing)
I apologize, I, —

KAFFEE
It’s alright. We’ve been working 20
hour days for three and a half weeks
straight. Take the night off. Go see
your wife, see your daughter. Jo, do
whatever it is you do when you’re
not here. What day is tomorrow?

SAM
Saturday.

KAFFEE
We’ll start at ten.

KAFFEE picks up his stuff and walks out.

SAM and JO stand there uncomfortably for a moment. JO begins
packing up her things.

SAM
Why do you like them so much?

JO
(pause)
‘Cause they stand on a wall.
(beat)
And they say “Nothing’s gonna hurt
you tonight. Not on my watch.”

Despite their differences, SAM likes this woman.

SAM
Don’t worry about the doctor. This
trial starts Monday.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

A baseball game is on.

KAFFEE’s pacing slowly around, carrying his baseball bat.
He’s looking at the blackboard as he walks around the room.

He’s studying it. Studying it hard. There’s a knock on the
door. KAFFEE answers it. JO is standing in the doorway.

JO
I’m sorry to bother you, I should’ve
called first.

KAFFEE
No, I was just watching a baseball
game.

JO
I was wondering if — how you’d feel
about my taking you to dinner tonight.

KAFFEE
Jo, are you asking me out on a date?

JO
No.

KAFFEE
It sounded like you were asking me
out on a date.

JO
I wasn’t.

KAFFEE
I’ve been asked out on dates before,
and that’s what it sounded like.

JO
Do you like seafood? I know a good
seafood place.

CUT TO:

INT. A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT – NIGHT

On the Virginia side of the Potomac. KAFFEE and JO are sitting
at a table, finishing up dinner.

JO
My third case was a Drunk and
Disorderly. The trial lasted nine
weeks. I rounded up 31 people who
were in the bar that night.

KAFFEE
Nine weeks on a D and D? What was
the prosecutor offering?

JO
15 days.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Well, you sure hustled the shit outta
him.

JO
After that, they moved me to internal
affairs.

KAFFEE
Tough to blame them.

JO
Where I’ve earned two distinguished
service medals and two letters of
commendation.

KAFFEE
Why are you always giving me your
resume?

JO
Because I want you to think I’m good
lawyer.

KAFFEE
I do.

JO
No you don’t.
(beat)
I think you’re an exceptional lawyer.
I watch the jurors, they respond to
you, they like you. I see you
convincing them. I think Dawson and
Downey are gonna end up owing their
lives to you.

KAFFEE
(pause)
Jo… I think you have to prepare
yourself for the fact that we’re
gonna lose.
(beat)
Ross’s opening speech, it was all
true.
(beat)
I mean, let’s pretend for a minute
that it would actually matter to
this jury that the guys were given
an order. We can’t prove it ever
happened.
(beat)
We’ll keep doing what we’re doing,
and we’ll put on a show, but at the
end of the day, all we have is the
testimony of two people accused of
murder.

JO
We’ll find Markinson.

KAFFEE
Jo, we’re gonna lose. And we’re gonna
lose huge.

We HOLD on then for a moment, and in VOICE OVER hear

HOWARD (V.O.)
Corporal Jeffrey Owen Howard, Marine
Barracks Windward, Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba.

CUT TO:

CORPORAL HOWARD, the young marine who drove the lawyers around
Cuba, is on the stand.

KAFFEE
Corporal Howard, name some reasons
why a marine would get a code red?

HOWARD
Being late for platoon or company
meetings, keeping his barracks in
disorder, falling back on a run…

KAFFEE
Have you ever received a code red?

HOWARD
Yes sir. We were doing seven man
assault drills, and my weapon slipped.
It’s just cause it was over a hundred
degrees and my palms were sweaty and
I’d forgot to use the resin like we
were taught.

KAFFEE
And what happened?

HOWARD
That night the guys in my squad threw
a blanket over me and took turns
punching me in the arm for five
minutes. Then they poured glue on my
hands. And it worked, too, ’cause I
ain’t never dropped my weapon since.

KAFFEE
Was Private Santiago ever late for
platoon meetings?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Was his barracks ever in disorder?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Did he ever fall back on a run?

HOWARD
All the time, sir.

KAFFEE
Did he ever, prior to the night of
August 6th, receive a code red?

HOWARD
No sir.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Never?

HOWARD
No, sir.

KAFFEE
You got a code red ’cause your palms
were sweaty. Why didn’t Santiago,
this burden to his unit, ever get
one?

HOWARD
Dawson wouldn’t allow it, sir.

KAFFEE
Dawson wouldn’t allow it.

HOWARD
The guys talked tough about Santiago,
but they wouldn’t go near him. They
were too afraid of Dawson, sir.

ROSS
Object. The witness is characterizing.

KAFFEE
I’ll rephrase. Jeffrey, did you ever
want to give Santiago a code red?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

KAFFEE
Why didn’t you?

HOWARD
‘Cause Dawson’d kick my butt, sir.

KAFFEE
Good enough. Lt. Ross is gonna ask
you some questions now.

ROSS takes three books out of his briefcase and puts them on
the table. He brings one to HOWARD.

ROSS
Corporal Howard, I hold here The
Marine Guide and General Information
Handbook for New Recruits. Are you
familiar with this book?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Have you read it?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Good.
(hands him the book)
Would you turn to the chapter that
deals with code reds, please.

HOWARD
Sir?

ROSS
Just flip to the page in that book
that discusses code reds.

HOWARD
Sir, you see, Code Red is a term we
use — it’s just used down at GITMO,
sir. I don’t know if it actually —

ROSS has produced another book.

ROSS
We’re in luck, then. The Marine Corps
Guide for Sentry Duty, NAVY BASE
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I assume we’ll
find the term code red and its
definition in this book, am I correct?

HOWARD
No sir.

ROSS
No? Corporal Howard, I’m a marine.
Is their no book, no manual or
pamphlet, no set of orders or
regulations that let me know that,
as a marine, one of my duties is to
perform code reds?

HOWARD
(pause)
No sir. No books, sir.

ROSS
No further questions.

ROSS sits. KAFFEE walks over to ROSS’s table and picks up
one of the books. He brings it to HOWARD.

KAFFEE
Corporal, would you turn to the page
in this book that says where the
enlisted men’s mess hall is?

HOWARD
Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book,
sir.

KAFFEE
I don’t understand, how did you know
where the enlisted men’s mess hall
was if it’s not in this book?

HOWARD
I guess I just followed the crowd at
chow time, sir.

KAFFEE
No more questions.

KAFFEE chucks the book back on ROSS’s desk.

RANDOLPH
Corporal Howard, you can step down.

HOWARD
(greatly relieved)
Thank you, sir.

KAFFEE gives HOWARD a subtle “You Did Good, Kid” look, and
we

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR – DUSK

It’s the end of the day’s session. KAFFEE walks down the
hall with SAM and JO.

KAFFEE
Seven tonight, we’ll do a final
Kendrick review. I want to slam-
dunk this guy.

CUT TO:

EXT. SIDEWALK STAND – NIGHT

KAFFEE’S CAR

as it drives along a street in the D.C. business district.
it’s evening now and the windshield wipers are fighting
against a rain KAFFEE pulls over at his usual newsstand. He
hops out, leaving the lights flashing and the door open, and
runs to the stand.

KAFFEE
Hey, Luther.

LUTHER
Admiral, how’s the big case goin’?

KAFFEE
Nose to the grindstone.

LUTHER
No flies on you.

KAFFEE
A rolling stone gathers no moss.

LUTHER
Yeah, well it ain’t over til the fat
lady sings.

KAFFEE
Ain’t that the truth. Catch you
tomorrow.

He gets back in his car, tosses the newspaper on the passenger
seat, and turns on the ignition. And as soon as he does

— a hand is slapped over his mouth —

VOICE (O.S.)
It’s Matthew Markinson.

— and KAFFEE jumps out of his skin.

Because sitting in the back seat, in civilian clothes, is
MARKINSON.

KAFFEE
Jesus fucking Christ!!–

MARKINSON
You left the door unlocked.

KAFFEE
Scared the shit outta me.

MARKINSON
Drive.

KAFFEE
Are you aware you’re under subpoena?

MARKINSON
Yes. I’m also aware that the lives
of two marines are in your hands. If
there was something I could do about
that, I would, but since I can’t,
all I can do is help you. Why don’t
you drive, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE begins driving down the street.

KAFFEE
What do you know?

MARKINSON
I know everything.

KAFFEE
Was it a code red?

MARKINSON
Yes.

KAFFEE
Did Kendrick give the order?

MARKINSON
Yes.

KAFFEE
Did you witness it?

MARKINSON
I didn’t need to —

KAFFEE
Did you witness it?!

MARKINSON
No.

KAFFEE
Then how do you know?

MARKINSON
I know.

KAFFEE
You know shit.

MARKINSON
He was never gonna be transferred
off the base.

And with this, KAFFEE screeches the car over to the side of
the road. He grabs the parking brake and pulls it up. He
turns to Markinson.

MARKINSON
(continuing)
Jessep was going to keep him on the
base. He said he wanted him trained.

KAFFEE
We’ve got the transfer order. It’s
got your signature.

MARKINSON
I know. I signed it the morning you
arrived in Cuba. Six days after
Santiago died.

KAFFEE’s wheels are spinning. He’s pumped.

KAFFEE
I’m gonna get you a deal. Some kind
of immunity with the prosecutor. In
about four days, you’re gonna appear
as a witness for the defense, and
you’re gonna tell the court exactly
what you told me. Right now I’m gonna
check you into a motel, and we’re
gonna start from the beginning.

MARKINSON
I don’t want a deal. And I don’t
want immunity.

KAFFEE shakes his head and laughs.

MARKINSON
(continuing)
I want you to know, I’m proud neither
of what I’ve done nor what I’m doing.

KAFFEE puts the car in gear and we

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Where KAFFEE has just finished telling his story to an amazed
SAM and JO.

There’s silence.

Then JO has a total adrenaline rush.

JO
Where is he?

KAFFEE
The Route 23 Best Western.

JO picks up the phone.

JO
I want him guarded.

KAFFEE
That’s probably a good idea.

JO
(into phone)
This is Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway.
My clearance code is 411273.

KAFFEE is impressed. He turns to SAM —

KAFFEE
Clearance code?

JO
Thank you.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
I don’t have a clearance code. Do
you have a —

JO
(into phone)
It’s Jo Galloway. I need to secure a
witness.

Jo continues giving information to the person on the phone,
while Kaffee keeps talking to the both of them. Sam is writing
down notes as fast as he can.

KAFFEE
He also said that Jessep’s lying
about the transportation off the
base. Jessep said six the next morning
was the first flight Santiago could’ve
left on, Markinson says there was a
plane that left seven hours earlier.

JO hangs up the phone.

JO
Damn.

KAFFEE
That was impressive. Did you hear
what I just said about the flight?

JO
Yes.

KAFFEE
Sam, when a plane takes off from a
base, there’s gotta be some kind of
record kept, right?

SAM
We need the Tower Chief’s Log for
GITMO.

KAFFEE
(to SAM)
Get it.

JO
We’re gonna win.

KAFFEE
Jo, don’t get crazy about this. We
don’t know who Markinson is. We don’t
know what the log book’s gonna say.
You just concentrate on Downey. I’m
gonna talk to Ross and tell him where
we are.

JO
(sing-song)
“Kaffee’s got his case now, Kaffee’s
got his case now.”

KAFFEE
You are like seven of the strangest
women I have ever met.

CUT TO:

INT. A WASHINGTON SALOON – NIGHT

A WAITRESS sets two drinks down in front of KAFFEE and ROSS,
who are sitting across from each other in a booth in the
back.

ROSS
That was nice work today. The redirect
on Howard.

KAFFEE
I have Markinson.

ROSS only takes a moment digest this.

ROSS
Where is he?

KAFFEE
A motel room in Arlington with 14
Federal Marshals outside his door.
Take a sip of your drink.

ROSS
Damn.

KAFFEE
The transfer order that Parkinson
signed is phoney. And Jessep’s
statement that the six a.m. flight
was the first available is a lie,
we’re checking the tower chief’s
log. But in the meantime I’m gonna
put the Apostle Jon Kendrick on the
stand and see if we can’t have a
little fun.

ROSS takes another sip of his drink, then lays it on the
line for Kaffee..

ROSS
I have an obligation to tell you
that if you accuse Kendrick or Jessep
of any crime without proper evidence,
you’ll be subject to Court-Martial
for professional misconduct. And
that’s something that’ll be stapled
to every job application you ever
fill out. Markinson’s not gonna hold
up, he’s a crazy man. I’m not saying
this to intimidate you. I’m being
your lawyer.

KAFFEE
Thanks, Jack. And I wanna tell you
that I think the whole fuckin’ bunch
of you are certifiably insane. And
this code of honor of yours makes me
wanna beat the shit outta something.

ROSS
Don’t you dare lump me in with Jessep
and Markinson and Kendrick because
we wear the same uniform. I’m your
friend, Danny, and I’m telling you,
I don’t think your clients belong in
jail. But I don’t get to make that
decision. I represent the Government
of the United States. Without passion
or prejudice. And my client has a
case.
(pause)
I want you to acknowledge that the
judge advocate has made you aware of
the possible consequences involved
in accusing a marine officer of a
felony without proper evidence.

KAFFEE
I’ve been so advised.

ROSS stands up and heaves a few dollars on the table.

ROSS
You got bullied into that courtroom,
Danny. By everyone. By Dawson, by
Galloway, shit, I practically dared
you. Not for a second have you
believed you could win. You got
bullied into that room by the memory
of a dead lawyer.

KAFFEE
(pause)
You’re a lousy softball player, Jack.

ROSS
Your boys are going down. I can’t
stop it anymore.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR – DAY

People are filing in. KENDRICK is standing at the entrance
to the courtroom. KAFFEE glides past him…

KAFFEE
Batter up, J.J.

KENDRICK watches this impudent thing walk into the courtroom
as we

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

KENDRICK’s on the stand. What drives Kaffee’s entire
examination of Kendrick is this: Kaffee’s got him. He’s gonna
win. At least this round. All he has to do is not let his
emotions take control of his professional skill.

SAM will have files and documents ready to hand Kaffee as he
needs them.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, in your opinion, was
Private Santiago a good marine?

KENDRICK
I’d say he was about average.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, you signed three fitness
reports on Santiago. On all three
reports you indicated a rating of
Below Average.

KENDRICK
Yes. Private Santiago was Below
Average I didn’t see the need in
trampling on a man’s grave.

KAFFEE
We appreciate that, but you’re under
oath now, and I think unpleasant as
it may be, we’d all just as soon
hear the truth.

KENDRICK
I’m aware of my oath.

KAFFEE’s handed some more files.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, these are the last three
fitness reports you signed for Lance
Corporal Dawson and PFC Downey. Downey
received three straight marks of
Exceptional. Dawson received two
marks of Exceptional, but on this
most recent report, dated June 9th
of this year, he received a rating
of Below Average. It’s this last
report that I’d like to discuss for
a moment.

KENDRICK
That’s fine.

KAFFEE
Lance Corporal Dawson’s ranking after
Infantry Training School was perfect.
Records indicate that over half that
class has since been promoted to
full corporal, while Dawson has
remained a lance corporal. Was
Dawson’s promotion held up because
of this last fitness report.

KENDRICK
I’m sure it was.

KAFFEE
Do you recall why Dawson was given
such a poor grade on this report?

KENDRICK
I’m sure I don’t. I have many men in
my charge, Lieutenant, I write many
fitness reports.

KAFFEE
Do you recall an incident involving
a PFC Curtis Barnes who’d been found
stealing liquor from the Officer’s
Club?

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
Did you report private Barnes to the
proper authorities?

KENDRICK
I have two books at my bedside,
Lieutenant, the Marine Code of Conduct
and the King James Bible. The only
proper authorities I’m aware of are
my Commanding Officer, Colonel Nathan
R. Jessep and the Lord our God.

KAFFEE
Lt. Kendrick, at your request, I can
have the record reflect your lack of
acknowledgment of this court as a
proper authority.

ROSS
Objection. Argumentative.

RANDOLPH
Sustained.
(to KAFFEE)
Watch yourself, counselor.

KAFFEE
Did you report Private Barnes to
your superiors?

KENDRICK
I remember thinking very highly of
Private Barnes, and not wanting to
see his record tarnished by a formal
charge.

KAFFEE
You preferred it to be handled within
the unit.

KENDRICK
I most certainly did.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, do you know what a Code
Red is?

KENDRICK
Yes I do.

KAFFEE
Have you ever ordered a code red?

KENDRICK
No, I have not.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, did you order Dawson and
two other men to make sure that
Private Barnes receive no food or
drink except water for a period of
seven days?

KENDRICK
That’s a distortion of the truth.
Private Barnes was placed on barracks
restriction. He was given water and
vitamin supplements, and I assure
you that at no time was his health
in danger.

KAFFEE
I’m sure it was lovely for Private
Barnes, but you did order the barracks
restriction, didn’t you? And you did
order the denial of food.

KENDRICK
Yes.

KAFFEE
Wouldn’t this form of discipline be
considered a code red?

KENDRICK
(beat)
Not necessarily.

KAFFEE
If I called the other 8000 men at
Guantanamo Bay to testify, would
they consider it a Code Red?

ROSS
Please the court, the witness can’t
possibly testify as to what 8000
other men would say. We object to
this entire line of questioning as
argumentative and irrelevant badgering
of the witness.

RANDOLPH
The Government’s objection is
sustained, Lt. Kaffee, and I would
remind you that you’re now questioning
marine officer with an impeccable
service record.

ROSS
Thank you judge.

KAFFEE looks over at DAWSON. They share a brief moment before
KAFFEE turns back to KENDRICK.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant, was Dawson given a rating
of Below Average on this last fitness
report because you learned held been
sneaking food to Private Barnes?
(to ROSS)
Not so fast.
(to KENDRICK)
Lieutenant?

KENDRICK
Corporal Dawson was found to be Below
Average because he committed a crime.

KAFFEE
What crime did he commit?
(beat)
Lieutenant Kendrick?
(beat)
Dawson brought a hungry guy some
food. What crime did he commit?

KENDRICK
He disobeyed an order.

KAFFEE
And because he did, because he
exercised his own set of values,
because he made a decision about the
welfare of a marine that was in
conflict with an order of yours, he
was punished, is that right?

KENDRICK
Corporal Dawson disobeyed an order.

KAFFEE
Yeah, but it wasn’t a order, was it?
After all, it’s peacetime. He wasn’t
being asked to secure a hill… or
advance on a beachhead. I mean, surely
a marine of Dawson’s intelligence
can be trusted to determine on his
own, which are the really important
orders, and which orders might, say,
be morally questionable.
(beat)
Lt. Kendrick?
(beat)
Can he? Can Corporal Dawson determine
on his own which orders he’s gonna
follow?
(pause)

KENDRICK
No, he can not.

KAFFEE
A lesson he learned after the Curtis
Barnes incident, am I right?

KENDRICK
I would think so.

KAFFEE
You know so, don’t you, Lieutenant.

ROSS
Object!

RANDOLPH
Sustained.

KAFFEE
Lieutenant Kendrick, one final
question: if you ordered Dawson to
give Santiago a code red…

ROSS
— please the court —

KENDRICK
I told those men not to touch
Santiago.

KAFFEE
— is it reasonable to think that he
would’ve disobeyed you again?

ROSS
Lieutenant, don’t answer that.

KAFFEE
You don’t have to, I’m through.

ROSS doesn’t even wait before he says —

ROSS
Lieutenant Kendrick, did you order
Corporal Dawson and Private Downey
to give Willy Santiaga code red?

But KENDRICK isn’t listening — he’s glaring at Kaffee.

ROSS
(continuing)
Lt. Kendrick, did you —

KENDRICK
No I did not.

ROSS
Thank you.

CUT TO:

FWAP! – a nerf ball slams into a hoop.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

JO and KAFFEE. KAFFEE’s pumped and shooting baskets as Sam
walks in with some bound papers under his arm.

KAFFEE
What’s the word?

SAM
This is the tower chief’s log for
that night. Jessep was telling the
truth. The six a.m. flight was the
first plane out.

KAFFEE lets the ball drop out of his hands.

KAFFEE
Let me see that.

CUT TO:

EXT. A MOTEL – NIGHT

A SEDAN, with U.S. MARSHALL stenciled on the door, sits in
front of one of the rooms, and the two FEDERAL AGENTS inside
the car are reading the newspaper as KAFFEE’S CAR pulls next
to them and KAFFEE jumps out.

AGENT #1 sticks his head out the window and calls to KAFFEE —

AGENT #1
Workin’ late, lieutenant?

KAFFEE pays no attention and bangs on MARKINSON’s door. The
door opens and KAFFEE walks into

INT. MOTEL ROOM

HE tosses the log book on the table.

KAFFEE
There was no flight out at eleven
o’clock. What the fuck are you trying
to pull?

MARKINSON
The first flight stateside left
Guantanamo Bay at eleven and arrived
at Andrews Airforce Base, Maryland,
at a few minutes past two.

KAFFEE
Then why the hell isn’t it listed in
the Tower Chief’s log?!

MARKINSON
Why the hell did you think it would
be?!!

KAFFEE is silent. And now it begins to sink in.

KAFFEE
What are you telling me?
(beat)
He fixed the log book?

Setback. Big setback.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Well, maybe he can make it so a plane
didn’t take off, but I can sure as
hall prove that one landed. I’ll get
the log book from Andrews.

MARKINSON says nothing. But his face says that KAFFEE was
born yesterday.

KAFFEE
(continuing; beat)
He made an entire flight disappear?

MARKINSON
Nathan Jessep is about to be named
Director of Operations for the
National Security Council. You don’t
get to that position without knowing
how to side-step a few land mines.
(beat)
And putting me on the stand isn’t
gonna make him step on one.

KAFFEE stares at him.

Then shakes his head, sighs, and picks the log book up off
the table, and heads for the door.

KAFFEE
You’re taking the stand. Thursday.

KAFFEE leaves.

HOLD on MARKINSON.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT

KAFFEE’S APARTMENT later that night and SAM and J0 have just
heard the report him.

KAFFEE
There’s gotta be someone who can
testify to the flight. A ground crew
member. Someone.

SAM
Do you have any idea how many planes
take off and land every day? A kid
from the ground crew isn’t gonna
remember a flight that landed four
weeks ago.

KAFFEE
Forget the flight. We’ll put Markinson
on the stand and we’ll deal with
Jessep’s refusal to transfer Santiago
and he’ll testify to the forged
transfer order. That’ll be enough.
That and Downey’s testimony really
oughta be enough.

CUT TO:

INT. THE HOLDING ROOM – DAY

Jo is working with DOWNEY. He sits on a mock witness stand.

JO
Private Downey, why did you go into
Santiago’s room on the night of the
6th?

DOWNEY
To give Private Santiago a Code Red,
ma’am.

JO
And why did you give him a Code Red?

DOWNEY
I was ordered to give him a Code Red
by the Executive officer for Rifle
Security Company Windward, Lieutenent
Jonathan James Kendrick.

JO smiles.

JO
You’re gonna do fine.

DOWNEY smiles.

DOWNEY
You think they’ll let us go back to
our platoon soon, ma’am?

JO
(pause)
Absolutely.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR – DAY

Jo is going over last-minute details with KAFFEE.

JO
You remember the order of the
questions?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
Are you sure?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
And you’ll use small words?

KAFFEE
Yes.

JO
He gets rattled when he doesn’t
understand something.

KAFFEE
Jo —

JO
I’m just saying go slow.

KAFFEE
I’m gonna go slow.

JO
Okay.

KAFFEE
Alright.

JO
And get him off as fast as you can.

KAFFEE
Joanne!

JO
What?

KAFFEE
He’s gonna be fine.

They turn and head into the courtroom as we HEAR MARKINSON
in VOICE OVER…

MARKINSON (V.O.)
“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Santiago…”

CUT TO:

INT. MARKINSON’S ROOM – DAY

MARKINSON is writing a letter and we HEAR it in V.O.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
I was William’s company commander.
I knew your son vaguely, which is to
say I knew his name…

And while we continue to HEAR Markinson’s voice writing the
letter, we begin a SERIES OF SHOTS: MARKINSON is getting
into his class A dress uniform, complete with medals, side
arm, and military dress sabre.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
In a matter of time, the trial of
the two man charged with your son’s
death will be concluded, and seven
men and two women whom you’ve never
met will try to offer you an
explanation as to why William is
dead. For my part, I’ve done as much
as I can to bring the truth to light.

MARKINSON is finished dressing. He stands in the middle of
the motel room.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
(continuing)
And the truth is this: your son is
dead for only one reason. I wasn’t
strong enough to stop it.

MARKINSON takes a pistol out of his holster and cocks the
trigger.

MARKINSON (V.O.)
Always, Captain Matthew Andrew
Markinson.

MARKINSON puts the pistol in his mouth —

MARKINSON (V.O.)
United states marine corps.

We HEAR the BLAST of the gunshot as we

CUT TO:

EXT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

Kaffee is at the end of his examination of Downey.

KAFFEE
Private, I want you to tell us one
last time: Why did you go into Private
Santiago’s room on the night of August
6th?

DOWNEY
A code red was ordered by my platoon
commander, Lt. Jonathan James
Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Thank you.
(to ROSS)
Your witness.

ROSS
Private, for the week of 2 August,
the switch log has you down at Post
39, is that correct?

DOWNEY
I’m sure it is, sir, they keep that
log pretty good.

ROSS
How far is it from Post 39 to the
Windward barracks?

DOWNEY
It’s a ways, sir, it’s a hike.

ROSS
About how far by jeep?

DOWNEY
About ten, fifteen minutes, sir.

ROSS
Have you ever had to walk it?

DOWNEY
Yes sir. That day, sir. Friday. The
Pick-up Private — sir, that’s what
we call the fella who drops us at
our posts and picks us up… also,
’cause he can get girls in New York
City — the Pick-up Private got a
flat…

At the defense table, KAFFEE, poker-faced, scribbles something
down on a piece of paper and slides it to JO. JO looks at
it:

“Where’s he going with this?” JO scribbles “?” And hands it
back to KAFFEE.

DOWNEY
(continuing)
…Right at 39. He pulled up and
blam! …A blowout-with no spare.
The two of us had to double-time it
back to the barracks.

ROSS
And if it’s ten or fifteen minutes
by jeep, I’m guessing it must be a
good hour by foot, am I right?

DOWNEY
Pick-up and me did it in 45 flat,
sir.

ROSS
Not bad. Now you say your assault on
Private Santiago was the result of
an order that Lt. Kendrick gave in
your barracks room at 16:20.

KAFFEE knows what’s coming. There’s nothing he can do about
it. And he can’t lose his cool in front of the jury.

DOWNEY
Yes sir.

JO. Helpless. Panicked.

ROSS
But you just said that you didn’t
make it back to Windward Barracks
until 16:45.

DOWNEY’s confused. These are questions he hasn’t been asked
before.

DOWNEY
Sir?

ROSS
If you didn’t make it back to your
barracks until 16:45, then how could
you be in your room at 16:20?

DOWNEY
(pause)
You see sir, there was a flat tire.

ROSS
Private, did you ever actually hear
Lt. Kendrick order a Code Red?

KAFFEE’s world is falling down around him, and there’s nothing
he can do about it. And he knows it.

DOWNEY
(pause)
No, sir.

Jo leaps to her feet.

JO
Please the court, I’d like to request
a recess in order to confer with my
client.

ROSS
Why did you go into Santiago’s room?

JO
The witness has rights.

ROSS
The witness has been read his rights,
commander.

DOWNEY
(confused)
Hal?

RANDOLPH
The question will be repeated.

ROSS
Why did you go into Santiago’s room?

JO
Your honor —

DOWNEY
Hal?

ROSS
Did Corporal Dawson tell you to do
it?

Everyone is frozen.

ROSS
(continuing)
He did, didn’t he? Dawson told you
to give Santiago a code red.

DOWNEY looks at DAWSON.

DOWNEY
Hal?

ROSS
Don’t look at him.

DOWNEY
Hal?

DAWSON
Private. Answer the Lieutenant’s
question.

The room is still silent. DOWNEY does something we’ve never
seen him do before. He straightens himself up and says this
with the pride of a man who believes he’s done the right
thing.

DOWNEY
Yes, Lieutenant. I was given an order
by my squad leader, Lance Corporal
Harold W. Dawson of the U.S. Marine
Corps. And I followed it.

ROSS let’s it hang. He looks over at KAFFEE. KAFFEE won’t
meet his eyes.

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

JO and SAM are sitting in silence. It’s dark outside.

JO
Where do you think he is?

SAM doesn’t know. JO is beside herself, and trying to keep
it together.

JO
(continuing)
As far as Downey was concerned, it
was an order from Kendrick. It didn’t
matter that he didn’t hear it first
hand. He doesn’t distinguish between
the two.

SAM understands, but he doesn’t say anything. The door opens
and KAFFEE walks in.

JO
(continuing)
Danny. I’m sorry.

KAFFEE seems to be in an incredibly normal mood.

KAFFEE
Don’t worry about it.

JO
Sam and I were just talking about
how all we really have to do is call
some witnesses who’ll talk about
implied orders… or maybe we put
Downey back on the stand before we
get to Dawson.

KAFFEE
Maybe if we work at it we can get
Dawson charged with the Kennedy
assassination.

JO studies KAFFEE for a moment.

JO
Are you drunk?

KAFFEE
(a simple answer)
Pretty much. Yeah.

JO
(pause)
I’ll make a pot of coffee. We have a
long night’s work ahead.

KAFFEE
She’s gonna make coffee. That’s nice.
(beat)
He wasn’t in his room.
(Kaffee’s amazed)
He wasn’t even there.
(beat)
That was an important piece of
information, don’t you think?

JO
(pause)
Danny, it was just a setback. I’m
sorry. But we’ll fix it and then
move on to Markinson.

KAFFEE
Markinson’s dead.

JO and SAM are frozen.

KAFFEE says this with no particular feeling one way or the
other.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You really gotta hand it to those
Federal Marshals, boy.
(he almost has to
laugh)
It’s not like he hanged himself by
his shoelaces or slashed his wrists
with a concealed butter knife. This
guy got, into full dress uniform,
stood in the middle of that room,
drew a nickle plated pistol from his
holster, and fired a bullet into his
mouth.

Jo and SAM don’t say anything.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Anyway, since we seem to be out of
witnesses, I thought I’d drink a
little.

JO
I still think we can win.

KAFFEE
Then maybe you should drink a little.

JO
Look, we’ll go to Randolph in the
morning and make a motion for a
continuance. 24 hours.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Why would we want to do that?

JO
To subpoena Colonel Jessep.

KAFFEE
What?

JO
Listen for a second —

KAFFEE
No.

JO
Just hear me out —

KAFFEE
No. I won’t listen to you and I won’t
hear you out. Your passion is
comforting, Jo. It’s also useless.
Private Downey needed a trial lawyer
today.

JO
(pause)
You chicken-shit. You’re gonna use
what happened today as an excuse to
give up.

KAFFEE
It’s over!

JO
Why did you ask Jessep for the
transfer order?

KAFFEE
What are you —

JO
In Cuba. Why did you ask Jessep for
the transfer order?

KAFFEE
What does it matter —

JO
Why?!

KAFFEE
I wanted the damn transfer order!

JO
Bullshit! You could’ve gotten it by
picking up the phone and calling any
one of a dozen departments at the
Pentagon. You didn’t want the transfer
order. You wanted to see Jessep’s
reaction when you asked for the
transfer order. You had an instinct.
And it was confirmed by Markinson.
Now damnit, let’s put Jessep on the
stand and end this thing!

KAFFEE
What possible good could come from
putting Jessep on the stand?

JO
He told Kendrick to order the Code
Red.

KAFFEE
He did?! Why didn’t you say so!?
That’s qreat! And of course you have
proof of that.

JO
I —

KAFFEE
Ah, I keep forgetting: You were sick
the day they taught law at law school.

JO
You put him on the stand and you get
it from him!

KAFFEE
Yes. No problem. We get it from him.
(to SAM)
Colonel, isn’t it true that you
ordered the Code Red on Santiago?

SAM
Look, we’re all a little —

KAFFEE
I’m sorry, your time’s run out. What
do we have for the losers, Judge?
Well, for our defendants it’s a
lifetime at exotic Fort Levenworth.
And for defense counsel Kaffee? That’s
right — it’s — a court — martial.
Yes, Johnny, after falsely accusing
a marine officer of conspiracy, Lt.
Kaffee will have a long and prosperous
career teaching typewriter maintenance
at the Rocco Columbo School for Women.
Thank you for playing “Should We or
Should-We-Not Follow the Advice of
the Galacticly Stupid”.

And with one motion, he knocks everything from his desk. A
ton of papers, books, files, etc., falls to the floor.

There’s dead silence. Maybe just the sound of KAFFEE breathing
after this exhausting outburst.

Finally…

JO
I’m sorry I lost you your set of
steak knives.

Jo picks up her purse and coat and walks out. The door slams
behind her.

KAFFEE walks into the kitchen without a word.

SAM gets down on the floor and begins picking up all the
stuff that Kaffee knocked off the desk.

KAFFEE comes back in with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

KAFFEE
Stop cleaning up.

But Sam continues.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Sam. Stop cleaning up.

SAM stops and sits in a chair. KAFFEE sits on the couch.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
You want a drink?

SAM
Yeah.

SAM takes a swig from the bottle.

KAFFEE
Is your father proud of you?

SAM
Don’t do this to yourself.

KAFFEE
I’ll bet he is. I’ll bet he bores
the shit outta the neighbors and the
relatives. “Sam, made Law Review.
He’s got a big case he’s making —
He’s arguing making an argument.”
(pause)
I think my father would’ve enjoyed
seeing me graduate from law school.
(beat)
I think he would’ve liked that… an
awful lot.

SAM
Did I ever tell you that I wrote a
paper on your father in college?

KAFFEE
Yeah?

SAM
He was one of the best trial lawyers
ever.

KAFFEE
Yes he was.

SAM
And if I were Dawson and Downey and
I had a choice between you or your
father to represent me in this case,
I’d take you any day of the week and
twice on Sunday. You should have
seen yourself thunder away at
Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Would you put Jessep on the stand?

SAM
No.

KAFFEE
You think my father would’ve?

SAM
With the evidence we’ve got? Not in
a million years. But here’s the thing —
and there’s really no way of getting
around this — neither Lionel Kaffee
nor Sam Weinberg are lead counsel
for the defense in the matter of
U.S. versus Dawson and Downey. So
there’s only one question. What would
you do?

We HOLD on the two of them for a moment, then

CUT TO:

EXT. A SUBURBAN STREET – NIGHT

JO is walking through the night at a brisk pace. She’s doing
her best not to fall apart.

TWO HEADLIGHTS appear coming down the street, and KAFFEE’s
CAR, with SAM driving and KAFFEE riding shotgun, slows down
alongside JO. KAFFEE rolls down his window.

KAFFEE
Joanne.

JO ignores them and keeps walking. The car crawls along with
her.

JO starts walking faster.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Jo, we look ridiculous.
(to SAM)
Stop the car.

KAFFEE hops out and calls —

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Joanne.

JO keeps walking.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I apologize. I was angry and… I’m
sorry about what I said.

But JO’S still walking.

KAFFEE
(continuing; calling)
I’m gonna put Jessep on the stand.

She stops. She turns around.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT – LATER – AFTERNOON

A nerf ball bounces off the wall.

KAFFEE, JO and SAM are sprawled out in the living room. For
hours now they’ve been trying to come up with an idea.
KAFFEE’s mind seems to be on his basketball game.

JO
I say we hit him with the phoney
transfer order.

SAM
What’s the transfer order without a
witness?

KAFFEE
We have a witness.

SAM
A dead witness.

KAFFEE
And in the hands of a lesser attorney,
that’d be a problem.

SAM
Look at this. Last night he was
swimming in his Jack Daniels, now he
can leap tall buildings in a single
bound.

KAFFEE
I’m getting my second wind. Siddown.
Both of you.

He sees that SAM and JO were already sitting down.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Good.
(beat)
Jessep told Kendrick to order a code
red. Kendrick did, and our clients
followed the order. The cover-up
isn’t our case. To win, Jessep has
to tell the jury that he ordered the
code red.

SAM
And you think you can got him to
just say it?

KAFFEE
I think he wants to say it. I think
he’s pissed off that he’s gotta hide
from us. I think he wants to say
that he made a command decision and
that’s the end of it. He eats
breakfast 80 yards away from 4000
Cubans who are trained to kill him,
and no one’s gonna tell him how to
run his base. Least of all the pushy
broad, the smart Jew, and the Harvard
clown. I need to shake him and put
him on the defensive.

SAM and JO are silent for a moment.

SAM
That’s it? That’s the plan?

KAFFEE
That’s the plan.

SAM
You’re gonna trip Jessep and he’s
gonna confess.

KAFFEE
I’m not gonna trip him. I’m gonna
lead him right where he’s dying to
go.

SAM
And how are you gonna do that?

KAFFEE
I have no idea. I need my bat.

JO
What?

KAFFEE
(looking around)
I need my bat. I think better with
my bat. Where’s my bat?

JO
I put it in the closet.

KAFFEE
You put it in the closet.

KAFFEE heads to the closet.

JO
I was tripping over it.

KAFFEE (O.S.)
Don’t ever put a bat in a closet.

JO
He thinks better with his bat?

And we go to KAFFEE AT THE CLOSET.

OFFSCREEN WE HEAR

SAM (O.S.)
I can understand that. I used to
have stuffed panda named Mr. Boob. I
could never do my home work without
him.

During this, KAFFEE’s opened the closet door. He reaches in
to grab his bat when all of a sudden he notices something:

His clothes.

His uniforms and his civilian clothes. Hanging neatly along
the bar. He stares at this a moment, then suddenly heads
back through the living room towards the front door.

KAFFEE
Stay here, I’m going to the office
for a while.

KAFFEE storms out.

SAM
Boy, he does think better with that
bat.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COMPUTER ROOM – DUSK

A small room at the end of a corridor at the office. KAFFEE
stands over a printer and watches it spit out something he’s
been waiting for. He tears the printout off and we

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S OFFICE – EARLY EVENING

KAFFEE is looking over the computer printout. From what we
can tell, it resembles a large, military coded phone bill.

KAFFEE picks up the phone and dials.

KAFFEE
(into phone)
Sam.
(beat)
I need you to do something.

CUT TO:

INT. KAFFEE’S APARTMENT

SAM hangs up the phone slowly.

JO
What’s goin’ on?

SAM
I’ve gotta go out to Andrews.

CUT TO:

INT. COURTHOUSE CORRIDOR – DAY

The day’s session is going to begin in a few minutes. KAFFEE
comes around the corner and runs into Jo.

KAFFEE
Is Sam here?

JO
Not yet.

KAFFEE
Where is he?

JO
He’s on his way.

KAFFEE
Did he got the guys?

JO
Yes. Listen, can I talk to you for a
second?

CUT TO:

INT. AN ANTE-ROOM OFF THE CORRIDOR – DAY

JO closes the door behind them.

JO
How’re you feeling?

KAFFEE
I think he’s gonna have his hands
full today.

JO
Listen.
(beat)
Danny.
(beat)
When you’re out there. If it’s not
gonna happen he’s not gonna say it
(beat)
…don’t go for it.

KAFFEE looks at her.

JO
(continuing)
If you feel like… if you feel
like… You could get in trouble.
(beat)
I’m special counsel for internal
affairs, and I’m telling you, you
could get in a lot of trouble.

KAFFEE
Why Lt. Commander Galloway… are
you suggesting I back off a material
witness?

JO
If you think you can’t get him.
(beat)
Yeah.

KAFFEE
Do you think I can get him?

JO
(beat)
I think it doesn’t matter what I
think. I’m an administrator.
(beat)
I can’t seem to defend people.

KAFFEE takes that in. He picks up his briefcase and grabs
his jacket.

Then he turns to JO.

KAFFEE
You’re my hero, Joanne.
(beat)
From the first day, you were a lawyer.
(beat)
Live with that.

And in VOICE OVER we HEAR the SERGEANT AT ARMS.

SERGEANT AT ARMS (V.O.)
All rise.

CUT TO:

INT. THE COURTROOM – DAY

Everyone stands at attention as RANDOLPH enters. SAM is
missing.

RANDOLPH
(to KAFFEE)
Call your witness.

KAFFEE
Where’s Sam?

JO
He’ll be here.

RANDOLPH
Lieutenant, call your witness.

KAFFEE
Defense calls Colonel Nathan Jessep.

JESSEP is escorted in through a side door. He’s wearing his
dress uniforms, adorned with the appropriate medals.

ROSS
Colonel, do you solemnly swear that
the testimony you will give in this
General Court-Martial will be the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth so help you God?

JESSEP
Yes I do.

ROSS
Would you state your name, rank, and
current billet for the record please,
air?

JESSEP
Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, Commanding
officer, Marine Ground Forces,
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

ROSS
Thank you, sir, would you have a
seat, please.

JESSEP sits.

KAFFEE
Colonel, when you learned of
Santiago’s letter to the NIS, you
had a meeting with your two senior
officers, is that right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
The Executive Officer, Lt. Jonathan
Kendrick, and the Company Commander,
Captain Matthew Markinson.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And at present, Captain Markinson is
dead, is that right?

ROSS
Objection. I’d like to know just
what defense counsel is implying?

KAFFEE
I’m implying simply that, at present,
Captain Markinson is not alive.

ROSS
Surely Colonel Jessep doesn’t need
to appear in this courtroom to confirm
that information.

KAFFEE
I just wasn’t sure if the witness
was aware that two days ago, Captain
Markinson took his own life with a
.45 caliber pistol.

And from the back of the room, SAM enters. He’s escorting
two young AIRMEN in Airforce dress uniforms. SAM shows the
AIRMEN to a seat near the front, and takes his place at the
defense table.

Over this we HEAR —

RANDOLPH (O.S.)
The witness is aware, the Court is
aware, and now the jury is aware. We
thank you for bringing this to our
attention. Move on Lieutenant.

SAM scribbles something on a piece of paper, KAFFEE walks
over, looks at the paper on which are wrttten two names:
Cecil O’Malley and Anthony Perez, then turns back to RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE
Yes sir. Colonel, at the time of
this meeting, you gave Lt. Kendrick
an order, is that right?

JESSEP
I told Kendrick to tell his men that
Santiago wasn’t to be touched.

KAFFEE
And did you give an order to Captain
Markinson as well?

JESSEP
I ordered Markinson to have Santiago
transferred off the base immediately.

KAFFEE
Why?

JESSEP
I felt that his life might be in
danger once word of the letter got
out.

KAFFEE
Grave danger?

JESSEP
Is there another kind?

KAFFEE holds up a document from his table.

KAFFEE
We have the transfer order that you
and Markinson co-signed, ordering
that Santiago be lifted on a flight
leaving Guantanamo at six the next
morning. Was that the first flight
off the bass?

JESSEP
The six a.m. flight was the first
flight off the base.

KAFFEE nods and decides to move on.

JESSEP steals a quick glance at the two AIRMEN sitting out
in the courtroom.

KAFFEE
Colonel, you flew up to Washington
early this morning, is that right?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
I notice you’re wearing your Class A
appearance in dress uniform for court
today.

JESSEP
(continuing)
As are you, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE
Did you wear that uniform on the
plane?

ROSS
Please the Court, is this dialogue
relevant to anything in particular?

KAFFEE
The defense didn’t have an opportunity
to depose this witness, your honor.
I’d ask the Court for a little
latitude.

RANDOLPH
A very little latitude.

KAFFEE
Colonel?

JESSEP
I wore fatigues on the plane.

KAFFEE
And you brought your dress uniform
with you.

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
And a toothbrush? A shaving kit?
Change of underwear?

ROSS
Your honor.

KAFFEE
(to ROSS)
Is the Colonel’s underwear a matter
of national security?

RANDOLPH
Gentlemen.
(to KAFFEE)
You better get somewhere fast with
this, Lieutenant.

KAFFEE
Yes sir. Colonel?

JESSEP
I brought a change of clothes and
some personal items.

KAFFEE
Thank you.

KAFFEE gets a document from his table.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
After Dawson and Downey’s arrest on
the night of the sixth, Santiago’s
barracks room was sealed off and its
contents inventoried.
(reading)
Pairs of camouflage pants, 6
camouflage shirts, 2 pairs of boots,
1 pair of brown shoes, 1 pair of
tennis shoes, 8 khaki tee-shirts, 2
belts, 1 sweater —

ROSS
Please the Court, is there a question
anywhere in our future?

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee, I have to —

KAFFEE
I’m wondering why Santiago wasn’t
packed.

That landed. On the JURY, RANDOLPH, ROSS…

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I’ll tell you what, we’ll get back
to that one in a minute.

JO hands KAFFEE the computer printout.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
This is a record of all telephone
calls made from your base in the
past 24 hours. After being subpoenaed
to Washington, you made three calls.

Handing Jessep the printout —

KAFFEE
(continuing)
I’ve highlighted those calls in
yellow. Do you recognize those
numbers?

JESSEP
I called Colonel Fitzhuqhes in
Quantico, Va. I wanted to let him
know I’d be in town. The second call
was to set up a meeting with
Congressman Ramond of the House Armed
Services Committee, and the third
call was to my sister Elizabeth.

KAFFEE
Why did you make that call, sir?

JESSEP
I thought she might like to have
dinner tonight.

ROSS
Judge —

RANDOLPH
I’m gonna put a stop to this now.

Jo’s handed KAFFEE another printout and a stack of letters.

KAFFEE
Your honor, these are the telephone
records from GITMO for August 6th.
And these are 14 letters that Santiago
wrote in nine months requesting, in
fact begging, for a transfer.
(to JESSEP)
Upon hearing the news that he was
finally getting his transfer, Santiago
was so excited, that do you know how
many people he called? Zero. Nobody.
Not one call to his parents saying
he was coming home. Not one call to
a friend saying can you pick me up
at the airport. He was asleep in his
bed at midnight, and according to
you he was getting on a plane in six
hours, yet everything he owned was
hanging neatly in his closet and
folded neatly in his footlocker. You
were leaving for one day and you
packed a bag and made three phone
calls. Santiago was leaving for the
rest of his life, and he hadn’t called
a soul and he hadn’t packed a thing.
Can you explain that? The fact is
there was no transfer order. Santiago
wasn’t going anywhere, isn’t that
right, Colonel.

ROSS
Object. Your Honor, it’s obvious
that Lt. Kaffee’s intention this
morning is to smear a high ranking
marine officer in the desperate hope
that the mere appearance of
impropriety will win him points with
the jury. It’s my recommendation,
sir, that Lt. Kaffee receive an
official reprimand from the bench,
and that the witness be excused with
the Court’s deepest apologies.

RANDOLPH ponders this a moment.

RANDOLPH
(pause)
Overruled.

ROSS
Your honor —

RANDOLPH
The objection’s noted.

KAFFEE
(beat)
Colonel?

Jessep’s smiling…

…and now he can’t help but let out a short laugh.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Is this funny, sir?

JESSEP
No. It’s not. It’s tragic.

KAFFEE
Do you have an answer?

JESSEP
Absolutely. My answer is I don’t
have the first damn clue. Maybe he
was an early morning riser and he
liked to pack in the nq. And maybe
he didn’t have any friends. I’m an
educated man, but I’m afraid I can’t
speak intelligently about the travel
habits of William Santiago. What I
do know is that he was set to leave
the base at 0600. Now are these really
the questions I was called here to
answer? Phone calls and footlockers?
Please tell me you’ve got something
more, Lieutenant. Please tell me
there’s an ace up your sleeve. These
two marines are on trial for their
lives. Please tell me their lawyer
hasn’t pinned their hopes to a phone
bill.
(beat)
Do you have any other questions for
me, counselor?

The courtroom is silenced. Jessep’s slammed the door.

KAFFEE looks around the room, sees that the world is waiting
for him to do something…

RANDOLPH
Lt. Kaffee?

KAFFEE says nothing. He glances over to AIRMEN O’MALLEY and
PEREZ.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
Lieutenant, do you have anything
further for this witness?

KAFFEE doesn’t respond. JESSEP gets up to leave.

JESSEP
(standing)
Thanks, Danny. I love Washington.

And JESSEP starts to leave, but he’s stopped by —

KAFFEE
Excuse me, I didn’t dismiss you.

JESSEP turns around.

JESSEP
I beg your pardon.

KAFFEE
I’m not through with my examination.
Sit down.

JESSEP
Colonel.

KAFFEE
What’s that?

JESSEP
(to RANDOLPH)
I’d appreciate it if he addressed me
as Colonel or Sir. I believe I’ve
earned it.

RANDOLPH
Defense counsel will address the
witness as Colonel or Sir.

JESSEP
(to RANDOLPH)
I don’t know what the hell kind of
an outfit you’re running here.

RANDOLPH
And the witness will address this
Court as Judge or Your Honor. I’m
quite certain I’ve earned it. Take
your seat, Colonel.

Jessep goes back to the stand.

JESSEP
(continuing)
What would you like to discuss now!
My favorite color?

KAFFEE
Colonel, the six a.m. flight, was
the first one off the base?

JESSEP
Yes.

KAFFEE
There wasn’t a flight that left seven
hours earlier and landed at Andrews
Airforce Base at 2 a.m.?

RANDOLPH
Lieutenant, I think we’ve covered
this, haven’t we?

KAFFEE gets the two log books from his table as well as the
piece of paper that SAM scribbled on.

KAFFEE
Your Honor, these are the Tower
Chief’s Logs for both Guantanamo Bay
and Andrews Airforce Base. The
Guantanamo log lists no flight that
left at eleven p.m., and the Andrews
log lists no flight that landed at 2
a.m. I’d like to admit them as Defense
Exhibits “A” and “B”.

RANDOLPH
I don’t understand. You’re admitting
evidence of a flight that never
existed?

KAFFEE
We believe it did, sir.
(glancing at the paper,
then motioning to
the AIRMEN)
Defense’ll be calling Airman Cecil
O’Malley and Airman Anthony Perez.
They were working the ground crew at
Andrews at two a.m. on the seventh.

ROSS
Your Honor, these men weren’t on the
list. Rebuttal witnesses, Your Honor,
called specifically to refute
testimony offered under direct
examination.

If you looked closely at JESSEP, you could see a drop of
sweat.

RANDOLPH
I’ll allow the witnesses.

JESSEP
This is ridiculous.

KAFFEE
Colonel, a moment ago —

JESSEP
Check the Tower Logs for christ’s
sake.

KAFFEE
We’ll get to the airmen in just a
minute, sir. A moment ago said that
you ordered Kendrick to order his
men not to touch Santiago.

JESSEP
That’s right.

KAFFEE
And Kendrick was clear on what you
wanted?

JESSEP
Crystal.

KAFFEE
Any chance Kendrick ignored the order?

JESSEP
Ignored the order?

KAFFEE
Any chance he just forgot about it?

JESSEP
No.

KAFFEE
Any chance Kendrick left your office
and said, “The ‘old man’s wrong”?

JESSEP
No.

KAFFEE
When Kendrick spoke to the platoon
and ordered them not to touch
Santiago, any chance they ignored
him?

JESSEP
Have you ever spent time in an
infantry unit, son?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
Ever served in a forward area?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
Ever put your life in another man’s
hands, ask him to put his life in
yours?

KAFFEE
No sir.

JESSEP
We follow orders, son. We follow
orders or people die. It’s that
simple. Are we clear?

KAFFEE
Yes sir.

JESSEP
Are we clear?

KAFFEE
Crystal.

KAFFEE speaks with the quiet confidence that comes from
knowing you’re about to drop your opponents

KAFFEE
(continuing; beat)
Colonel, I have just one more question
before I call Airman O’Malley and
Airman Perez: If you gave an order
that Santiago wasn’t to be touched,
and your orders are always followed,
then why would he be in danger, why
would it be necessary to transfer
him off the base?

And JESSEP has no answer.

Nothing.

He sits there, and for the first time, seems to be lost.

JESSEP
Private Santiago was a sub-standard
marine. He was being transferred off
the base because —

KAFFEE
But that’s not what you said. You
said he was being transferred because
he was in grave danger.

JESSEP
(pause)
Yes. That’s correct, but —

KAFFEE
You said, “He was in danger”. I said,
“Grave danger”. You said —

JESSEP
Yes, I recall what —

KAFFEE
I can have the Court Reporter read
back your —

JESSEP
I know what I said. I don’t need it
read back to me like I’m a damn —

KAFFEE
Then why the two orders?
(beat)
Colonel?
(beat)
Why did you —

JESSEP
Sometimes men take matters into their
own hands.

KAFFEE
No sir. You made it clear just a
moment ago that your men never take
matters into their own hands. Your
men follow orders or people die. So
Santiago shouldn’t have been in any
danger at all, should he have,
Colonel?

Everyone’s sweating now. Everyone but KAFFEE.

JESSEP
You little bastard.

ROSS
Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess
to —

KAFFEE
I’d like an answer to the question,
Judge.

RANDOLPH
The Court’ll wait for answer.

KAFFEE
If Kendrick told his men that Santiago
wasn’t to be touched, then why did
he have to be transferred?

Jessep is looking at O’MALLEY and PEREZ.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Colonel?

JESSEP says nothing.

KAFFEE
(continuing)
Kendrick ordered the code red, didn’t
he? Because that’s what you told
Kendrick to do.

ROSS
Object!

RANDOLPH
Counsel.

KAFFEE will plow through the objections of ROSS and the
admonishments of RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE
And when it went bad, you cut these
guys loose.

ROSS
Your Honor —

RANDOLPH
That’ll be all, counsel.

KAFFEE
You had Markinson sign a phony
transfer order —

ROSS
Judge —

KAFFEE
You doctored the log books.

ROSS
Damnit Kaffee!!

KAFFEE
I’ll ask for the forth time. You
ordered —

JESSEP
You want answers?

KAFFEE
I think I’m entitled to them.

JESSEP
You want answers?!

KAFFEE
I want the truth.

JESSEP
You can’t handle the truth!

And nobody moves.

JESSEP
(continuing)
Son, we live in a world that has
walls. And those walls have to be
guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna
do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I
have a greater responsibility than
you can possibly fathom. You weep
for Santiago and you curse the
marines. You have that luxury. You
have the luxury of not knowing what
I know: That Santiago’s death, while
tragic, probably saved lives. And my
existence, while grotesque and
incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
(beat)
You don’t want the truth. Because
deep down, in places you don’t talk
about at parties, you want me on
that wall. You need me there.
(boasting)
We use words like honor, code,
loyalty… we use these words as the
backbone to a life spent defending
something. You use ’em as a punchline.
(beat)
I have neither the time nor the
inclination to explain myself to a
man who rises and sleeps under the
blanket of the very freedom I provide,
then questions the manner in which I
provide it. I’d prefer you just said
thank you and went on your way.
Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a
weapon and stand a post. Either way,
I don’t give a damn what you think
you’re entitled to.

KAFFEE
(quietly)
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(beat)
I did the job you sent me to do.

KAFFEE
Did you order the code red?

JESSEP
(pause)
You’re goddamn right I did.

Silence. From everyone. RANDOLPH, ROSS, the M.P.’s, they’re
all frozen. JO and SAM are likewise. JESSEP seems strangely,
quietly relieved. KAFFEE simply takes control of the room
now.

KAFFEE
Please the court, I suggest the jury
be dismissed so that we can move to
an immediate Article 39a Session.
The witness has rights.

Silence.

RANDOLPH looks to ROSS.

RANDOLPH
Lt. Ross?

ROSS is frozen. He doesn’t know what to do.

KAFFEE
(as a friend)
Jack.

ROSS looks at KAFFEE, then JESSEP, then nods his head “yes”
to RANDOLPH.

RANDOLPH
The Sergeant at Arms will take the
jury to an ante-room where you’ll
wait until further instruction.

The SERGEANT AT ARMS begins leading the JURORS out of the
room.

JESSEP
What the hell’s going on?

No one will say anything until the jurors are out of the
room.

JESSEP
(continuing; to captain)
Captain, what the hell’s going on? I
did my job. I’d do it again. Now I’m
getting on a plane and going back to
my base.

RANDOLPH
M.P.’s, guard the prisoner.

The M.P.’s are tentative. They’ve never heard a marine colonel
referred to as “the prisoner” before. They sure as hell have
never been asked to guard one.

ROSS
Guard the prisoner.

JESSEP
What the hell —

ROSS
Colonel Jessep, you have the right
to remain silent. Any statement you
do make can be used against you in a
trial by court-martial or other
judicial or administrative proceeding.
You have the right…

ROSS continues reading JESSEP his rights, over —

JESSEP
I’m being charged with a crime? I’m —
that’s what this is —
(to Ross)
Marine!
(Ross keeps going)
Marine!!
(Ross is doing his
job.)
I’m being charged with a crime? I’m —
that’s what’s happening? This — I’m —
this is funny, you know that, this
is —

And JESSEP lunges at KAFFEE, and KAFFEE would be dead but
for the three M.P.’s who’ve leapt in to restrain JESSEP.
SAM and JO have come to their feet and stand behind KAFFEE.

JESSEP
(continuing; to Kaffee)
I’m gonna tear your eyes right outta
your head and piss in your dead skull.
You fucked with the wrong marine.

ROSS is done reading JESSEP his rights.

ROSS
Colonel Jessep, do you understand
those rights as I have just read
then to you?

JESSEP
I saved lives. That boy was — there
was a weak link. I saved lives, you
hear me?

The courtroom is silent from Jessep’s outburst. Jessep shakes
his head.

JESSEP
(continuing)
You fuckin’ people.
(beat)
You have no idea how to defend a
nation.
(continuing; to KAFFEE)
All you did was weaken a country
today, Kaffee. That’s all you did.
You put people in danger. Sweet
dreams, son.

KAFFEE
Don’t call me son.
(beat)
I’m a lawyer, and an officer of the
United States Navy. And you’re under
arrest you sonofabitch.

KAFFEE stays on JESSEP a moment longer, then remembers —

KAFFEE
(continuing)
The witness is excused.

The M.P.’s start leading JESSEP out, and KAFFEE notices
DAWSON. And DOWNEY. And ROSS. who are watching a man in a
marine colonels uniform be led away in handcuffs… KAFFEE
takes a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes some sweat
from his hands. He takes a deep breath as we

SLOW DISSOLVE TO:

INT. THE COURTROOM – LATE AFTERNOON

There’s low murmur in the room as the JURORS are being led
back into their box.

Everyone’s in place.

RANDOLPH enters.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten-hut.

All rise. And sit when RANDOLPH sits.

RANDOLPH
Have the jurors reached a verdict?

JURY FOREMAN
We have, sir.

The SERGEANT AT ARMS takes all the slips of paper from the
FOREMAN and brings them to RANDOLPH.

KAFFEE stands, and nods to DAWSON and DOWNEY that they should
do the same. SAM and JO stand as well.

RANDOLPH
(reading)
On the charge of Murder, the Members
find the defendants Not Guilty.

It’s hard to resist the temptation to scream and shout, but
they do.

RANDOLPH
(continuing; reading)
On the charge of Conspiracy to Commit
Murder, the Members find the
defendants Not Guilty.

RANDOLPH looks up. Then reads from the last slip of paper.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
On the charge of Conduct Unbecoming
a United States Marine, the members
find the defendants Guilty as Charged.

A little of the energy drains out of the room. RANDOLPH
continues reading.

RANDOLPH
(continuing; reading)
The defendants are hereby sentenced
by this court to time already served,
and are ordered…

RANDOLPH clears his throat.

RANDOLPH
(continuing)
…And are ordered to be dishonorably
discharged from the marine corps.
(pause)
This Court-Martial is adjourned.

RANDOLPH raps his gavel.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Ten hut.

All rise.

RANDOLPH’s gone.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
(continuing)
Dismissed.

The M.P.’s move to DAWSON and DOWNEY to unlock their
handcuffs. KAFFEE is packing up his things, just another day
at the office.

DAWSON
Why?

KAFFEE
Harold, I’m sorry.

DAWSON
Why?!

DOWNEY
I don’t understand. Colonel Jessep
said he ordered the Code Red.

JO
I know, but —

DOWNEY
Colonel Jessep said he ordered the
Code Red, what did we do wrong?

JO
It’s not as simple as —

DOWNEY
What did we do wrong?

DAWSON
We did nothing wrong.

SAM slaps his hands down on the table —

SAM
Yes you did! A jury just said your
conduct was unbecoming a marine.
What does that mean?!

DAWSON
You’re the lawyer.

SAM
You’re the marine.

DAWSON
Not anymore.

SAM lets it hang. DAWSON is staring at SAM. His stare moves
slowly to the floor.

DAWSON
(continuing)
I never meant to hurt Willy.

DAWSON looks up at HIS PARENTS. The moment hangs there…
before

SERGEANT AT ARMS
Kaffee, I’ve gotta take these guys
over to personnel for some paper
work.

KAFFEE nods.

SERGEANT AT ARMS
(continuing; to Dawson
& Downey)
Gentleman?

DAWSON looks to KAFFEE. There’s gotta be more. This can’t be
it.

But KAFFEE has nothing to say.

DAWSON and DOWNEY walk to the SERGEANT AT ARMS and begin to
follow him up the aisle and out of the courtroom. But before
they get to the door, KAFFEE turns around and calls

KAFFEE
Harold!

They stop and turn around.

DAWSON
Sir!

KAFFEE
(pause)
You don’t need to wear a patch on
your arm to have honor.

DAWSON stares at KAFFEE for a long moment.

DAWSON
Ten-hut.

DAWSON and DOWNEY come to attention.

DAWSON
(continuing)
There’s an officer on deck.

DAWSON snaps a salute and holds it.

KAFFEE stares back. Then stands up straight and returns their
salute.

With one last glance back at KAFFEE, DAWSON turns and walks
out the door, followed by DOWNEY.

ROSS walks over to the defense table.

ROSS
Airmen Cecil O’Malley and Anthony
Perez? What exactly were these guys
gonna testify to?

KAFFEE
Unless I’m mistaken they were gonna
testify, under oath, that they have
absolutely no recollection of
anything.

ROSS smiles.

ROSS
Strong witnesses.

KAFFEE
And very handsome, too, don’t you
think?

ROSS
I’ll see you around the campus.
I’ve gotta go arrest Kendrick.

KAFFEE
Tell him I say “Hi”.

ROSS
Will do.

CUT TO:

EXT. OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE – DUSK

KAFFEE, JO and SAM are walking down the steps. The BAND is
practicing on the parade grounds.

JO
What do you say we take the rest of
the day off. Go out someplace. Sam?
Champagne? Yoo-Hoo?

SAM
Thanks, I can’t. I’m gonna go home
and talk to my daughter. I think
she’s gotta be bilingual by now.

And SAM heads off toward his car.

JO
So what’s next for you?

KAFFEE
Staff Sargeant Henry Williamson. He
went to the movies on company time.
What about you?

JO
Me? Oh… you know… the usual.

KAFFEE
Just pretty much generally annoying
people?

JO
Yeah.
(pause)
So what do you say? How ’bout a
celebration?

KAFFEE
No. How ’bout a date. A real date.
Dinner. Attractive clothes. The works.

JO
Sounds good. Who do you think I
should call?

KAFFEE
I’ll pick you up at seven.

JO
What are you gonna do now?

KAFFEE
I’m gonna get started on Henry
Williamson.
(beat)
Stand my post for a while.

JO holds out her hand. KAFFEE shakes it. JO kisses him.

JO
Wear matching socks.

Jo splits off toward her building and KAFFEE keeps walking
toward the bleachers as we PULL BACK TO INCLUDE the almost
empty parade grounds and PULL BACK as to show the Washington
Navy Yard and PULL BACK and back and back and

FADE OUT.

THE ENDJordan

Comments are closed