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Two policemen see their personal and professional lives fall apart in the wake of the "Black Dahlia" murder investigation.
[last lines] Kay Lake: Come inside.
Madeleine Linscott: Get the picture? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Technicolor.
Ellis Loew: This killer will be caught!
Elizabeth Short: Please, say that you care, or say that you think that I'm... beautiful.
The Coroner: On gross pathology, we have a female Caucasian between sixteen and thirty. The cadaver is presented in two halves with bisection level with the umbilicus. Through and through lacerations of both mouth corners. No visible bruising on the neck. Rectangular abrasions on the wing tips of the sphenoid bones. And, oh! A puncture wound, here, in the palm. On the palm of the right hand. Investigation of upper half abdominal cavity reveals no free-flowing blood. Intestines, stomach, spleen, liver - all removed. Russ Millard: Is it all right to smoke, doctor? The Coroner: She won't mind. Lower half of cadaver reveals removal of all reproductive organs. Both legs broken at the knee. Questions? Russ Millard: What's your best guess? The Coroner: Well, here's what she wasn't - she wasn't raped and she wasn't pregnant. In terms of the nitty gritty, the cause of death is either the mouth wound here or she was beaten to death with something like a baseball bat. Lee Blanchard: What about her insides? The Coroner: They came out posthumously. I'd say then he drained the blood from the body and washed it clean, probably in a bathtub.
Madeleine Linscott: Elizabeth and I made love once. I just did it to see what it would be like with someone who looked like me.
[first lines] Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Mr. Fire versus Mr. Ice. For everything people were making it out to be, you'd think it was our first fight. It wasn't. And it wouldn't be our last.
Frolic Bartender: The Dahlia's a sister?
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [upon seeing a stuffed dog in the hallway] Who's this? Madeleine Linscott: Balto. The paper is the LA Times for August 1, 1926. Balto was bringing in the paper when daddy found out he made his first million. He wanted to consecrate the moment, so he shot him.
Kay Lake: [to Bucky, about Madeleine] She looks like that dead girl! How sick are you?
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [In voiceover] The rich live differently. I guess they get to die differently too.
Pete Lukins: Guess what I hear is right. You'll want to place this with Mickey Cohen's indie. He's got Blanchard, two to one. [Pete shows Bucky an envelope of cash, but Bucky ignores it] Pete Lukins: That confident, huh? You done your homework? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Yeah. I've done my homework. I'm not betting on me, Pete. Blanchard's the hereo here. That's the way the story's supposed to go. I'm just the other guy.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Always she'd be there. Never between us; always in the middle.
Russ Millard: [debriefing the police officers] Listen up! Gentlemen, thank you. Raymond Junior Nash. Statutory rape, armed robbery, felony mayhem. Texas State Prison. Alcatraz. Ellis Loew: Mr. Nash pistol-whipped a little old lady in a stickup near Leimert Park, Tuesday morning. She died last night. Russ Millard: Anything common in the sex beefs? Ellis Loew: Negro girls. Young ones. All the complainants have been coloreds.
Lorna Mertz: Poor Betty... her problem wasn't too many enimies; it was too many friends.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Losing the first Bleichert-Blanchard fight got me local celebrity Warrants and close to nine grand in cash. Winning the rematch got me a sprained wrist, two dislocated knuckles, and the rest of the day off.
Kay Lake: [to Lee] Keep talking about me in the third person. It sends me.
Russ Millard: Hollywood will fuck you when no-one else will.
Russ Millard: All right, listen up. No reporters view the body. You photo men - finish taking your pictures now. Coroner's men - put a sheet on the body as soon as they are done. We set up a perimeter six feet back. Any reporter crosses it - arrest him. Now gentlemen, before this gets out of hand, let's put the kibosh on something. With publicity, you get confessions. With confessions, you get crazies, liars, and false leads. So, we keep some things quiet. The uh, ear to ear facial lacerations, disembowelment - you keep this information to yourselves. Not your wives, not your girlfriends, and no other officers, and I mean no... Bleichert, what the hell are you doing here? Where the hell's Blanchard? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: He's right here.
Lorna Mertz: She had a tendency to... [pauses] Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: ...stretch the truth? Lorna Mertz: No! She fuckin' lied!
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover, upon seeing the letters "BD" carved into Kay's back] Bobby DeWitt. Who are these men who feed on others? What do they feel when they cut their names into somebody else's life? [pause] Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: It was the case that made Lee's career. He never said a word about it and I'd never asked. One of Lee's snitches fingered Bobby DeWitt, a small-time pimp with a yard-long rap, as the brains behind the job. DeWitt never spoke the entire trial, never coughing up the dough even after damning character testimony from some of his girls, including one Katherine Lake, formerly of Siox Falls, South Dakota and looking to go straight. DeWitt got ten to life in San Quentin. Lee got Kay, or maybe it was the other way around.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] Junior Nash was an inbred Okie shit-kicker who came west and took all us locals for easy marks just because we prefer our cowboys to look like Gene Autry. Of course, I didn't care if he was a hard man or what he thought about anything. He raped children and beat senior citizens to death. He was a coward, and I wanted to put him down.
Kay Lake: Well, this is nice, isn't it? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: What? Kay Lake: You and Lee partners. It's nice. It couldn't have worked out better if you'd planned it, could it, Dwight? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Well, I could've beat him. Lee Blanchard: Except you didn't. Kay Lake: I don't know, sweetheart. Bucky was somebody back in the day. And here we all are... Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: It's nice. Kay Lake: It's more than nice. Might even be worth those front teeth of yours, Dwight. [Lee and Kay laugh, and Bucky stands up to raise his glass] Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: A toast... to Proposition B. Lee Blanchard: [raising his glass] To the Bleichert-Blanchard rematch, bigger than Louis-Schmeling. Kay Lake: [raising her glass] To my... supercops!
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [holding his pistol at a corporal's head] Adios yourself back to the halls of Tripoli, shitbird, I've got business with the lady.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Fire and ice.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Let's change the subject. Sheryl Saddon: All right. How about the world of high finance? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: How about the movies? You girls are all trying to break in, right? Sheryl Saddon: [showing off her Egyptian costume] Darling, I'm in. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Congratulations. How about Betty? Sheryl Saddon: Maybe once. Maybe not at all. She came around last Christmas, bragging about getting her big break. Guess after all those screen tests, she finally got a part. But, she had a tendency to... Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Stretch the truth? Sheryl Saddon: No. She fucking lied.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Slumming, Miss Linscott? Madeleine Linscott: I am, now.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: I don't get modern art. Madeleine Linscott: I doubt modern art gets you, either.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Where's your sketch pad? Kay Lake: I was never any good. Ended up with a master's in history. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Education's an expensive habit. Kay Lake: Lee paid for it. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: He shouldn't have quit fighting. Kay Lake: I asked him to. Besides, police work gives him a sense of order. Do you have a girlfriend, Dwight? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: I'm saving myself for Rita Hayworth.
Sheryl Saddon: Poor Betty. Her problem wasn't too many enemies. It was too many friends. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: I gathered that.
Emmet Linscott: What kind of name is Bleichert? Dutch? Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: German. Emmet Linscott: Ah, a great people, the Germans. Hitler was a bit excessive.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] I lost a lot of things in life... but never a fight for money. I was trading Warrants for a close-out on old bad debts. The eight grand I was going to clear was enough to maintain the old man in a good, clean rest home for three years. The late round tank job - enough to convince myself I wasn't a complete coward.
Russ Millard: Stupid son of a bitch, getting himself killed over a little mope like Bobby DeWitt. Damn. Did you tell Kay? [Bucky nods] Russ Millard: Well, that's as far as it goes then. Mo Friedman was right. Our boy doesn't need any more headlines. Neither does Kay. [points to boxes of evidence for the Black Dahlia case] Russ Millard: This... I want you to stick with me here. We are going to make something of this.
Madeleine Linscott: [to Bucky] I think you'd rather fuck me than kill me. But you don't have the guts to do either.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [voiceover] The gym was packed to the rafters. A wild crowd hungry to see what was in us. I already knew what was in us. Ambition, pride, dissatisfaction at a life turned just the wrong way.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: You're here for a drug deal with Morrie Friedman. I know that. Bobby DeWitt: Look, I'm just looking for a place to take a piss. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Lee Blanchard's here. Did you know that? Bobby DeWitt: Blanchard? Man oh Manischewitz, I ain't seen Blanchard since my fucking trial. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Yeah, but he's been on your mind. And you've been on his mind. I'm thinking that you let word out there knowing he'd come down here. Bobby DeWitt: Look, maybe I flapped my trap at trial. Maybe I was thinking revenge, maybe talking trash to my cellies, but all I know is what I read in the papers, and when that fucker killed them niggers... Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: Finish up. Bobby DeWitt: I don't know what his version is. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: What's your version? Bobby DeWitt: Sir, all this between me and Blanchard is that I fucked this big-tittied Dakota cunt named Kay Lake.
[after an earthquake shakes the police station] Lee Blanchard: [on the phone] Yeah, it's an earthquake. I heard it.
Kay Lake: [after Bucky enters behind her] Hello, Dwight. Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: How'd you know it was me? Kay Lake: Lee stomps.
Ofcr. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert: [walking out on her] You stupid slut! Madeleine Linscott: Stay, Sugar, stay!
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