Templeton, CA

Dick Rogers






A highly commended veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Emil Westphal, a survivor of five shooting incidents, all within policy, regarded as the epitome of what the Sheriff’s Department seeks in its officers, is suspected of beating a handcuffed suspect he has arrested.  Detective Gleason has the case wrapped up in a few months, but he is conflicted over why the beating took place.  Westphal, along with his partner, a new, lateral transfer he was training, have invoked their Miranda rights.


Gleason presents the results of his investigation first to his captain, who elicits troubling aspects in Gleason’s presentation that go back to their early days working patrol cars in the 1950s.  It turns out that Westphal, and his background, mimics that of Gleason’s, including an illustrious military tour before becoming cops.  Although Gleason and his captain had “force” issues with suspects in their day, the rules have changed.  Now, officers are more restricted on the use of force and are held to a much higher standard. Although this should be an easy, open-and-shut Force Under Color of Authority issue for Gleason, he cannot reconcile a gnawing thought that a miscarriage is being foisted on Westphal. 


    Following the logical channels of the case does little to relieve the frustration Gleason feels at every level. His interview with the suspect Deputy is shut down before anything can be determined and the Deputy’s partner adopts a “code of silence” which further frustrates Gleason’s search for the truth. The basic facts are clear, a serious beating took place, and putting the initial elements of the case together is not a challenge. Gleason takes his efforts to the District Attorney who is quick to file five felonies on the two deputies (including Westphal”s silent partner) As Gleason tries to  fathom his nagging fear he’s missed an essential item in the case, he finds little solace from fellow detectives. As he realizes that his zealous pursuit of the truth has affected his health and his marriage, he seeks help from the one person who lived the life he’s lived as a cop, his Captain. The final scene takes place in a bar with his captain, where, as Gleason spews out his frustrations, the captain realizes he has gone over the brink.  A single gunshot closes the curtain.


CHARACTERS DET/SGT WILLIE GLEASON Seasoned homicide detective, cynical, sometimes irascible. age, mid 60s DEPUTY ROY PERRY Gleason’s homicide bureau partner, educated and amiable. 30 years old DEPUTY EMIL WESTPHAL A heretofore stellar Deputy charged with assaulting his prisoner, age 30 DEPUTY DALE KELSO Deputy Sheriff and partner of force allegation suspect Westphal, inept and inexperienced. 32 years old CORBIN ASHFORD Victim/Suspect who suffered beating from Westphal. Age, late 20s RACHEL WESTPHAL Westphal’s wife, attractive and a woman with a history. 30+ years old CAPTAIN WALDO WARE L.A. Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Commander, a bulldog. about 60 years old.