Death Warrant (1990) Script

I think he's inside. I'm gonna check it out.

Burke, wait for backup.

He killed my partner. I'm not waiting.

Listen, Burke, this is L.A., not Canada.

We have procedures here. You can't handle this alone.

What's the problem?

Hey, man, what you doing here?

I'm busy. Scram.

I'm gonna teach you a lesson in manners.

I'm gonna get you, man!

Like I said, I'm going in.

Time to go to sleep... and join your old partner.

I'm the Sandman. You can't stop me.

You're under arrest.

Detective Burke. Have a seat.

Tom Vogler, attorney general.

On my right is Ben Keane, on your left is Sam Waldon.

I represent the governor. I'm heading his task force on prisons.

I'm with State Board of Corrections.

And who are you? Amanda Beckett.

She works for me. Detective Burke.

Specialized in undercover work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police... stationed in Quebec.

You followed Christian Naylor, "the Sandman," to L.A.

We've had some problems in one of our prisons... Harrison Penitentiary.

It's a local piece, small-town news.

The assistant warden was murdered.

Now a guard's intimated... that it might be linked to the deaths of some prisoners... nine in the last few months.

We've got a gubernatorial election coming up this fall.

Prisons are already an issue. We don't want this to become a part of it.

The governor's put me in charge of rectifying this little mishap.

We wanna send you undercover into Harrison as a prisoner.

You're from Quebec. No one in jail will recognize you.

Only this committee will know you're an officer.

You'll be sentenced to Harrison for armed robbery.

Armed robbery is a respectable crime among inmates.

It's implicitly violent.

They respect violence.

We're also assigning a partner of sorts.

Amanda will act as your liaison.

She'll be posing as your wife. Amanda will relay information.

Through her, we'll be able to closely monitor the operation.

Well, Detective, what do you say?

I'll let you know.

Would like me to file the papers for you first thing in the morning?

I think the sooner, the better. I know you always do a good job.

We'll see you tomorrow night then? Yeah.

Have Helen call me if she wants me to bring anything.

I will. Bye.

A pleasure meeting you, Mr. Burke.

How long have you known him? A long time.

He's really been like a father to me.

I've been working for him ever since I graduated law school.

When was that?

Last year.

Is there a problem, Detective Burke?

You don't have enough experience to be on this case.

Let's get something straight here.

I'm no girl Friday.

I graduated top in my class at Stanford.

If you're uncomfortable with the fact that I'm a woman... then that's your problem, not mine.


Check the files of any serial killers at Harrison Prison.

Then you'll take the case?

I'll see you Tuesday.

I'll get to work.

You're getting wet.

Listen up!

Clasp your fingers in front of you.

And don't move.

I am Sergeant DeGraf.

I decide when you eat... when you shower... when you have visitors.

You are fish.

New arrivals.

People will try to hurt you... rob you...

even rape you.

He said, don't move.

Very good.

It's important... that you obey my rules...

rules to make the difference between your life and your death.

I'm Dr. Gottesman. Any communicable diseases?

Not yet.

Excuse me?

You're Burke, right?

You have AB negative blood. That's very rare.

Okay, take it into the next room, please.

Come on. Move it.

Your identification number's 72688.

Memorize your number... 72688.

This is your identification card, Mr. 72688.

Your new home is C level, cell C-71.


It's dead. Excuse me?

The eye. You were looking at it.

It's dead. Got stabbed in it.

In the eye?

Yeah, I got stabbed in the eye.

Okay, you got your towel, you got your toothbrush.

Meal shift starts every morning at 6:10.

Lunch is noon straight up. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m.

You can take a shower once a day, check yourself for fungus and body lice.

Any questions?

Your identification number is 72689.

Memorize your number... 72689.

72689. Right. My name is Burke.

Here's your I.D. card, Mr. 72689.

Your new home is C level. Cell C-68. Next.

Okay, you got your towel, you got your toothbrush.

What are you doin' here? And what do you think you're lookin' at?

I'm new here.

I don't care what you are. You think you can sleep here?

Real estate. Cost you $500.

Don't have any money.

You don't have any money? Well, that's okay.

You can punk. Excuse me?

You can get down on your hands and knees... and you pay, just like any other cherry.

I don't think so.

You don't think so?

Possibly... you might wanna reconsider.

I don't pay, I don't punk.

Okay, okay. Take it easy.

I was jerking you around. Don't have a hair ball about it.

You want the top bunk, take it. The bottom would be nice.

Better yet. You got it. Thanks.

72689, remember?

Yeah, yeah, I remember. Don't eat that.

What's wrong with my food?

Hey, nigger.

Are you talkin' about me, ese?

We keep to ourselves now.

We don't give a shit about you people. Oh, yeah?

Hey, listen. Hey, it's on me!

Let him go. Let him go. It's cool, ese.

You're dead, ese!

You're fuckin' dead, ese!

You're dead!

Let me go, homes.

I'll talk to you later.


I know... always the nigger's fault.

You're not gonna last too long.

Is that a threat?


That's a promise.

It never happened!

Back to dinner!

You're a rata, ese. Fuckin' dead.

What's the matter with you?

Can't you see this is a black table?

Stick with your own kind. Trust no one.

What about you?

What about me? You don't know who I am.

You don't know anything.

Hey, fish.

Why don't you sit with us, fish?

Sit down, bright boy.

So what are you in for? I was a bad boy.

And you?

Me and Keel here, we got the big bitch.


See these?

Those are the people he's killed.

That's very special.

Lock 'em up, Dick.

Begin count.

Tier 2-C, 69.

Tier 2-C, 68.


Make it ourselves.

It's good for what ails you.

I saw you helpin' out that nigger Hawkins.

Not good. It's bad mojo.

Most of the time, you can't even trust your own kind in this place.

Hey, Konefke.

How long have you been here?

Maybe six years.

I hear a lot of guys are dying.

Yeah, maybe.

But I don't see so well no more.

Like one of those monkeys you hear about.

Hear no evil, see no evil.

Hi, Louis.

That's a nice outfit.

Thank you.

Are you trying to get me killed?

You're supposed to be my wife, not a princess.

I didn't realize.

Pay attention next time.

I ran your M.O. check on serial killers here.

Nothing matches up. I checked all the death certificates.

All the victims died of puncture wounds to the back of the skull.

Maybe it's a serial killer, but I'm thinking maybe it's gangs... or, like, ritual killings.

Let's concentrate on the big tips.

Last one was Alvin Barrett.

His cell mate, I'll talk to him.

You did good.


I need you to give me some money.

I'll have the office credit your prison account this afternoon.

That's no good. I need real cash to get anything done here.

Inmates aren't allowed to have cash.

You'll find a way to bring me the money easy.

I don't know if I can do that.

This is my life we're talking about.

I'll get you the money.

Tell the kids Daddy loves them.

I'm telling you, I won't condone it.

If you won't authorize the money, I'll give it to him myself.

Don't play games with me, Miss Beckett.

You are a liaison on this case and nothing more.

Take it easy.

Don't let him get to you.

Another one of your lovely peers?

Hi, Helen.

Thank you, Rosarita. I'll do it.

I stopped asking Tom about these investigations years ago.

It's all so sordid anyway.

I thought politics interested you. No, not anymore.

Since I got out of the hospital, things have taken on a new perspective.

Remember me?

I want you to meet my homey. Bruce!

He likes to kick the shit out of white trash like you, boy.

So what you gonna do? Huh?

Where'd you get all those books?

My wife. We like to read a lot.

Shit. The only thing I read is girly magazine letters.

Get back.

Listen to this one.

"Dear Sirs.

I never thought this would happen to me, but I was workin' the late shift... when this big-titted mama comes up to me."

You think any of this stuff ever really happens?

Don't know. Never happened to me.

Hawkins... you know him?


Hello, guys. You miss me?

It's the Lone Ranger.

Hi-ho, Silver. What's up, Kimosabe?

The man just waltzes right on in here... visits with the happy, old negros.

You're Lobo, Burke. You know that.

I'm Lobo? Yep.

You know how wolves stake out their territory pissin' on things?

I figure you pissed on just about everything around here.

You know everything, right? Been here a long time.

What are you in for?


Let me guess.

You're innocent, right?

I choked the son of a bitch just as sure as I'm sittin' here.

Been here over ten years. That's a long time... to be rollin' smokes and countin' cockroaches.

What's that?

Makin' shot for zip guns.

Scary times. People gettin' spiked in the head and shit.

Gotta learn to defend yourself...

So you don't get dusted. I heard that, man.

You probably figure I owe you something 'cause of what you did the other day.

Barrett... who killed him? He was my friend.

Let me tell you something. I don't owe you jack shit.

You wanna know what happened to your friend? See the Priest.

The Priest?

That's all I'm sayin'.

I'm tellin' you, the lower you go, the funkier it gets in this place.

Down where we're goin', the guards won't even come down here.

This guy I'm gonna introduce you to...

Priest, man. He's part fuckin' snake.

I know you think I'm shittin' you, but I'm not.

Wait till you see his eyes. Don't look at 'em too long.

It gives me the fuckin' creeps.

You gotta cover your ass down here, and I mean that literally.

It's gonna blow your mind, man.

You gotta see this.


What are you talkin' about?

Look, that's not the deal we made. Priest...

Listen! Look.

I want my stuff now.

Like I started saying before...

Priest, this is Burke.


I heard you went airborne on Perez.

You want a lady?

He thinks he's too good for me.

What's wrong with my ladies?


I just need some help.

I help lots of people.

I get Jersey hormone pills.

Is that the kind of help you want?

Alvin Barrett... who killed him?

Someone punched a hole in his head.


I can't just tell you these things.

I give you a little, you taste it.

That's how things work.

You could talk to Myerson, Barrett's former cell mate.

He's in solitary now... but he works in the infirmary, night shift.

He can fill prescriptions if you got the money.

Sure you don't wanna sample my goods?

I'll take a rain check.

Got another one.

He won't be home for dinner.

What is this? Goddamn medical waste.

Medical waste.

You Myerson? What do you want?

I need some medicine.

I got prescription drugs... morphine and uppers. What do you need?

I hear you were Barrett's cell mate. He was a good kid, huh?

He's dead now. Yeah.

On drugs. Bad news.

No way.

He was as green as grass. He never did nothin'.

Convenience store robbery, and that's it.

Maybe he was in a gang then.

I said he was clean. What are you so curious about?

He was my friend who got spiked in the head.

Maybe you know who did it.

I'm not saying another word. Yes, you are.

Hey, fuck you!

What is this?

It's soda pop.

You're gonna drink this.

Please, man, don't! I didn't do nothing! Christ!

Look, they'll kill me if I talk. A guard let 'em in, not me.

Lockup, five minutes. Move it!

I'll talk to you.

Hello? It's Burke.

I've got something.

Hang on a second.

Okay, I'm ready.

Barrett's cell mate is scared.

Whatever's going on, the guards are involved.

I need to see the victims' files.

The files haven't been transferred to computer yet.

Harrison's files are all still at the prison.

What are you doing?

Right now?

Eating dinner.

Is there anything else?

I'll be in touch.

Have a nice little chat?

I need the key to the records room.

That can be arranged.

Hey! What?

What do you got here?

A load of shirts for the reception desk.

Okay, you got me.

I was takin' some pruno over to the guys in storage.

Now, you know I'm gonna have to take that.


You ever actually taste that stuff?

I don't think so. All right.

Well, maybe. Let me try some.

Oh, man!

Well, you're gonna have to develop a taste for it.

You just can't go wading into the shit, you know.

New arrival.

What was that? What was what?

I must be going crazy.

Lot of old ghosts hangin' around this place.

Let's get out of here.

Only the murder victims have the "SL" notation.

The victims are brand-new... no drugs, no gangs.

All different ages and race.

I can check with the mainframe system.

Maybe "SL" is some sort of departmental abbreviation.

I've got the guy for you.

I've worked with him before. He's a real pro.

He'll do the hacking for you.

And don't tell Keane about this, okay?

You know this is illegal, don't you?

Sort of illegal. Do you mind?

Are you kidding? I love it.

See, I like to think of myself as a renegade.

You know, like a cowboy.

Yeah, I'm a computer cowboy. That's what I am.

Well? Well, what? It's checking.

"SL" can stand for virtually anything... or nothing at all.

So, you got a boyfriend or something?

The computer looks for combinations of words beginning with "SL."

Then it sees if there are any files in the system named that.

Shit. I'm missing Star Trek.

You wanna watch Star Trek?

All right. So...

We got something here.

Now we see where the files are most commonly accessed from.

Bingo! That's it. That's the file.

Shit! We need the password.

That's okay. It's a start.

Give me a day or two... and I can locate any terminals it's been accessed from.

You'll find out whose file it was.

Great. I'll take you home. Your parents'll kill me.

Who needs parents? We're both adults.

Aren't we?

I'm an adult... and you're a kid.

Your hormones are workin' overtime.

Come on. I'll take you home.

I'd rather not tell Keane about what I'm doing with the computers.

Burke thinks we can get it done a lot quicker without his interference.

I wonder if Detective Burke isn't interfering with your work habits.

We have procedures for a reason.

I know what I'm doing.

I hope you do.

I promised your father I'd take care of you.

Don't worry.

Damn it! It took you long enough.

You want to talk now?

Look, I found out some things... about what they did to Barrett.

He didn't deserve what they did to him.

We used to smuggle out some drugs from overstock.

Well, I was in surgery last night...

Shit. That's...

If he finds his keys missing, I'm a dead man.


Don't worry.

I need protection.

Another guy got spiked last night, and this is serious shit!


I've got to get this key back to Priest.


I need protection.


Just thought you'd like to know...

I think somebody's gonna pay you a visit tonight.

I'd think twice about sleeping.


I just hate to see a good man go to waste.

I finally figured out the password.

I've had the computer running word variations for hours.

Of course, you know, it was a special program I devised myself.

You know, I was reading this article in a men's magazine... about the virility of men in their middle to late teens...

Right. Just do it.

Right. Here we go.

Morpheus was the Greek god of sleep.

I'm a whiz at mythology.

Criminals have a sense of humor.

Yes! We're in.

You're kidding me?

No. Is there anything else you need?

Print it out. Can you make a copy of this file?

Sure I can. Great.

What the hell is it doing?

Someone is destroying it from the other end.

Well, stop it. I can't.

We just have to hope it started the print copy first.

Where's this file accessed from?

The infirmary, for one. I checked up on the other abbreviation.

"H-L-E" is a coding system for a tissue type.

I'm still checking on that other point of access.

It's definitely someone outside the prison.

That's our key player.

This is my beeper number. Call me as soon as you find it out.

Tisdale, you are a stud.

All the Sleep file contained was a list of prisoner I.D. numbers... strung together along with the prisoners' blood types.

Every person who was on that list has been killed.

It's a hit list. Exactly.

Each victim had a physical days before they were killed.

Each one came up clean.

No diseases, no drug addiction, nothing.

I think someone from the outside is working with the guards.

Keane would have access to the files.

There's something else.

Your number's next on the list.

What's going on in here?

Help me.

Grab him. Help me!

What are you doing in my prison?

Is something wrong with your mouth?

You killed Konefke.

I didn't do it.

I know.

Strip him.

When I know you

When I know you When I know you like I know

You got a big mouth, Jersey.

I didn't say no names.

I didn't say you.

Who's there?

What's going on? What do you want?

We wanna talk, just like Burke.

I didn't talk to Burke. I didn't say nothing.

Who said I talked to Burke? This is bullshit.

What is that?

Shit. Oh, God.

Hey, wait a minute. You can't do this.

You gotta hear my side of it. Somebody's lyin', man!

Somebody's fuckin' lying on me!

You can't do this, man!

Oh, God. Just stop. Wait a minute.

Just wait one second! Oh, God.

What did you say to Burke?

Who said I talked? How did you find that out?

That's bullshit, man!

I swear to God I didn't talk! Stop it! What are you doin'?

You're crazy, man! People will find out!

What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do?

I'll give you anything! What do you want?

You're a liar, Myerson.

Don't! Please!

This is ridiculous.

Do you wanna see your husband?

The purse.

Then bring in a female guard.

None seem to be available.

Up with the arms.

I don't know.

I'm sorry, missy... but you're gonna have to remove your clothes.

Your husband is waiting.

Clean up and get dressed.

Your pretty little wife wants to see you.

You have a half hour, Burke.

Have a good time there, buddy.

Oh, God. It's okay.

Who did this to you? The guards.

They let two prisoners into my cell.

One of them had an ice pick.

At least we know who's been spiking people.

What about you?


You look like hell.

So do you.

I checked on Dr. Gottesman, and...


He didn't get into med school here.

He went to South America.

South America?

And, um... And?

There were a couple... of, um... malpractice suits.

You're so beautiful.

You guys are all spooked 'cause you think there's some big conspiracy.

Priest, you know as well as I what's going on.

Brother got his brains scrambled just last night.

Straight through the skull like a piece of meat.

It could be me next, could be you.

So big, white Superman's gonna save our asses?

What makes you think we wanna be saved?

Burke needs our help.

He needs a distraction.

Good work, Hawkins. Thank the Priest.

Shit! Yeah, it's locked.

They cart this medical waste in and out of here day and night.

Where? I don't know.

They got a special pickup for it. It's hazardous.

Oh, yeah?

Let's see what's inside. Watch your eye.

Funny. Hurry up.

Hold this.

It's a human heart.

Oh, God.

What's going on?

New dude being brought in.

All this for a new fish?

Man, this ain't no fish. This is the man.

Long time no see, Burke.

Would you like to know what's out there, Burke?

Would you like to know what's on the other side?

You know what prisoners hate more than anything else, Burke?

Prisoners hate cops more than anything else.

Fucking pigs!

Every killer in this prison... is gonna know who you are.

And you're not gonna know when it's coming.

Let him go.

Bring me a dream, Burke.

Bring me a dream.

Hey, you belong to me!

He's a cop! The only good cop...

I'm gonna rip your eyes out!

Get me some chitlins.

I gotta get outta here!

Get me out of this pen!

You pig!

That's a load of shit you were giving us. Barrett wasn't your friend.

I'm trying to stop what's going on here.

Doesn't that make a difference?

In the cage, man, a cop is worse than a... baby raper.

Why are you still here?

You're a dead man.

I need your help.

It's too late.

Miss Beckett, I've been looking for you.

You stay the hell away from me.

Tom. Excuse me. I need to speak with you.

What's wrong? It's urgent.

It's about Keane.

Let's go inside.

Now, you want to tell me what's going on?

We have to get Burke out of there.

Keane has been in on this the entire time.

Wait. This has to do with it.

Yeah, Tis, it's me. Amanda, listen.

I tried the other point of access. The number's 555-6799.

Vogler's house!

I'm sorry, Amanda. I never wanted this.

Helen and I really did care about you.

If Helen found out, it would kill her.

We have to... keep the bad parts of our lives private.

Burke proved so resourceful... that when the others didn't take care of him...

I had the Sandman transferred there.


I did it to save her life.

Helen got sick. She needed a liver.

She couldn't get one.

It didn't matter how much money I had.

The list was too long.

So I found a doctor.

He said he could get one.

Once he started... he found you could make a lot of money selling life.

We're killing criminals.


And after a while... you stop thinking of them as humans.

Oh, Tom, there you are.

What's going on?

Why don't you tell her, Tom?

Tell her how you murdered for her.

Hey, Burke, Sandman's comin' to see ya.

You don't have the guts to come in this cell.

What happened?

What happened? He got Keller!

Jesus Christ! Secure this door! Grab him!

Bring him too. Come on.

Gene, secure the infirmary.

Well, well, look who we have here.

Great. Now we have all the assholes in one room.

You've caused us a great deal of trouble, Detective Burke.

You scum.

Let me do it.

It's gonna be messy if you kill an undercover officer.

Go ahead, dust him.

Blow his fuckin' head off!

Come on! Stop playin' around! Let's get the hell out of here!

Why did you do it?

I don't know.

Maybe I'm goin' soft in my old age.

Let's just say I owe somebody somethin'.

Let's get out of here. Let's go through the kitchen.

Quick! The elevator to the kitchen!

Oh, God.

You're just in time for surgery, Doc.

Let's do it.

Easy. Thanks.

It's going to hurt now, okay?

Yeah. Stop yacking at me.

It's secure. We're okay for a while.

Can you make it?

I don't think so. He's better off here.

I have to get to the outside.

I'll be back for you.

Just hang on.

Go with him, man. Make sure he gets to the outside.

Go on! Go on!

I know you're in here, Burke.

You know why?

'Cause I can smell the nigger.

Kiss your black ass good-bye.

Go fuck yourself, you pudgy bastard.

I knew you needed me, brother.

You make a deal with the Priest, it's for keeps.

It's okay. You need me more than he does.

Follow me.

We have to take the catwalk through the boiler room.

That's the only way to get out to the yard.

Come on, Burke!

Come to Papa!

I'm up here, Burke!

If you leave, Hawkins dies!

Come on!

You like that, Burke?

This is the part I love.

Move, move, move!

Wakey, wakey, Burke.

Time to bleed.

Come on!

Welcome to hell!

Can't kill me, Burke.

I'm the Sandman.

Let the man through. Let him go, man.

He just dusted the Sandman. Open up, man. Let him out.

Let him go by.

You did it, man.

You really did it. You dusted him.

Open up, man. Open up. He just kicked up the Sandman.

Back up, vatos.

Clear it out back there.

You got it, homes.


This is Hawkins. He saved my life.

I had to, Burke.

I took a life. I gave one back.

Maybe now I'm even.

Just watch your ass, 72689.

I won't be there the next time.