Deconstruction by Lesley Harter | Script Revolution

Deconstruction

A Russian roulette-playing detective investigates the murder of a beautiful young photographer and the enigmatic older woman who confesses to the crime. (TV PILOT)

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55pp

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Present Day:

A swanky LA loft with graphic black-and-white photographs of outcasts and debauched debutantes on the walls. Socialite gallery owner Veronica Cross stands over a bathtub, gun in hand, staring at a dead female in the bloody water. Hours later, she walks into a Los Angeles police station and confesses to Homicide Detectives Ben Baronski and Nico Pena. Veronica is arrested and waves her right to an attorney.

The dead woman is celebrated Art World photographer Alex Hastings. Autopsy shows that Alex was shot at close range and reveals two tattoos: “eXtinction” in crude lettering and the other a cartoonish figure of a bearded man with a tool belt. Closer investigation reveals that Alex’s cell phone and laptop are missing and that the crime scene has been wiped clean. Ben questions why Veronica would wipe the place down and then turn herself in.

That night, Ben visits his comatose daughter in the hospital. He goes home to a dingy post-divorce apartment that he shares with a hamster and self-help books. He feeds the hamster then plays Russian roulette at his kitchen table – it’s not the first time he’s beat this game.

One Year Earlier:

Veronica works at the gallery with duplicitous assistant, Madison Greenly. The IRS is after Veronica for back taxes – her dead husband, among other offenses, wrote off his mistress as a business expense. Veronica has unsatisfying sex with attorney Steven Clement -- He wants the relationship to go deeper; she wants him to go home.

Venice Beach -- Alex Hastings sleeps in a battered sleeping bag. She’s awakened when Glori Knight, thinking she may be dead, prods the bag with a bejeweled sandal. It starts to rain and Glori, once homeless herself, takes pity on Alex. She invites her home where Alex meets Glori’s lover, porn director Horst Braun. That night, Glori takes Alex to “Jugs” where Glori works as a stripper. Next morning, when Glori steps out of the hot tub, Alex sees her male genitalia.

Horst hands Alex a cheap camera and sends her to the park to scout potential sex scene locations. Alex spots a homeless woman in the park and photographs her, persisting despite the woman’s protests and escalating terror. When Horst sees those photographs, he’s impressed. Horst lets Alex keep the camera.

On a photo-shooting expedition, Alex passes Veronica’s gallery; their eyes connect through the window. Veronica’s college professor, Katherine Bond, walks into the gallery and interrupts the moment – Katherine is visiting from New York. There’s a hint of sexual tension between her and Veronica.

Present Day:

Ben and Nico sift through Alex’s cell phone records. Alex received seven calls from “Jugs” the day before she was killed. She was also chatting with Horst Braun whose number is disconnected.

Steven Clement shows up at the station, tells Ben and Nico that he’s representing Veronica. Ben informs him that Veronica refused the right to an attorney. Steven reveals that her son, Trevor, is in rehab. That night, the detectives visit “Jugs.” Glori isn’t working and no one recognizes a photo of Alex.

The detectives interview Madison at the gallery. She describes Alex as a user – everyone but Veronica could see it. She also blames Alex for the break-up of her engagement to Trevor. Next, Ben and Nico question Alex’s agent, Margo Barry, and find that Veronica discovered Alex and became furious when Alex decided to change galleries.

Ben visits Veronica in jail, reveals that his daughter also has a problem with drugs. That night, Ben visits hooker, Lilly Rosenblatt – not for sex, the antidepressants have killed his libido, but for conversation and physical closeness. Nico has angry, transactional sex with Joan Cameron, the older woman who indulges his expensive tastes.

The detectives locate Horst who is drinking heavily in his squalid studio apartment. Glori has thrown him out. He doesn’t remember where he was when Alex was killed. Horst gives Nico a copy of his porno “Truck Stop Brothel,” featuring Glori Knight. After they leave, Horst rummages through boxes until he finds a Saint Christopher medal with a broken chain – it belonged to Alex. That night, Nico watches “Truck Stop Brothel.”

Ben and Nico interview Sadie Tamowitz at Alex’s new gallery. She tells them about Alex’s upcoming show, “Deconstruction,” and reveals that she has never seen the photographs for it. Next, they visit Oceanview Clinic. Psychologist, Dr. Ari Isaacs, won’t allow them to interview Trevor, saying it would be detrimental to his recovery. After the detectives leave, Isaacs warns Trevor that they’ll be back.

At the station, Ben and Nico learn that their vic is not really Alex Hastings: the name and social she used belongs to a young woman who died in a car crash.

Submitted: October 7, 2021
Last Updated: October 12, 2021

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The Writer: Lesley Harter

My life often sounds like fiction to those who weren't there. My mom was an ex-starlet, my dad a politician, and yes, there was a lot of speculation about her past and his future. As it turned out, my dad wasn't going to have much of a future; he died when I was seven. A few months later, my mother changed the course of her future and mine by moving us to Europe and, eventually, marrying an Italian prince. ​I was seventeen when I returned to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. Within months I had dropped out of college and, with little funds and even less desire to get a job, I found myself living in the city’s grittiest neighborhoods; replacing my ‘finishing school’ friends with hookers, junkies... Go to bio

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