A Stand Up Guy
Mar. 14, 1998
Tony Blake & Paul Jackson
A Stand Up Guy
JAROD IS IN HIS NEWEST LAIR and calls Miss Parker on the telephone. He wants to know why Mr. Lyle is following him, and also wants to inform Miss Parker that Lyle is now missing a thumb. When she realizes that Jarod is telling the truth, Miss Parker seriously implores Jarod to tell her where he is, so she can protect him from Mr. Lyle. Jarod laughingly says he appreciates her offer, but is used to taking care of himself. Then, slapping a magazine full of bullets into the butt of a gun, he tells her he has to go to work, and hangs up on her.
ON STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, JAROD -- as Jarod Puzo -- and three other men -- a mobster named Joey Molino, his second-in-command, Bobbie Two-Guns, and a tough named Nickie -- meet with a fourth man in a fish warehouse who wants money for the counterfeiting plates he's having delivered from Costa Rica. When he tries to take the satchel of cash from the mobsters, Joey tells him he can't have it. They still want the plates, but they want the fourth man eliminated so he can't "rat" on them to the police. Jarod warns Joey that a "corpse means cops", but Nickie insists that only a live witness can talk about them, and Bobbie Two-Guns simply complains that it's getting cold in the warehouse and he wants to leave. Jarod insists to Joey, "This ain't smart," and Joey finally agrees with him. He doesn't shoot the fourth man. Instead, he presses his gun against Jarod's chest and commands that Jarod shoot the man. When Jarod is reluctant to take Joey's gun, Bobbie Two-Guns comes up behind him, with his matching.38s drawn, and tells him that he's going to "punch [Jarod's] ticket" if Jarod doesn't do what he's told.
The fourth man starts pleading for his life, and turns to run out of the warehouse. With Bobbie threatening Jarod, and Joey screaming into Jarod's face, "Kill him. Do it. Do it!” Jarod takes Joey's gun, raises it, and shoots the fourth man twice in the back. The man lurches out of the warehouse and falls onto a barge loaded with fish. Bobby, Joey and Nickie all congratulate Jarod on his fine marksmanship and leave the warehouse. Jarod walks out to the barge and looks at the man lying there, and then leaves the area himself. Later, at a restaurant and bar called JAX, Jarod is eating spaghetti when Joey comes into to greet the proprietor, a woman named Faye. Faye had been left the restaurant when her husband died. She tried to make a go of it, but fell into financial difficulties and Joey bought her out of them. He now uses the place as a front of his illegal dealings.
Joey walks behind the counter and opens the cash register. Without even counting the money, he pulls all of the large bills out of the till and stuffs them into an envelope. Then he hands the envelope to Bobbie Two-Guns, telling him to make the cash delivery by 10 o'clock because Joey doesn't want "another phone call." Joey then invites Jarod to meet him in his "office".
Jarod goes to the back of the restaurant, and meets with Joey in the huge walk-in freezer. Joey says he has private conversations in there because the temperature and heavy frost interferes with the Feds' ability to electronically eavesdrop on his conversations. He tells Jarod that the shooting of the fourth man was a kind of test of Jarod's loyalty, and then he says that Jarod isn't using all his talents to the best of his ability. According to a mobster in Chicago named Big Tony (or "Tony T."), Jarod is the best "print man" (counterfeiter) in the business, "a real artist". When the "plates" that the fourth man ordered arrive from Costa Rica, Joey wants Jarod to print him some counterfeit money ($20s and $100s), but first he wants to see a sample of Jarod's work.
Jarod pulls two bills out of his money clip and hands them to Joey saying, "Which one's real?" Joey looks the bills over, smells them, holds them up to the light, and then hands them back to Jarod. "They're both real," he says. Jarod rips the bills into shreds to prove they're counterfeits and tosses the scraps into the air saying, "Guess I'm an artist." This amuses Joey, but only for a moment.
Joey unexpectedly grabs Jarod by the front of the shirt, drags him across the room, and throws him against a wall, shouting that he knows who Jarod really is. "What the hell are you talking about?" Jarod asks, shocked. Joey pins Jarod against the wall and threatens him with a gun, and tells him that he knows that Jarod Puzo has a criminal rap sheet on file which includes charges of arson, extortion, fraud and several other outstanding warrants. "Did you think I wouldn't find out?!" Joey shouts. Jarod apologizes for not telling Joey about his record, and admits that he did jump bail in Chicago and came to New York until it was safe to move again. "The last thing I needed was some punk makin' his bones by rattin' me out," Jarod explains. Convinced that Jarod is telling him the truth, Joey releases him and relaxes again.
Joey tells Jarod that a couple of months ago his crime syndicate was infiltrated by Federal agents, and so it was hard for him to trust anyone anymore. Jarod straightens out his clothes and tie, and tells Joey, "Well, if you remember, all that occurred before I got here." Joey pats Jarod on the face, saying, "You got an answer for everything, don't you? No more secrets, all right... 'Artist?'" Joey then leaves the freezer, and Jarod has a moment to take a deep breath and calm himself down.
He opens up his coat and pulls from an inside pocket a red notebook. In the notebook are clippings with headlines that read:
FEDERAL UNDERCOVER OFFICER FOUND MURDERED/ Seven Year RICO Veteran Suffocated.
FELLOW OFFICER CHARGED IN SLAYING/ Department Shocked by Revelations
FATHER DISGRACED BY SON'S INDICTMENT/ Thirty Year Decorated Veteran Spurned.
The articles tell about a Federal Agent named Lester Knight who was found murdered with a dry cleaning bag wrapped around his head. According to the evidence, his killer was a fellow agent named Dean Clark, who had been working with Knight to infiltrate the Molino crime family. Clark's father, Eugene, was heartbroken over his son's indictment. Now the head prosecutor, a man named Sean Flanagan, is trying to shut down the Molino family, and wants Dead Clark to be convicted of Knight's murder.
AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker is called into Mr. Parker's office, and he shows her a video surveillance tape of a Centre Satellite 14 office in Hartford, Connecticut. Although the primary monitoring system had been disabled, the back-up system recorded terrifying footage of a man walking into the office and killing everyone inside it. A close-up of the shooter reveals that it's Mr. Lyle. His left hand is still bandaged from when his thumb was cut off by members of the Japanese mafia (see the episode "Past Sim"). Mr. Parker tells Miss Parker that everyone in the Satellite is dead, including its executive administrator, Mr. Strupp. Then he reinstates Miss Parker as a "Cleaner" and demands that she go to Hartford to clean up the mess there, and to find out what Lyle was looking for. Miss Parker says she's not a "Cleaner" anymore, that her job is to find Jarod. But Mr. Parker won't take "no" for an answer.
IN NEW YORK, Jarod goes to the Manhattan Detention Complex in New York City, and meets with Dean Clark, the man accused of killing Agent Knight. Clark insists he was set up by the Molino family. The night of Knight's killing, he was in JAX drinking gin with Bobbie Two-Guns. He got so plastered that he had to be carried home. There was no way he could have killed Knight because he wasn't anywhere near him when he died. Jarod reminds him that the bag presumably used to suffocate Knight was from the same dry cleaners that Clark frequented. Clark insists again that he was set up; he didn't do the killing.
A DAY LATER, IN HARTFORD, Miss Parker, Sydney, Broots, Sam the Sweeper and other Sweepers all go through the Centre's Satellite office. The bodies are still littering the office, and there's blood all over the place. Broots asks what's going to become of all the dead people, and Miss Parker tells him, "Nothing. They don't exist anymore." They all work together to search the complex for any clue as to what Mr. Lyle might have been after when he broke into the place. Among the debris, right next to a bullet ridden body, Miss Parker finds an E-prong chip from a computer. Broots says it looks like the kind of chip that belonged inside a "Blue Box". Miss Parker doesn't know what he's talking about, so he explains, "Each Centre office has a dedicated hardware system called the Blue Box", but, he says, the chips couldn't just fall out of them. The boxes were supposed to be sealed. Sydney finds the Blue Box... in pieces in the office. Lyle had broken into the box to steal one of the other chips from inside of it, and was obviously willing to murder to get that chip: whatever it was.
AT JAX, Jarod meets with Joey in the freezer again. The plates for the counterfeit bills have arrived from Costa Rica, and Jarod has a "friend of a friend" who told him that there were ten pallets of raw currency paper being delivered to a Federal warehouse in Brooklyn that evening. If he can get the paper, he tells Joey, he can use it to print his counterfeit bills, and no one would be able to tell his bills from the real ones. "Picasso... He didn't paint on toilet paper, now did he?" Jarod says. "Trust me." Joey laughs at this remark, and Jarod responds with: "Did I say something funny?"
Joey tells Jarod that the last person who said "trust me" to him was the undercover agent, Lester Knight, who, Joey reveals, was killed in the freezer unit right where Jarod is standing. He says he locked Knight in the freezer and then made a bet with Bobbie Two-Guns that Knight would freeze to death before he suffocated form the lack of oxygen in the sealed freezer. He lost the bet. Knight suffocated. "But, hey," says Joey with a shrug. "Dead is dead, right?" Jarod reminds Joey that Knight was found with a plastic dry cleaner's bag over his head; and Joey tells him he did that after Knight died to help frame Dean Clark. As Joey leaves the freezer, he authorizes Jarod to go ahead with the heist of the Federal currency paper.
That evening, at the Federal Depository in Brooklyn, Jarod, Joey, and several other members of the Molino crime syndicate successfully rob the building of two truckloads of currency paper. Just as they're leaving, however, Joey gets a telephone call on his cell phone warning him that the police are coming. Joey and most of his men escape in one of the trucks, but the police arrive before Jarod and Bobbie Two-Guns can get away.
Jarod and Bobbie try to flee, but they're surrounded by policemen and Federal agents. Bobbie is nabbed, while another officer grabs Jarod by the front of his overalls. "Get your hands off of me," Jarod growls at the officer, who then strikes Jarod in the face with the butt of his gun, and throws him over the hood of a car and handcuffs him. Bobbie is dragged off to one squad car, and Jarod is taken to a van. When the squad car carrying Bobbie is out of sight, the officer who grabbed Jarod recognizes him as an undercover Federal agent, and apologizes to him. "Did you have to get me in the nose?" Jarod asks him. The officer starts to remove Jarod's handcuffs, but Jarod tells him to leave the cuffs on. If his act is to be convincing, he'll need the bruises on his wrists to show to Joey and Bobbie Two-Guns.
Arriving at the scene is the same man whom Jarod supposedly shot at the warehouse days earlier. He, too, is an undercover agent. He says he was wearing a bullet-proof vest when Jarod shot at him, but complains that he smelled like fish for days because of what Jarod did to him. He then asks why Jarod had them set up this phony bust at the Depository. Jarod tells them that someone in the Justice Department is leaking information to Joey Molino. Joey knew the cops were coming BEFORE they got there and had had time to escape. The officers ask if Jarod knows who the informant is, and he tells them, no, but the "rat" is a "big one."
Later, Jarod and Bobbie Two-Guns are being interrogated by the police when US Prosecutor Sean Flanagan arrives to give the suspects a hard time. He claims that he's going to get the whole Molino crime syndicate, and Jarod just winks at him and says, "The game's not over yet."
Flanagan is on his way out of the interrogation room when another officer arrives to tell everyone that Jarod and Bobbie have to be set free because none of the police officers at the site of the bust read them their rights. Flanagan seems upset by this, and Jarod mocks him with, "Eh, guess this time you lose." He and Bobbie walk out scott free.
IN HIS LAIR, Jarod works in his kitchen, slicing up a large beef tongue, and tainting a bottle of gin with clear, flavorless liquid laxative. He then goes to JAX to meet with Joey, Bobbie, and Nickie. He apologizes to Joey for the screwed up robbery, but says he has enough paper in the truck Joey drove away from the Depository to make all the fraudulent money Joey wants. He also tells Joey that the "friend of a friend" who told him about the paper in the warehouse wasn't going to be talking to anyone ever again. "And I'm mailing his wife a little present," Jarod says. He opens a small white box, and Nickie looks inside of it. "Is that a tongue?" Nickie asks, disgusted. Bobbie Two-Guns laughs. Joey is satisfied that the counterfeiting will go as scheduled so he doesn't press Jarod for any further explanations. As Joey and Bobbie get up to leave, Jarod stops Bobbie and gives him the bottle of laxative-tainted gin as a "congrats" present for getting out of jail free. Bobbie is surprised and elated by the gift, and starts drinking it immediately. When he's worked up a pleasant buzz from the gin, he takes the bottle home to finish it off.
Alone with Faye, Jarod offers to share a drink with her. She tells him she'll get the good vodka out of the back, and Jarod stops her saying he doesn't want to drink anything that came from the same place where the RICO cop was killed. Faye is astonished. She had no idea that the agent had been killed in her place; the body had been found elsewhere, and she hadn't been around the night Knight was killed because Joey had told her to close up earlier. As she seems terribly shaken, Jarod asks her if she's okay. She answers, "I'm just pulling my head out of the sand... One Federal agent is dead... and an innocent man is going to die. Hell, how did I get here? And how do I get out?"
BACK AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker informs Mr. Parker that Lyle had broken into the Blue Box at the Hartford office. Mr. Parker is infuriated by this and tells her that the information on the chips inside the Blue Boxes is priceless. The Centre cannot afford to lose the chip in Lyle's possession. "Mr. Lyle's reappearance has made me look inefficient!" he snaps at Miss Parker. Then he tells her that it's time for Mr. Lyle to be "dealt with finality." Understanding that Mr. Parker is now telling her to find and kill Mr. Lyle, Miss Parker tells her father that she's not an assassin. He insists that she has to kill Lyle in order to protect him (Mr. Parker). "If you don't protect me, I can't protect you," he says.
LATER, AT JAX Joey arrives and starts cleaning out the till again. As he puts the bills into an envelope, Faye complains that she'll need some money to make change for the customers. Joey tries to attack her, to make her shut up, and Jarod intervenes. He reminds Joey that there are customers in the place who are watching him, and tells him JAX will need their patronage if the place is to keep bringing in money for Joey to take. Joey relaxes and releases Faye. He then looks around and asks where Bobbie Two-Guns is. Jarod tells him, "He's married to the toilet; somethin' he drank." Joey is upset; who's going to make the money run that evening before ten o'clock? Jarod says he'll do it.
Before ten, Jarod is waiting in the dark at a street corner in an industrial area. A sedan drives up, and stops next to him. When the window rolls down, Jarod can see that it's Sean Flanagan in the front seat, driving the sedan. He hands Flanagan the envelope of money from JAX, and Flanagan ruffles through the bills. He then tells Jarod to warn Joey that if Joey wants "their arrangement" to continue, Flanagan is going to want more money. "There are people who have to be paid," Flanagan says, and he drives away.
Back at JAX, Joey meets Jarod in the freezer again and tells him that the counterfeiting plates are ready. He wants Jarod to set up a press there at JAX, and when they're finished printing their bogus bills, he'll have the place burned to the ground. "What about Faye?" Jarod asks. Joey says they'll have to kill her so there won't be any witnesses to the counterfeiting and arson.
AT THE CENTRE, Miss Parker gets word that Mr. Lyle was spotted at a hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. She goes to the place and finds his room, but Mr. Lyle is gone and so is all the evidence of his having been there. While she's searching the room, the telephone rings. Without hesitation, Miss Parker answers it. It's Mr. Lyle on the line. He says, "So close and yet so far. That's getting to be something of an anthem for you, isn't it?" She demands that he return the computer chip he stole, and he tells her, no. He's going to sell the chip for $20 million so he can pay the yakuza back the money he owes them. He then hangs up on her.
Miss Parker rifles through his room some more, then... She walks back to the phone, and on a hunch presses the "REDIAL" button. The last call made on Mr. Lyle's phone was to a place called Hillman Marine. Miss Parker calls Broots at The Centre and asks him if he knows what Hillman is. He says, yes, "It's in Connecticut. It's where The Centre's backup warehouse is located." The place is located by the dock on the river there. Miss Parker asks him what the warehouse is used for, and he says, "Every Friday night at 11:59 PM all the Centre mainframes from all across the country do this mass back-up into this giant system [at Hillman] through their Blue Boxes..." Broots then realizes that tonight is Friday night, and that Lyle must be taking his stolen chip to the warehouse so he can plug it into the system at 11:59. As it goes through its normal back-up procedures, the system will then automatically decrypt (into an easily readable format) whatever information is encrypted on the chip, and Lyle will be able to sell that information to anyone he wants.
Later that evening, Miss Parker arrives at Hillman Marine just after Mr. Lyle has finished having his chip decrypted. She catches him before he can escape in a boat, and demands that he return the chip to her. He does so, but only because Miss Parker is threatening him with a gun. She asks him why he had been dogging Jarod if the computer chip was what he really wanted. Mr. Lyle explains that the chip was to pay off the yakuza... and Jarod was to get him back into The Centre. If he could capture Jarod, all would be forgiven among the Centre big-wigs.
"So, are you going to kill me?" he asks her, and she tells him that that's up to him. He tells her she's bluffing, and tries to smooth talk her into thinking she's superior to the people she works for. He then turns his back on her and starts to walk away. Then he turns suddenly, gun in hand, and attempts to shoot her. Miss Parker shoots first, and Mr. Lyle is struck. He tumbles off the dock into the river.
BACK AT JAX, Jarod is bugging the freezer room by placing cameras in the overhead light system, and in blocks of ice along the freezer walls. He also sets microphones up directly inside of the room, so he can hear and record whatever is said in there. He then creates a small aperture in the freezer door, made out of unbreakable glass, so he can look into the freezer whenever he wants to.
Jarod then has Faye make some telephone calls. One call is to Flanagan, warning him that Joey Molino is setting him up for a "big fall" that night at JAX. The second call is to Joey, warning him that Flanagan is going to set him up.
Joey gets to JAX before Flanagan does, and looks around the place, trying to find Faye or some evidence of what Flanagan might do to him. When he gets to the freezer room, he finds Bobbie Two-Guns tied and gagged in a chair in the freezer. There are phony $100 bills taped all over him. Joey rushes into the freezer to free Bobbie, and Jarod shuts the door on him, locking him inside. A few minutes later, Flanagan arrives at JAX, looking for Bobbie, ready to kill him. Jarod catches him in the bar, and forces him into the freezer, as well, along with Joey and Bobbie.
Looking through the aperture at them, Jarod tells Joey, Flanagan, and Bobbie that he's going to let them suffer the same fate as Lester Knight: they'll either freeze to death or they'll suffocate from a lack of oxygen. The men start pleading with Jarod to let them out; then start fighting among themselves when one starts to blame the other for Knight's death. They finally all admit that it was Flanagan who killed Knight (because Knight found out Flanagan was taking silence-money from the mob), and it was Joey who framed Dean Clark for Knight's murder. Jarod thanks them for giving him all the information he needs, then, as they scream and bang on the door, he closes the aperture and leaves the men in the freezer for real Federal agents to pick up later.
AT HILLMAN, the next morning, Sweepers drag the river and find a body that they presume is Mr. Lyle's. It's missing a thumb from the proper hand, but it's also missing its head and all of its other limbs. It presumably got chewed up by the prop of a very large boat as it drifted down river. Miss Parker is satisfied that it is Lyle, and leaves the docks to go back home.
AT JAX the next morning, Jarod is making his "good-byes" to Faye. He tells her to take a vacation to Hawaii after she's finished testifying in court about Joey and the Knight killing, and she tells him that Joey had sucked JAX financially dry. She doesn't have enough money to even go to New Jersey. Jarod smiles, and hands her an envelope filled with large bills. It was money Joey had stolen out of her cash register -- along with interest. Astonished, Faye takes the money and asks Jarod, "Who are you -- really?" Jarod simply smiles again, gives her a light peck on the cheek and answers, “-- An artist!"
DAYS LATER AT THE CENTRE, Broots gets Miss Parker's attention as they pass in a corridor. He tells her he got a look at the decrypted information from the chip Mr. Lyle had stolen just before Mr. Raines confiscated it. The chip contained "codes". Unimpressed, Miss Parker tells him that all computer chips have codes on them. Broots says, no, she doesn't understand. The chip Lyle had stolen contained GENETIC CODES, he says, and then he adds, "I just can't help but wonder if it has something to do with Jarod."
IN NEW YORK, Jarod is ready to leave, but before he goes he stops off at a park where he watches the joyous reunion between Dean Clark, who was acquitted of the murder of Lester Knight, and his father, Eugene. Eugene gives his son a hug, and the two of them settle down to a game of chess. Jarod smiles and leaves the park.