City Hall (1996) Script

New York City.

So many things have been said about it...

... but there's only one I really like.

"New York...

... it can destroy you or fulfill you, depending a good deal on luck. "

No one should come here unless he's willing to be lucky.

And I got lucky.

I had an apartment downtown, but home was City Hall.

That's where it all began.

The day started out like other days, with a ceremonial function.

The mayor was giving the key to the city to the governor of Tokyo.

He liked soup for breakfast. Fish soup.

My dad offered to put it on the menu.

But, "No, no," Mr. Hayatama said...

...who was a very gentle soul.

"No, it would be too much trouble."

My dad replied, "Too much trouble is no customers."

The mayor, and he was the best mayor the city ever had, was my boss.

I was his deputy mayor.

His right-hand man.

Or his boy...

... depending on who was talking about me.

But in Brooklyn...

... something else was going on that would change everything.

It started with a cop...

... Eddie Santos, the toughest detective in Brooklyn North.

He was on his way to a meeting with Tino Zapatti, a drug dealer...

... whose only distinction was being a nephew to Paul Zapatti, a mafia boss.

James Bone, a child on his way to school.

Watch your step.

Finally, Vinnie Zapatti, cousin to Tino...

... a rat Detective Eddie Santos had in his pocket.

All set? Let's go.

It happened on the corner of Broadway and Marcy in North Brooklyn.

You ain't going out in no playground. Please?

No, it's raining too hard. Oh, man.

Here comes our boy.

Get out of the car.

You said you wouldn't take him in.

Just want to talk with him.

Turn him away from me.

Keep up with me.

You can move faster than that.

Yo, Tino!

Hey, how you doing? What's going on?

I got something for you.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Hey, Tino.

Two men dedicated to the lives of their families...

...bridging the continents of Asia and Southern Europe...

Can it wait? No, no, right now. Please.

Two men, crossing two continents to meet in a third... we have here today...

...the governor of Tokyo and the mayor of New York.

Welcome to New York City...

...the sushi capital of the world.

Welcome. Enjoy.


We got a shootout...

Kid's dead.

So's the dealer.

And the cop?

Not good.

Whose bullet killed the child?

We don't know yet.

What's our ETA?

Bellevue in 10, sir.

How old was the... What was it, a boy?

Six years old.

And what was our budget as of midnight?

$31.7 billion.

It costs a lot to have our children slaughtered in the streets.

Coming through. Step back, please.

How's he doing?

Just coming out of surgery.

Coming through. Give them room.

Step back. All the way.

Where's the widow?

She's not a widow yet.

You'll introduce me.

Combat Cross, Medal for Merit...

...Honorable Mention, Department Medal of Honor.

Any kids? Two.

Five and three. A boy and a girl.

Wife's name is Elaine. Elaine Santos.

Which one is she? Don't point.

In the red. The other's the sister.

I'm John Pappas.

I'm so sorry. Thank you.

If there's anything we can do...

Which one was the shooter? They're both shooters.

One's dead, one's almost.

We know the dealer. Tino Zapatti.

It's Paul's nephew.


What happened? Don't know yet.

Detective Santos was signed out, that we know.

But he carried no radio, wore no vest.

Any backup? Zero.

Total breach of department policy.

What was the guy doing?

Taking a meeting with a drug dealer? You got me.

But it adds up to a dead kid...

...and a dead nephew of the head of the Zapatti family.

Here's a guy headed for...

...Attica on a 10 to 20, and he cops probation.


No jail time?

Probation's a sentence in New York these days.

Which he skips out on 2 years later.

We've been looking for him ever since.

The mayor will want to step up for the wife.

I wouldn't do that if I were him.

And who are you, again?

Internal Affairs.


...we can bury Santos.

And if it turns out he was dirty, well...

...good cop turns bad.

Happens all the time.

Sure. We'll give him a full-dress funeral, to boot.

Who is she?

A lawyer for the Detective's Endowment Association.

I guess she'll be representing Eddie Santos and his family.

I was wondering when you'd ask. You don't have to wonder anymore.


Shock him. Clear.

He's flat.

This city takes care of its own.

Set a press conference for 12:00.

Make sure the Post takes the first question.

You know what the first question will be...

..."Whose bullet was it?"

Call Senator Marquand, be cool. Tell him everything's under control.

I'm just staying ahead of the curve.

Abe, get a copy of Tino Zapatti's probation report.

Which Zapatti is that?

A nephew. One conviction, off on probation. A punk.

We're headed for Park Drive.

How's about we swing over to the FDR? We'll make better time.

What's your pleasure?

Where did the boy live?

Give me a read on the boy's apartment.

515 South 5th Street.

5th Street. Marcy and Broadway.

That's where we're going.

We've got no advance, no protection.

That's where we're going. I'm the mayor.

Make room here, please.

We need some help around here.

We need more police. When you going to send us some help?

Glad you're here, Mr. Mayor.

The father's seated in the corner.

I'm all yours, Leslie. Questions and answers. Who's up?

The Post. Marx or Sadler?


Then I know what's coming.

"Has probation become a sentence in this town?"

Judge Stern has a powerful record.

He served six years and meted out the stiffest punishments in the city.

If the report recommends probation, then probation it has to be.

After that, they'll start in on the mandatory crap.

Good morning.

I want to welcome the Revs. Williams and Birch...

You got the probation report? In the office.

I'll be there in a minute.

And my dear friend, Reverend Milton Parks...

...of the First Church of Harlem...

...Reverend Chapman and Reverend Murray.

Thank you for coming here today.

I know it wasn't easy for you.

Well, what can I say? How do I start this?

There is one thing, as Mayor...

...that I will never get over...

...and that is the death of a police officer.

There is one thing in life that I will never get over...

...and that is the death of an innocent child.

But this is an incident that won't go away...

Tino Zapatti's probation report.

The whole city...

... all parts of the city...

... Bushwick, Jamaica, Washington Heights...

... Brownsville, Harlem...

This thing looks okay.

Very okay. But there is a conviction.

Criminal possession in the fourth degree.

In the fourth degree. A 4-C. It's a probational offense.

Practically a misdemeanor.

Kevin, there are 4-Cs, and there are 4-Cs.

You keep looking at that as if it weren't kosher.

A cut of meat is kosher. A piece of fish.

Savory foods are kosher. But a probation report is not kosher.

A probation report is merely a probation report.

I am a good Louisiana lapsed Catholic, Abe.

Don't talk to me about kosher. Give it to me straight.

What's wrong with this?

It's too kosher.

Translate that for me.

The Virgin looks pregnant to me.

Look. The supervisor signed this.

So what?

That's a lot of weight for a 4-C.

So what happened... the original little probation officer?

Where is his signature?

Do you know this supervisor?

His name is Schwartz.

A landsman of yours? Landsman...


Stop trying your Yiddish out on me.

You sound like a Shakespearean actor from a Savannah pogrom.

But do you know him? Sure. But the trial was 2 years ago.

I was long gone from the department.

Hello, Larry.

Good to see you.

This is Deputy Mayor Calhoun.

The first deputy mayor to set foot on this floor.

We had a commissioner once, but it was the wrong floor.

May I have a seat? Please, sit.

Abe, you're already at home here.

I think I know why you're here.

I've logged 12 calls already. Tino Zapatti.

You want to know why I handled it. Exactly.

Because sometimes we get overloaded.

And you take on the extras?

The extra-specials.

Such as Zapatti family members?

Something like that.

Mr. Deputy Mayor... "Kevin"'s good enough.

Any case that comes here that looks like it's connected...

...I take a special interest in.

Why's that? To avoid making mistakes.

You sure made one on this.

I blew one, okay?

I don't mind admitting it. But let me tell you something.

I'd rather blow one in 100...

...than send 10 men away on mandatories who don't deserve them.

You sound like an enlightened man.

And you sound like you're fucking with me.

You have anything to add, Abe?

It's okay. You're doing fine.

Everybody will want to know how these things happen.

How long have you been on this job?

Three years.

Look, these things happen...

...because we are awash here.

In criminals, in half-baked social workers... a city that doesn't function, in a world...

...that doesn't know right from wrong.

Mr. Schwartz? Larry.

I owe you an apology.

No apologies.

I came in here with a big head of steam.

It was inappropriate.

Look, it takes more than...

...3 years to get up to speed in this department.

Only one man would have made a good probation officer: Kafka.

And he wasn't available.

Thank you, Larry.

Call me if something opens up in the big building.

You know, keep me in mind.

He'll be right with you.

South Brooklyn Democratic Club.

I don't think it makes any difference whatsoever.

Have your son stop by.

I'll be happy to take care of it.

Gussie, come on in.

Hello, Mr. Anselmo. Thank you so much...

...for seeing me. You look beautiful.

Thanks a lot. Let me get that.

It's my pleasure.

So how can I help you?

They're going to throw me out. Who?

Morty Brill. No one'll throw you out.

He says I'm under-occupied.

Can I help it if my daughter moves out? Isn't she entitled to a life of her own?

Of course. How is Helene?

Still working at the navy yard? Thanks to you.

So what can you do for me, Mr. Anselmo?

Well, it's simple.

See that Mr. Brill obeys the law.

You're grandfathered in over there. If he says you're not, call me.

A landlord like Morty Brill looks for ways around rent control.

How would he understand a law meant for working stiffs like you and me?

Thanks, Mr. Anselmo. Thanks a lot.

Mr. Schwartz is right outside.

Thanks, Clara.

I'm sorry. Would you come speak to my club?

Which club?

Terrible Tiles Mahjong Club.

How many Tiles belong?


You got it, sweetheart.

Just tell me when. Fantastic!

You'll come for dinner before?

I'll make a brisket. I love brisket. Get home safe.

Well, I'm taking a cab anyway. Thanks again.

Hello, Larry.

I got to see you, Frank. Well, here I am.

How about a cup of coffee?

No, thanks.

We got to talk.

Are you finished here?

Well, the business of government... never finished.

Come on, let's take a walk.

Mister A!

How are you, Milton?

I'm as corny as Kansas in August I'm as normal as blueberry pie No more a smart little girl With no heart I have found me a wonderful guy

Speaking of blueberry pies...

...bring us a couple, Milton.

You, à la mode?

No, thank you. I don't want any pie.

Apple for him.

And coffee, Milt.

What's the matter? You know, Frank.

You look terrible. You should take a vacation.

I don't want a vacation.

I got 18 years in, you know?

I save up my time. I put in my hours.

I'm eligible for pension in 6 months. I don't want any vacation.

So what is it?

Get the deputy mayor off my ass.


Him. Yeah.

You couldn't handle him?

It was easy.

That's what I'm saying. It was too easy.

Don't throw bouquets at me Don't please my folks too much Don't laugh at my jokes too much People will say we're in love

What was that?

Milton and I are great Rodgers and Hammerstein fans.

"When you walk through a storm, keep your head up high."

It's not your signature on the probation report.

Now watch your mouth.

That was quite a risk you took.

The guy was wrong.

No, Mayor.

I don't care if he is from New York.

Tells off a Cabinet member like that...

...he's your enemy for life.

Secretary of Urban Development...

...that's the hand that feeds the cities.

You know, Senator...

...they say a man's stature... determined by his enemies, not his friends.

It also got you the cover of Time.

You're going national...

...Mayor Pappas.

People magazine next.

That "stature" thing. Who said that?

I believe I did, a minute ago.

I was having an acute attack of self-importance...

...but it's about to come to an end because here's the man... cut me down to size.

Kevin, we missed you.

Sorry, folks. Didn't mean to interrupt you.

Kevin's been busy today, I'll bet.

This must be Mrs. Marquand.

It's been quite a day for you.

We don't want any stray bullets around Madison Square Garden.

Ignore the senator.

He keeps a little anchor to windward.

Don't we all?

Shouldn't we return to the burning issue of the day?

The convention?

We'll turn this city upside down for you.

We'll stage the right kind of convention.

What kind is that?

The kind that'll reelect the President.

Where will you go? Second cities, like Chicago?

Resonating with memories of Hubert in '68?


The land of Jerry Brown and Tom Hayden, that nominates a Mondale.

You could go to Miami, but it's Casablanca.

We'll make you a winner right here.

You're not a New Yorker, are you?

Ferriday, Louisiana. Huey Long country.

"Every man a king," but no one wears a crown.

I love this guy.

Thank you so much. Lovely evening.

Kevin, give me a call in the morning.

I need some stuff for the New York Times.

An editorial lauding our choice of convention city.

The President loves a good Times editorial.

Let me assure you... The vote's in. We got it.

Let them catch their shuttle. I'm sure they're running late.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

MacNeil-Lehrer, Friday night.

Zapatti's bullet killed the child.

It wasn't the cop.

That's it!

That's what passes for good news these days.

I'll take it.

I saw Tino Zapatti's probation report.

Exemplary, but an odd thing:

It's front-loaded.

With who? With supervisory personnel.

But it's signed off on by an honest judge.

Judge Walter Stern? Yes.

Thank God.

I'm meeting Frank Anselmo for breakfast.

Oh, good. Where? Woerner's.


The hangout at Borough Hall? That's it.

When you go to Brooklyn, you're Frank Anselmo's guest.

Don't piss up his leg.

Just get him off this infrastructure thing.

Nothing wrong with it...

...just unaffordable right now. Good work tonight.

Mrs. Marquand couldn't stop talking about the cover of Time.

I think she collects them.

National ink, the mother's milk of politics.

Did I hear right, or did we get the convention?

It's not signed and sealed...

...but it is delivered.

And you were the closer.

I thought I had him with the second city stuff.

Of course you did.

You know why?

It belongs here.

New York City.

This is the place.

Excuse me.

All right, the story's on the 10:00 news.

A little slow.

A bullet took the life of an innocent 6-year-old...

... on his way to school during a police action.

They're all over it like a cheap suit.

It's going to stick to us like one too.

6- year-old James Bone...

... on his way to school.

Ballistics from the police lab confirm...

... the wayward bullet that killed the boy came from Zapatti's gun...

Here you are, Mr. Zapatti.


...find Vinnie.

I want to have a little talk with him.

Yesterday, on the corner of Broadway...

... and Marcy Street, gunfire broke out...

... claiming 6-year-old James Bone...

... along with 21-year-old Tino Zapatti...

... a convicted felon on probation...

... and a 32-year-old police detective, Eddie Santos.

The Police Commissioner has disclosed...

... that an investigation is underway into Santos' activities.

Question: What was Santos doing with a drug dealer...

... wanted for probation violations?

Good morning.

It will raise serious questions of corruption in the courts.

Stern gave Tino Zapatti, a drug dealer...

... probation instead of sending him to prison.

The question everyone is asking...

... because of this unusual disposition...

... is why did the judge do that?

Good morning, Mrs. Santos.

I'm Marybeth Cogan. We met at the hospital.

That's Randy and Maria?

These are my kids.

Please sit down. Thank you.

I'm sorry to have to talk to you here. It's all right.

Hear from anyone in the department today?

A couple of the guys.

What did they say?

I called to pick up his things from the precinct.

They said his locker was sealed.

But the captain came to see me. He was very nice.

What captain?

Homicide South.

Eddie's commander. He's required to call on the widow.

Is anything wrong?

Don't talk to anyone without checking with me first. Okay?

We're in the wrong business. You get lost?

There's a key to downtown Brooklyn, but I sure don't have it.

Murray, Lenny, you know Kevin. Kevin, this is Dan.

Kevin, how are you?

Tex, sit down. Take a load off.

Louisiana, Murray, for the umpteenth time.

Can't take a joke?

Jimmy! What'll you have?

Oatmeal with skim milk, bananas, brown sugar.

So what's new?

I'll give you the headlines.

Standard & Poor's going to lower the city's credit rating.

We're going to close two firehouses.

Results: 150 demonstrators at City Hall.

The park commissioner has quit... run the San Francisco Ballet.

The stock exchange insists on leaving town.

Plus a zillion other little rancid goodies.

Plus a kid got shot.

And a drug dealer. And a cop.

No wonder the deputy mayor's here in Brooklyn.

Well, but...

...he's very welcome.

The stock exchange, where are they removing to, my boy?

White Plains, they mutter.

They've been muttering that for years.

One day they'll stop muttering and go.

That's why we need city land for BankExchange.

No argument, Lenny. And a subway stop.

And an off-ramp from the expressway.

The city's $25 billion in debt.

We're in no position to build off-ramps.

3,000 workers, you don't want to build a subway stop?

What's your interest in this?

Did you buy a few options around the city property?

Of course he did.

So did every other developer in town.

Notwithstanding that, Mr. Deputy Mayor...

...if you don't transport their employees...

...BankExchange will dump this deal...

...and forget about New York...

...and put up their 60-story building in New Jersey instead.

So be it.

The mayor loves BankExchange, but can't afford infrastructure.

You're flying in the face of real politics.

Subways get people to jobs.

Jobs mean votes.

I thought John Pappas liked votes.

He loves votes, Frank.

But no infrastructure.

Much as the city approves of a subway station and off-ramp... can't pay for them.

Where are you going? I have an appointment in Manhattan.

This meeting's over?

I heard you say no.

Can I offer you a ride?

No, thanks.

I make it quicker on the train.

Here he comes. Judge Stern!

Why did you give Tino Zapatti probation, your honor?

Why did you go soft on the drug charge?

Is probation a sentence in this town?

They're burying little James Bone.

Are you going to the funeral?

Get me the file on Tino Zapatti.

Mr. Deputy Mayor...

...l'm Marybeth Cogan.

"Detectives Endowment Association, Legal Affairs, Co-Counsel."

Very nice card.

I represent Santos, and you're muddying my client's name.

Take it up with Corporation Council. And get it buried?

You should tell the mayor someone's taking him up the wrong street.

Maybe we could explore this in more detail.

Maybe over coffee.

I'm talking about a hero detective and his widow's pension.

Why don't you wait in my office?

No, I don't think so.

I'll expect to hear from you in the morning.

No, no, that's wrong.

It won't go away unless you do something about it.

This is a crisis that could derail us.

The way Willie Horton sunk Dukakis...

...Tino Zapatti can sink us.

Good afternoon. Where you been?

My Brooklyn meeting.

How'd it go?

I think I just pissed up Frank Anselmo's leg.


Felt good.

Okay, Leslie.

Tomorrow's Times, Post and News are all keeping the shooting...

...on the front page.

What'd you expect?

Nothing short of a triple axe murder will take it off.

Keep feeding the press, morning and night.

Emphasize our tough stand on crime.

The 20% drop in homicides and street crime last year.

Also, Stern's record. Hard-line.

Good, Kevin. Corporation Council?

We've commissioned a study that'll...

...prove this city has the toughest probation guidelines in the country.


Get Community Affairs involved.

Tell Parks...

...clean up their playgrounds.

Hover, nudge, show we care.

And then we got to do something concrete.

Something big, something important.

Something that means jobs.

That means building BankExchange.

I won't let these shootings interfere with... program for the city.

I'm speaking at the boy's funeral.

James Bone's funeral.

That's a blueprint for trouble.

I don't care.

It's the right thing to do.

I don't think you'll be welcome there.

They got me anyway. Let's go to work.

Kevin, I need you.

So what happened?

Frank Anselmo and his real-estate cronies is what happened.

They want the subway stop to raise their land value on city property.

The property around BankExchange?


Anselmo said, "No subway stop... BankExchange." And you said?

I thought we could keep Anselmo on the back burner...

...but we need BankExchange.

We need jobs. We need that money going into the community.

Given the situation at Broadway and Marcy...'s politically expedient.

The hell with politically expedient.

I'm talking about a 60-story building that will employ 3,000 people.

It'll put food on the table.

That's what counts. That's what we're about. That's BankExchange.

That's all it is.

You said we can't afford a subway stop.

That'll take politics.

More than one way to skin a cat. Get in there.

Keep that staff fired up.

You're the boss.

What are you doing tonight?

Hadn't thought about it.

You ever see Carousel?

The musical? You serious?

A little before my time.

You'll love it.

Frank Anselmo will be there.

I'm free.


...Frank Anselmo's in there.

Tell him to come up. I want to see him in the lobby.

Just list them for me. That's all.

Let me get back to you.

We're missing the best part.

You know it by heart. I saw you lip-synching.

Well, lucky I do.

I couldn't hear all the words.

I don't know if it's my old ears, or the subway underneath.

Did you like the Billy Bigelow? He's good.

Good voice.

What'd you think of the Julie Jordan?

Good act, no voice.

My Nettie could sing better.

We met 25 years ago, Westbury...

I heard about that.

Speaking of performances, Frank.

I don't want to hear about another one like this morning.

Your boy embarrassed me.

You'll have to live with it.

Why? Because he's my boy.

There's oil...

...under that vacant lot, Frank.


You don't need to politic me.

I run Kings County.

Jobs for people of this city.

Not leases for Lenny, Murray and all your greedy pals.

Just because this kid thinks he can elect you President...'re going to forget who got you here?

I don't forget anything.

You're developing a short memory. Or a selective one.

You want me to refresh it for you?

I'm sorry, John.

Here it is.

The off-ramp costs me five million.

Another $35 million for the subway stop.

You'll get some from me. The rest I got to beg Albany.

I got better things to beg for from Albany.

I got a solution.

How about a spur... the Canarsie Line? Are you crazy?

A spur is $ 120 million a track mile.

BankExchange is good for the poor.

It's good for the jobless. It's good for the whole city.

As for subway stops, infrastructure, off-ramps...

...we can't afford it.

Then, you'll have to forget the whole thing.

I love the second act opener.

Then you won't want to miss it.

"This Was a Real Nice Clambake."

I'm building up my IOU's with Albany.

The governor needs to step up with a new subway stop...

...or I won't support him for reelection.

And the off-ramp?

Next year.

It's already in my budget. Next year's too far.

You're only a boss, Frank. I'm the fucking mayor.

Mayors rule.


My way or the highway.

Why do I get the feeling you're getting the bigger half?

Let me ask you something.

If I'd have offered you less...

...would you have been polite and taken it?

Of course.

You got what you wanted.

I like to kiss the pretty ones.

There's another pretty one.

You got BankExchange.

How did you know? I saw the kiss.

I saw the smile. How'd you get it?

I didn't say no.

But he'll take a bath on those leases.

It'll just take him longer.

Something for him, something for me. More for you?

No, no. More for the city.

Hey, cigar.

Sneaking in a drink for Sydney?

I was. Now they're both for me.

Helps Frank Anselmo go down.

Off-ramp and a subway stop already budgeted for.

But I'm left holding the bag.

What are you complaining about?

The bag's full of cash.

Minus a year.

You can weather a year. You can weather 100 years.

I've got partners. You're my partners.

You're holding so many options on land... could buy Brooklyn.

You could probably buy Staten Island too.

Would you excuse us, please?

Of course.

I got an appointment anyway.

Good. Then it works out nicely.

You sure BankExchange is all set?

We got everything we wanted.

Now you can get something else for me.

What's that? My name out of the papers.


With $40,000.

What am I going to do with $40,000?

Let me ask you a question.

You ever heard of a cop with $40,000?

Who wasn't crooked?

A cop with $40,000 would make big headlines.

Say hello to Nettie for me.

I will.

Take care. All right.

That's for the dead cop.

Reverend Chapman will introduce me?

With one sentence.

And then what?

Get out of here.

And which way is that? Side door.

No. Out the front.

Is that a good idea?

Intel's out there and they say people aren't happy.



The mayor of the city of New York...

...the Honorable John Pappas.

Thank you, Reverend.

I was warned not to come here.

I was warned.

They warned me...

..."Don't stand behind that coffin."

But why should I heed such a warning...

...when a heartbeat is silent...

...and a child lies dead?

"Don't stand behind...

...this coffin."

That boy was as pure and as innocent... the driven snow.

But I must stand here because...

...I have not given you...

...what you should have.

Until we can walk abroad and recreate ourselves...

...until we can stroll along the streets... boulevards...

...congregate in parks... from fear...

...our families mingling...

...our children laughing, our hearts joined...

...until that day, we have no city.

You can label me a failure...

...until that day.

The first and perhaps only great mayor...

...was Greek.

He was Pericles of Athens...

...and he lived some 2,500 years ago...

...and he said...

..."All things good...

...of this earth...

...flow into the city...

...because of the city's greatness."


...we were great once.

Can we not be great again?

I put that question... James Bone...

...and there's only silence.


...could not something...

...pass from this sweet youth to me?

Could he not empower me... find in myself...

...the strength... have the knowledge... summon up the courage... accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task...

...of making a city livable?

Just livable?

There was a palace...

...that was a city.

It was a palace.

It was a palace and it can be a palace again.

A palace in which there is no king, or queen...

...or dukes, or earls, or princes, but subjects all. Subjects...

...beholden to each other to make...

...a better place to live.

Is that too much to ask?

Are we asking too much from you?

Is it beyond our reach?

Because if it is...

...then we are nothing but sheep...

...being herded... the final slaughterhouse.

I will not go down that way.

I choose to fight back!

I choose to rise, not fall.

I choose to live, not die.

And I know...

...I know that what's within me... also within you.

That's why...

...I ask you now... join me.

Join me.

Rise up with me.

Rise up on the wings...

...of this slain angel.

We'll rebuild on the soul...

...of this little warrior.

We will pick up his standard...

...and raise it high.

Carry it forward...

...until this city...

...your city...

...our city...

...his city... a palace again!

Is a palace again!

I am with you, little James.

I am you.

Thank you very much.

Terrible thing to bury a child.

Your trip to Washington.

The stuff for the Convention Committee.

History of New York City for Senator Marquand.

Reservation at the Willard Hotel. Lincoln stayed there, by the way.

Enough about me. Enough about me.

What are you going do tonight after I'm gone?

I don't know. I hadn't thought about it.

You're going to get yourself a good meal.

You're going to pass up that double cheeseburger from Roy Rogers.

You're going to go to Dominic's and get take-out, on me.

Get a decent meal.

But before you go to Dominic's, go to Macy's...

...and get a chair...

...with legs and arms.

That apartment of yours...

...looks like it belongs in a homeless file.

Then it's off to Crate and Barrel for a knife...

...a fork, a spoon...

...and a glass while you're at it.

Then I'll need a dishwasher.

Just throw them out after you finish eating.

It's on me.

Get a life.

I've got yours. It's quite enough.

You read this?

Today's Times editorial? "Judge or be Judged"?

"Notwithstanding Judge Stern's distinguished record... must ask, 'Would he be on the bench...

...if he were not a former law partner of the mayor's? '"

I didn't appoint him. He was nominated, like everybody else.

Everybody knows the party arranges nomination of judges.

Whose side are you on?

I'm on yours...

...and I always will be. But I smell a hanging party.

We should put distance between ourselves...

...and Walter Stern. Distance is shit.


Distance is something you do to your enemies.

It's the thing of the '90s to make friends extinct. Distance... the absence of Menschkeit.

Translate that for me.

You don't know what Menschkeit means?

I don't.


You know, something between men.

It's about honor, character...


That's why it's Yiddish.

I didn't know you'd taken up the language.

Abe laid it on me.

Abe's a good man.

You're a good man, Pappy.

Underneath that Louisiana...

...cane syrup...

...plain red dirt.

Not that different from the pavements of Astoria, where I'm from.

You and me...

...are sticking by...

...Judge Walter Stern.

Man, thou art dust...

...and to dust...

...thou shalt return.

If there's anything I can do...

...please feel free to call.

Thank you. It's the least we can do.

Good morning. Where's the mayor?

He had to go Washington on convention business.

This rates an inspector's funeral and that includes the mayor.

The mayor's absence in no way diminishes his concern...

...for Mrs. Santos and her children.

Where'd they get all that stuff from in the newspapers?

At school they tell my girl her daddy was a drug dealer.

We'll get our press people right on it.

What about Internal Affairs? What are those clowns doing?

Where you going?

City. I thought we were in the city.

Not if you're from Queens.

Let's start over. Where you going?


Hop in.

Go fuck yourself.

Not to be disrespectful...

...but the Transportation Department...

...wasn't prepared for 1,000 people.

999. We were expecting the mayor.

You're just going to wait for an hour...

...then ride a bus, then slepp on a subway...


"Schlep." Not "slepp." "Schlep."

Get the gumbo out of your Yiddish.

How do you feel about the L.I.E.?

I hate the L.I.E.

Take the Grand Central.

Catch it at Astoria Boulevard.

Go ahead, I'll show you.

Santos was a good cop. You're doing a vile thing.

It's wrong... blame a dead cop and steal a widow's rights.

You keep saying that. Nobody's doing anything.

You've got all the answers.

Don't even have the questions yet.

Well, I got a question for you.

You hungry?

Swing by that diner up there. The North Star.

Best Philly steak sandwiches in New York City.

Or do you call them Philadelphia steak sandwiches?

Who we going to meet here?

What are you talking about?

You surface in front of my car at the cemetery.

You show just enough leg so I'd stop.

And the Grand Central is the long way around.

Who we going to meet?

Albert Holly.

He was Eddie Santos' partner two years ago when Tino Zapatti got probation.

Thank you.

Eddie got ahold of something, he wouldn't let go.

Eddie Santos was a pit bull.

Pit bulls are ugly, but they're not stupid.

What was he doing without backup?

It wasn't the first time he'd taken Tino down.

He'd never had a problem with him before.

Somehow, Tino must have got the drop on him.

It happens.

Why didn't he tell anyone he was going up there?

Because it was his collar.

He made that case against Tino, then the judge went south.

There is no way Tino Zapatti could have walked two years ago unless...

...unless interested parties...

...had the judge in their pocket.

Walter Stern is a jurist of national reputation.

I don't care if he's Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Somebody got to him.

And based on that one interview... were able to come to the conclusion stated in your testimony?

That, and the VA records, yes.

Do you mind passing this on to the judge?

Based on only one interview?

The defendant has a lengthy, documented case...

Please answer the question.

Would you restate the question? All right.

Based on that one interview... were able...

Where are you going with this?

Your Honor, the witness interprets the defendant VA record one way...

...our psychologist interprets it another.

So much for expert witnesses.

Let's take a break. 2:30 all right for everybody?

I see you've already met Peter Ragan, my law clerk.

He's written some of my best opinions.

He appeared before me first time I presided over the moot court at Yale.

You could say Peter and I are joined at the hip.

Thanks, Peter.

Please have a seat.

Thank you for seeing me, Judge Stern.

And how can I help you?

Tino Zapatti.

What about him?

How did he get off with probation?

I can only sentence in accordance with the conviction.

He was convicted of criminal possession of the fourth degree.

They found a kilo in his car.

Is it your intention to try the case again?

Not at all. But I read the rap sheet.

I am certified to this state as a Supreme Court judge...

...and you're sitting here rearguing a 2-year-old case.

You're out of line, and I'll so inform the mayor.

I'm here on the mayor's behalf.

You think I've slept the last two nights?

Don't you realize I know what a mistake I made?

That's it.


No basement or anything?

You saw it, the rumpus room.

With the pool table?

That's right, Captain.

I'm only doing my job. I'm very sorry...

Oh, sorry, crap!

You're snooping around like a Nazi.

Please, you know this is the last thing I wanted to do.

Then get the hell out of Internal Affairs and get yourself an honest job.

Marybeth? Two-bars has been here all morning.

He went over the place from top to bottom.

You got to do something about Eddie's pension.

They're going to reduce it.

What about the Police Memorial Award?

The precinct says it goes to the next of kin.

Well, this piece of brass isn't here to give me any award.

$40,000 in cash was found in Detective Santos' strongbox... at his summer cottage in Ulster County.

Emergency Service Unit workers...

Frank? Yeah, I'm up at the cabin.

They found the money.

Good work. I'm watching it now.

What is the connection to the deaths of James Bone and Tino Zapatti?

What was Santos doing with $40,000?

The mayor understands the implications of the discovery in Ulster County...

... but would like to stress that these are implications only.

Can you believe this shit?

We never set foot in that dump after Eddie's father died.

It's full of hornets' nests. Yeah, busy hornets.

Never in our life did we see $4,000 cash...

...much less 40.

There's only 2 people know that's not Eddie's money. You and me.

Who is this?

Vinnie Zapatti.

I can get you out of this.

I can get you the pension, the medals. You want them?

Sure, sure, I want them.

Good. Now, I liked Eddie...

...and I want to help you, but you got to help me.

What's that mean?

An airplane ticket and $ 10,000.

$ 10,000! For God's sake, I can't...

That's a lot of money, what've you got? Who are you?

Marybeth Cogan, Detectives Endowment Association.

I represent the Santos family. What have you got?

I made the meeting for Eddie with Tino... he could give up what he knew about the judge.

And what was that?

10,000 and a plane ticket. I'll give you the destination later.

Your information is worthless unless I can bring a witness.

Which Zapatti are we meeting?

Paulie had two brothers. Tino was John's boy, Vinnie is Jimmy's.

So Vinnie and Tino are cousins?

That's right, cousins.

They have cousins in Louisiana?

Down there, we're all cousins.

If you got a cousin, you got a vote.

Then why not run for office instead of carrying the mayor's bag?

I consider it an honor not only to carry his bag...

...but also to fill it with things I think the city needs.

Oh, the kingmaker.

The man behind the throne.

I'm beginning to suspect you don't like politicians.

You're no politician. They run for office. You're a walker.

Take a right at this gas station...

...because we are almost there.

Thank you.

Vinnie sure likes strange places.

It looks like Monday night in Key Largo.

He's impersonating Mafia.

Vinnie Zapatti's a joke to his uncle...

...but a dangerous joke.

As far as I'm concerned, they're all dangerous jokes.

Do me a favor and don't write them off just yet.

I said they were dangerous.

Wonder what Vinnie's doing in a place like this?

Wonder what we're doing in a place like this.

This is it. Where's our boy?

I don't know. Think Vinnie had a change of heart?

If he's a Zapatti, he has no heart.

Let's go. Don't turn around.

Marybeth, right?

Who's this?

He's the deputy mayor.

Deputy mayor? What do I need you for, then?

Don't get smart. I'm the only chance you got.

All right. Let's go.

This a Searider?

What, you know boats?

I worked on a shrimper like this.

This ain't no Searider. It's a piece of shit.

They call it a Surfrider.

I wanted a Searider, but my uncle wouldn't pop for it.

Your uncle like boats?

Who? Paulie?

Paulie wouldn't know a cleaver from a fucking cleat.

It was my dream, you know.

Free of the goombahs.

Run a charter in the islands.

Eddie was going to help me.

You and Eddie? That's a strange marriage.

He was only going to find clients.

I'll tell you something.

If I'd met him earlier, I'd never be in this mess.

If only Tino hadn't whacked Eddie.

Know why he was there that morning?

Santos wasn't there to take Tino down.

He was there to get information on the judge.

How do you know?

I was there that morning.

What information on the judge?

That you get with $ 10,000 and a plane ticket.

Come up with it by tomorrow.

This meeting is adjourned.

Let us bring you in.

We'll put you in the Witness Protection Program.

No, thanks. I got my own Witness Protection Program.

Morning. The sharks are already circling.

Another Zapatti washed up.

They fished him out of the 79th Street Basin.

Victim's hands were bound in a 3-inch chain, ship's chandlery type.

Forensics reveal blows...

...from a blunt instrument.

Where have you been?

Had a busy night. I'm sure you did.

Read this morning's operations printout?

What about it?

I was with Vinnie Zapatti last night.

He's dead because of Tino Zapatti's probation report.

Now there's four deaths.

They're connected.

That's all I know... That's all I want to know.

Just trying to circle the wagons.

Circle the wagons?

Who do you think you are?

Some gumshoe in a dime novel...

...loose-cannoning around the city?

Consorting with known mobsters!

Kevin, for God's sakes!

You're the mayor's right hand!

What are you fucking around for?

You see this desk?

It belonged to Fiorello LaGuardia, "the little flower."

He was about five-foot tall.

Used to read the funny papers to children over the radio...

...and was about the best mayor the city ever had.

Know what LaGuardia said?

"Why is it every time you can do some good...

...the nice people come in and mess you up?"

Be nice. Don't mess me up.

Did I wake you up? You kidding?

I've been trying to figure out how to raise $ 10,000.

The hook is in, and I'm close.

Vinnie is Eddie's passport to an honorable death.

All I got to do... Vinnie's dead.

Murdered. What?

Vinnie Zapatti's dead.

He washed up near the 79th Street Basin.

Oh, God. Heads up.

Call when you get to your office.


Bronx. Take East River Drive.

Now look.

I don't have a lot of time.

I cleared it with the captain. Take all the time you need.

You're pulling rank on me?

Still looking for a new shoe size?

I know all the jokes. Cement C.

What I need now are the straight lines.

The police commissioner works for the mayor.

What is your point? Trust me or fuck you.

Stand up.

I just need to see... many people...

...that I'm talking to.

It's just me.

All right.

Eddie called me from Manhattan South.

The night before?

He wanted me to come up there with him.

You didn't go.

You did the right thing. No, I didn't.

He had no business there without a ghost.

That should have been me, plus backups.

But Eddie was such a hothead...

I mean...

...the kind that never cools off.

What do you want to tell me?

There was another probation report.

This one... set Tino up for the max, 10 to 20.

What happened to it?

I don't know.

Who wrote it?

That's all I got.

The probation officer...


James Wakeley. You won't find him on Leonard Street.

Where is he?

Upstate, working parole.

I told you not to come up here.

You made a long trip for nothing.

Do you want to tell me the truth now or under oath?

You looking to grow brass balls, miss?

I'm doing well without them.

Do you want a subpoena, or may we continue?

What brought you here from Leonard Street?

New York State Parole Officer. Better pay and pension.

Nicer surroundings. Think so?

What happened to Tino Zapatti? He's dead, isn't he?

I'm talking about 2 years ago.

He got probation.

What sentence did you recommend?

Ten to twenty.

I saw the rap sheet.

Tino was pushing drugs to kids.

Not doing it himself, but having kids deal for him.

Weapon from a previous homicide?

Disappeared in the second report.

Who ordered it?

That I don't know.

Why didn't you ask?

Sudden urge to move to the country. I forgot about it.

Now if you'll excuse me...'d better get out of here.

My lumbago tells me that snow is coming.

You better hurry.

Buffalo gets socked in pretty fast.

Thank you for your time.

Watch your step. It's slippery.

Thank you.

How long? About an hour.

You don't want to suffocate in a tunnel.

They got to dig one out ahead.

Meanwhile, enjoy the snow.

We can't eat snow.

Try that diner over there. Any good?

Lemon pudding's not bad.

Be back in half an hour.

Like a sauna in here.

My toes are like icicles. Warming up?


What'll it be?

A burger, fries and a Coke.

How is the lemon pudding?

Homemade. I'll give it a shot.

To go. You got it.

Say, why is this called The Floyd Diner instead of Floyd's Diner?

Because you're in Floyd, New York.

Who'd have thunk it?

Floyd, New York. Like Clyde, New Jersey.

Could you imagine spending your life in a place like this?

I can.

I grew up in one.

Ferriday, Louisiana.

There's something special about small-town life.

So what are you doing in New York?

Every Louisiana boy catches politics like a disease.

I didn't know that.

That's a fact, and I was no exception.

After law school I headed where?

Floyd, New York.

Washington. Leapfrogged...

...from staffer to congressional assistant...

...until the mayor of New York City came down to testify.

And he gave a speech that day...

...that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I went up to him and told him I admired him and what he stood for...

...and while I was thanking him...

...he asked me if I liked stone crabs.

Halfway through dinner I had a job.

At the end of dinner, I felt like I had a new home.

And here we go.

I hear the curve in your voice.

I've been with Pappas for 3 years...

...and I finally found a place where you can make a difference.

Well, you did.

You made a difference to Elaine Santos.

You cleared Eddie's name, got their pension.

Yeah, but not so fast.

We got to keep Wakeley on ice till I find that report.

We don't need the report. We just take Wakeley's deposition.

No, that's all you need.

I got to get that report...

...see where it leads.

What if, while you're playing detective...

...Wakeley decides it'd be healthier to disappear?

Then we're left with nothing.

How's Elaine supposed to feed her kids?

That's a risk we must take.

I don't need you to get Wakeley's deposition.

If you talk to him on your own...'ll feel the full weight of the mayor's office upon you.

It's not a pleasant feeling.

You're a mean prick, you know that?

Where I come from, that's a compliment.

Hold on a minute.

To what?

Your ambition? John Pappas' coattails?

Burger, fries, Coke and a lemon pudding.

I'll take these.

The mayor's boy gets the lemon pudding.

Mr. Schwartz?

Kevin Calhoun.

I've just been talking to a friend of yours.

I've got the probation report. Where are you?

Right around the corner. Meet me at Franklin and Hudson.


George. Abe called me.

He's in the back.

That's the only way in. The back door's gated.

All right.

I got a couple marriages.


It's your play!

Throw the card for me. You've been practicing all your life.

Freddie, give us a minute.

He's dead!

Schwartz is dead. I heard it on the phone. I was...

Get ahold of yourself. It's okay.

You were right.

You knew it from the minute we saw him that day.

It wasn't kosher. There was a second report.

That was only a feeling.

Now it's a fact. 5 people are dead.

Stern looks so judicial. How could he be so corrupt?

The sweater unravels.

I'll give you one this time.

"The only thing new in this world is the history you don't know."

New Testament?

Harry Truman.

Judge Stern's a good man.

He's good? 5 people are dead!

What's your point? You throw the book at the guy.

Embrace Detective Santos.

Max death settlement for her. Medal of Honor for the deceased.

I'll make sure Leslie makes the morning editions with it.

So you got this all figured out?

That's my job, isn't it? That's cold.

That's cold.

I mean you don't just...

It's more complicated than that.

Forgive me. I know the two of you are old friends.

Be careful how you judge people.

Most of all friends.

You don't sum up a man's life in one moment.

There are no cold answers, are there?

There's no simple yes or no.

A man's life is not the bricks, it's the mortar.

It's the stuff that lays between. The stuff...

The stuff you can't see.

I've known Walter my whole life. God! He's a decent man.

He's a good man. But this is tough stuff.

This is body bag stuff. Tell me if there's some other way.

There's isn't.

Die's been cast.

It was cast a long time ago.

Go easy.

Give him a blindfold and have mercy.

Walter Stern was a tough man, but he was fair.

We give back the same. No?

And you be careful.

Keep George with you. Let him drive.

I got to go in here.

I knew James Wakeley would surface...

...just as I knew when that bullet hit that boy... would keep traveling.

And find its way...

To me.

If only it had found me first.

If only I could have stepped in front of him.

Regrets are pathetic, aren't they?

I was tired of being the white-shoe litigator.

Defending the arbitrageurs...

...of the eighties go-go boys.

All it took was $50,000 to change my life.

Fifty thousand, and the judgeship was mine.

Absurd, isn't it?

The mayor has the highest regard for you, Judge.

And I for him.

Your resignation in about 6 months would be appropriate.

Six months, did you say?

How about six hours?

This is the scene at the district attorney's office...

... where city officials have been brought in for questioning...

... in the story surrounding the resignation of Judge Walter Stern.

After the checks and balances rap, we'll go into...

..."Revelations are not unprecedented."

"Consider Judge Wachtler, a man of impeccable credentials...

...who fell subject to..." Take it out.

The whole thing? Leave the Wachtler stuff in there.

Just say it plain. You know the rest.

Sharks are getting hungry.

Give them a one-minute sign.


Lean and hungry, even the fat ones.

Any news?

Got anything?

Thirty seconds, ladies and gentlemen. Thirty.

Convention's coming to town.

You going to be all right?

Thanks for asking. I'll be fine.

Damage control, remember. Damage control.

You look good. Of course. I'm the mayor.

Lyndon Johnson said:

"Everybody will give you ideas on how to get out of trouble...

...cheaply and fast.

And they all come down to this:

Deny your responsibility."

John F. Kennedy said:

"An error doesn't have to become a mistake...

...until you refuse to correct it."

There were explosive developments...

... with the incident at Broadway and Marcy this morning.

The revelation of a missing probation report...

... may result in the handing up of indictments...

... by the grand jury, of Supreme Court Judge Stern...

... and Brooklyn Democratic leader Frank Anselmo.

His connections...

... to Mafia chieftain Paul Zapatti are certain to be examined.

Sources say the career of the political boss is over...

... and a long prison term is in the offing.


Chester, what are you doing?

Did Mommy let you out? Did she?

And how was your day today?

Give me a kiss.

You okay, Frank?

Fine, sweetheart. I'm fine.

It's been on the TV all morning.

Yeah, I know. I heard.

I fixed you some osso buco.

I had a feeling you might come home for lunch today.

It smells good.

I'll just go get the clothes.

That machine's thunking again.


How are you, Frank?

I'm good, considering... Yeah, of course.

Of course.


Nettie's down with the laundry.

Stay for lunch? Osso buco.

Osso buco.

Nettie fixes it piemontese.

Peppers and everything.

No, that's all right. I had my lunch.

Can I get coffee? No, thanks.


What do you think?

Well, same old thing.

This time it's this Calhoun guy.

I never liked him.

He's a cracker. Of the worst kind.

He's out of here tomorrow.

No. I don't think so.

What are you talking about?

He's a reed.

You push him and he bends.

Not this one.

This one's a terrier.

I had a dog like him once.

I went to have him put down.

He jumped out of my arms at the vet's and took off for the park.

Sometimes I still think I see him out there...

...watching me...

...gnawing on an old bone.

Excuse me.

Hello, Nettie. Can I help you with the basket?

No, no. I didn't know Frank was expecting you.

Due espressi?

Maybe later.

99 out of 100 times we can beat something like this.

I don't like the odds.

We go back a long way.

I know, I know.

I tried to close the door, Frank.

Couldn't get it shut.

What do you want me to do? Take the pressure off yourself.

Here's the thing. They'll tell you:

"Yeah, yeah, sure.

You have the key to the cell. Go ahead."

But you won't be able to open it without singing.

You're a singer.

Give me a chance, and I'll show you how quiet I can be.

It's out of my hands, Frank.

Do the right thing, will you?

Make it easy for yourself. Frank, honey. Lunch!

And your family.

Senator, I guarantee this is nothing but a blemish on a great metropolis.

The party will never see that blemish in June.

All it'll see is the Garden, the Plaza, the Waldorf...

...electricity, excitement, fun.

Catch the noon news in D.C. He's only magnificent.

Four extra classes graduate the academy this year.

Unions? Did I hear you say unions?

Every municipal contract...

Harriet. You watching this?

World Bank interest you more?

Want to read about the convention in the Chicago Tribune?

Well, okay. Okay, then.

Wait till you see his performance on the 6:00 news.

When the train leaves the station...

... New York Times, good and gray lady that she is, will want to be on board.

What happened to you?

I called you. You were down in the basement.

I'm going to get a washer at Orchard Supply...

...stop the machine from thunking.

I'll eat when I get home.


Be careful.

Of course.

Walk on through the wind Walk on through the rain Though your dreams be tossed And blown

Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you'll never walk alone

I know the water is rising, Mr. Sadler.

It's up to the floorboards. But I guarantee you...

...we're bailing it out faster than we're taking it in.

Let me call you back.

I'll call you when we can talk at length.

Anselmo just killed himself.

And this is the original probation report.

The one we were looking for.

They found it in Anselmo's car.

The police commissioner gave it to me.

He didn't want it ending up as tomorrow's headline.

"Tino Zapatti.

Recommended prison sentence 10 to 20 years."

Check this one out? This one's kosher.

The story ends where it began.

Wax your lawyer. Brooklyn clubhouse boss.

Walter Stern and Frank Anselmo.

Don't see them in the same room.

Something's still wrong, you know?

I know.

Before we nail up the house for the season... more door to close.

Afternoon, Mr. Calhoun.

Sorry, the judge left for the day. Of course you're sorry.

Is that your signature?

We record the receipt of all documents.

What about phone calls? You keep a log of them?

Take a minute for me, please.

Look up the dates of Frank Anselmo's calls to this office.

You're in the wrong pew, Mr. Calhoun.

Frank Anselmo never called this office.

What about the mayor?

He's in his dressing room, Mr. Calhoun.

Where you been? I was looking for you.

Trying to get to Senator Marquand.

Well, he got through to me.

They're moving the convention to Miami.

Miami? Why?

They like Miami.

Glamour. Whoopi Goldberg, Madonna just bought houses in South Beach.

Maybe we can nominate them.

I thought it was all cut.

Cut, not cut. Politics. Nothing's cut.

Where you going?

I'm going to pay my respects to Nettie Anselmo.

Do you think that's wise?

What's wise got to do with it? The perception...

Fuck perception!

Talking, menschkeit.

Stuff between men.

The "there" that's there.

The thousand telephone calls. The bouquets and the brickbats.

The space between a handshake.

You know.

Stuff that goes with you to your grave.

There's space between a handshake for right and wrong?

Why are you pressing me?

I'm looking for an answer.

You want an answer?

Okay, Pappy.

Think of it as colors.

There's black and there's white.

And in between is mostly gray. That's us.

Gray's tough because it's not as simple as black and white.

And for the media...

...certainly not as interesting.

But it's who we are.

What are you going to do now?

You mean, "we."

We'll fight the sons of bitches.

We're going to come out swinging.

We're going to tell them, "Hey!

We're only human. Everybody makes mistakes.

Frank Anselmo is dead.

He was a friend...

...but the last of the clubhouse bosses is gone."

We're going to clean up the Augean stables.

We'll show up in Miami...

...have them on their knees, begging me to make the keynote speech.

And then?

A short sojourn to Albany...

...followed by a long one at the White House.

If I didn't know better, I'd be bursting with admiration.

I thought I'd come in and find you on your knees.

Instead, you're turning adversity into triumph.

That's just a reflex. An old habit of mine.

But it's still good to hear you say it.

The way you say it too.

"Adversity into triumph."

It's good to know you still believe in me.

Did I say that?

I don't know. I thought you did.

Don't fathers listen to their sons?

How is your father these days?

I haven't heard you mention him for a while. Where is he?

In a nursing home in Crowley, Louisiana.

Plays dominoes with orderlies.

Fulminates over his Cream of Wheat.

Don't be too hard on him.

We can't dictate our finishes.

I don't like the sound of that.

Of course you don't.

Because underneath all that need to believe...

...under all the concrete you poured into my pedestal...

...something is crying to get out.


You know I called Judge Walter Stern.

Anselmo called me.

I knew the Mafioso had called him, but in this business you don't trade names.

And I called Walter.

That's all there was to it.

I was doing Anselmo a favor.

Run caution lights all my life.

This time you ran a red, and someone cut across the intersection.

A cop and a 6-year-old child.

That's with me forever.

That's not good enough.

Not good enough?

You think I don't know that?

I hope so, John.

Scares me when you call me John.

Why's that?

Because, I...

...I thought a minute ago we were off to the White House.

I thought I could feel you come aboard.

The old menschkeit.


Menschkeit is horseshit.

It's 120 years of graft and sweetheart contracts...

...featherbeds and inside information...

...and everywhere people in power gather to carve up the turf.

That's your menschkeit.

It's horseshit. You know where you can put it.

Maybe spread it over the fields.

If we cross our fingers, maybe a flower will grow.

It has.

Out of all this crap... emerged.

You're the only voter I care... I'm getting that "con" feeling.

Like you're copping a plea. No, come on. No plea.

I'm just a pol who kept rolling along until he ran into a stone wall.

You were that wall.

And I realized...

...just like me when I was a kid.

Young, ambitious, go-getter, but fair.

Trading up, but always for the right causes. You're doing good.

Not putting money in your pocket. Just trying to maintain your position.

Your power.

What good are you to the people without it?

But down deep... know there's a line you can't cross.

And after a thousand trades... deal too many...

...the line gets rubbed out.

I had the fire in the belly just like you, Kevin.

And the odd thing is, I still have it.

Never left me.

I had the dream...

...and I had the weight.

Like one of those guys before me said:

"If a sparrow dies in Central Park, I feel responsible."

Well said. I feel that way.

I was going to take that feeling with me...

...all the way to Washington.

The things you could have done.

Fucking things I could've done.

You're going to take yourself out.

You're going to take yourself out.

Take a long vacation in Greece.

Pick up the law again.

Go the way of William O'Dwyer.

He fucked up and played ambassador to Mexico.

I'm not that ambitious.

Then suck it up and find some other way.

Listen to you.

I thought I'd see a boy's tears.

The tears are there.

Just can't see them right now.

You got the stuff, Pappy.

I love to see it in a guy.

Kevin Calhoun for City Council.

Voters of the 6th district...

... come meet your next city councilman, Kevin Calhoun.

Kevin Calhoun. How are you?

Kevin Calhoun.

How about some literature?

Kevin Calhoun. How are you, sir?

Good afternoon, I'm running for 6th district. We got some important issues.

We need to clean this place up. I'd love your vote.

I'm running for City Council.

Hello. Kevin Calhoun.

Running for City Council. I'll vote for you.

Good afternoon, ma'am. Will you be voting?

You're running in the 6th district? I am.

Well, 6th district is my district.

I'm very interested in who'll represent me.

I'm interested that you're interested. As Huey Long once said, and I quote:

"If you got a friend, you got a vote."

Did he say that? He sure did.

He told me to move to the 6th district. He said the people are special.

So do I have your vote? You can count on it.

That's one.

No. More than one, actually.

I hear Elaine Santos is ready to stand up for you.

Sounds like a groundswell.

I wish I could tell you I won...

... but I got thrashed by a Dominican from 104th Street.

I got branded an outsider, and I was never in it.

But I'll be back in 2 years, and I'll win.

You know why?

I'm willing to be lucky.

And if you're willing to be lucky...

... New York will give you a chance.