The Dead Ringer by Suzanne Lutas | Script Revolution

The Dead Ringer

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the mistress of a London-based Chinese Triad boss, an illegal immigrant is trained by the MI5 to infiltrate the gang and bring them down.



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MEI LI SUN works illegally as a waitress in a dive bar in London’s Chinatown until one day, in spite of her strong survival instincts, she can’t prevent her father from being slain by the ruthless Snakeheads gang. Since the Snakeheads are responsible for smuggling the two of them into the country, she now is indebted to them for both her transportation fee and her deceased father’s. Mei Li is also worrying herself sick about her younger sister who has vanished while boarding with them for England, in the flow of stowaways.

With a debt she cannot pay hanging over her, rent due to her lodgers, the disappearance of her sister, and the grief of her father’s brutal murder, Mei Li is at a loss. When ALEX RHYS, an MI5 officer approaches her with a job offer and the promise to repay her debts and give her a UK passport, Mei Li accepts. Alex and the MI5 begin training her to mimic the voice and movements of an unknown woman, and help her enhance her skills of observation and impersonation. Once her training is nearly complete, she discovers that she has been training to impersonate ANNA HUANG, the mistress of JAMES WU, head of the Wo Shing Wo Triad, the archenemies of the Snakeheads.

Now the MI5’s strategy is also to divide and rule the Triads. So Alex poses as a Russian thug who wishes to weaken Mr. Wu’s hold on the sex trade in Russia, by using the Snakeheads to hit him in London. Carrying out his plan- Alex teams up with the Snakeheads’ boss, kidnaps Anna Huang and dictates him to keep her for two weeks without asking for a ransom. The assumed goal being that when Mr. Wu discovers his mistress is missing, he’ll be so upset that he’ll give in to whatever demands by the end of the 14 day period.

Meanwhile Mei Li has been sent into Mr. Wu’s lair to take Anna’s place, in a high-stakes performance that could end at any minute if she makes one tiny mistake. At first, Mr. Wu is fooled. As Mei Li carries out Anna’s usual sordid tasks, like managing child prostitutes from China, she falls under Mr. Wu’s spell and mistakes his power over her for protection. Despite Alex’s firm attempts to pull her out, she becomes Mr. Wu’s mistress, literally, and puts the whole mission at risk.

This is when Mr. Wu becomes suspicious about Mei Li. He puts her to the test, charging her to kill a young prostitute who reminds her of her sister. Mei Li snaps out of it and saves the girl’s life. Meanwhile, Anna manages to break out of her cell by seducing her guard and stabbing him with his belt prong. Back at Mr. Wu’s house, Mei Li searches for his notebook, which is the last crucial evidence she needs to put him away. She stops when he comes home, soon followed by Anna, highly stunned to find herself face to face with her dead ringer! Baffled, Mr. Wu has the two women tortured and questioned to identify the impostor. While the Snakeheads gang storms in to “negotiate” after Anna’s escape and a battle ensues, the only way out for Mei Li in the midst of the all-out gang war is to team up with the woman whose identity she stole. Once Mei Li has managed to contact the MI5, Alex and reinforcements raid Mr. Wu’s residence. Just in time to stop Mr. Wu from strangling Mei Li.

The mission is a success. Mei Li has earned a British citizenship, and a new assignment. Along with Alex, she will start a joint operation with Hong Kong’s Vice Division to stop Mr. Wu’s child trafficking. Since she has also been informed that her younger sister is alive in Hong Kong, Mei Li now views her near future focused, and hopeful.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

In 2014, the Action Thriller script The Dead Ringer ranked Quarterfinalist in Page Awards International Screenplay Contest, Scriptapalooza, Cynosure, and Fresh Voices Screenwriting Contests, where it also placed Finalist in Spotlight Diversity & Inclusion Award. Finally, it reached the semi-finals in Screencraft Action & Thriller Contest.

The Dead Ringer then placed Semi-Finalist in the 2015 Page Awards International and Creative World Awards Contests. And was the 2020 October Winner of the Wiki Screenplay Contest.

It won the award for Best Original Screenwriter in November 2022, the Second Edition of the 8 & Halfilm Awards Festival. And Best Feature Script at Tokyo Short Film Festival. Best Original Screenplay at Hollywood On the Tiber Film Awards, and Arrow IFF. Best Feature Script at Sweet Democracy Film Awards and Naples Film Awards in December 2022. Silver Award at April 2023 Paris Film Awards.

The Dead Ringer Best Scene Reading
Submitted: February 23, 2017
Last Updated: May 4, 2023

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This Script Is Loved By 3 Readers

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The Writer: Suzanne Lutas

Born in Viet-Nam, Suzanne was raised and studied in France. She earned a BA and a master’s degree in English Literature before teaching English and Art in Tahiti where she still lives. She specializes in strong female protagonists and Thrillers. Be it Action, Sci-Fi or Supernatural, the quest for identity and the sense of belonging are central to her stories. All her scripts placed well in screenwriting contests. Two of them are Winners. Go to bio

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