ESCAPE ON THE BAY - CRIME DRAMA
A botched robbery in the financial district of Manhattan leads to an impromptu escape on the Staten Island Ferry.
The taking of Pelham 1,2,3 on the Staten Island Ferry!
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“ESCAPE ON THE BAY”
A screenplay by
“ESCAPE ON THE BAY”
EXT: LOWER NEW YORK BAY, MORNING RUSH HOUR.
PAN BOATS ON LOWER NEW YORK HARBOR. CLOSE IN ON STATEN ISLAND FERRY AS IT COMES INTO PORT IN LOWER MANHATTAN.
INSERT: (Lettering on screen) ‘LOWER MANHATTAN, June 10th 8:30 a.m.”
INT: PILOT HOUSE, STATEN ISLAND FERRY ‘ADMIRAL BYRD’
Fifty five year old Captain Ted Slovan drinks coffee as he routinely gives orders to his comely thirty something co-pilot, Nancy Denali.
Disengage reverse thrusters.
NANCY (As she pushes button on console) Disengaged.
SLOVAN Ahead one knot for manual docking.
NANCY Ahead one knot. Manuel docking for the second time today, fortieth time this week, four thousandth time this year.
SLOVAN Is that anyway for a ferry pilot to talk?
NANCY More like a glorified bus driver…How long have you been doing this again?
SLOVAN You know as well as I do my dear. Twenty five years next month. Hello retirement.
NANCY Not as exciting as a Navy Destroyer huh?
SLOVAN I did my ten years of Naval duty. I like it just fine right here and close to home. Besides, I’m used to the coffee and donuts they sell on board….Time to hit the button?
I hate tourist season. (hits another button on console that starts a pre-recorded announcement) “The Ferry is now docking, all passengers must exit.” It’s like a freaking Walt Disney ride.
INT: DECK OF FERRY. Passengers are gathering their belongings and moving towards the front of the boat as it docks. Announcement continues to play,
ANNOUNCEMENT “Please pick up your personal belongings and stay off all stairways until the ferry comes to a complete stop. Please dispose of all refuse and take small children by the hand. All passengers must exit. If you would like a return ride please exit to terminal and wait for the next ferry. All passengers must exit the ferry at this time. Thank you for riding the Staten Island ferry”
A PASSENGER ON CELL PHONE
LEWIS (into phone) We’re docking now, see you in ten minutes.
He walks towards gangplank past a uniformed New York City policeman.
INT: THE DOWNSTAIRS ROOM OF A TAVERN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN
A stocky fifty three year old Ben Goldstein hangs up his cell phone.
BEN (as he puts cell phone in his pocket) Lewis just got off the boat. You all set?
CLARK All set. Meet me at ten in the lobby.
We’ll be there.
Well, off to work. (He exits)
I’m not sure about him.
Who, Lewis or Clark?
JERRY Clark. Just something about him. Call it a gut instinct. You ever work with him before?
No, but he’s been vouched for.
Yeah, by who?
BEN By I’m the boss and it’s none of your fucking business.
JERRY Hey, don’t give me fucking attitude. My ass is on the line as much as any of us.
You want out? Take off.
JERRY No I don’t want out, you know I need the money.
BEN Then shut the fuck up. He’s the inside man. Without him there isn’t any money. Clark’s on the inside, Lewis is the courier, Columbus runs the boat, I’m the brains and you’re the muscle.
JERRY I’m the muscle? Since when am I the muscle?
BEN Since you’re married to my sister, you’re half a psycho, and I can’t figure out anything else to explain to the other three as to why we even need you.
JERRY Of course you need me, I’m the muscle.
LEWIS He’s the muscle? My fucking aunt could kick his ass.
Fuck you asshole!
(They start wrestling)
(He intercedes) Alright, break it up! We got work to do. You’re supposed to be professionals!
Teach him some manners.
Who does he think he is?
Shut up Jerry.
JERRY And stop calling me Jerry, you know my name is Sol, I’m your fucking brother in law!
Great, now Lewis knows it too.
LEWIS I knew there was a reason we were working with such a moron.
JERRY Fuck you! (lunges for him again but Ben steps between them)
BEN Knock it off…and from here on in it’s code names only! Ben, Jerry, Lewis, Clark and Columbus!
But your name really is Ben?
BEN Yeah, cause I’m the fucking boss and I get to pick the fucking names! I’m fucking Ben and you’re fucking Jerry and if you don’t like it take a fucking walk!
Alright, alright, I’m Jerry.
Don’t forget it.
JERRY Everybody else is a famous explorer and I’m fucking ice cream.
BEN Shut the fuck up and let’s get down to business. (Looks at watch) It’s nine fifteen. It will take you ten minutes to walk to Broad street from here. So you leave here at exactly nine forty five as planned. Meet Clark in the lobby, he hands you the case, he goes back to work so as not to arouse suspicion and meets us tonight for his end.
JERRY You sure he’s not going to get caught?
BEN They audit the vault every other night. The bearer bonds came in this morning. The earliest they realize the goods are missing is tomorrow at closing. By then he’s out of the country with his share.
The fence is all set?
BEN Waiting for us in Staten Island. Columbus meets us at the Staten Island terminal, drives us to the fence, then takes us to his boat, we motor across the bay to port Newark, and we go our separate ways.
JERRY Why do we all have to go to Port Newark? I live on Long Island.
BEN Because Clark is dying of cancer and flying to Belize from Newark airport to live out his last years in comfort, if he even has a year. I’m flying out of town til things calm down and Lewis is flying to…. Where are you flying to?
LEWIS Someplace warm where gambling is legal.
JERRY And what do I do? Take a cab back to Long Island?
That’s your business.
JERRY And what if something goes wrong?
JERRY How should I know. Clark bumps into someone in the lobby, drops the suitcase, it opens and all the bearer bonds spill out.
BEN You watch too many crime caper movies. We’re not knocking over a Casino, the beauty of an inside job is nothing goes wrong. And if it does we’re all packing. I’ve got extra rounds in my case.
JERRY What about security in the ferry terminal?
BEN Those dogs sniff explosives, not metal. Unless you just fired the gun you have nothing to worry about. I have a clean record and a license to carry a firearm.
LEWIS It’s a simple score. Nothing goes wrong, and by the time anyone notices we’re long gone. Just like Lufthansa.
FLASHBACK TO ONE MONTH EARLIER
LEWIS (at a local gin mill talking to his brother) This is the last time I’ll ask Frank, I promise!
FRANK I can’t help you Charlie…do you know much you already owe me?
LEWIS Yeah I know, of course I know. But I’m in a real spot. They’re threatening me!
Yeah well, maybe a good beating will teach you a lesson. I told you a million times to quit the gambling. Pop even sent you to gamblers anonymous. I should tell him what’s going on.
LEWIS No please Frankie don’t tell pop, it will kill him. I just need enough money to pay the juice.
FRANK Yeah, and then what? You lay another bet down, lose that, and you’re in deeper than ever. Why don’t you go to your Wall Street buddies?
LEWIS They won’t talk to me after what happened. Now that I’m out of the business.
It doesn’t surprise me.
LEWIS Frankie please, we’re brothers. I’m begging you.
FRANK (He takes a fifty dollar bill out of his wallet and places it on the bar) Sorry, your just gonna have to get out of this one yourself Charlie. Maybe you can work a deal out with the guy or something. I gotta go. (takes another fifty dollar bill out of his wallet and hands it to Lewis) Here, here’s fifty bucks, buy yourself some food.
(Frank leaves bar as Lewis takes the money and pockets it, finishes his beer. Puts his jacket on and turns to leave then turns back to the bar, notices no one is looking, then also takes the money that his brother left to pay the bill. He walks outside and is approached by Jerry)
JERRY Hey you, Olson. Ben wants to see you. LEWIS Ben said I had till next week.
JERRY Yeah, well he changed his mind. Get in the car.
Who the fuck are you?
JERRY The guy whose gonna break your knee caps if you don’t get in the fucking car.
(Jerry pushes Lewis into the back seat and sits down next to him, Columbus is in the front seat driving as the car pulls away)
INT: BACK OFFICE OF PAWN SHOP ON STATEN ISLAND
BEN (on Phone) The line is 6 points….yeah, you want to lay…okay, five dimes on the Knicks.
(knock on the door)
Who is it?
(from behind the door) Columbus.
(Columbus enters followed by Lewis who is shoved in by Jerry)
Here he is.
LEWIS Ben. What’s the story, you said I had till next week?
BEN And what’s going to happen by next week, you gonna hit the lotto?
Doesn’t mean you gotta send this gorilla to get me. Just call me, I would have come in.
JERRY Who you calling a gorilla pal?
LEWIS You’re right I apologize. That’s an insult to the rest of the gorillas.
JERRY (He moves towards Lewis as Columbus grabs him) You little bastard.
Knock it off…. (to Lewis) You better have some money for me or I’m gonna let both these guys work on you.
LEWIS Here, I got a hundred bucks, take it.
BEN A hundred bucks? That’s only ten percent of the vig. You gotta do better than that pally. You’re into me for ten large. If I keep carrying deadbeats like you I’m gonna go broke!
I know Ben.
Yeah, you know Ben. (to Jerry) Take this bum out back and work on his attitude a little. I don’t think he’s taking me seriously.
(Jerry and Columbus grab him and start pulling him towards the door)
LEWIS Wait Ben, I thought maybe we can work something out…a deal or something.
Wait…let him go.
(They release him) What kind of deal are you talking about.
LEWIS I know this guy see…he works for a brokerage firm on Wall Street….
BACK TO PRESENT TIME INT: DOWNSTAIRS ROOM OF TAVERN
LEWIS We just take the money and everything is square.
INT: FIRST PRECINCT - MANHATTAN
Detective Joe Binelli sits at his desk on telephone. He wears a business suit.
BINELLI (into phone) I’m just finishing up some paper work then I’m catching the 10:30 boat…..what? Why? You’ve got one of the best bakeries on Staten Island right on the corner, Tottenville bakery! Why do I have to make a special trip to Westerleigh? I know you love their cannolli’s…
INT: KITCHEN OF HOME ON STATEN ISLAND
DEBBIE So do you and the kids love them even more…. I saved you some macaroni for lunch. And can you get to that fence in the backyard today? You keep promising.
BINELLI I know, I know. And when do I sleep?
DEBBIE Well how long are you gonna be on this stupid night shift. You’ve got thirty one years in and you still gotta work the nightshift? Don’t you have any say?
BINELLI Hey, people get robbed at night too you know. And I’m only covering until we get some people back from vacation. DEBBIE Well you know what I think?
INT: SQUAD ROOM
BINELLI Yeah, you think I should retire and work with your brother Billy.
DEBBIE That’s right. How many times has he asked you Joey? He’s been very patient.
BINELLI Hey, I’m a cop, not a carpenter. I’d cut my fingers off building houses.
DEBBIE You know he wants you for the sales Department, not for manual labor.
Alright, alright…can we discuss this when I get home… yeah I won’t forget the cannolli’s…I love you too… see you later.
DETECTIVE O’ROURKE (mocking) “Sure, I’ll bring you the cannolli’s honey…” You are so freakin whipped Binelli. Big tough cop.
BINELLI Screw you you ‘mick’ bastard. You wish you could get a woman like that.
DET. O’ROURKE I just call a hooker, they don’t nag you.
BINELLI Oh you’re a fuckin riot….If I didn’t know you for twenty five years I’d put one right behind you’re ear.
DET. O’ROURKE You haven’t fired your gun in ten years. Probably shoot your dick off.
BINELLI It’s a pretty hard target to miss, unlike your needle dick. And Just for that crack ,here….(throws papers on his desk) I’m pulling rank, finish this report. I’m grabbing a cup of coffee and a sweet roll…I’d buy you one but I don’t want you going into a diabetic coma on me.
ext: OFFICE BUILDING ON BROAD STREET SIGN ON BUILDING READS ‘MORGAN AND BAILY BROKERAGE” CUT TO;
INT: BROKERAGE OFFICE OF MORGAN AND BAILY
CLARK (sits at his desk looking at his computer) Fuck.
Cronin Aluminum down again?
CLARK Yes. Here come more margin calls.
CLARK Yeah…..Hey did you notice if the overnights came in yet?
SECRETARY The delivery is usually here by now.
CLARK Right, I’ll check the mail room, be right back.
SECRETARY Don’t forget the sales meeting this morning.
(as he walks from desk) I won’t.
He walks down corridor and towards the vault. Hesitates by water cooler to make sure no one is watching him then enters vault. He opens the file cabinet where the documents are kept and forages through papers, finds the bearer bonds he was looking for, looks around to see that no one was watching, then carefully places them into a bag he is carrying. Loud voices are heard around the bend as he quickly turns and hits the file cabinet causing a paper to fall from the top and land between cabinets on the floor. He quickly closes file door, exits vault and starts to walk down the corridor as camera pans to an office door with a sign that reads ‘Gerard Morgan – Principle” door opens as Clark moves past it. Morgan sticks his head out.
(Clark keeps moving, pretending he didn’t hear him)
(Clark stops and turns slowly holding the bag by his side.)
Yeah Gerry, what’s up?
MORGAN Can you come in here for a second? I wanted to talk to you.
CLARK Gee Gerry, can it wait, I got a client appointment…
MORGAN Appointment? We got a sales meeting in ten minutes.
CLARK Just meeting a client in the Lobby, I’ll be right back.
MORGAN It will just take a minute…just want to see how you’re doing…come in and sit down.
(Clark reluctantly goes into Morgan’s office and sits in chair in front of desk as Morgan sits behind the desk.)
Yeah Gerry, what’s up?
MORGAN How are you feeling?
CLARK You know. Some days are better than others.
MORGAN Yeah….well look, I just wanted to say that we’re all pulling for you…and you’re getting the best care anyone can. Do the doctors think the chemo is working?
CLARK I guess…I mean they aren’t very definitive.
MORGAN I don’t understand why you just don’t take more time off. Work from home if you need to. We can handle things here.
CLARK I like to keep busy, but maybe you’re right. I am a little tired. I might take the next few days off.
MORGAN Good, good, you need to rest. (he looks towards his bag) What’ve you got in there?
CLARK Client statements. I’ve got a meeting, (he gets up) Actually, I’m running late.
Sure, sure…which client?
(making it up) ah. Bradford.
MORGAN Carl Bradford?…Hey, that was my account way back when. How’s he doing? Let’s see the statement.
CLARK He’s doing great, up thirteen percent this year, and if you remember Gerry he doesn’t like to be kept waiting. He’s down in the Lobby. I just need to get this to him then I’ll be right back and we can chat some more.
MORGAN Yeah, he is a pain in the ass! Okay, go go, tell him I send my regards!
He exits office and enters the elevator in the lobby.
Sarah, a sales assistant enters the vault and moves towards the far end of the room when she notices the paper on the floor. She picks it up, and glances at it
(to herself) Why wasn’t this filed….let’s see….
(she moves towards file cabinet where bonds were kept and notices file drawer slightly open. She tries to close it but it is stuck so she opens it to try to close it again and freezes…)
Wait a minute, somethings not right here..
She walks out of the vault and starts calling for Mr. Morgan
LOBBY OF SAME BUILDING
CLARK (gets off elevator, looks around and spots Gable near the door as he walks towards him a co-worker spots him)
CLARK HI…(to Gable) Here are your statements Mr. Bradford. By the way, Mr. Morgan sends his regards. (Hands him the bag)
CO- WORKER You coming back up? Want me to hold the elevator.
No, I’ll catch the next one.
(waits for co-worker to enter elevator)
CLARK Never mind. That guys a nosy prick who works with me. I’ve got to get upstairs to a sales meeting then I’m out of here. See you tonight.
(Clark returns to the elevator as Lewis exits building to meet Jerry who was waiting out side)
LEWIS Yeah let’s go, Ben’s waiting for us at the ferry terminal.
INT: CLARK’s OFFICE
CLARK EXITS THE ELEVATOR
RECEPTIOIST Frank, Mr. Morgan wants to see you in his office asap!
FRANK What about the sales meeting?
(Clark enters Morgan’s office where Morgan, Baily, another partner and the sales assistant wait)
MORGAN Frank, Sarah here discovered some missing bearer bonds from the vault and you were seen coming from there right before we had our little chat. You want to tell me what was really in that bag
you were carrying? You can talk to me or the cops cause they’re on their way.
INT – FIRST PRECINCT - MANHATTAN
(Binnelli gets up from desk carrying his coffee and heads for door)
BINNELLI I’m out of here children. Pasta manana!
O”ROURKE (hanging up phone) Hey Joe, we got a possible robbery on Broad street,suspected inside job, some brokerage firm. You want some overtime?
BINELLI No thank you, don’t need the agita, I’m sure you can handle it. I can just make the ten thirty ferry!
O”ROURKE That always amazed me. You work in the first precinct and you live in the last! Why don’t you just put in for a transfer?
BINELLI Don’t know. Guess I just need the excitement. Besides, I’d miss you too much O’Rourke.
(He throws him a kiss and exits hastily)
CUT TO: INT: MANHATTAN SIDE WAITING ROOM OF STATEN ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL
BEN SITS ON BENCH HOLDING A BRIEFCASE
POV: BEN LOOKING AT ALERT SIGN.
“THIS TERMINAL IS IN STAGE ONE TERRORIST ALERT MODE. ALL PACKAGES ARE SUBJECT TO INSPECTION BY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL”
(Jerry and Lewis walk past two uniformed policeman with bomb sniffing dogs. They spot Ben and join him)
ANNOUNCEMENT: “The Staten Island ferry ‘Admiral Bird’ is now ready for boarding at pier two. Now boarding pier two.”
(Ben, Jerry and Lewis start towards the ferry with the rest of the crowd.)
BINNELLI (Walking briskly past police officers)
How’s it going guys!
All quiet detective.
Glad to hear it.
(he rushes onto the boat)
EXT: ADMIRAL BYRD FERRY. BACK DECK
(mid twenties) What are we going to see from the ferry Den?
DENNIS (her boyfriend. They are tourists from St. Loius, He wears a red Cardinals baseball cap and sunglasses. He looks at a brochure) Statue of Liberty. New York skyline, parts of Brooklyn and New Jersey.
DENNIS So you having a good time in New York so far?
MYRA You bet. I can’t wait to see that show tonight!
MYRA So what do we do when we get to Staten island?
Turn around and come back.
MYRA Come on, there must be something to do, let me see that brochure! (she takes the brochure and breezes through it) Oh shit, you’re right…..wait, Staten Island Zoo sounds like fun. Let’s go there.
Whatever you say sexy!
INT: PILOT HOUSE, ADMIRAL BYRD
SLOVAN So what about an early lunch, we’ve been working since seven, I’m starving.
SLOVAN Excellent . How about Chan’s on Bay Street. Call it in, get it delivered to the deck hands and we’ll grab it when we pull in.
NANCY Check. (she pulls out her cell phone)
SLOVAN Hit the button….I’ll pull her out.
EXT: OUTSIDE DECK OF THE FERRY
BEN, JERRY and LEWIS SIT QUETLY NEXT TO EACH OTHER AS TORISTS AND COMMUTERS ARE NEARBY.
HARRY (a middle aged tourist from Kansas city with a mid western accent) Okay kids, stand along the rail with your mother, I want to get the Statue in the background.
(the mother and two teenaged boys stand next to the rail)
Now squish together a little! That’s it! Nice. Here we go, One more….Great, Okay, Honey here (he hands her the camera) you take one of me and the boys…
WIFE Maybe we can all get in the picture. (To Jerry on bench) Would you mind taking our picture?
JERRY Hey, I’m no photographer lady.
LEWIS Why don’t you help her out,? . ..I’ll take your picture ma’am.
Oh thank you.
(As he takes the camera) Where are you from, Chicago?
LEWIS Okay now, get in a little tighter, dad, get behind the boys…that’s it , okay got it. stay there one more…
WIFE Thanks so much, who says New Yorkers aren’t nice.
SON 1 Hey, what’s with the coast guard boat following us?
PAN TO: SMALL COAST GUARD VESSELL PARRALLELING THE FERRY
LEWIS Ever since nine eleven they protect the ferry as it crosses.
Snack bar right inside.
SON 1 Is there anything to do on Staten Island?
LEWIS (to Jerry) Don’t be a jerk….(to son) Staten Island Yankees have a ball park right next to the Ferry. Also a lot of small theatres springing up in Stapleton and St. George. Nice shows, much cheaper then Broadway. Try the St. George or the Full Cup.
Thanks, we’ll do that!
(they move into the cabin)
BEN What, you work for the tourism board now? Why don’t you just show them what’s in the bag?
LEWIS What’s the big deal. You’re supposed to act naturally. Three guys sitting here and nobody is gonna help out a tourist? That will attract attention.
He may have point.
LEWIS See, even the ice cream agrees with me.
JERRY Now why do you have to get like that
BEN Would you both shut up for fifteen minutes so I can enjoy the ride.
INT: ADMIRAL BYRD FERRY
(sits on bench chair in cabin As young uniformed policeman walks near) Hey, how’s it going?
BINNELLI I’m on the job, Detective Binelli, Manhattan South.
BINNELLI Nah, just heading home after my shift….you’re new, haven’t seen you on the boat before. Officer….(looks at his badge) Napoli… a piasan?
NAPOLI Yeah, I just got transferred from the one train.
BINNELLI Nice, you’re out of the hole. How long you on the job?
BINNELLI Second year. Boy, I remember when I started. Foot patrol in Brooklyn. All that walking. I stayed in good shape. You by yourself today?
NAPOLI Yeah. City cut backs. Unless it’s rush hour only one patrolman per boat on off hours. Sometimes there’s a plainclothes undercover or an off duty or two like you. Any real trouble and I call in an assist and the coast guard or our harbor patrol can get here in minutes.
BINNELLI Good to know….well, don’t let me keep you.
NAPOLI Right, have a good day detective.
(he continue patrolling)
NANCY Hey cap, you got an incoming.
(Answers cabin phone) Captain Slovan.
MARINE TERMINAL – STATEN ISLAND
HARBOR MASTER Hey Ted, did you order Chineese food? It’s waiting for you by the gang plank. You gotta stop with the lunch orders Ted. You know it’s against policy. Why can’t you just get something from the snack bar?
SLOVAN The snack bar doesn’t serve Chineese.
HARBOR MASTER Very, funny…I’m telling you, they’re cracking down!
You worry too much Sid.
EXT: FERRY DECK
(looking at cell phone) We may have a problem.
BEN Clark was supposed to check in five minutes ago.
What does that mean?
BEN It mean’s we may be fucked. Plan C.
JERRY What the fuck is plan C? I didn’t even know there was a plan B.
BEN You (to Jerry) There’s usually one cop on board off hours. Find him and keep an eye on him. Me and Lewis are going to visit the captain just in case.
(the men separate)
INT: CABIN OF FERRY
(middle aged businessman) Right, the boat docks at around eleven. I have an early lunch with Jacobs, sign the deal, and I’m back on the two o’clock boat with the contracts and the check…. You’ll make the bank Irv, stop worrying? Yeah, I know we need the money to cover outstanding checks…I’ll be there. Relax!
(Jerry walks by as he sees patrolman Napoli standing near the snack bar where the tourists from Kansas City sit in a booth. Jerry sits near the policeman as a call comes over the radio.)
(overheard by Jerry) Keep your eye out for three possible robbery suspects. Male, age range mid forties to fifties, carrying a bag or briefcase. Descriptions as follows. (dispatcher describes suspects) Take no immediate action. Report back and we will intercept suspects when ferry docks in Staten Island.
JERRY (Dials cell phone) They’re on to us. The cops are waiting at St. Geroge. …
BEN Right. I’m taking over the boat. Meet us in the pilot house.
(As he approaches stairs to pilot house. Sign on door reads no unauthorized entry. He approaches nearby deck hand)
Excuse me, I’m a friend of the captain. Do you have a key for that door.
DECKHAND Sorry, against regulations. You need authorization.
LEWIS (sticks a 38 revolver in his ribs) Here’s our authorization. Move it.
(the three move up towards the pilot house)
INT: PILOT HOUSE
NANCY Hot line again. Maybe they forgot the soy sauce.
SLOVAN (As he answers phone) Slovan.
Ted, we may have a problem…
(a knock is heard on cabin door)
(to door) Who is it?
DECKHAND (from outside the cabin door) Deckhand Healy.
(she moves to open the door)
SID Just heard from police dispatch, harbor patrol, we may have three robbery suspects on your boat. They’re armed. You better be careful.
Nancy, don’t open that…
(too late, the partially opened door swings open as the deckhand is thrown to the floor and Lewis and Ben enter with their guns out)
Back to your controls lady.
SID Hey, what’s happening? Slovan!
BEN (Puts gun to Nancy’s head) May I. (he takes phone) Who am I speaking with?
SID Who the hell is this? Where’s captain Slovan?
BEN This is the person who is hijacking your boat. As you must realize we have hundreds of hostages aboard and unless they want to swim for it, I will start shooting them if I see any police or coast guard patrol boats or helicopters approach this ferry. There are eight of us, we are well armed and have plenty of ammunition. Please relay that information to the police hostage negotiator.
SID Are you insane? You can’t hijack a ferry? Where do you think you can go with it?
BEN Maybe I’ll sail to Belize, there’s no extradition. That’s not really your problem, is it? We’ll be back to you with our demands. Over and out.
BEN Sure, if they know it’s just the three of us they may try something stupid.
(enters cabin) How’s it going?
Okay. What about the cop?
JERRY I overheard his radio call, they arrest us as soon as we get off the boat.
BEN (cell phone rings) It’s Columbus….Yeah
FERRY TERNINAL – STATEN ISLAND COLUMBUS (sitting in his car outside the terminal) Hey, this place is swarming with cops. Swat teams, search dogs, the works!
BEN Yeah, I can imagine. Okay, we’re going to plan C. Get the boat ready, four hours, Ambrose.
INT: 123rd PRECINCT – STATEN ISLAND
DESK SARGENT REESE SITS AT HIS DESK GOING OVER REPORTS
PATROLMAN STARKS Hey sarge, do you know what the guys at the 68th in Brooklyn are calling our precinct?
REESE “Little house on the Prarie” they’ve been calling us that for years. We’re the last precinct before you hit Jersey.
Reese,….yeah right. No problem. Let me know.
(hangs up phone)
Hey, there’s trouble down at the Ferry in Stapleton, there pulling a lot of man power from the one two two so we may have to stretch up to Richmondtown . Spread the word to dispatch.
STARKS Geez, aren’t we stretched out enough? Three lousy precincts on the Island and the populations’ exploding out here!
So where’s the cop?
JERRY Walking around on the deck. Real young guy. Maybe a rookie.
Did he make you?
I don’t think so.
LEWIS So does plan ‘C’ have an end game. I mean, how are we going to escape from a ferry going five knots?
BEN Captain, turn the boat to starboard and head for the Verrazano bridge.
I can’t do that.
BEN I think you can. Unless you want my friend Jerry here to shoot this lady in the head. He’s not as restrained as I am.
SLOVAN Fine, but eventually we’re going to have to stop somewhere.
Let me sweat the details.
FIRST PRECINCT - DETECTIVE SQUAD ROOM:
(Captain Cranston, Seargent Sanders and other officers are around desk)
(to Sanders) Okay, so it’s an inside job. You interrogate the suspect and he says there are four other confederates in on it. He handed them the bonds and they were taking them on the ferry to Staten Island to fence them. Did you notify the ferry boat?
SANDERS Yeah. We notified Harbor patrol and they were going to radio the captain. But only three perps aboard according to our suspect. The fourth meets them at St. George.
CRANSTON Any patrolman on board the boat?
SANDERS One uniform, Patrolman Napoli. A sophomore.
CRANSTON That’s it. A kid who’s practically a rookie?
Mandatory cut backs.
CRANSTON Okay. There are three armed suspects. I don’t want him to take any action. Just try to identify them and keep them in sight until we get them at St. George Terminal.
SANDERS We already told him. But there are a lot of people on that boat so it might not be that easy to find them.
Captain, line one for you.
(Answers phone) Cranston. ….Say again…..You’ve gotta be shittin me? Alright thanks.
What’s up cap?
CRANSTON That was harbor patrol, they just hijacked the fucking ferry! They must have been tipped. Get the commissioner on the phone, contact hostage negotiation…come on let’s go. Try to get me a direct line to that patrolman on the boat. Any chance there’s undercover or off duty riding the Ferry?
I’ll check it out.
EXT: FERRY ADMIRAL BYRD
SON 1 Hey pop, which way is Staten Island?
HARRY (reading tourist brochure) Straight across the bay.
SON 1 So why are we turning towards that big bridge?
HARRY Let’s go forward and find out. Come on, take your hot dog with you.
(all four leave the snack area to go forward)
JACKSON (on cell phone walks towards front and sits opposite Binelli) Right Irv……yes I know…..about ten minutes…..(he looks up) I’ll call you back…What the fuck is going on? Where the fuck are we going?
INT: PILOT HOUSE
SLOVAN Okay, we’re heading for the bridge. But I warn you, there is a lot of boat traffic on New York harbor and this is Friday which means Cruise ships leaving port! It’s not like playing toy boats in the bathtub.
BEN There’s only three if us so we’re not going to be able to control the entire boat. We’re going to need more hostages up here. I’ll stay here and you two bring me about fifty more people. As many as we can fit topside outside this cabin.. Do it quietly, no guns unless you need them.
How do we do that?
BEN You’re good at playing tour director, tell them the captain is giving free tours of the pilot house. I’ll make an announcement.
JERRY What about the cop? He’s probably already hep? It’s pretty certain we were ratted out by Clark.
BEN You watch out for him. He’s by himself. I doubt he’ll try anything Get going. (they leave cabin and descend the stairs)
(to Slovan) How do I work the ship intercom?
Press that button.
(Presses the intercom button)
Good morning ladies and gentleman, this is the captain. Because of heavy harbor traffic at St. George terminal we are making a slight detour around Staten Island! We are now a sight seeing boat. We will be conducting tours of the pilot house for the next hour or two, Enjoy the ride.
JACKSON What the fuck! They can’t do that, it’s a commuter boat!
NAPOLI (Walking towards front on radio) I don’t know…I’m going to check it out!
Officer Napoli, what gives?
NAPOLI Some guys hijacked the boat. I’m going up forward, you want to assist?
BINNELLI Hold on. Stay right where you are. We don’t know what we’re up against.
JACKSON You guys have to do something, I’ve got an appointment in a half hour.
BINNELLI I hope you can swim. Now get to the back of the boat unless you want your ass shot off.
Dispatcher (Radio contact) Patrolman Napoli we are patching you through to The First Precinct. NAPOLI Roger that.
Give me the radio.
CRANSTON Patrolman Napoli. This is Captain Cranston, First Precinct.
BINNELLI No Captain. This is Detective Binnelli. Napoli is here with me.
CRANSTON Yes, Detective O’Rourke told us you might be on the boat. What’s the situation? What’s your location?
BINNELLI Mid ship, middle level. What do we know about the perps? Terrorists? Do we know how many?
CRANSTON Best of our knowledge from interrogating our suspect is they are not terrorists, but career criminals on a botched robbery. I don’t think this was a planned event. They were tipped off that we were on to them so it’s an act of desperation. Maybe a negotiating ploy.
How many are we up against?
CRANSTON Our suspect says three but the perps claim that they have eight on the boat. They could be bluffing to feign strength but it’s anyone’s guess. In any event we can’t take a chance. Even if it’s three against two we can’t take a chance of you taking any offensive position as long as they have hostages. What’s your ammunition capability in case things get hot?
BINNELLI I have my service revolver with thirteen rounds plus a snub nose backup with six. (to Napoli) Napoli, what have you got?
NAPOLI My service with thirteen plus an extra clip of thirteen and a snub nose back up with six like you.
BINNELLI Roger that. Nineteen and thirty two.
CRANSTON They’ve got to have at least that and probably more….any thoughts? Over.
BINNELLI Napoli is in uniform and an obvious target so I’m going to have him get as many passengers below deck and to the stern as he can. I’m plainclothes so I’m going up front to get taken
hostage. With so many passengers I don’t think they’re going to search me. If they start shooting people I may be able to take out one or two of them.
CRANSTON Negative on that. Stay with Napoli. We’ll let the hostage negotiator deal with this. We don’t need any action heros.
BINNELLI Captain I’ve got over thirty years in.. I could retire tomorrow at full pension if I wanted to. I’m not looking to go out in a hail of bullets but given the situation and the strategic advantage of surprise I’d have it’s just a sound tactical field move. Just like we were all taught in the academy.
(to Cranston) He’s got a point cap. With so many hostages and so few perps he may be able to report to us by cell phone.
CRANSTON Okay. Report what you can but under no circumstances take any action unless they start firing. We have your cell number and we’ll clear a direct line for you.
Roger that Captain. (He hands the walkie talkie back to Napoli as he starts to take his suit jacket and tie off) Napoli, I want you to quietly get as many people below as you can. Tell them there’s a police emergency on board. Remind them of where the life jackets are just in case.
BINELLI If you hear shooting, take a strategic defensive position and protect as many people as you can if they come down the stairs.
NAPOLI You sure you want to go through with this?
BINELLI Kid, I’m not sure of anything right now. (to Dennis and Myra as they pass) Hey you, police emergency, can I borrow your baseball cap?
You want my cap?
BINELLI That’s right. Then I want you and your friend to follow this officer below deck.
MYRA But why his hat? Are you a Cardinals fan?
BINELLI I’m working undercover. Give me your sunglasses too. You can pick them up tomorrow at the First Precinct in Manhattan.
Okay I guess. (he hands over his cap and sun glasses)
BINELLI Thank you. The Mayor will probably take you to dinner for this.
MYRA Is it anything serious? We’re on our honeymoon and we’ve got tickets to Jersey Boys tonight.
BINELLI Great show! Hopefully it won’t be a long delay. Go below and try to enjoy yourselves. Just stay on the bottom deck and to the rear of the boat.
NAPOLI Let’s go folks…(to Binnelli) Good luck Detective.
(Napoli moves off with the couple as Binnelli goes in the opposite direction towards the front of the boat. He stops to make a call)
BINELLI Deb, it’s me. I gonna be late. We’ve got an emergency on the boat.
What kind of emergency?
Three assholes hijacked it.
DEBBIE What?! Oh my God! Be careful Joe. BINELLI There’s a uniform on board. We’re not taking any action, just observing. I don’t know when I can talk to you again. Gotta go. Don’t worry.
DEBBIE Don’t worry? How can I not worry?!
BINELLI It will be fine. I’m not going to go all ‘Die Hard’ on them. They’re not terrorists. Just a botched robbery. We can probably negotiate our way out. I love you.
DEBBIE I love you to Joey. Be careful, please.
INT. MAYORS OFFICE, CITY HALL
Mayor sits behind her desk watching on television as a local news team reports from a traffic helicopter.
NEWS ANCHOR We interrupt our regular programming for breaking news. Apparently a Staten Island Ferry boat has veered off course and is heading towards the Verrazzano Bridge which leads through the narrows out to Lower New York Bay and then out to the Atlantic Ocean. We’re going live to chopper fourteen.
CHOPPER 14 ANNOUNCER As near as we can tell from our sources. The Staten Island Ferry Admiral Byrd has steered off course and is heading for the Verrazzano Bridge. This is highly irregular. Two small coastguard Launches are paralleling the vessel but are not attempting to come close to it. We are noticing police helicopters hovering in the area and two NYPD harbor patrol boats heading for the ferry. We have unconfirmed rumours that there may be a hostage situation on the boat! Judging from the amount of police activity there certainly seems to be something out of order here. Reporting live from Chopper 14, Sue Ellen Langren, Metro Action news!
NEWS ANCHOR That was live coverage from our news chopper. So far no word from newly elected Mayor Rita Franklin. We will keep you posted as information comes in. Now here’s Linda with a look at our weather. Storm clouds gathering today I hear?
INTERCOM Your honor, Police Commissioner Oxley and Chief Simms are here.
Send them right in.
FRANKLIN Al, Chief, what the hell is going on?
OXLEY Apparently it was a botched robbery downtown. The suspects were on the ferry with Stolen bearer bonds looking to fence them in Staten Island then skip town.
FRANKLIN And they wind up hijacking the ferry instead? Where do they think they’re going?
SIMMS It looks to me like they got tipped off that we were waiting for them at the St. George terminal and they grabbed the Ferry out of desperation to gain some time.
FRANKLIN Leverage for what? They’re on a ferry in New York harbor surrounded by police and the coast guard. How do they think they’re gonna get away?
SIMMS Look, they’re career criminals not terrorists. Maybe they want to negotiate some kind of deal.
OXLEY The one thing we have to remember is that as long as they have hostages we have to listen to what they say.
FRANKLIN How many passengers on that Ferry at this time of day?
SIMMS We lucked out there. It’s not rush hour so MTA estimates anywhere from five to eight hundred passengers. Probably half are tourists.
FRANKLIN Eight hundred hostages and we lucked out? Where’s the command center?
First Precinct, downtown.
FRANKLIN (as she leads them out of office) Let’s get down there. Did you notify the FBI?
They’re on their way.
SLOVAN (as he looks out window to port side) This is what I was afraid of.
SLOVAN Cruise ship off the port side and closing fast. If I keep this heading we’ll slam her. I’ve got to turn towards Fort Wadswoth and I have no idea what the water depth is in that area.
NANCY As it is the wake from that ship is going to cause problems.
It can’t swamp us?
No. But the wake could rock us enough that anyone standing along the rails could go overboard if they’re not careful. As you know we don’t usually deal with this type of situation. I’d better make an announcement.
BEN Don’t bother. This could prove interesting.
SLOVAN Look, even though it’s early June it was a cold spring and that water temperature is hardly suited for people to go swimming. Especially without life preservers!
(he moves towards intercom microphone)
I said stay put!
INT. MIDDLE DECK OFF BOW STAIRCASSE LEADING TO PILOT HOUSE
LEWIS Let’s go folks. Everyone top side. Free tour of the pilot house.
BINELLI Free tours! Wow, the Ferries in St. Louis never change course to accommodate the tourists.
JERRY Welcome to the big apple. We aim to please.
BINELLI Are you guys part of the department of tourism?
JERRY What are you writing a book? Just get topside if you want a tour.
(Binnelli heads up stairs)
WIFE Hey Harry, it’s the man who took our picture. Are you running a tour upstairs?
Can we meet the captain?