Girl in the Shadows by Stephen Knight | Script Revolution

Girl in the Shadows

As a small town-cop battles PTSD and addiction, she takes on her first murder investigation, but the man in charge and the horrors of her past consort to prevent her from solving the case.



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Genre: Crime Thriller (feature)

Theme(s): Sins of the past, Sisterly love & loyalty

Nutshell: “Destroyer” meets “Monster”

Introduction: A story inspired by 18 years in law enforcement and as a detective, a tale told from within the dark depths of my battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Set in a rural town in Australia, the story focuses on a female detective’s downward spiral into alcohol and prescribed drug addiction, and her attempt to smother an internal pain placed there by a horrific childhood incident.


Facedown on the footpath of his rambling farmhouse, loner and hoarder, Reginald Northcott is dead. Blunt force trauma to the head - possible homicide.

A country cop, and the town's only female detective, Shelley Tyrone is alone and at breaking point when she is once again overlooked to run the case.

Shelley finds solace in her only true confidant, Jennifer Green, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair and trapped in a nursing home. Thankfully, a young physiotherapist, Andy Bruce, takes a shine to her, works hard to give her some semblance of a normal life.

Shelley and Jennifer are bound by a dark secret: when children, two teenage girls Patricia Ardino and Veronica White brutally bashed them. Their crime, they were lesbians. The scar now the root of Shelley’s pain, and at times, her overwhelming guilt caused by her perceived responsibility for Jennifer’s predicament.

After forcing the hand of her Inspector, Shelley gets the case, her first homicide. All she needs to do now is solve it while keeping a lid on her “other issues”.

Joining her one-woman strike force, homicide detective Simon Yang. They delve into the case, but Shelley’s boss, Detective Sergeant, Michael Chubbick, wants her to fail. There is no way a female, and a lesbian at that, is running a murder investigation on his watch.

Another body: Patricia...

With it now looking like a “sexy” serial murder enquiry, Chubbick strips Shelley of the case, shoves her into the back stalls where “her kind” belong. Disillusioned, Shelley embarks on an all-night alcohol and drug-fueled bender. What she doesn't know is Chubbick has called in the Drug Testing Unit.

Busted and placed on suspension, believing she is a “goner”, she turns to her only allies, Jennifer and Andy. Forced to face the events of that fateful night, the two women relive Patricia and Veronica's brutal actions, including the smashing of Jennifer's arm with a hammer.

It is then Jennifer reveals Reginald was there, lurking in the shadows, watching... doing nothing.

Jennifer and Shelley conclude Veronica is the killer. Jennifer convinces Shelley they must set Veronica up, make her pay for her crimes. Shelley reaches out to Simon for Veronica’s address, and with it, a plan is put in motion.

The two women travel to a neighboring coastal town to plant incriminating evidence on Veronica. They set up camp in the caravan park where Veronica resides. As they wait to make their move, Shelley pulls out a bottle of bourbon and descends into yet another liquor-infused blackout.

Shelley wakes in a stupor to discover that Jennifer is gone.

Frantic, Shelley searches the park and uncovers a blood bath in Veronica’s caravan: Veronica tied spread eagle on a bed, and standing over, no longer a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, is Jennifer – the cold-blooded killer.

Jennifer uses her guilt-ridden friendship with Shelley and forces her to take part in her revenge killing. In her weakened mental state, Shelley swigs down drug-laced bourbon and beats Veronica with a hammer. Not enough to kill Veronica, Jennifer finishes her off.

Joining them, to clean up the mess, like he always does, Andy. Shelley passes out, and Jennifer and Andy are on the move, taking Shelley with them.

The next morning, Chubbick and Simon, believing Jennifer and Andy are hostages, go on the hunt for who they think is the killer, Shelley.

An intense chase, a bloody shootout, and Shelley is mortally wounded.

As Shelley dies, Chubbick stands over her and gloats, threatening to end Simon’s career for giving Shelley the address.

Shelley puts an end to his game with a bullet between his eyes.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Placed in the "Top Ten Features" - 2021 SWN Screenplay Competition: Goldman Award

Submitted: April 11, 2021
Last Updated: May 12, 2021

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Stephen Knight's picture

The Writer: Stephen Knight

18 years in law enforcement, ten of those as a detective... I know crime and horror. After penning ten scripts, I've discovered my sweet spot: Crime thrillers with a flavoring of horror. A creative with an open-mind and drive that makes me a perfect fit for any team/project. I look forward to meeting new faces and giving something back. Go to bio