WHN to "Check, Mate and Murder"
Set January 1971
Some co-writers developed their ideas about the future of Jeanine and Robert Duvalier and their relationship to Ironside. Here is my variant.
"Chief Ironside's office, Sergeant Brown speaking."
It was the routine answer heard a hundred times in this office.
Ironside was moving towards the kitchen to start cooking some chili, but when he didn't hear anything further he turned around. The expression on his right-hand man's face was one of shock. Why in blazes didn't he push the loudspeaker button if the call was so important?!
Ed covered the mouthpiece with his hand. "Sir!" He licked his lips as if they were too dry to speak. "Sir – I'm afraid something happened. Could you answer, please?"
"Who is it?" asked the Chief, his voice raspy from worry.
Meanwhile Ironside had reached the table. Not too gently he pulled the receiver from Ed's hand. He heard the voice of a sobbing woman.
Right now Brown heard the door open. It had to be Eve. The Chief needed some privacy now. Therefore Ed jumped up and sprinted up the ramp to stop his colleague.
Eve ran literally into him. It felt like hitting a brick wall. The Sergeant's lean body was all tensed up. "Ouch! Ed, what..."
Quickly Brown steered her back into the hallway and closed the door behind them. She looked up into his pale, stony face and understood that something must have upset him; and it took quite a lot to upset Sgt. Brown. Gently she laid her hand on his shoulder. "What's the matter with you, Ed?"
He shook his head. "Nothing. But the Chief is on the phone. It's Jeanine Duvalier. Her son died."*
"Robert? He was at university, wasn't he?"
"Yes, he was."
Duvalier had gone to a private university in Québec City. "And the Chief encouraged him to join the martial arts team. It appears that there was some kind of accident during a workout."
Slowly the news sunk into Eve's mind and she started to understand. "It's not the Chief's fault!"
"Of course not. But he'll still feel guilty."
"Ed! Where in blazes are you?!"
Obviously the call had come to an end.
The two young detectives entered the office together.
"Chief?" asked Eve sympathetically.
"Mrs. Duvalier will come here. She needs some support right now. And now let's get to work, this is no holiday!"
His voice sounded as factual and commanding as ever, but he couldn't even fool himself this time, and far less his friends. He didn't care if this was a holiday or not. He just needed something to do to calm down.
Technically he was right of course, as always. They were working on something which was hardly their 'standard' case – but then, what exactly was ever 'standard' in this office?
There was something going on in the drug scene.
Trading had increased dramatically, but the police had not been able to find out why and how. The Commissioner had decided that a thorough investigation had to take place. Now the narcotics squad was collecting a huge amount of information about every known drug dealer. Telephones were tapped. Police officers went under cover. Drug addicts were questioned. Nowadays it was no problem to get enough information – on the contrary: there was too much information, and nobody had any idea about how exactly it had to be handled. Therefore Ironside and his team were asked to take the lead. For two weeks now they had been reading hundreds of files, listening to tapes, comparing pictures, discussing possibilities.
Oh, they had found some connections all right. Again and again Ironside had forced his people into looking closely, had kept repeating the important questions, and they were getting on nicely... or at least that's what they were hoping. But it was not enough.
It had become obvious that emigrants from Colombia had been forced into smuggling drugs into the United States. But of course it was no use punishing them. There had to be some kind of mastermind behind the entire organization, a mob boss or maybe an entire family. This was the person or the persons they had to find – and then get convicted, which was another matter yet. As long as they could not do that, hundreds or thousands of young people might get addicted to the seductive poison.
Jeanine arrived the next day.
Mark had picked her up at the airport and then gone to law school.
Eve and Ed were working downstairs.
She looked the same as in Canada – and yet very different. Her frail beauty was pronounced by her mourning clothes. Dark circles under her eyes betrayed her grief.
Ironside felt deeply touched. It was him who had encouraged her son to join the martial arts team. If he hadn't done that, then Robert would most probably still be alive. It was a vote of confidence and forgiveness that Jeanine had come here all the same.
There seemed to be no fitting words to comfort her. Instead of saying something which might hurt her or something sounding superficial Ironside just took her hand and squeezed it very gently.
Tears started to run freely on her face.
"You are all I have left now, Robert," she said, breaking down in his arms.
The wall of her self-restraint collapsed and she started to sob helplessly.
Ironside understood her so well. What he was feeling wasn't just pity. It was a deep feeling of suffering with her. He had lost his wife, and he had lost the mobility of his legs. He knew what grief felt like.
He was just there for her, for a very, very long time. She needed it and he felt that it was the least he could do.
Letting it all out left her completely drained.
Finally Ironside picked her up with his strong arms and lifted her onto his knees like a child, while she clung to his neck.
Not without difficulties he maneuvered his wheelchair with the precious cargo to Mark's room. He helped her settle down on Mark's bed, fully dressed, covering her with Mark's blanket.
"Take your time, Jeanine. When you're up to it we can have something to eat. Just try to relax now."
Of course Mark agreed to sleep on the couch while Jeanine used his room. His dark eyes were clouded with worry – not only about their female guest, but also for his boss.
Ironside pointed out that it was no bother but a joy to have her in San Francisco, and that had nothing to do with her starting to make coffee for the team – which was a huge progress – and even eventually preparing a wonderful dinner for everybody.
With more patience than anybody would have expected him to be capable of he tried to help Mrs. Duvalier to overcome her loss. There were visits to museums, long walks together, dinners in his favorite restaurants. What he had hoped for twenty years ago slowly came into being: they got closer every day.
One evening on the beach he took her hand in his.
"Jeanine – please, please tell me. I need to know the truth. Was or wasn't Robert my son?"
In my universe Robert Duvalier didn't join the police. It's not mentioned in the episode what he would do later on.