The Interrogation Scene

by robhayeswritesplays

A meeting room, Scotland Yard.

Detective Inspector Rex stands staring out the window, chain smoking.

Detective Inspector Harris sits at a table, staring at the floor.

HARRIS He won’t talk.

REX He’ll talk.

HARRIS I’m telling you he won’t talk.

REX He’ll talk.

HARRIS You go in there then. You make him blab. Cos I’ve been at it three hours and he hasn’t so much as opened his mouth to bloody breathe.

Rex takes a long drag.

REX Have you asked him?

HARRIS Asked him what?

REX Who killed Constable Bailey?

HARRIS Course I’ve asked him. What the hell do you think I’ve been doing?

REX I mean, have you asked him?

HARRIS I just said yes didn’t I? You heard. You’ve been watching.

REX I never saw you ask a question. I saw you bark a statement.

HARRIS Bark a statement?

REX You announced the words. You leaned into his face and offered the statement. Who. Killed. Constable. Bailey. You didn’t ask him, like you expected an answer. Not like you ask someone about their holidays, or what they had for tea last night. You played your role. And he played his.

HARRIS So what do you want me to do?

REX I want you to go in there and inquire of him the information you need. And I want you to stand there and expect an answer.

Harris rubs his face.

REX Well go on then.

Harris leaves.

Rex smokes.

Harris re-enters. He sits down.

REX Well?

HARRIS I asked him.

REX And?

HARRIS He gave me an answer alright. Says Billy Dexter did it. Lured him to the warehouse on a false lead then stabbed him.

REX He’s lying.

HARRIS What?

REX You think he’d give in that easily? There’s more. I can smell it.

HARRIS We’ve got a name. What more do you want?

REX I want the truth.

HARRIS He told me the truth!

REX Did you look him in the eye?

HARRIS Oh for fuck.

REX When you asked him, did you look him in the eye?

HARRIS I can’t remember.

REX You wanna get the truth? You gotta hold a man’s gaze. Stare deep into his soul. Connect with him. Only man who can tell a lie under that kind of scrutiny is a psychopath. And if we know one thing from his file, it’s that he’s not a psychopath.

HARRIS So now what?

REX I want you to go back in there.

HARRIS You’ve gotta be kidding. He said Billy Dexter. We can sew this up.

REX Why did you join the force, Pete? Was it to clog up our nation’s prisons with inveterate cannon fodder like Billy Dexter, whilst the real criminals wander free? Or was it to bring justice to our streets?

HARRIS Think it was the management opportunities.

REX Get in there, look our boy in the eye, and get me the truth.

Harris wearily gets up, exits.

Rex smokes.

Harris re-enters. Sits down, dazed.

HARRIS It’s Duke Spencer. He ordered the hit on Bailey. Paid good money to make it look like a stab and grab.

REX And Billy Dexter?

HARRIS A patsy. Paid off to take the fall. Eight grand for every year of time served.

REX Poor old Billy.

HARRIS This is huge Rex. We can bring down the entire organisation on a testimony like that. Duke Spencer’s been at the head of the family for twenty years. If he gets a stretch, it’ll put the entire city trafficking trade on its knees.

REX Nope.

HARRIS What do you mean nope?

REX It’s useless.

HARRIS Useless? This is a promotion. It’s our ticket to early retirement!

REX There’s more to it. A lot more. I can feel it.

HARRIS How?! How can there be more to it? It goes right to the top for Christ’s sake.

REX When you asked him, and looked into his eyes, did you make him feel loved?

Beat.

HARRIS I beg your pardon?

REX The only way to draw out the truth – and I mean the real truth, rather than not lies – is to make them feel like it really matters. Like you care so deeply about their behaviour that for them to act in anything other than perfect decency will not only let you down, it’ll break your little heart.

HARRIS I can’t do this any more.

REX You think he’s ever been loved? Look at the file. No siblings. Foster care. Two failed marriages. Three estranged kids. Six business partners in ten years. You really think he’s ever felt true love? Do you, Harris, believe that the man through there has ever felt that his actions have personal consequences on any other living being? I need you to depend on him. I need you to care for him. Will him to do the right thing. Weep for his soul. Beg for his attention. Pete, I need you to love him.

HARRIS Can I say anything at this point to.

REX Don’t make me pull rank.

Harris drags himself out of the room.

REX smokes.

Harris re-enters, beleaguered. He collapses onto a chair, shaking his head in disbelief.

HARRIS I loved that man more that my own wife. I did things to him I never thought I could do to anyone.

REX And?

HARRIS Duke Spencer’s a cog, Rex. A cog in a very large machine. And driving that machine is Chief Superintendent Shepherd. He manages a network of bribery, kickbacks, racketeering, blind-eyes, and extortion that touches every layer of Scotland Yard. From the beat lads to top brass, Shepherd has puppets at every level. He’s got all the crime lords in his pocket. He’s running the entire game from his office. From this building, Rex. That boy in there has enough evidence to put every man who’s ever worn a uniform on the dock. The apple’s rotten Rex. Rotten to the core. Even our pension fund and bonus schemes are built entirely on dirty money. The filthiest money there is. When this comes out, it’ll threaten to destroy the not only infrastructure of the British Force, but the very concept of policing in a democratic, free market economy.

A long beat. Rex smokes.

REX Shall we arrest Billy Dexter?

HARRIS Yeah alright.

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