Set-up

A Cagney and Lacey fanfic based on characters created by Barbara Avedon and Barbara Corday. I wrote this story for the enjoyment of those who miss watching Cagney and Lacey (and characters like them) on TV. I would appreciate any comments or reviews - Joanne siderius@netidea.com

January, 2001

The blonde at the end of the bar had been here over an hour without touching her drink. Nor the bottle of scotch she had ordered. Who can figure. The bartender turned away to answer the phone.

She looked up as he spoke. BARTENDER

Your name Cagney?

She nodded.

BARTENDER

Phone. You can take it over there (gesturing with the cloth in his hand to the phone hanging on the timber post at the corner of the bar. He turns to tend to another customer).

CAGNEY (into the phone)

Cagney

VOICE ON THE PHONE

Fourth floor at Wendell and Phillips. 10PM.

The line went dead. She knew that voice.

Christine Cagney leaned her head on the rough wood of the post. God she wanted a drink. She had two choices. She could drink herself into a stupor and watch impassively as her world fell to pieces. Or she could walk into an obvious trap. She slowly places the receiver back into the phone cradle. Chris recalls saying to Mary Beth long ago: We always have choices. Who knows if the choices we make are the right ones?

She walks slowly back to her seat. Chris picks up her glass, turns and raises it to the two undercover cops keeping her under surveillance. She meets their eyes and smiles coldly as she puts the drink back on the bar.

The bartender watches as the two men wait, and then follow her out the door. He collects his tip and the untouched bottle. There was a story there. The brief spark of curiosity dies, however, as he turns to serve another drink. *** Same night in major cases squad room

She tightened her gun holster and checked her gun. Lt. Mary Beth Lacey hesitated. An anonymous call - a tip. In any other situation the acting head of Major Cases would call in the swat team, apprehend the suspects and wind up the case - however the chips fell. Despite the evidence, she knew that Christine Cagney was not guilty. But someone had to bring the suspended Captain in - before Cagney did something stupid - before someone got hurt. Damn Chris. Partners for 23 years - and still she hadn't turned to Mary Beth - had tried to handle this on her own. Mary Beth lowered her head and made one of the most difficult decisions of her life. She put on her flack jacket and then dialed Inspector Patricia Hong. *** Earlier that week

Rats are patient. Rifts of fog tore through the halos of light surrounding the street lamps. A breeze off the waterfront lifted the cold wall briefly - then the damp cold air clamped down on the wet street again. The whistling had long receded before the sound of teeth tearing at the garbage bag started. An arm fell free from the bag, slowly falling over to lie exposed on the pavement. There would be a feast tonight. ***

Detective Smith looked up as the two cops from Major Cases arrived. No matter how much sense it made - he hated turning his case over. He glanced again at the body, and then walked over to meet the two women.

Mary Beth Lacey walked over and shook hands with Smith and the other officers and introduced herself. She hated these cases. Mutilated bodies in garbage bags. She also knew how unwelcome interference from Major Cases would be. She could remember doing all the leg work on a case - only to lose the case to the "guys uptown". But several of these cases had turned up over the city - making it the domain of Major Cases. Capt. Cagney spared little time for introductions but walked directly over to the body. Lacey sighed. A little courtesy greased many wheels. Oh well. She smiled at Smith and both cops walked over to join Cagney. Detectives Reynolds and Verigen from Major Cases arrive in a squad car.

Cagney is crouched beside the headless torso and the severed limbs gathered from the trash.

CAGNEY

Does the M. O. match the other murders, Detective?

SMITH

I don't know. We'll need confirmation from Forensics, of course, Captain, but at first guess, I'd say - no. This is a guy - similar M.O to the Trashman. but this time a guy. I'd say he was killed last night - strangled, cut up and dumped here. We're looking for witnesses.

Cagney looks up at Lacy. Lacey has noticed the same details. Details specific to the Trashman killings. Details not released to the press or to the local precincts. The M.O. did not fit.

A uniformed officer calls from further down the alley.

The head had been dumped separate from the rest of the body parts. The rats had marred what facial features were left. It was obvious however, that the victim had been shot behind the ear - execution style. Cagney and Lacey looked at each other. A copycat killing? A mob killing? Cagney stood and looked at Smith.

CAGNEY

Thank you Detective. Please send any files over as soon as possible. Detective Reynolds here will supervise the crime scene. We'd appreciate any co-operation you can give us.

Smith shook hands with both detectives as they left. He, Reynolds and Verigen walked back to process the crime scene.

*** Cagney was at her desk two days later, going over all the information available on the Trashman killings and on the killing found by the waterfront. It didn't match. Either the killer knew about the missing index finger and set up a gang murder to look like a Trashman killing or the Trashman had changed his M.O. Neither idea made sense.

LACEY (dropping some files on Chris' desk)

The I.D. came back on that waterfront killing. Victor Boticelli.

CAGNEY (grabbing the files and looking up at Lacey)

You're kidding!

Major Cases, and Cagney in particular, had been looking for Boticelli for over a year. He ran a prostitution ring and was funded heavily by the mob.

Looks like his luck finally ran out, eh?

Shut the door and sit down, Mary Beth.

So. Tell me what you think about this killing. . LACEY (pulling a chair up to Cagney's desk)

Chris, the copycat aspect bothers me. It makes no sense. And how did the killer know about the missing fingers and not know about the needle marks?

CAGNEY

A leak? You and I are the only ones who know about the needle marks, Mary Beth. That means a leak from the squad, one of the precincts or the coroner's office.

LACEY

Fine, but what link is there between whoever leaked the information and this killer?

CAGNEY

I don't know. (looking at the pile on her desk). The answer must be here. We're missing something obvious. (changing subjects)

How is Reynolds working out?

Detective James Reynolds was the newest member of the Major Cases Squad. Cagney had grown into the habit of assigning new detectives to her second in command. Lacey was an excellent teacher and a great judge of character. And Cagney had much more patience for other duties.

LACEY

Fine. He's very quiet and very conscientious.

CAGNEY (hearing the hesitation in Lacey's voice)

And?

LACEY

He is more than quiet. Almost like he always has something else on his mind. He does a good job, though. It's just odd.

CAGNEY

Quiet can be good, Mary Beth.

*** She didn't hear him approach and she jumped when he spoke. She felt like he had been watching her. Too much coffee and too little sleep.

REYNOLDS

Captain. I need to talk to you.

It was late in the evening and they were the only two in the squad room. Time to go home. She turned the computer off and turned to him.

CAGNEY

Sit down Reynolds. What's on your mind?

REYNOLDS

It's Lt. Lacey, Captain.

CAGNEY (her voice neutral)

Yes, Detective?

REYNOLDS

Captain, I came to you because I don't know what else to do. (Cagney leans forward and waits for him to continue. He is obviously having a hard time telling her what he has come to say. He clears his throat.)

She is withholding information Captain, and I believe she may have leaked information on the Trashman killings. *** She was still at her desk - the only cop in the squad room. She looked again at the piece of paper Reynolds had given her. She knew Lacey was innocent. But Reynolds couldn't possibly know she could prove her partner's innocence. Why was he trying to frame Lacey? And what was she going to do about it? Procedure dictated that she notify Internal Affairs and let the truth come out in an investigation. No cop liked bringing IAD into their own squad. But there was more here than met the eye. She reached for the phone to call Lacey. She withdrew her hand. Much more than met the eye. She grabbed her coat, and left, taking the paper with her. *** She stood with her back against the cold wind. Newspapers scudded across the lot and dust blew up from the nearby road. An empty lot. What was Reynolds playing at? An informant had told him that Lacey had met Boticelli's boss here two days ago? That this was a business that laundered money. Something was very, very wrong. Cagney walked back to the car. She couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched. Tomorrow morning she would talk to IAD. *** TCZUCK

Your badge and gun please, Captain.

IAD had been waiting for her in her office when she had arrived the next morning. Reynolds had gone to them first - before setting her up. A body had been found in the vacant lot - a mob informant - and her car had been seen leaving the scene late last night. A neat trap. He had gone to IAD with the same information he had shown her. But the story had changed - this time she was the leak, she was the one withholding information. Missing information had been found in her desk. Information he had failed to report. All circumstantial, but enough to put her on suspension until the investigation was over.

Cagney placed her gun and badge on her own desk, turned on her heel and left. She had listened to the charges and had refused the IAD request for an immediate interview. She had the right to a lawyer. She would raise department hackles bringing a lawyer into an internal investigation, but it would buy her time. And she needed time. She was in trouble. Lacey could be in trouble. And Reynolds- that little bastard - was the key. ***

LACEY

Chris, wait up!

Chris!

Cagney turns and waits for her. The last thing she can do is involve Lacey. Not until she knows what Reynolds is playing at. With IAD sniffing around, the further she stays away from Mary Beth the better - Reynolds has already shown he is willing to use Lacey to get at Chris.

CAGNEY

Go back Mary Beth. I've splashed enough mud on you.

Go back.

LACEY (grabbing Cagney's arm and forcing her to turn)

What is going on?

Don't shut me out now Chris!

Cagney shakes free.

CAGNEY

Mary Beth, I don't want to talk about it. I can't talk about it. Just stay away from me. Please. Look after Harv and Alice. I will deal with this.

Lacey stands and watches her friend walk away. Look after her family? What was going on? Mary Beth was angry - she hated being shut out and she didn't know what had happened. And she was worried. Chris had as much told her to be careful - of what? Of who? Damn. What hadn't Chris told her? She had no idea how to help Chris. Lt. Lacey turned and walked back to Number One Police Plaza. She was now acting head of Major Cases. *** same night as scene 1 Another late night at Number One Police Plaza. Lt. Lacey is behind the commander's desk. She didn't believe the charges and she certainly didn't believe Reynolds. Mary Beth Lacey had called in a few favours, had done a little digging on the computer and had come to her own conclusions. Reynolds had quite a history and IAD had swept the information under the rug. She was still working out the details when the phone rang. An anonymous tip. A tip that would demand action. Lacey tried Cagney's cell phone again. Damn. Where was Chris? *** Thirty years of experience stood her in good stead as Cagney shook the two detectives tailing her. Chances were they knew where she was going. No need to let them know she knew that they knew. She smiled to herself as she disappeared down the subway - who knows, they might even come in useful before the evening was over. *** The bubble swung red bolts of light into the night and the siren wailed as Lacey blared the horn at a pedestrian. Hong now knew everything Lacey knew and had promised to back her decision - had provided backup from outside the squad. Speed was everything. But even Lacey did not know the whole story and events were moving much too fast. *** It was another cold night. Corner of Wendell and Phillips. Not quite 9:00 PM. She was waiting and watching in the shadows of the building across the street. No sign of the officers tailing her - had they been called off? Someone wanted no witnesses. She looked at her watch again. No sense turning up when she was expected. But then, whoever set her up would expect her to be early. And if her hunch was right, they were well acquainted with how Capt. Cagney operated. Cagney checked her gun. An illegal gun - there had been no time to register it. Chances were she would never have to answer for the violation. Chances were she wouldn't be walking away from this one. She couldn't help but smile to herself. But then again - she still had a trick or two they might not be expecting. She tucked the gun into her belt and crossed the street. *** Chris had run surveillance on the building years ago - from the very spot where she now stood. Safe in the building next door. This was a great view of the meeting room in the next building - and of anyone entering the building. They would expect her to turn up early and they might expect a trick - but they would certainly expect her. Let them wait. She would pick the time - if she chose to show up at all. *** Lacey threw her hands up in frustration. Where were they? She wasn't that late. And where was her back up? *** The gun barrel is cold against her neck. Cagney drops her gun and raises her hands as she turns to meet the eyes of Sarah Jones.

CAGNEY (a statement)

Sarah.

JONES (picking up Cagney's gun)

Surprised to see me Chris?

CAGNEY

Sarah. What are you doing?

JONES

Waiting for you.

(pocketing her own gun and covering Chris with her own gun)

Remember how you couldn't lie for me? I killed a vicious rapist - one you couldn't catch - and you couldn't see your way clear to keep me out of prison.

CAGNEY

Sarah, that's not fair. I bent the rules for you. I tried to do everything I could to stop you from making a mistake.

JONES (cocking the gun and holding it to Cagney's forehead)

Did you Chris? What if it had been Lacey? You wouldn't have lied for her?

CAGNEY (softly)

She wouldn't have asked me to lie.

JONES (pulling the gun back and holding in Cagney's face)

It was a test, you know. You didn't turn her in to IAD did you? - You couldn't turn Lacey in.

CAGNEY

You didn't know everything, Sarah. I knew Lacey was innocent. And I knew it was a set up.

JONES

Liar! You protected her. I spent three years in prison. Have you ever tried to get work after going to prison? (jabbing the gun hard into Chris's stomach) Have you?

CAGNEY

Sarah, what do you want from me? What good is this going to do you?

JONES (pleading)

Why couldn't you just have helped me Chris?

Why?

CAGNEY (trying to keep her talking)

(She has no more answers. Sarah hasn't listened to those she has given)

Why am I here?

JONES (decisive again)

To die. Suicide. You killed that informant last night and you had ties to the mob. You came here to meet and kill Reynolds but instead - you killed yourself. Such remorse. Jimmy will find you and no one will ever know I was here. (Matter of factly, as if talking to a friend over coffee.) He's my brother you know.

CAGNEY

No one will believe this.

JONES

Lacey took my anonymous call. She and a swat team should be next door looking for you. They too will hear the shot and find Jimmy, leaning over your body, distraught at almost walking into a trap and finding you dead by your own hand.

(Stepping closer to point the gun at Chris' temple) Goodbye Chris. I wish things had worked out differently. (again conversationally) I really did admire you.

Cagney dives for Sarah Jones. *** Lacey breaks the door open. She swings her gun around the corner and bursts into the room - going low.

LACEY (she drops to one knee)

Police! Freeze!

No one answers. No one moves. Lacey barely recognizes the wounded woman on the floor. She barely met Sarah Jones several years ago. Lacey runs to her side and finds no pulse.

The window to the fire escape is open. Oh Chris. *** Lacey slowly climbs the four storeys to the roof. The rungs are wet and the metal cold. She had heard a single shot from the far side of the roof and then silence. She waits just under the lip of the roof. There is no noise, no response as she slowly drops over the edge. She moves slowly along the wall of the stairwell - the wall that shields her from the rest of the roof. Noises from the streets below; the whir of heating fans and the skitter of dust blowing across the roof - nothing disturbed the normal sounds of night in New York. The night sky is lit by innumerable sources of light - all lending an eerie light and dark shadows to the roof. Lacey has worked her way to the corner of the stairwell. Still no response, no movement. She swings around the corner to face the barrel of a gun and a figure crouched in the dark.

The air is knocked from her body and the gun from her hand as she is tackled to the ground. Lacey, however, is quick and strong - she twists, rolls and pins her attacker.

A grunt. A loud whisper - Shhhh!

LACEY

Chris?

CAGNEY (still whispering)

Stay down!

Mary Beth flattens herself on top of Chris and listens. They are lying behind a small wall shielding the outlet from the heating system. The stairwell wall is behind them and the roof lip to their left. The stairwell door only opens from the inside. An attacker could approach only from the right - or from the fire escape.

CAGNEY (in Lacey's ear)

Careful - Reynolds is out there.

Mary Beth?

Could you get off me? I think I dislocated my shoulder when he shot at me. I fell from the ladder.

Mary Beth rolls carefully to one side. Cagney stays down. Mary Beth finds her gun and crouches by Chris, who gets to her knees, holding her gun awkwardly in her left hand. CAGNEY (whispering in her partner's ear)

I'm wired. If anything should happen - look after the recorder will you?

There is no time to respond. Both women hold their breath and listen as they hear footsteps.

Reynolds is no longer trying to be quiet. He had found his sister dead. His cover was blown unless he acted. It had always been about vengeance and now there was nothing left to lose.

Lacey looked at Chris and nodded. Both braced themselves and waited - guns poised. Watching the fire escape and the opening to the right. Hearing every noise; watching every shift in light and shadow. The tension became unbearable as the silence stretched on. Chris shifts slightly to ease the pain in her shoulder. Lacey looks over at her.

The shot comes from overhead - Reynolds is on the roof of the stairwell and shooting at them like they are fish in a barrel. Cagney raises her gun and falls to one side against the wall. Lacey gets one good shot off. The stair well door opens as uniformed back up finally arrives. An officer bursts - shooting - over the lip of the roof. She is followed by a swarm of other cops dropping over the lip. There is one brief moment of silence when the shooting finally stops. One moment in which Reynolds falls slowly from the roof and comes to a crunching halt on the ground between the two women.

In the end it was the overhang on the roof of the stairwell that saved them. Reynolds hadn't been able to lean far enough over to get a good shot at them. Forensics would later determine that it was Lacey's bullet that had killed James Reynolds. They hadn't needed back up after all.

Lacey stands and helps Cagney to her feet. *** They had made it back to the squad car and Lacey was driving Cagney to Emergency to get her shoulder treated.

A brother and sister were dead. The integrity of IAD had been compromised and the two cops had made new enemies.

Tomorrow they would face the IAD. Lacey had the backing of Hong and Capt. Cagney in her actions - a mixed blessing. Cagney could prove there had been a set-up, but there would still be a shooting incident investigation. A suspended captain with an illegal gun had been involved in two killings. Her bullet had killed Jones. Captain Cagney would need friends. There would be no trial - only innuendo. And innuendo peppered IAD files and determined department attitudes towards its officers.

Had they made the right choices? Cagney and Lacey had done the best they could. Two cops still fighting the same battles after 30 years. But tonight it was hard to tell if the good guys were winning.

LACEY (hesitates and then speaks)

Chris?

CAGNEY

Un huh?

LACEY

I know you were protecting me - but don't ever shut me out like that again - OK?

CAGNEY (tired)

It's a deal. Never works anyway.

(after a stretch of silence)

Thanks Mary Beth.

LACEY

For saving your hide?

CAGNEY (smiling)

For that.

And for not lecturing me.

LACEY

Never works anyway.

There was much to talk about. But tonight two exhausted cops settle into a comfortable silence as the car pulls away from the curb.

An ambulance without lights and siren leaves the crime scene and the last cop follows in a cruiser. The silence deepens and the fog slowly thickens. The rats resume their interupted hunt for food. In another part of town, near the waterfront, an eerie whistling breaks the silence. The night had returned to normal.