Case Report #404: The Score
Victim: Vince Hutton, convicted smuggler
Killer: Hank Novak, bar owner and devoted father
The Discovery: The body is found dumped by a river in Squamish, BC. The victim has a hole in the back of his head but was killed elsewhere. Det. Brian Lucas interviews the woman who found him, a cute x-ray tech, and they start swapping on-the-job gore stories. Det. Paula Mazur is distracted by phone calls related to a messy break-up.
The Investigation: Vince recently got a job as a bouncer at a bar called the Chieftain, owned by his old high school buddy, Hank. Vince was just released from prison after doing 20 years for smuggling.
Dr. Betty Rogers struggles to identify the murder weapon, which she thinks is similar to a bolt gun.
Dets. Angie Flynn and Paula Mazur find Vince’s trailer park home ransacked and his girlfriend Tanya inside. He picked her up after eating every day for two weeks at the restaurant where she waitressed. One day he ordered steak and champagne to celebrate an investment paying off. He asked her out and gave her $2,000 shoes.
Angie and Paula visit Tanya’s restaurant and notice the table Vince chose had a good view of semi-trucks, preferred conveyance of a smuggler. When they go to look at the trucks, someone rides up on a motorcycle and throws a rock through Angie’s new car window. She takes off after him and finds him pulled over up the road. It’s Sgt. Mark Cross, now with Combined Special Enforcement Unit, two months into an undercover smuggling investigation. He needed a way to get her attention without blowing his cover, and her new car paid the price.
Back at the station, Cross explains he’s infiltrated a criminal logistics crew run by Levi Foster. They run everything but drugs and people. Levi is Vince’s old cellmate. He promised Vince a job while they were inside but rejected him when Vince came asking.
Cross tells them one of Levi’s trucks was recently stolen with $500,000 in merchandise in it. Angie and Lucas proceed delicately as they interview Levi, to avoid blowing Cross’s cover.
Levi matches a description someone gave of a man who came by Vince’s trailer a few days earlier. Levi tells the detectives about Vince stopping by, then says he went to his place to check on him, seeming to confirm he was the one who ransacked it.
When Betty casually mentions to Staff Sergeant Oscar Vega that Brian has a date with the x-ray tech, Oscar has to gently warn Brian about dating a witness in an ongoing investigation.
Angie and Paula go to the Chieftain to talk to Hank again. The bartender is changing the taps on the kegs and Paula notices one has blood on it.
Angie talks to Hank’s daughter Sadie in back and sees some of the stolen shoes in her locker. When Sadie tells the detectives that Hank went to return the stolen stuff to Levi, they race there.
Background: Sadie is accepted into college in Chicago, but worries how her father will pay for it with his bar struggling. She’s excited to meet Vince, who knew her late mother. One day she finds Vince at the bar trying to unload some of the stuff he stole. He says it’s payback for a debt he’s owed. Sadie offers to help sell some of it to her friends to pay for school.
Vince stores his stolen truck at Hank’s bar. Hank isn’t happy about it, but relents after Vince threats him. With Vince gone, Levi and a goon pay Hank a visit at the bar and rough him up looking for the truck. Hank takes them to it, but 40 boxes are missing. Levi tells him to turn up 40 boxes or $300,000.
Hank talks to his bartender, who says Sadie might know something. Hank finds her at home with Vince’s stolen stuff. Hank turns the profits and remaining shoes back to Levi, who says Hank still owes $120,000.
When Hank doesn’t have it, Levi has him beaten. Levi pulls out a gun and is about to fire when Cross runs up and stops him. He blows his cover, but saves Hank.
The Motive: Hank had enough of Vince putting him and his daughter and bar at risk and ordered him to get rid of the stolen merchandise. Vince reminded Hank that Hank bought the bar with his smuggling cut 20 years ago and that Vince took the fall for him. Then Vince mentioned how much Sadie looks like him and tells Hank that he hooked up with Hank’s wife before he was arrested 20 years ago. Hank is enraged at the realization that Sadie isn’t his daughter and shoves Vince backward toward the bar where Vince’ head is impaled on an exposed tap handle. Hank is worried Sadie will find out Vince was her father, but Angie agrees not to tell her.
After teasing from Brian, Angie deletes her dating profile. On her way out, she runs into Cross in the elevator and they head for a drink.