Capital Partners: A TV Pilot (Available to Option)

Hi, all. Some of you may remember my short story “Capital Partners,” which came out a few years ago. It was published in the WRITES OF SPRING anthology, edited by the late Gary Schultz and Pat Frovarp, who also owned Once Upon A Crime, that wonderful bookstore in Minneapolis.

As time went on I couldn’t get the characters in Capital Partners out of my mind. So I decided to expand the story (at least in my mind) and write a TV pilot. I had a great time doing it — again, as some of you know, I used to work in Film and TV, and the process was like “coming home.” So, just for fun (and maybe profit — who knows?), here are the first 10 pages of the script. Let me know what you think. And enjoy!

First, the logline: When two women who dislike each other find out their husbands have been running a Ponzi scheme and owe millions to the Mafia, they put their differences aside to get their money back. However, along the way they discover they are being stalked by an unknown cyber-espionage organization.

CAPITAL PARTNERS: A TV Pilot

EXT. VAIL AIRPORT - MORNING

               A Gulfstream waits outside a hangar on the tarmac. A limo
               drives up. A softly plump man in his late 40s/early 50s with
               longish gray hair, SY PENNINGTON, gets out. He's carrying his
               bag. A crew member comes over, takes the bag and SY climbs up
               the steps, ducks his head, and enters the plane. 



               INT GULFSTREAM - MORNING

               Sy settles himself in a seat on the plane. Takes out some
               papers, makes a few notes. The pilot calls through the
               intercom.

                                   PILOT V.O.
                         We're good here Mr. Pennington.
                         Ready to take off? 

                                   SY
                         Just a minute. I need to make a
                         call.

               Sy pulls out his cell, punches in a number. Waits.

                                   SY,
                         I'm just taking off. I'll meet you
                         at five at the Omni Shoreham bar.
                         The Oak something.

               Sy Buckles his seat belt.



               EXT. VAIL AIRPORT - MORNING

               The plane taxis down the runway, gains speed, and takes off.
               A few seconds later it explodes. A fireball forms in the sky
               and slowly extinguishes. The few people at the hangars are
               shocked.

               INT. GULFSTREAM JET EVENING
               TITLE: THREE DAYS EARLIER

               The wine in a glass on the tray-top of a plush leather
               airplane sloshes gently, then more forcefully. A woman's hand
               grabs the glass. We see Faith MONTGOMERY, an attractive woman
               in her early forties.
               Faith plays down her beauty and appears meek, even naive. She
               wears jeans and a sweater. She gulps a huge swallow of wine.
               As she does, the plane bucks, indicating turbulence.Faith
               grimaces and clutches the armrest with her free hand. A man's
               hand covers hers. 

               Her husband, JAY MONTGOMERY is also in his early forties with
               intense blue eyes and prematurely gray-white hair perversely
               making him look younger. He wears more elegant jeans and a
               jacket. Jay smiles fondly at Faith.

                                   JAY 
                         Sy said there's a foot of fresh
                         powder. This must be why.

               The plane continues to buck.  Wine spills on Faith's lap. She
               looks down.

                                   FAITH
                         He probably said that so you'd drop
                         everything and follow him out here.
                         You know how he hates to be alone.

                                   JAY
                         He's got Dana.

                                   FAITH
                         Like I said, he hates to be alone.

               Faith's eyes widen at a particularly sudden drop. Jay
               squeezes Faith's hand.

                                   FAITH (CONT'D)
                         I shouldn't have said that, huh?

                                   JAY
                         Don't worry baby. We're almost
                         there.



               EXT. MONTAGE - NIGHT

               ROLL CREDITS AND MUSIC over montage of Jay and Faith landing
               safely at the Vail airport, crossing the tarmac to a waiting
               limo, being driven to their home, a large chalet whose lights
               sparkle against the inky sky. Jay unlocks the front door
               where they are met by a uniformed housekeeper. 



               INT. CHALET HALL - NIGHT

               A marble floor. Elegant sconces. Everything says luxury and
               wealth. A fire crackles in another room.

                                   HOUSEKEEPER
                         Two messages, Missus. Dinner at
                         eight with the Penningtons. And a
                         call for Mrs. Montgomery. A Mr.
                         Cole from Chicago. He left his
                         number.

                                   JAY
                         Cole?

                                   HOUSEKEEPER
                         Yes, sir.

                                   FAITH
                         Thanks, Lucy.

               Faith climbs the stairs to their bedroom.



               INT. BEDROOM/BATHROOM - NIGHT

               Sound of shower from the bathroom. Faith in bra and panties
               applies her make-up at her dressing table. 

               The shower stops. A moment later, Jay emerges with a towel
               wrapped around him. Faith is practicing polite smiles in the
               mirror.  Jay spots her reflection. When Faith sees that he's
               watching, she stops. They both speak at the same time.

                                   FAITH
                         I'm sorry...

                                   JAY
                         Hey baby, it's not gonna be that
                         bad...

               Faith rolls her eyes, picks up a black cocktail dress, and
               holds it in front of her.

                                   JAY (CONT'D (CONT'D)
                         It's only for a couple of hours.

                                   FAITH
                         I know. 

               They gaze at each other via the mirror. Jay cocks his head.

                                   JAY
                         You're not having an affair, are
                         you?

                                   FAITH
                         What? Oh, the call. I have no idea
                         who 'Cole' is. Probably something
                         to do with Second Chances.

                                   JAY
                         Just checking. (He grins, takes the
                         dress and throws it on the bed. He 
                         nuzzles her cheek.)

                                   FAITH
                         Mmm... I'm going to drop in
                         tomorrow before we ski. Make sure
                         everything's under control.

               Jay tightens his arms around her.

                                   JAY
                         Sometimes I think you care more
                         about that halfway house than me.

                                   FAITH 
                         It's a toss up. 

               Jay kisses her.

                                   JAY
                         In that case, I guess I need to
                         remind you of your priorities.
                         You're my wife, and I wantСС 

                                   FAITH
                         Sweetheart, we're supposed to be at
                         dinner in 10 minutes.

                                   JAY
                         Looks like we're gonna be late.



               EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               The limo pulls up to "The Gilded Age," a new trendy Vail
               restaurant. Faith and Jay hold hands and walk past a burbling
               fountain.



               INT. RESTAURANT NIGHT 

               A small room with maybe thirty tables, all filled. Faith
               spots SY and DANA PENNINGTON at one of the largest tables in
               the room. Dana wears a neon turquoise outfit.
               In her late thirties, she has long blond hair, a great body,
               and nary a wrinkle. Sy, on the other hand is softly plump,
               has longish gray hair, thick fingers, and wears an open
               collar shirt through which his chest hair pokes. He is the
               man on the Gulfstream that exploded.

               Dana waves. Faith smiles the same one she practiced in the
               mirror. Jay and Faith weave between tables, some occupied by
               Hollywood celebrities.

               At the table Faith leans over to kiss Dana, then Sy.

                                   FAITH
                         You look fabulous, Dana.

                                   DANA
                         New trainer. He comes to me after
                         Demi Moore.

               Sy makes a show of looking at his watch.

                                   SY
                         You're late. Gotta stop having all
                         that sex. (Guffaws)

               Dana giggles too and sips her martini.

                                   SY (CONT'D)
                         They flew in lobster from Ecuador.
                         I ordered it for us, okay?

               Jay pulls out Faith's chair then sits.

                                   JAY
                         Sounds great.

               Faith shoots Jay a quick glance. Jay ignores her and orders
               white wine and scotch on the rocks from their waiter.

               Sy waves to the waiter.

                                   SY 
                         And another round for us.
                         (turns to Jay) Everything OK on
                         your end?

                                   JAY
                         Couldn't be better.

                                   SY
                         You get my message?

                                   JAY
                         I did. 

                                   SY 
                         We need to talk.

                                   JAY
                         I promised Faith a no-work weekend.

               He glances at Faith.

                                   SY
                         Just eating... and drinking...
                         and..

               Sy leers. Dana slurs her words and flashes a brittle smile.

                                   DANA
                         Skiing, Sy. They'll be skiing.

               The waiter brings their drinks.

                                   SY
                         It's important, partner.

                                   JAY
                         Okay, Sy. I'll make time.

               The conversation devolves to small talk. Sy loses interest
               and gazes at other diners. He nods to those he deems worthy.

               The waiter brings their meal under four silver domes. As soon
               as he places Sy's and lifts the dome, Sy tears it off the
               shell and stuffs the meat into his mouth. The other three
               take their time. 



               INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               The meal is over. The waiter takes their plates. 

                                   WAITER
                         Coffee?

                                   FAITH
                         Please. Black.

                                   JAY
                         Same here.

                                   DANA
                         The cappuchino is really good.

                                   JAY
                         You've had it before?

                                   DANA
                         Last night.

                                   SY
                         How do you think we got this table?
                         Hey, why don't you girls go to the
                         powder room? I want to talk to my
                         partner.

               Dana rises as if she's used to doing Sy's bidding. Faith
               hesitates and glances at Jay, who gives her a slight nod. She
               gets up and follows Dana who walks unsteadily towards the
               ladies room.



               INT. LADIES ROOM - NIGHT

               Upscale ladies room, theater lights on the wall, cloth
               towels, mouthwash, hair spray, and other toiletries. The two
               women wash their hands at the sink.

               Dana looks over at Faith. Her lips part, but no words come
               out. She goes to a brocaded bench, plops down heavily, and
               pulls out her lipstick. Faith appears in the mirror above the
               table. Dana pats the seat next to her. Faith sits.

               Dana looks around, sees they are alone.

                                   DANA
                         You've been a friend to me Faith.
                         You are my friend, right?

               Faith hesitates a beat.

                                   FAITH
                         Of course.

                                   DANA
                         You're the only one, you know. No
                         one likes me. They never did. Sy's
                         kids... well, you know. Second wife
                         and all.

                                   FAITH
                         Kids usually get past that kind of
                         thing.

                                   DANA
                         Not Sy's. 

                                   FAITH
                         It will pass. You have a fairy tale
                         life, Dana. We both do.

                                   DANA
                         That could be, but I have a feeling
                         the monster's at the door. 

               Dana shoots Faith a meaningful look.

                                   FAITH
                         Huh?

                                   DANA
                         I have something to tell you. But
                         it's confidential

               She slurs the word "confidential."

                                   DANA (CONT'D)
                         Something happened with Sy today.
                         And I think it involves Jay.

                                   FAITH
                         They are partners.

                                   DANA
                         This was different. But you can't
                         say anything.

               Dana lifts her index finger to her lips. Faith powders her
               nose.

                                   DANA (CONT'D)
                         Sy had a visitor. They went into
                         Sy's office. They argued. Sy said
                         'I don't fucking believe you.'

                                   FAITH
                         He does have a temper.

                                   DANA 
                         (Shakes her head)
                         Like I said, this was different.
                         After the guy left, Sy tells me
                         he's flying back east on Sunday.

                                   FAITH
                         What was the man's name? 

                                   DANA
                         Sy wouldn't tell me.

                                   FAITH
                         Okay. So why's he flying back?

               Dana shrugs.

                                   DANA
                         But here's the thing. (Pauses).
                         Right after the guy left, Sy called
                         someone else. Before he changed for
                         dinner. 

                                   FAITH
                         And? 

                                   DANA
                         I snuck into his office afterwards
                         and pressed redial.

               Faith arches her eyebrows.
                         It was area code 202. DC. Someone
                         answered 'US Marshals, Mr.
                         Goodloe's office.' 

                                   FAITH
                         I don't get it.

                                   DANA
                         That makes two of us.

                                   FAITH
                         It's probably nothing.

                                   DANA
                         Right. And the moon is made of blue
                         cheese.

               Faith puts her compact away.

                                   DANA (CONT'D)
                         You won't tell, will you, Not Jay.
                         Or anyone. If Sy finds out..." 

               Faith rises.

                                   FAITH
                         We'd better get back.

               Dana goes back to the sink. She fills a paper cup with
               mouthwash, swishes it around, spits it out.



               INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               As the ladies come back to the table SY is gesticulating
               wildly. Jay grins weakly. When Faith sits, Sy's hand
               accidentally brushes her dress.

                                   SY
                         Oh, sorry, Princess.

               Faith grimaces.



               INT. HALF-WAY HOUSE - DAY

               Faith, in jeans and a sweat shirt, is in the kitchen of a
               comfortable but modest house. She cheerfully washes breakfast
               dishes and stacks them in a drain.

               TERRY, a rail-thin woman in her twenties with lank hair but
               bright eyes, is in sweats. She dries.

                                   FAITH
                         So you doing okay, Ter'?

                                   TERRY
                         Sure.

               Faith stops washing and looks at Terry.

                                   FAITH
                         I'm not hearing a resounding 'YEH,
                         Faith, everything's cool.' What's
                         going on?

                                   TERRY
                         Nothing.

                                   FAITH
                         Right. And I'm Grace Slick.

                                   TERRY
                         You really have a thing for her
                         don't you?

                                   FAITH
                         The Airplane was my mother's
                         favorite group. She almost named me
                         for her.

               Terry continues to dry.

                                   TERRY
                         I hear she's a painter now. In
                         Marin County.

                                   FAITH 
                         She was lucky.

                                   TERRY
                         How so?

                                   FAITH
                         She's still alive. 

                                   TERRY
                         What? You think she had a jones?

                                   FAITH
                         Do you?

                                   TERRY
                         I don't think so.

                                   FAITH
                         Because...

                                   TERRY
                         Because her life was going 90 miles
                         an hour. Partying, singing, song
                         writing, sex, success. No down
                         time. Everything was red, yellow,
                         and orange. All the time.

               Faith cocks her head.

                                   TERRY (CONT'D)
                         She was on one big A jones for
                         life. She didn't need H like we do.
                         Or did.

                                   FAITH
                         Plenty of rockers are addicts.

                                   TERRY
                         Yeah, I know. They're the ones that
                         can afford to drop in and out of
                         rehab as many times as they want.
                         Between trips on their private jets
                         to who knows where. But the rest of
                         us? Look at me. I got nothing. No
                         talent, no special gifts. I have to 
                         live in the gray. And there are
                         days when it feels like it's
                         sucking me under.

               Faith keeps her mouth shut. When she turns to Terry, her eyes
               fill.

                                   FAITH
                         But that's it, Terry.

                                   TERRY
                         What?

               Faith runs her fingers down Terry's cheek.

                                   FAITH
                         You've been clean now for how long?

                                   TERRY
                         Eighteen months.

                                   FAITH
                         That's amazing! Even if it's gray,
                         you're alive. Coping. Working the
                         steps. Getting ready for the sun.
                         Lots of people never get that far.

               Faith bites her lip.

                                   FAITH, CONT.
                         Like my mother.

               Terry looks like she wants to say something but dries another
               plate.
  • About Libby

    Compulsively Readable ThrillersLibby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Fifteen novels and twenty-five short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first.

    She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few.