The Interchange: The Treatment

We have a story!  With characters.  Who talk and do things.  Now all we have to do is write it…

Treatment below:

Open with Maggie killing badguys by the bushel, in the most badass ways imaginable.  Then the lights come up and we realize it was training exercise.  She walks back to her desk and on the way gets handed a bunch of paper work.  A ridiculously handsome Indian agent asks her to get him coffee.  She’s clearly in love with her, and  does.  She finally makes it to her desk and throws down the papers on top of a mountain of other papers and sighs.

Cut to Andie, sitting in her police cruiser in the middle of midwest cornfields, rolling a joint.  One car blows by, going 150, closely followed by another.  Andie looks up, decides to ignore them.  Her radio crackles, surprising her into dropping the joint between the seats.  She can’t reach it.  Dispatch tells her to pursue.  She’s annoyed, but still can’t reach her joint, so she does.  She catches a couple of black high school kids, screwing around.  She hits one of them in the face, takes their weed, and gets back into her cruiser.

Over the opening credits, Maggie does paperwork and Andie lovingly rolls another joint.  Just as Andie is about to take her first toke, there’s a massive explosion behind her.  It startles her into dropping the joint between the seats.  She swears.

Title: The Interchange.

In DC, Maggie’s boss, Agent Gibson, calls her into his office.  He tells her there’s been an explosion in Chicago and that the Bureau’s been called in.  Gibson’s assembling a task force, and has decided to take Maggie.  She’s grateful, and tells him she can do so much more than make coffee.  He says, “But you make such good coffee.”

In Chicago, Gibson addresses a joint task force of Chicago PD, FBI, and Andie, who’s an Illinois State Trooper, but was the first one on the scene.  Gibson tells them that they’re hunting “ragheads” or something equally offensive, then turns to the hot Indian dude (Agent Singh) and says, “No offense.”  “I’m Indian,” says Singh, and Maggie melts a little.

Andie pipes up and says she didn’t see any Arab dudes, but there were a couple of rednecks lurking nearby.  “Coulda been my fucktard brother and his friends” — she says she bets it was just some kids screwing around and thinks they’re overreacting.  Agent Gibson tells her it’s terrorism, there’s no such thing as over-reacting.  Maggie pipes up and says how do they know it’s radical Islamic terrorism.  Gibson completely loses his shit and screams at her about the threat of terrorism.  Singh says something about how they don’t technically know it was radical Islamist.  Gibson asks him if he wants to follow up on that idiotic train of thought.  Singh says hell no, he was just saying.  Gibson goes off at him.  Andie tells him to chillax.  Gibson freaks out and tells her that she and Maggie deserve each other — he makes them partners, takes them off the terrorism case, and tells them to follow up “other leads” — which he clearly considers a demotion.

The meeting is adjourned.  Maggie and Andie go to Dunkin’ Donuts, where Maggie yells at Andie for getting her kicked off the case.  Andie yells right back — she was supposed to go home and smoke a joint, but now she has to do this investigative shit.  Maggie rallies and decides that this is her shot, and if there’s any chance it wasn’t Islamic terrorism, then by God they’re gonna prove it.

The teenagers whose weed Andie stole come in to buy donuts.  Andie slouches down in her seat.  Maggie asks what she’s doing, and Andie whispers that she stole their weed.  Maggie says, “You stole their weed?!” a little too loudly, and the kids notice Andie.  They confront her.  Maggie, not wanting to attract attention, flashes her badge and says the should go somewhere private to talk.  They all go into a back alley by the dumpsters.  Maggie tries to be an adult, and asks the teenagers why they didn’t report Andie.  They tell her because they’re black, and it comes out that Andie punched one of them.  Maggie yells at Andie for being “part of the problem” — a white cop assaulting black teenagers.  The kids decide Maggie’s alright.  It comes out that they also saw the explosion.

Maggie, thrilled to have found more witnesses, asks them about it.  They shrug and say it looked like “bigass redneck bonfire explosion.”  Maggie’s curious — says forensics said it was an improvised “household objects” bomb.  The teenagers laugh and say, “if you’re the sort of dumbass white dude who calls a five gallon gas can a household object.”

Maggie wants to go to Gibson — these are new witnesses, and she thinks it should be reported.  As soon as the teenagers hear “report” they take off running.  Maggie wants to chase them, but Andie says there’s no point — there’s nothing to report.  There’s probably a forensics team going over the explosion with a fine tooth comb, so what can a couple of stoner kids add?

Maggie says they should go investigate the site of the explosion.  Andie reluctantly agrees.  They duck under the police tape and look through the blast.  Maggie finds a stuffed animal — a little white lamb — and thinks there was a child killed in the explosion; but Andie recognizes the toy as the mascot of a local white power group.  Maggie wants to follow the lead, but Andie says she’s put in her eight hours and she’s going home.

That night Maggie researches white power groups.  She’s up all night, and at dawn drives to Andie’s house.  Andie’s schlubby redneck husband opens the door and yells to Andie that her “Mexican cop friend” is here.  Maggie tells him she’s Puerto Rican.  When Andie comes out, Maggie tells her she’s convinced that they’re not dealing with jihadis but with militant white supremacists.  She wants to go question the local chapter.

They go to the headquarters of the American Dawn, Illiana Chapter.  The headquarters is a gun store called “Bare Arms.”  Its logo is two flexing biceps, one sporting an American flag, the other a Confederate flag.  The owner of the store and president of the group is named Jaxx, who proudly shows off the flags on his own biceps.

The women enter as prospective gun buyers rather than cops, and Jaxx shows them his array of pink guns.  He asks Maggie if she has identification.  Taken aback, she says she does.  He says that he’s sure she understands that he has to be careful who he sells to.  Maggie asks why he didn’t card Andie.  Jaxx says he doesn’t want to be responsible for arming an illegal.  Maggie snaps and attacks Jaxx — she takes the gun away from him, kicks the shit out of him, and while aiming the pink gun at his face she flashes her badge.  Andie intercedes, telling Maggie to be cool.  She talks her down and they leave.

They return Andie’s house, defeated.  Andie’s husband (whose name is Tom) is burning leaves with their kids.  He asks how things went, the women say badly.  Maggie asks him what a “bigass redneck bonfire explosion” might look like.  Thrilled, Tom says he’ll show her.

Montage: Tom demonstrates explosions.  He’s shirtless in cargo shorts, his face and beer belly blackened with soot.  Andie is in a sundress and house slippers, sipping a beer.  Maggie is in full riot gear.

Maggie’s phone rings — it’s Agent Singh.  He tells her to get her ass back to headquarters.  There’s been a new attack.

In the briefing, Gibson says the new attack is clearly the same perpetrators as the old one — forensics confirms that the explosion device was the same.  Maggie pipes up and lays out her white supremacist theory.  Gibson screams at her.  Singh lends cautious support to her idea until Gibson yells at him, then abruptly withdraws it.

After the meeting Singh tells Maggie he thinks she’s on to something, that the jihidist angle isn’t playing out.  Maggie’s tongue-tied, and just says “thank you,” but Andie lays into Singh for being “a total fucking pussy” and not standing up to Gibson.  Singh, a little chastened, says he thinks he can get them approval to infiltrate the white supremacists.  Maggie thanks him profusely, and Singh saunters away.  As soon as he’s gone Andie turns to her and demands how they’re going infiltrate a white supremacist group.

Smash cut to Singh outfitting Tom with a wire.  He does it wrong.  Maggie steps in and fixes it.  Tom says he sweats a lot when he’s nervous, will that be a problem?  Singh says there’s nothing to be nervous about, he’s not gonna have a problem fitting in.  Andie says he sweats when he’s not nervous, too.

Cut to Tom, sweaty, walking in the doors of Bare Arms, which has been hung with American Flag bunting.  Maggie, Andie, and Singh are in a surveillance van, listening.  Inside, Tom finds a bunch of fat white guys, and a black dude hanging more bunting.  He climbs down the ladder and introduces himself as Devonte.  Tom’s taken aback.  Devonte asks if he’s here for the rally.  Tom says he is, “but are you?”  Devonte says he is, that he’s Jaxx’s half brother and “blood’s thicker than color.”

Jaxx comes out of the back and welcomes Tom.  Tom introduces himself with his real name.  In the van, the audio begins to crackle.  Andie asks what’s wrong and Maggie says he’s sweating on the mic.  Jaxx calls the meeting to order.  They sing a white supremacist hymn.  The audio in the van gets even worse.  Inside, Jaxx begins talking about the bombings, past and future — we learn that this group is trying to blow up the highway interchanges and railroads, disrupting transport from the middle of the country to the coasts.  He says the coasts aren’t true to the “American way,” and that the Midwest shouldn’t continue to support them.  He mentions an attack on a key interchange.  Everyone applauds.  Tom sweats even more.

In the van, all they hear is static.  Maggie’s anxious, and says they never should have sent Tom it — it wasn’t protocol.  But Andie says it’s all going to be fine, and that Tom can handle himself.  She offers Maggie a joint. Inside, Tom says, “How can I help,” but all they hear in the van is “help.”  Maggie can’t take it anymore.  She draws her gun and jumps out of the van.  Andie and Singh try to stop her, but she runs into the meeting, gun drawn.  All hell breaks loose.  Maggie grabs Tom and hustles him out, while Jaxx and Devonte shoot at them.  Singh and Andie, who ran after Maggie, shoot back.  Singh gets shot in the arm.  They make it into the van and peel out, closely pursued by a line of coal-rolling pickups.

Maggie and Andie yell at each other, completely ignoring Singh, who field dresses his own wound, and Tom, who keeps trying to say something.  Maggie, who is driving, manages to lose the trucks, but the argument has reached a fever pitch.  Andie demands that Maggie stop the van.  Andie and Tom get out to walk home.

Maggie and Singh drive back toward headquarters, but Singh’s wound is worse than they thought and she takes him to the hospital.

Back at their house, Tom tells Andie what he heard.  He says he saw maps and plans for more bombs, but that Maggie ran in before he could take a picture.  Andie shrugs it off and says it’s not their problem.

At FBI headquarters the next day, Gibson chews out Maggie for starting a firefight.  Maggie can’t give any proof that Jaxx is a criminal.  Gibson says he’s sending her back to DC.  She storms out and returns to her hotel, but her keycard has already been cancelled.  Her phone rings.  She sees that it’s Andie, and ignores it.  We see Andie leave a message to the effect that Tom says he saw some shit and won’t stop bugging her until she called Maggie, so she’s calling, and now she’s done.  We see Maggie listen to the message.  We hold on her face, then cut to Andie’s house.  The doorbell rings.  It’s Maggie.

Andie grudgingly lets her stay with them, and Tom tells them what he heard and saw.  Maggie and Andie are still at odds, but they agree to work together to try to discover when the bombings are going to happen.

Montage: we see the women do some detective work — both online and in person.  They post to message boards, follow pickup trucks, survey people with binoculars, etc.

The montage ends.  The women look dejected.  They’re sitting on Andie’s couch drinking beers.  They haven’t found out when the attack is coming.  Then one of their phones beeps.  It’s a notice from a message board.  There’s a public post that says, “The big event is on for tomorrow.  A new American Dawn is coming.  –D.”  They look at each other — is this guy really that stupid?  Cut to Jaxx and Devonte.  Jaxx is furious — he demands if Devonte is really that stupid.  Devonte shrugs.  Jaxx says they can’t change the time now because the plot’s already in motion, but that they’ll have to bring extra firepower.

Maggie says she can’t tell Gibson or she’ll lose her job, but she texts Singh, who’s still in the hospital.  The women agree to start suiting up.  They look badass.

They drive to the interchange and wait for Jaxx to get there.  It’s rush hour, and the freeway is packed with cars.  They’re nervous that the FBI isn’t there yet.  Then they get a text from Singh: “Sry, on morphine, just got this.  U ok?”  They realize they’re on their own.

Jaxx and Devonte pull up in their pickups.  Jaxx has an enormous homemade redneck bomb in the back of his truck.  Jaxx gets out to arm it.  Andie and Maggie creep up on the trucks.  But then Devonte pulls a gun on Jaxx — it turns out he’s an undercover cop.  Jaxx is shocked: “You told me you was my brother, man.”  “Bitch, I ain’t your brother — I’m black.”  “I thought you were devoted to the white cause.”  “Did you not hear what I just said?”  Jaxx knocks the gun out of Devonte’s hand.  Maggie and Andie step in.  Jaxx grabs Devonte’s gun and shoots at them.  They shoot back.  Devonte yells at them to stop — there’s a bomb in the back of the truck.

Jaxx gets into the driver’s seat and peels away.  Devonte jumps into his truck and the women pile in after him.  They chase Jaxx back to the Bare Arms.  He parks right in front of the store and runs inside.  It’s filled with white supremacists who start shooting at Devonte’s truck as they drive up.

Maggie shoots the bomb in the back of Jaxx’s truck.  It blows up spectacularly, taking the whole store with it.

We fade to later.  The three of them are sitting on the tailgate of an ambulance, wrapped in shock blankets.  Singh and Gibson show up.  Singh’s arm is in a sling, and he’s high on morphine.  He grabs Maggie and kisses her.  Gibson yells at Maggie for not calling in the conspiracy.  Then he tells her that she did a good job and he’s putting her in charge of a new Chicago-based task force “to deal with some real terrorists.”  “Weren’t these real terrorists?” says Andie.  “Hell no,” says Gibson.  “These were just a couple of lone wolves.”

Cut to Andie and Maggie sitting alone in Andie’s police cruiser under an interchange.  Andie rolls a joint.  She lights it, offers it to Maggie.  Maggie hesitates, takes it.  She takes a hit and hands it back.  Andie closes her eyes and reverently gets ready to take a drag when the scanner crackles.  Startled, she drops the joint between the seats.  Maggie take the radio and say, “This is Ortiz and Bradley, we’re on it.”  She hits the sirens and we pull back and they pull out.  End.

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