01x01 - Pilot

Episode transcripts for this TV show, "Black Bird." Aired: July 8, 2022 – present.
Mini-series about a true story of convicted drug dealer Jimmy Keene who is offered his freedom in exchange for coaxing a confession out of suspected serial k*ller.
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01x01 - Pilot

Post by bunniefuu »

We've all heard that thing

about the butterfly flapping its wings
in Africa,

and months later
there's a hurricane in Miami.

Well, if you haven't, look it up.

It means things you don't think
are connected actually are.

I never knew this girl.

Never met her.

This is the life she knew.

And this is the life I knew.

There I am. There's the kid.

Did you just call yourself "the kid"?

Wait, isn't this the game
you fumbled three times in one quarter?

This is also the game
where I did this, f*ck.

You wouldn't think so,
but it is all connected.

These knuckleheads. That girl on the bike.

Wait. Who's that
streaking down the sideline?

Kankakee's favorite son.

Me, with my million-dollar smile.

Owner of grad school records
that still stand.

Given not one, not two,
but three f*cking scholarship offers.

Hey, it was four, actually.

Christ, Jimmy, you really were something.

What about me?

Well, he made even you look good.

Pride and joy of Kankakee.

- See?
- Okay.

Try not to burn the place down,

and remember to lock up this time.

- Yeah.
- Wait, what's with the pillow?

Anybody heard from Danny?

Here's the real play. Watch this shit.

Right here. Right there.

You f*cking has-been pretty boy.

You know those times where
you think something's gonna go one way,

but it goes sideways?

If I had to pick the moment,

here's where it all started to go sideways
for me.

Like, for f*cking ever.

Hiya, Jimmy.

- Hi, Rog.
- Hop in.

What's with the pillow?

Well, last time I saw you, you said
you kept getting cricks in your neck.

I used to get 'em too.

Discovered this pillow.

Never got 'em again.

You are the most profoundly considerate
f*ck I've ever met.

I thank you, my good man.

Put it in the back.

What's with the orange g*n?

I got a shipment of bean bags.

You know the kind cops f*re
at riots and shit?

They trick the g*n out with weird colors

so they don't load live rounds
during protests,

k*ll some poor f*ck

who's just asking to be treated
like a human being.

So appreciative you came in person
to deal with this. That it...

Touches me in a deep place.

I'm so sorry about that last shipment.

Mistakes happen.

Not a whole kilo, man. I've...

It's f*cking embarrassing.

I mean, I've never been light before.

Not so much as a gram with anyone, ever.

Why would I claim I got shorted?

Hard to know a man's heart.

Come on now.

How did you know
the shortage was on my end?

I know because my guy told me.
And I trust my guy, Danny.

And why do you trust Danny, man?

We grew up together.

That's adorable.

Jimmy. I'm sorry, Jim.

- Danny.
- Jimmy, I'm so sorry.

What did you do?

Tell him.

Tell him.

I stole your key, man.

I needed to get right with Bern's people.

We knew it wasn't us.

I had no idea.

He told me that.

No, Rog, no!

- Okay.
- Bean bag.

Okay, he clipped the key.

Okay? Here's a key.

And a second.

For your trouble.


f*ck, man!


Not a bean bag.

And a third for our friendship.

You know, this isn't just about the money.

Come on. Nothing's just about money,
but they mostly are.

He stole from me.

No, he stole from me.
I'd already paid you.

I came here today to be compensated
if there had been some kind of mistake,

but there wasn't.

Just this assh*le stealing from me.

- But blaming me.
- No, I never blamed you.

- I didn't...
- Shut the f*ck up!

Rog. This guy, I've known him
since first grade. He's like family.

Be like if you were asked
to give up your own brother.

No matter what, could you do it?

You still have half the bag.

My family would be worth the whole bag.

I think we come from
different types of family.

So, you're saying his life is
only worth three kilos?

His life is worth
three times what you lost,

because you lost nothing!

He's only worth three kilos?

Yes! Okay, his life is only worth
three kilos to me!

All I ask of the people I do business with
is their authentic self.

Nice to see you, Jimmy.

You can use the cart to transport
that young rascal to the car.

Have you had a look at the menu, sir?

Jesus. No. I'm sorry…


Could I get a water, please?

And I'll have an answer for you
by the time you're back?

Of course, sir.


Of course, Jimmy.


Hands, f*ck! Hands!

You smiling now, b*tch?

Can I get up now, please?

You just lie there and take it.

We're clear.

Turn it off.

Damn, Jimbo.
What you get up to last night?

You even know her name?


Her last name?

Planning to sh**t up
a local middle school?

That's federal.

f*ck is this, Jimbo?

Jimmy. It's an AK-47.

It's a "no possibility
of reduced sentence."

I got great lawyers.

They turn water into wine?

Hey! You got a visitor.

Window one!

They tried that last time…

Keene. Next up, window two.

Window three, you're up.

You okay?

Did your mother come visit you yet?

She's still pissed I got Tim mixed up
in that thing a while back.

Well… at least your brother's gonna walk.

I'm not?

I talked to some of the guys.

They said the prosecutor, Beaumont,
he's trying to prove something with you.

Prove what?

That he's not part of the machine.

I'm not part of the machine.

I was.

My family.

Your mother's family.

Tell me there's a way out of this.

Not a quick one.

Window four, that's it.

You'll get five years.


Four with good behavior.

The low end
of the sentencing guidelines is

if you take the plea, you get two years.

They're not gonna give you two years.

Why not?

The g*n.

You're not some homey who's running around
capping grandmothers, doing a drive-by.

You didn't sell cr*ck, right?

You're a good kid
who strayed off the path.

You'll have to do the midrange.

How do you know?

I was a cop for 23 years.

And I asked around,
and they all said the same thing.

Midrange of the guidelines.


Out in four.


I never wanted this for you.

I wanted a totally different deal.

Like what?

Like I said.



For you to have,

you know…

No, I don't.

A wife. Kids.

A f*cking dog to play Frisbee with.

And a steady paycheck.

Pension at the end.

I do...

I couldn't have…


…helped you if I lived that life.

I still wanted it for you.

I know.

I know you did, Dad.

You just never mentioned it before.

Four! Window four, all done.

Take the deal. Okay? Plea out.

Okay. In the case of the United States
versus James Keene…

Mr. Beaumont, am I to understand

that the defendant has entered into
a plea agreement with your office?

He has, Your Honor.

And Mr. Steinbeck,

is your client fully aware
of what he's pleading to today?

He is, Your Honor.

Mr. Keene.

Police officer's son, correct?

Yes, sir.

Star athlete at Kankakee High.

I see you're quite generous
with a few local charities.

But what you're pleading guilty to today
is the sale and trafficking of narcotics,

the possession of paraphernalia
associated with the same,

and possession
of multiple illegal firearms.

So, how plead you?


The sheer amount of narcotics
that you trafficked in, Mr. Keene,

is enough to push your sentence
to 25 years.

Which you most certainly
would have gotten at minimum

if your case had gone to trial.

But you did the smart thing today.
You pled.

Still, there are the w*apon,
which one presumes

you were prepared to use
against other human beings

to protect your narcotics.


it is the judgment of the court
the defendant be committed

to the custody of the attorney general
of the United States,

or her authorized representative,

for the minimum guideline term
of 120 months.


Ten years?

Ten f*cking years? Are you kidding me?

You lied to me, Beaumont!
You f*cking lied to me!

You know what this is about?

On or off?


I'm Special Agent Lauren McCauley.

You can call me that or Lauren.

I remember you don't like "Jimbo."

Jimmy, please.

And you know Mr. Beaumont.

Mr. Beaumont sandbagged me
into accepting a five-year plea

when he knew I'd get ten.

So you remember it?

No possibility of parole.

Who takes that deal?


You're a drug dealer.

And you played chicken with us,
and you lost.

Embrace that concept.

Now, sit down.

I hear you're making a real go of prison.

No major beefs.

Seem to get along
with most of the dominant gangs

and successfully avoid
the ones you don't know yet.

And… you've developed a sideline in here?

No shit.

That's in there?

You use your profits to buy

fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat?

Prison food sucks.

So does prison life,

but you seem to have
grabbed it by the b*lls.

What is this sideline, by the way?

Just a service.

He's so modest.

You rent p*rn mags, right?

Hustler. Penthouse. Barely Legal.

How's that work?

They pay for half-hour blocks.

Must be a lot of...
What do they call it in retail? Breakage?

I turn my inventory over a lot.

That's what you called dr*gs too.
Your "inventory."

At least on the tapes I heard.

I'm not surprised you're thriving in here,

I'm not thriving.

Because you're a charming guy.
Everyone likes you.

I've heard you talk
to Mexican cartel guys,

Cabrini-Green bangers,

Outfit goombahs in their tracksuits
at the Elmwood Park Social Club.

You get along with everyone.

I've noticed something else.

After a certain point,

they do most of the talking.

I'm sorry?

You've got your patter,
your funny story or two,

but then you settle back
and just let them run their mouths.

Take me.

Something in those soulful eyes of yours.

The way you sit so still,
so at peace with yourself.

It makes me want to babble, man.
Unlock myself.

You mentioned a point a while back?

You in a rush?
'Cause we can let you get back to it.

No. I'm fine.

You got p*rn to sell, veggies to procure,

and only

nine years,
three months left on your sentence?

- Just tell me what you want.
- I don't wanna hold you up.

Just f*cking tell me why I'm here.


Not as cool as he thinks.

We would like you
to transfer to another prison

and befriend someone
to elicit a confession.

We need the precise location
of a d*ad body.

You need it?

We suspect that the man
that you'll read about in that file

has k*lled 14 women, maybe more.

But we only tied him to two.
And we only have one of the bodies.

We'd like to find the other one.
And maybe 12 more.

And this prison where the guy is?

It's in Springfield, Missouri.

Maximum security,
specializing in the criminally insane.

So… you want me to check in to hell,

cozy up to a f*cking demon,

and ask him all casual,
"Hey, so where'd you bury 13 bodies?"

Is that right?

Not for all the f*cking money
in the world.

How about freedom?

A complete commutation of your sentence.

If I transfer?

If you transfer.

And if you get the location
of Patricia Reitler's body.

No body, no release.

No body, no release.




His conviction's on appeal.
He could win and walk.

If he walks, he'll k*ll again and again
until he f*ck up and gets caught.

The last time,
he k*lled 14 girls before he got caught.

And it won't have anything to do with me.

It will.

You had the chance to stop him,
and you didn't take it.

Look, I'm sorry about these women,
but I don't know them.

And if he gets out,
I won't know the next ones he kills.

I might be sad about it, but…

This kind of deal
won't walk through the door twice.

So, before you spend the next ten years
wondering why you didn't take it…

look at the file.

At the very least,
it'll make unique reading material.

Your attorney has our contact info.

Come on, Brooke!

Come on, Brookie!

- She hung onto it.
- Holy shit. She did!


- Honey, you're going the wrong direction!
- Honey, the other way!

- Wrong direction!
- The other way!

Well, she runs pretty fast.

Yeah. Not bad, right?

Will he be home for dinner?

Not likely.

We found Jessica Roach.

Line it up. Here we go. First down.

Over there. Yeah.

He stepped out right about here.

What did he look like?

He was white. That's about all I saw.

Was he short? Tall? Bald? Not bald?

I didn't get a good look at him.
He hopped in a van and drove off.

What color van?

It was like a gray or brown...

It was night.
It could have been green too, or black.

I know it was a Dodge, for sure.

You don't know the color of the van,
but you know…

I'm a mechanic.
I know a Dodge when I see one.

Vermilion County
Sheriff's Department. Can I help you?

He sure is.

Hey, Len.
You filed a report a couple of weeks ago

on a possible 647 over at Whittier?

Two 14-year-old girls riding their bikes.

Said this perv in a van kept passing them.

Told them he liked their boobies.

- He said "boobies"?
- Yep.

He also asked
if they wanted to take a ride with him.


Yeah, well, they said the van…

the van's gray?

Yep, they got a plate.

- They got what?
- Indiana plate number.

Check the notes at the end of the report.

Okay. Did you run it?

No. The guy drove off.
They never saw him again.

And the girl struck me as
a little dramatic.

You know girls, man.

But be my guest, Brian.

Okay. Thanks, Len.

That van that followed
the two girls in Whittier,

it's been called in three other times
in the last year.

Once in Indianola, once in Olivet,
once near the Dauphin Reserve.

The same complaint every time. Harassment.

And said van is registered to...

Larry D. Hall. Wabash, Indiana.

Your sister told me
your mother actually visited.

She did. She's pissed you brought
your girlfriend to my sentencing.

I've been with Sammy
longer than I was with your mother.

She's pissed Sammy makes me happy.

I just wish you liked her more.

Sam? I like her fine.
She just ain't my mother.


I've been thinking about that deal.

What? You think this place is bad?

Springfield is the kind of prison
that they send subhumans to.

The f*cking freaks with no souls.

Lifers with nothing to lose.

They'll commute my whole sentence.

What happens if you don't get them
what they want?

Then what?

What happens
if you have to defend yourself,

and they tack on another ten f*cking years
to your sentence?

That'd be a death sentence.

We'll find a way.
We'll figure something out.

- How?
- I don't know.

But we're going to find a way.

You've got a call from Wabash PD.

Yeah? Put it through, please.

Detective Miller? Chris Drysdale.

Hey, Chris.

Got a question about a van

registered to a resident of yours,
a Lawrence D. Hall?

Sure. Larry.

You know him?

I grew up with him.

You know him well?

Well enough. It's a small town.

You looking at him for something?

Well, we're just trying to figure out
why a van registered to him

passed through our area
a couple of times in the last year.

You're in Illinois, the girl said.

Georgetown, about 130 miles down the road.

So, he wasn't picking up a gallon of milk.


Or doing Civil w*r shit?

What's that?

Larry's into Civil w*r reenactments.
You know, they dress up in the uniforms.

Larry has these funky muttonchop
sideburns, and they play at the battles.

They do it all over the place.

You should check if they had any
at the times he was around your town.

I bet that will explain it.


Thank you, Chris. I'll look into it.

Yeah, sure enough. Take care.

Vermilion County Parks Department.

Hey, this is Brian Miller
over at the Sheriff's Department,

trying to ascertain whether or not

any Civil w*r reenactors
have filed for permits in the last year?

That could take a bit. Can you wait?

Yes, ma'am, I can. Thank you.

Okay, hold on.

Okay. Are you still there?

Yes, ma'am.

Sorry, we have no record
of a Civil w*r reenactment

over the last three years.


Well, thank you for your time.
Appreciate it.

However, there was a Revolutionary w*r.

What is that?

I said there was
a Revolutionary w*r reenactment though.


Last summer, Forest Glen Park.

The exact date was,

let me see, July 19th.


Hello, are you still there?


Okay. Thank you.



Where's Dad?

He came in from the yard last week
talking funny, you know,

like he was drunk, but he wasn't.

He said that he had a headache.

You know, he...

He went to sit down,
but he missed the chair.

And the side of his face went all droopy...

- He had a stroke?
- Yeah.

- Is he alive?
- Yeah. He's alive.

He was in the hospital for a few days,
but now he's out.

Is he okay?

Is he okay?

Told me to say he was…

but he's not.

He can't talk all the way right,
and he walks kinda to the side.

He's really weak, and he tires.

He's not good at all, no.

When did it happen?

Last week. Wednesday.

- Why didn't anybody tell me?
- I am telling you.

Before. Someone should have called me.
I'm his son.

Well, he is like a baby right now.

I had to have my sister drive two hours
to watch him so I could come and tell you.

What do you want? A f*cking parade?

You know, the doctor said
it was stress that did it.

Know what caused that stress?
You. In here.

It is all he ever f*cking talks about.

His poor Jimmy doing time
because he was a bad father.

He was a bad father. Didn't do his job.

Well, listen to me. He did his job.

Nobody made you sell that shit.

Nobody put a g*n to your head.

And now you're in here,
and it is k*lling him.

You through?

He told me you got some way of getting out
of here earlier than the ten years.

He don't got ten years.

And if you stay in here,
he don't got three.

Detective Drysdale, this is Brian Miller
from Georgetown again.

Hey, Brian.

Yeah, well, that Civil w*r tip you gave us
really paid off. Thank you for that.

You said you grew up with Larry.

Well, what's he like?

A harmless weirdo.

Sorry, I got "harmless."

I said, he's a harmless weirdo.

Uh-huh. Why weirdo?

Well, the sideburns, like I said.

He grew up
with a mom and dad who were odd.

And the cemetery, you know.

The cemetery?

A what?

A gravedigger.
Larry grew up on a graveyard.

But he's harmless.

Why would you say that?

He just is. He's a twerpy kinda guy.

He got b*at up a bunch in school.


The thing is,
there's a girl that went missing...

The college girl?

He confessed to that, but he didn't do it.

Marion PD cleared him.

Said he was a serial confessor.

But no, I...

He confessed in a missing persons case?

In Marion, yeah.

They ascertained he was full of shit.

But that's Larry. He's always trying
to make himself look bigger than he is.

Let me call you from my landline.


I'm back.

Yeah. So, Chris, the thing is,

we got a girl, went missing,
turned up d*ad.

And you think Larry Hall
could have something to do with it?

Well, we don't know.

What we do know is a van was seen
driving around the area

and, you know, he was creeping out girls
in the area on more than one occasion.

So, with your help,
we'd like to talk to him.

Well, I mean…

I have to disagree with you here.

On which part?

Where Larry Hall could have
anything to do with a d*ad girl.

He just likes to talk.

Like in Marion.

They got the guy who did it,
and it sure wasn't Larry.

Fair enough.

I'll call him in here,
and I'll get us a room.

I'll set it up.

10:00 tomorrow work for you?

Yes. Sure. Yes.

You think you can get him there
without a hitch?

If I can't, I'll call you.

Else, I'll see you at 10:00.


- I said, okay.
- I heard the word.

Why don't you elaborate?

I'll accept the transfer

and befriend this sick f*cking puppy
and get you what you want.

So, let's get to it.

I'm glad you've made yourself available.

But I never said the job was yours.

I asked if you were interested.

- Now I know you are.
- Wait a second.

We're looking at more than one applicant
for the position.

f*ck are you talking about?

I just told you.

I'll let my bosses know
you're amenable to a transfer

and put your name in the hat for the job.

And we'll go from there.

Keep doing your homework.

You're not going to want to blow
the job interview, believe me.

Hi. Detective Miller.
I have a 10:00 a.m. with Drysdale.

- Brian?
- Chris!

Hey, it's good to meet you.


- He in a box?
- Larry?

No, he's across the street.

We got him in a conference room
with the Marion guys.

The detectives?

Yeah. They want to question him
on the Reitler case.

We wanted to observe.

But I was hoping that he would be at ease.

Not think anything was up.

Well, he spent a whole day
with the Marion guys once, driving around.

He's pretty relaxed with them.

Why were they driving around?

He claimed he could take them to a body.
Patricia Reitler's.

- But he didn't, because, like I said...
- Yeah, no.

He's "full of shit." I know.

Detective Russ Aborn, Brian Miller,
with the Vermilion Sheriffs.


Derek's in with him now,
sh**ting the shit.

I know you like him
for some d*ad girl in your town,

but we wasted a day with this guy
on the Reitler case.

And he dragged us all around,
one cornfield to the next,

and he didn't do it.

So, I doubt he did yours.

He just likes confessing to cops.

Good to know.

Derek Johansen.

Now, those are some exquisite burnsides.

Named after General Ambrose Burnside,

a civil w*r general
from around these parts, right?

A lot of people call them sideburns,
but the proper term is burnsides, yeah.

Well, yours are impressive,
no matter what they're called.

You leave them in place year-round?

Yeah, it's easier than having to regrow
them before every reenactment.

You do both the Civil w*r
and Revolutionary w*r reenactments, right?

Sorry, I'm Brian.

I'm with the Vermilion County Sheriffs
in Georgetown.



Never heard of it.

We had a Revolutionary w*r reenactment.

I guess it was one town over.
The same county.

You didn't attend a Revolutionary w*r
reenactment in Illinois last summer?

I don't know, maybe.

Well, yeah, he did a lot of this
when he was leading us to Tricia Reitler.

"I don't know, maybe."

Didn't you, Larry?

C'mon, tell him, Larry.

Tell him how you, I don't know, maybe.

And, I can't quite remember...

If you want to question Mr. Hall
in your case,

why don't you go ahead and arrange a time.

Right now,
I'd like to chat with him about mine.

By all means, chat.

All right, Larry,
this is Georgetown right here, okay?

And this is Forest Glen Park.


McHenry Township, right up here.

And this would have been
where the reenactment take place.

McHenry. Yeah, I've been there.

Last summer?

I mean,
I think so, yeah. Like around there.

I know that there's a Hardee's...


No, it's okay.

I remember there was a Hardee's
right around here.

That's right. They do, Larry.
It's right here.

I had a sandwich and some french fries

when I was driving around
trying to find a guy who had a Charger.

A Dodge?

Yeah. I have a '82 Dodge van,
and some of the parts are interchangeable.

Did you ever find the guy?

No, I don't think that I did.

- But you drove around looking?
- Yep.

Larry loves Dodges. Heard all about them
that day we drove him around.

Yeah, well, I like Mopar parts.

I'll find these little junkers
that are rusted underneath a tree

or behind some of these people's houses.

They're not doing nothing with them.

So… maybe I know a body shop

that… needs a tailpipe

or… filter housing,

and then I'll just buy it for 20
and resell it for 35.

Must be a lot of driving around.

Oh, yeah. A lot of miles.

But I like to drive.

And when you were driving around,
do you remember talking to two girls?

I asked for directions.
They were very rude.

How were they rude?

They told me to...

Sorry, what?

Told me to go f*ck myself.

Did you exchange words with them?

I did. It was all in fun.

Like the misunderstanding
with the jogger, Larry?


- Yeah.
- Misunderstanding?

Larry had some words with
a jogger in town a few times.

She accused him of stalking her.

I didn't stalk anyone.

Yeah, I can't help it if I drive home

past where some girl runs
the same time every day. I mean...

Come on, Larry.
Was a little more to it than that.

And she smiled at me.

- She smiled at you?
- Yeah.

Abby, the...

The jogger.

And you know her name?

Yeah, it's a small town.

Larry, these two girls in my town...

You know,
I was just goofing around with them.

If they said that there was more to it,

then they just didn't get the joke,
I'm sorry.

I would never dream of hurting two girls.

Well, you might dream of it.

All right.
What are you guys talking about?

Larry has vivid dreams.

Tell Brian here about your dreams, Larry.

They're just dreams.

Just tell me about 'em.

In my dreams, I...

In my dreams,
I, like… k*ll women… you know?


They're just dreams.

Tell me more.
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