Seven years ago (SHEESH!) I started writing this story called The Case Files of Rebecca Dalton. It was born in a really dark time of my life, but it stuck with me through many years of growth, neglect, and stupidity. It's been on the shelf for about a year or two and today, after watching a few episodes of Shonda Rhimes Masterclass, it came back to life.
It's the story of detectives and lawyers and other members of the criminal justice system of Charlotte, NC. All of the main characters have some sort of trauma in their past. Murdered children, domestic violence, cults, you name it and someone's probably dealt with it. The lead, Rebecca Dalton, used to have everything, until her eight-year-old daughter was murdered.
The pilot episode of the TV series (yeah, that's where we're at now!) picks up nearly a year after her daughter's death. She's trying to get cleared for regular duty as a homicide detective, all while her police family is trying to get on without her. There's a murder and some crime solving. There's also a lot of hurt and heartache.
So why is this different than any run-of-the-mill crime drama and police procedural?
Glad you asked.
This isn't a story of some cops and lawyers who exist only to hunt killers. These are cops and lawyers who see the dirtiest and darkest and most horrific parts of the world. They're just trying to survive. Meanwhile, the whole city is kind of depending on them.
It's raw and real. You won't find a single line about how great it is to save the world, because as far as they're concerned, they just need to keep it from falling apart.
SOOOOOOOOO I want to share a bit with you (the opening scene). If you steal this and pitch it to a network, I'll find you. This is my baby and we all know what happens when a mama bear thinks her baby is in danger. Don't try me... just enjoy.
INT. PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE - MORNING
REBECCA DALTON, nearly forty but doesn't look a day over thirty-five. Her hair falls effortlessly over her shoulders as she avoids eye-contact and picks at the corduroy couch beneath her.
DR. WILLIAM HILLMAN looks like every cliché for a psychologist. Thin, silver-rimmed glasses on the tip of his nose. White button-up shirt perfectly ironed and covered with a lint-free grey sweater. Quite the opposite of Rebecca, he looks thirty years his senior.
How're the meds going?
I wouldn't know.
I prescribed them for a reason.
Her eyes dart from the window to her doctor with a blink. Cold and unnerving, she glares at him, straightens her shoulders, and folds her hands together on her crossed legs.
I'm not like your other patients.
You're much more difficult.
Difficult, probably. Smarter, definitely.
Why aren't you taking them?
They freeze my senses. I can't do my job like that.
You can't do your job without them.
She nearly jumps off the couch and walks toward the window, because sharing her deepest feelings is easier looking at the city she protects than it is looking at the doctor tasked with protecting her. She crosses her arms, all of a sudden chilled.
I can't decide what I want, Will. I don't wanna feel it, but when I took those pills and it was all gone, I thought for sure I was dead. Because that dark and cold empty feeling.
That's gotta be what death feels like.
If you're not sleeping or eating or living a normal life, I can't clear you for regular duty.
She turns on her heels to look at him, arms still crossed over her chest.
I'll never live a normal life. Not after all of this. Your pills made me realize that. No matter how bad it hurts, I don't want to stop feeling it.
You'll be chasing after people who did to other people what someone did to your daughter. How will you handle that?
The same way I did before I buried Emily. The crime was no less awful before it happened to my kid.
But it's different now.
Everything's different now.
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