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Jury Duty Selections

Now showing -- July 4, 2003

  Episode One

Copyright 1996, 2003 Dan Sewell Ward

FADE IN:

EXT:  STREETS OF LONDON --1670 AD, NIGHT

JOHN BAILEY (JACK), a white male, is wandering through the streets of 1670 London.  He is clearly disoriented, as he examines his clothes and surroundings, constantly glancing about with a bewildered expression. The streets are dark, with only the occasional extraneous noise of horse-drawn wagons in the uncertain distance.  As Jack wanders around a corner, another individual is seen at the end of the street, running toward a darkened pub.  Jack starts toward the man, raising one arm to attract the manís attention.

JACK

Excuse me!  Can you help me?  I'm lost.

The man looks in Jackís direction for a split second, and then begins knocking hard on the pubís heavy, wooden door.  He speaks to someone behind the door, and it opens.  The man darts inside, with the door slamming behind him.  Just as Jack reaches the door on the run, he hears the bolt being forced home.  Momentarily stopped in his tracks, Jack knocks on the door.  Once.  Then a second time, harder.  Thereís no response.  Taking a deep breath, Jack raises his arm and fist to knock again, when he hears running footsteps and the sounds of a horse-drawn carriage on cobblestone streets.  Jack steps away from the door, just as two men come around the corner, walking very rapidly and purposefully, and carrying Billy clubs.  Seeing Jack, they suddenly smile broadly and slow their pace.  As they come toward him, flanking Jack on both sides, they hold their clubs ready.  One of them, FREDERICK STRONG, begins to grin.

FREDERICK

Youíre in luck, mate!  Your chance to serve the Crown!

The second man, JOCK STRONG, keeping his eyes warily on Jack, grabs him by the arm.  Jack doesnít resist, and instead looks bewilderingly at the other man, who takes his other arm, and the three move forward, just as a one-horse, partially enclosed paddy wagon comes around a corner and draws up.  The Strong brothers escort Jack to the rear, where Jack is shoved into the wagon by the two strong-arm enforcers.

JOCK

In you go, mate!  No trouble, now.

Jack finds himself with two other men inside the wagon.  One is CHARLES MILSON (CHARLIE), a well dressed man seemingly in possession of his wits, while the other is JOHN BRIGHTMAN, a poorly dressed, frightened, and overweight individual, who looks at Jack with sudden suspicion.  Jack looks at Charlie, who returns his stare with a wry smile, but nary a word.  The carriage continues over the rough cobblestone street, until it stops again, and Jack looks out a small barred window to see a well-to-do carriage, where an elegantly dressed EDWARD (NIGHTWOLF) BUSHELL is being pulled out.

EDWARD

Keep your grimy hands off me!  I'm not resisting!  Can't you see that?

An attractive, well dressed woman, KATRINA GORLIK, leans out of the carriage.

KATRINA

Edward!

 

EDWARD

Back in the carriage, my love!  Contact Sir Richard.  Tell him what's happened.

Edward is then hurried to the paddy wagon.  He gets in, sits down, keeps his chin up, and studiously avoids making eye contact with the others.  Brightman, sitting next to Edward, takes a moment to size up the immaculate and well-dressed gentleman.

BRIGHTMAN

But youíre a gentleman, are you not?

 

CHARLIE

Donít worry my friend.  Gentlemen are seldom detained for long -- particularly when they know the likes of those such as ďSir RichardĒ.

Edward hardly glances at Brightman, but Charlieís grin and remark capture his attention.  As Edward looks across the wagonís interior at Charlie and Jack seated together on the other side, his casual glance quickly becomes an intrigued stare.

 

EXT:  FLASHBACK: SUBLICAN BRIDGE IN ROME -- LATE 6TH CENTURY BC

Jack and Charlie are dressed in the garb of Roman soldiers, apparently bone weary, their faces blackened from the smoke of battle, their uniforms streaked with blood and grime.  They are standing side-by-side, their expressions intense and expectant, as if in a momentary lull from the battle as each awaits further orders from someone (not seen) who is standing in front of them.

 

INT:  PADDY WAGON, STREETS OF LONDON, --IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING

Edwardís eyes abruptly flicker, his manner softening, and he stares at the two.

EDWARD

Have we met before, Sir?

 

CHARLIE

My dear fellow, I donít think thatís likely.

 

FREDERICK (voice over)

Quiet in there!  No talking!

Edward continues to stare at first Charlie, and then Jack.  His eyes squint slightly in the process, until a smile begins to creep across Edwardís face, one hand coming up to slowly stroke his chin -- as if heís just recognized something extraordinary.

 

INT:  SESSIONS HOUSE (OLD BAILEY), 1670 LONDON -- FOLLOWING

Inside a long hall, forty men who from their dress are from apparently various walks of life are being roughly lined up on two sides of the room.  Standing, herding, and walking between the two lines are the Strong brothers and six other men, all dressed in plain blue policemen uniforms.  In one of the lines, in order, is Brightman, Charlie, Edward, Jack and JOHN ďDUKEĒ HAMMOND, a large, muscular man dressed in commoner clothes.  An aristocratically dressed man, LORD THOMAS HOWELL, enters and begins walking down the corridor between the two lines.  Behind him is DEVON SOPHING, a well dressed Member of Parliament, but one clearly subservient to Howell.  Jack watches as Howell turns to one moderately well dressed man, asks him a question (which cannot be heard), and then with a wry smile, raises his hand in dismissal.  The man is immediately escorted out of the room by Jock Strong, but in a comparatively gentle fashion.  Jack looks at the rest of the lined-up men, which includes commoners, members of the middle class, and the poor -- most of whom are nervous, somewhat bewildered, and ill-prepared for the moment.

 

INT: JACKíS BEDROOM, MODERN DAY DENVER -- EARLY MORNING

Jack wakes up with a start.  He shakes his head for a moment, his eyes widening.

JACK

Geez!  What in the world was that?  Must have been something I ate.  Either that or what I get to do today.

Then with a wry, semi-disgusted smile, he begins to drag himself out of bed.

 

INT: JACKíS KITCHEN, DENVER -- MOMENTS LATER

Jack enters to greet his cheerful, bright-eyed wife, TERRI LEE (FYED) BAILEY.

TERRI

Good Morning, Sweetie!  Big day today!

 

JACK

Yeah, well maybe.

 

TERRI

Are you kidding?  This is our ticket!

 

JACK

What are you talking about?

Jack takes a seat at the breakfast table, already laid for a substantial breakfast.  Terri busies herself filling a plate with a full complement of eggs, bacon and small waffles.

TERRI

Donít you get it?  The ďPence Trial.Ē  ďLocal Tycoonís misguided son accused of killing hundreds!  Will Millionaire Malcolm Pence defend his only son?Ē  Wow!  I gotta tell you: this is the biggest thing in years.  And better yet, you have a chance to be on the jury.  I just know it!  Arenít you excited?

 

JACK

Donít be absurd.  Jury dutyís a pain.

 

TERRI

Not if you can write a best-selling book about it!  With your writing experience and background, you could get a seven figure advance!  We could retire young -- just like youíve always wanted.

Terri with a glint in her eye smiles gleefully, as she sets Jackís plate in front of him.

JACK

Terri, Iíve been called for jury duty.  Thatís all.  It might not be for the Pence trial.  We donít know that.  Plus which, I might not even be selected.  Letís face it:  Iíve got a modicum of intelligence and brains.

 

TERRI

What difference does that make?

 

JACK

They donít like people on juries who are a bit too intelligent.  It confuses things.

 

TERRI

Well then, donít tell them, silly.  Just say youíre a landscape architect. Which is true. We do have a landscaping business, after all. Just donít tell them youíre also a writer.

Terri sets her own breakfast plate on the table, as Jack begins to pick at his food.

JACK

If they ask about my writing, I canít lie.

Terri sits down at the table, kitty-cornered from Jack.

TERRI

You donít sound very excited about the possibilities here.

 

JACK

Iím not.  The courts in this country suck!

 

TERRI

Look, Jack.  Just because you had one bad experience!

Jack suddenly reels back in his chair, the knife in his hand waving about for emphasis.

JACK

Bad experience?  A dishonest judge, two corrupt lawyers, and enough pure bullshit to last me a lifetime?  Bad experience?

 

TERRI

Jack, honey, I know the business lost a lot of money because of the court case.  And it really set you back on your early retirement.  But this is your chance to get it all back! And better yet, make the system pay for it!

 

JACK

Iíd be happy if I just had a few moments alone with that thieving judge.

 

TERRI

Promise me you wonít mention your court experiences when theyíre going about selecting you for the jury.

 

JACK

Oh, yeah.  If they ask me anything of importance, Iíll just lie.  Iíll tell them I love the system, that Iím a big supporter of Capital Punishment.

 

TERRI

But thatís true, isnít it?

Jack smiles and leans back in his chair, his eyes unfocused and in a thinking mode.

 

INT:  A MODERN DAY CIVIL COURTROOM, DENVER

Jack is using a gavel to pound a judge (Devon Sophing) over the head.  The judge is sitting in his chair, but doesnít seem to be feeling anything as Jack pounds away.

SOPHING

I realize the defendant, and most other people for that matter think their lawyers charge too much.  But I can assure you, from my personal experience, that theyíre worth it.  As Members of the Court, they are absolutely required to fulfill the letter of...

Sophingís ability to speak is suddenly hampered as Jack begins to choke him.  Then Jack takes a shotgun and begins to insert the double barrel into the Sophingís mouth.  This doesnít work too well and Jack responds by reaching up to pull a lever.  A huge set of weights -- the kind found on exercise machines -- begin sliding down a pair of stainless steel runners in the direction of Sophingís head.  Sophing looks up at them, still face still a mask of nonchalance.

 

INT:  MODERN SPORTS CLUB, DENVER -- EARLY MORNING

The sliding weights suddenly slow, stop, and start back up the runners.  Katrina (in her modern day incarnation) is working out on the equipment, sweating, and breathing hard.  With one last effort, she raises the weights and then allows them to slowly come back down to a resting position.  Stepping out of the machine, she stretches some of those muscles she had been using.  A smiling Jock Strong steps toward her.

JOCK

Sixty pounds, eh?  Iím impressed.

 

Katrina turns to look at the man, someone who obviously spends a great deal of time in a health club as evidenced by his stylishly tanned face and body and his blatantly exposed superb physical conditioning.  Katrina smiles, but fails to maintain eye contact.

JOCK

Early in the morning, too.  A ďquickieĒ before heading for work, huh?

 

KATRINA

Something like that.

 

JOCK

SoÖ What kind of work do you do?

 

KATRINA

Iím an aeronautical engineer.  What you might call, ďa rocket scientistĒ.

 

JOCK

A ďrocket scientistĒ?  Really?

Jock, his eyes blinking rapidly and starting to glaze over, begins to walk away -- his ardor dashed momentarily, his expression blank and vaguely uncomprehending.  Katrina smiles knowingly and shakes her head.

KATRINA

But Iím out of work right now.  Would that make a difference?

Not bothering to reply, the disheartened Jock continues to walk away, even as Katrina chuckles to herself.  She then glances at the clock on the wall.  Reaching in a small, athleteís bag near her, she pulls out an official looking piece of paper, and begins searching it for a single piece of information.  With a slight grimace and another glance at the clock, she quickly picks up her stuff and begins walking away.

 

EXT:  CITY STREET NEAR AN APARTMENT HOUSE, DENVER -- MORNING

Brightman comes running out of an apartment house, heading for a taxi parked at the curb with its motor running.  From a different angle (along the street sidewalk), Duke Hammond is approaching the same taxi.  When their hands both meet at the taxiís rear door handle, Brightman nervously looks up at the bigger man, who is not smiling.

BRIGHTMAN

I called this taxi.

 

DUKE

Iím in a hurry.

 

BRIGHTMAN

But, so am I.  I supposed to report for jury duty.  I canít be late.

 

DUKE

Jury duty?  Well!  Being civic minded, Iíll tell you what Iíll do.  Weíll let the taxi take you to the courthouse first, where you can pay for the taxi that far. Then Iíll pay from there.

 

BRIGHTMAN

Great!  Thatís very generous of you.

A relieved George gets in the taxi and slides over, as Duke, smiling broadly, joins him.

 

EXT:  CITY STREET, NEAR DENVER FEDERAL COURTHOUSE -- MORNING

Charlie Milson is riding a bike down a city street, two filled shoulder packs straddling the back tire.  Abruptly, a sporty automobile changes from the left to right lane just ahead of Charlie, the abrupt swerve causing Charlie to almost fall off the bike.  Coming to a halt by the curb, he manages to avoid crashing.  NINA LAWRENCE walks up to him. 

NINA

Are you okay?

 

CHARLIE

Mental Defective!  Learn to Drive!

Then Charlie looks at the attractive woman bystander, and abruptly smiles.

CHARLIE

Yes, Iím fine.  In fact, Iím in great shape!

 

NINA

Yes.  It sounds like youíre okay.

The Female Bystander smiles, and begins to walk away.

CHARLIE

Better than okay!  You havenít seen me in my best suit yet.  Itís in the backpack.

 

NINA

Obviously nothingís seriously damaged.

 

CHARLIE

What about my pride?

Charlie smiles bleakly, as Nina continues down the sidewalk.  Then, shrugging his shoulders, Charlie begins to slowly get his bike back into traffic.

 

INT:  AUTOMOBILE, DENVER STREETS NEAR AN OFFICE BUILDING -- MORNING.

Devon Sophing is setting two heavy briefcases into the back of the car.  After closing the back door, he then gets into the passenger side.  LISA LEIGH, his paralegal aide, is in the driverís seat, and smiles brightly in Devonís direction.

LISA

You have everything?

 

DEVON

Everything I could carry.

The car pulls away from the curb.  Devon then takes a long appreciate look at Lisa as she drives and begins to maneuver in the heavy traffic.  Approaching a red light, Lisa slows to a stop, and with a nice smile, glances at Devon.

LISA

The guys okay with the defense?

 

DEVON

I didnít ask them.

Lisaís smile dims, as she returns her attention to accelerating from the now green light.

LISA

Hope youíre ready to run the gauntlet.  I hear the courthouse is packed.

 

DEVON

Donít worry.  Iíll protect you.

Lisa smiles, and glances at Devon, who smiles in return.  Devon continues to smile at Lisa as she again concentrates on her driving through the busy streets.

 

INT:  DENVER FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, JURY ENTRANCE -- MORNING

The taxi with Brightman and Duke arrives, and the big man gets out first, holding the door open for Brightman. Duke watches, while Brightman pays, and who then turns with a puzzled expression on his face to look at Duke who is still standing by the door.  Duke smiles and still outside the taxi, closes the taxi door.

DUKE

Iíve got jury duty, too.

Duke turns and goes into the Courthouse, while Brightman, with his mouth hanging open, watches the back of the departing man.

 

INT:  DENVER FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, JURY PROCESSING ROOM Ė AM

Jack enters the jury processing room.  He checks in with a male CLERK, who quickly identifies Jack, and checks him in.  As the Clerk looks to the next arrival, Jack moves into the room, finds an empty seat, and sits down, taking the next moment to glance around.  Everyone appears to be very civil, some smiling, a few polite conversations.  Jack sits by LOLA TINSLE, a little old lady busy at her knitting, who smiles at him.

LOLA

Iíve never been on a jury, have you?

 

JACK

No.  And we may not be this time.

Continuing to knit, Lola does nothing to answer or even acknowledge Jackís reply.

LOLA

Can you believe what they did?  Killing all those people with their horrid experiments? Oh my, oh my!  I really donít know what this world is coming to!

 

JACK

Well, I suppose it remains to be seen if theyíre actually guilty or not...

Lola again ignores Jackís comment, as she leans forward to begin searching her large purse for something.  Jack takes the moment to look away.  He quickly notices across from him, an attractive lady, LIN SUE.  He smiles as he begins to admire her features.

 

INT:  FLASHBACK: NEWS OFFICE, CHANNEL SEVEN, DENVER -- AFTERNOON

Lin Sue is sitting in a chair facing the desk of John Robinson.  She is trying to smile, while Robinsonís demeanor is smiling and sinister at the same time.

ROBINSON

Iím sure you can appreciate that a major television market such as the Denver one cannot hire just anyone fresh out of school.  Even when -- as in your case -- theyíre older, wiser and more experienced in life than say your average graduate.  Even a member of a minority.  But I must admit Iím intrigued by your current status.  You might very well be selected for the jury.  And if so, an insider report would be very valuable -- not only to us, but of course to your career as well. 

 

LIN SUE

But even if Iím selected for the jury, isnít it likely that we would be sequestered?

 

ROBINSON

Itís a fair bet.  But we have a few tricks.

 

LIN SUE

I wouldnít want to do something illegal.

 

ROBINSON

Of course not!  Neither do I.  But after all, freedom of speech is a basic tenet of the Constitution of the United States.  Youíll want to keep that in mind.  As well as the need for timely reporting.

Lin Sue smiles bleakly as she continues to look at Robinson.

 

INT:  DENVER FEDERAL COURT -- JURY PROCESSING ROOM -- FOLLOWING

Lin Sueís bleak smile suddenly vanishes as she rouses herself and looks around.  She sees Jack staring at her and turns to stare at him, just as he looks away.  Jack tries to innocently glance around the room, when suddenly his polite smile turns to a surprised one. Across the room are Charles Mison and John Hammond sitting two seats apart.  Jackís mouth slowly begins to drop, as his eyes widen.

 

EXT:  FLASHBACK, SUBLICAN BRIDGE IN ROME -- LATE 6TH CENTURY BC

Roman Soldiers, including Charlie, Jack and Duke, are trying to reorganize amidst the smoke and confusion from an apparent battle.  Over the hill, Etruscans soldiers are seen in large numbers, as they come over a ridge and begin to rush the riverís bridge.

 

INT:  DENVER FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, JURY PROCESS ROOM -- FOLLOWING

Jack is shaking his head and look wide eyed when Lola gains his reluctant attention.

LOLA

And the son of a great man!  Itís simply disgraceful!

 

JACK

Who?

Lola smiles sweetly, but says nothing.  Jack turns to face forward, closes his eyes, leans back, and breathes deeply.  His body shudders slightly.

 

INT:  SESSIONS HOUSE (OLD BAILEY), 1670 LONDON -- NIGHT

There are now less than thirty men in the room, as Howell and Sophing go down the line. Howell looks at each man, quickly making the decision to either select or reject. Edward is still next to Jack, and begins to quietly talk to him without turning his head.

EDWARD

This is unbelievable!  I had no idea...

 

JACK

Youíre lost too, huh?

 

EDWARD

Do you see what theyíre doing?  Theyíre only selecting those they can easily manipulate.  Anyone with a backbone is quickly dismissed.

 

JACK

Select them for what?

Edward, his eyes raised and smile turned stoic, turns slightly to look at Jack.

EDWARD

Jury Duty.

 

JACK

Oh.  Interesting selection process.

Edward shrugs his shoulders, and turns back to watch the activities.

EDWARD

Yes.  But what ifÖ  Perhaps, my dear fellow, this is an opportunity, a way for us to serve our country in a most extraordinary fashion.

Jack turns to look at Edward, who has a mischievous smile developing.  As Jack turns away, Howell (with Sophing in tow) suddenly crosses the room and addresses Edward. 

HOWELL

A gentleman, no doubt.

Edward says nothing, but bows his head slightly, his strong demeanor gone and replaced with a weak, ingratiating smile, and a supplicantís nervousness.

HOWELL

Your name?

 

EDWARD

Edward Bushell, if it please my Lord.

 

HOWELL

It doesnít particularly.  But you are a loyal subject of the Crown, are you not?

 

EDWARD

Of course, my Lord.  Diligent in my loyalty.  Whatever is required by my Lord.

 

HOWELL

And when a guilty verdict is necessary?  When it is time to condemn criminals?

 

EDWARD

Whatever pleases my Lord.

 

HOWELL

Excellent!  Itís always nice to have a gentleman on the jury.  It reduces the rather pungent odor we oft times encounter.

Howell, with a gesture toward Edward, glances quickly at Frederick Strong.

HOWELL

Another selectee.

Howell then turns to Jack.

HOWELL

And you, Sir, do you personally know a William Penn or a William Mead?

Jackís eyebrows go up.  Quickly, he glances toward Edward, who has turned to watch him.  Then, Jackís mouth starting to slowly open, he turns back to Howell.  Jack coughs to clear his throat, and avoiding Howellís penetrating stare, waves his hand slightly. 

JACK

No Sir.  I donít Ďpersonally knowí them.

 

HOWELL

Or a criminal group called the Quakers?

 

JACK

Iíve never met them either.

 

HOWELL

You seem a little slow and confused.  Do you still have your wits about you?

 

JACK

Iím a stranger in town.  Just arrived.  Iím...

 

HOWELL

From the country.  Excellent.  Fresh blood.

Howell then gestures to Frederick.  As Jack glances toward Edward, their eyes meet.

 

INT:  DENVER FEDERAL COURT, MAIN COURTROOM -- MID MORNING

Jackís silent connection with Edward is suddenly interrupted by Howellís voice.

HOWELL (voice over)

And your stand on the death penalty?

Jack turns back to face forward, as Sophing (now in his Defense Attorney role) stands to object.  Jack quickly glances around, recognizing Howell, but now as the modern day prosecutor, and then Frederick Strong, acting as the bailiff.  Howell is standing in front of Jack and the witness box, while the presiding judge is SAMUEL STARLING.

SOPHING

Objection!  The prosecution continues to ask this question, and I must continue to object.  My clients are both opposed to the death penalty, and therefore their peers... by any definitionÖ

 

HOWELL

Your honor, this is getting us nowhere!  We have before us one of the most heinous crimes in history. Anyone convicted of such a callous crime is obviously not in favor of anything resembling the death penalty.

Starling, stifling a yawn and ignoring Sophing, looks directly at Howell and Jack.

STARLING

Overruled.

 

HOWELL

Thank you, your honor.  What is your line of work, Sir?

 

SOPHING

Is this relevant?

 

HOWELL

This is ridiculous!  Of course, itís relevant!  Your honor, this pathetic attempt by the defense to delay the proceedings -- when all of the defenseís frivolous motions have already been dismissed out of hand...

 

STARLING

Cool your jets, Mr. Howell.  Thank yu.  The Defenseís objection, if thatís what it was, Mr. Sophing, is overruled.

 

HOWELL

Thank you!  Now.  Where was I?

 

JACK

I own a landscape company, we do Feng Shui designs and...

 

HOWELL

Are you asking to be excused?

Jack has a momentary flashback of Edwardís approving expression in 1670 London.

JACK

No, Sir.  My wife can run the business.  Plus, itís our slow season.  If Iím selected for jury duty, then itís my duty to serve.

 

HOWELL

Then youíre a supporter of law and order?

Jack does a second flashback to when he was beating up on ďJudgeĒ Sophing.

JACK

Is there an alternative?

 

HOWELL

No objections to this juror.

SOPHING slowly rises, with a heavy sigh, picks up a pad of paper and walks slowly over to address Jack.  Jack frowns, but Sophing appears unaware of any prior meeting.

 

INT:  THE PALESí LIVING ROOM -- MID AFTERNOON

THENA PALES is entering the room and shedding her parcels when two of her children (MARK and CINDY) rush to meet her.  She quickly responds to their kisses and affectionate hugs, dropping to one knee and making a point of returning their love.        

THENA

 Did my angels miss me?

 

MARK

Yes.  Me more than Cindy.

Thena, with an overly dramatic questioning expression, looks at Cindy, who covers her face with her hands.  And then peaks out.  With the younger Cindy in her arms and smiling shyly, and Mark dashing off for another adventure, her husband PAUL approaches.

PAUL

Howíd it go?

Thena takes a deep breath, and with a weak smile, replies.

THENA

Iím in.

 

PAUL

Good.  Youíll be fantastic.  A jury needs the black womanís perspective.

 

THENA

The problem is weíll be sequestered.  What about the children?

 

PAUL

Theyíll be fine, just like I told you before.  Iíve learned a lot from watching you.

Thena smiles as her husband comes over and kisses her on the cheek.

CINDY

Where are you going, mommy?

 

THENA

On a quest!

 

CINDY

Can I go?

 

THENA

No, no.  This is a mommy quest.

Cindy looks disheartened, but then immediately wraps her arms around Thenaís neck.

 

INT:  WORKSHOP AND OFFICE (DENVER) -- MID AFTERNOON

HENRY MICHEL (a black man) is at his computer, doing work on some sophisticated graphics.  His hands fairly fly over the keyboard and mouse, his expression serious but not grave.  PAUL PLAINE enters in and looks over his shoulder at the screen.

PAUL

Hey!  Looks good.  You going to be able to finish this before reporting for jury duty?

 

HENRY

No choice.  Theyíre going to lock us up.

 

PAUL

Just in case youíre thinking I can finish it, donít.  Itíd take me three years.

 

HENRY

Yeah.  But think how much youíd learn!

Henry turns for a moment and smiles at the grimacing Paul.

 

INT:  HOME OFFICE, DENVER -- LATE AFTERNOON

THOMAS VEER is sitting at a meticulously neat desk, writing checks from his three-checks-to-a-page checkbook.  A neat pile of three envelopes is to one side. Veer finishes the last check, carefully insets it into the appropriate envelope, and then seals it.  With great care, he carefully aligns an ďAmerican FlagĒ stamp on the envelope (the latter which includes a precisely aligned, stick-on, return address label).  Placing the envelope on the stack with the other letters, he carefully ensures that the four envelopes are precisely stacked, and then slips the check book back into the center drawer, which he locks with a key.  He then aligns the blotter pad on his desk.  He looks at everything, and then stands and goes to a bookshelf.  Opening a small, hidden compartment from behind a decorative vase, he removes a large, deadly looking handgun.  He begins to check it for bullets (itís full) and proper working order.

 

INT: JACKíS LIVING ROOM, DENVER -- LATE AFTERNOON

Jack walk into his kitchen.  Terri steps into the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, keeping her eyes glued on the television in the living room.  With a hurried glance, she sees Jack and reacts accordingly.

TERRI

Oh, my God!  I canít believe you made it!  This is so exciting!  Quick!  Youíve got to see this latest news report!

Jack approaches Terri to where he can see the TV.  Jack is much less enthusiastic as he looks at the screen, which shows a TV REPORTER interviewing WILLIAM LEAVER.

TV REPORTER

Mr. Leaver, are you saying you were illegally kept off the jury?

 

LEAVER

I donít know whatís legal. Iím not a lawyer.  But they asked if Iíd ever had any trouble in Court, and when I told them about being cheated out of my inheritance by a crooked judge and an equally crooked lawyer...  Well, they just dismissed me out of hand.  Hell, man, everybody whoís ever gone to court has probably been cheated.  The justice system is garbage.  But thatís no reason to eliminate me as a possible juror!

 

TV REPORTER

Then what youíre saying is that critics of the court system canít be jurors?

 

LEAVER

Sure sounds like...

Jack turns off the TV in Leaverís mid-sentence.

JACK

You might plan on getting used to not having the news on while Iím here.

 

TERRI

Why not?

 

JACK

Might be prejudicial.

 

TERRI

Thatís silly!  Are you saying you canít distinguish between rumor and evidence just because you watched television?

 

JACK

I can.  At least, I think I can.

 

TERRI

Then thatís crazy!  Youíre supposed to know whatís going on!

 

JACK

But I canít make a premature judgment.

 

TERRI

When did you ever premature anything? And what about your being too smart?

 

JACK

Funny thing is that in all the confusion, I think I kind of slipped in.

 

TERRI

Wonít they be surprised!

 

JACK

My education is on my form.  All they have to do is read it.

 

TERRI

They canít take you off now!  This is all just too fantastic! Money, money, money!!

Jack grimaces and turns away.

 

INT:  BUSHELLíS HOME, LIVING ROOM, LONDON -- MORNING

SIR RICHARD NEWDIGATE is standing, his arms outstretched and holding each of Katrinaís hands.  He is smiling in a consoling manner, while Katrina looks worried.

SIR RICHARD

Heís fine, Katrina.  He was selected for jury duty.  It should only take a day or so.

 

KATRINA

But I thought heíd be dismissed!

 

SIR RICHARD

Frankly, so did I.  But while we werenít allowed to talk at length, he did give me every indication of being perfectly content with the situation.  You must not worry.

Katrinaís eyes close, as she releases Sir Richardís hands and partially covers her mouth with her hands in a prayer mode, her eyes staring intently at Sir Richard.  Shaking her head, she turns away.

KATRINA

Oh merciful Mother of God!

 

SIR RICHARD

Katrina, whatís wrong?

 

KATRINA

Edward!  My dear, foolish husband.

 

SIR RICHARD

I donít understand.

 

KATRINA

How much do you know of Edwardís upbringing, his early history?

 

SIR RICHARD

I must confess to very little.  Why?

 

KATRINA

Edwardís childhood was one of too little food, too little heat, too little anything.  His father was a Puritan schoolmaster who simply was unable to provide adequately for his family.  As a result Edward was quite frail as a boy, even to the extent that an uncle of somewhat better means named him as the executor of his will.  He did so on the assumption Edward should enjoy his inheritance while he yet had life in his body.

 

SIR RICHARD

Thus accounting for his rather notable drive to succeed in his ďbusiness of sugarsĒ.

 

KATRINA

Itís true that with his younger brother John dispatched to Barbados to raise sugar, and his shipping connections, Edward has done quite well by his family -- as I will personally attest.  But two years ago...

 

SIR RICHARD

Ah yes, the great Bridgetown fire.  But surely Edward does not blame himself.

 

KATRINA

It was likely the slave discontent.  But the fires did start in Edwardís own warehouses.  Richard, it had a strong effect on Edward.

 

SIR RICHARD

But to serve on a jury...?

 

KATRINA

My husband saw in the slave uprising, a tyranny, one of insidious dimensions.

 

SIR RICHARD

And you think he intends as a juror to make some kind of repentance?

 

KATRINA

Not repentance, dear Richard.  Instead, I rather imagine his taking a stand against anything that threatens liberty in our land.

 

SIR RICHARD

Katrina, this is serious.  The courts of our beloved England are not disposed toward anyone questioning their authority.

 

KATRINA

I know.

 

 

END OF EPISODE I

 

  We the Jury

Forward to:

Episode Two -- Two Trials  

               

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