419 "Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter"
(Original Air Date: May 6, 2000)

Written by Alex Taub; Directed by Todd Pfeiffer; (as "fanscribed" by Janet)

Pictures for "Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter"

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Scene: Street outside the Chicago Museum of Pottery. Heavy equipment working. Group of students walking down the street. There is a vase on a table near an open window sliding closer to the window with each vibration of the jackhammer. Gary is on a nearby street. The headline in the paper reads: Rare Vase Injures Child. Gary cuts though the alley.

Mugger: Hold it!

Gary stops short. Sees man in stocking cap and raincoat. He has his right hand in his pocket as though he is concealing a gun.

Mugger: Stay right where you are. Don’t say a word.

Gary starts to speak but doesn’t get a word out as the mugger threatens him again.

Mugger: Hands where I can see ‘em.

Mugger waves Gary over behind the building. Gary does as he is told.

Gary: Uh, listen, uh…Listen I

Mugger: Now give me your wallet.

Gary reaches into back pocket and hands his wallet over.

Mugger: Now your shoes.

Gary kneels down to untie shoes.

Mugger: While you’re down there I’ll take you coat and your pants and all your clothes.

Gary rises indignantly.

Gary: All my clothes!

Mugger: It’s my MO.

Thief points at Gary’s jacket.

Mugger: Is that wool?

Gary looks like he wants to cry in protest. Kneels down to finish taking shoes off.

Scene: Sidewalk in front of store. Man dressed in mattress and nightcap is passing out fliers.

Mattress Man: Hey, come on. Big sale folks. Big sale. King size. Queen size. Everything’s gotta go. You buy today and your back is going to love you in the morning.

Mattress man passes out fliers to passersby who will take them.

Mattress Man: Fifty percent off all box springs. You buy two you get a free headboard.

Gary’s voice is heard from the alleyway.

Gary: Over here.

Mattress man wanders over puzzled. Gary calls him again. And a third time.

Gary: Over here. It’s important.

Arm reaches out and pulls mattress man into alley.

Scene changes to kids walking down the street toward the museum. The vase is getting closer to the window.

Gary: Hey! Hey! (Runs down the sidewalk wearing the mattress costume toward a boy who has stopped to tie his shoe. The vase falls. Gary pushes the kid out of the way. A construction worker catches the boy as Gary falls on his back and catches the vase.

Cue opening credits, theme and first commercial break.

Scene: Exterior of large building. A cab passes by.

Scene: Interior of a courtroom. Gary still in the mattress costume stands before the presiding judge.

Gary: But you see Your Honor I didn’t steal the mattress. (Shakes his head looking nervous.)

Judge: Yet you’re wearing it and he’s not. (Looks at Gary skeptically)

Gary: You see it was an emergency. I was only borrowing it.

A man and a woman flank Gary.

Mattress man stands up.

Mattress Man: He ripped it off of me and ran away.

Judge: (looking at Mattress Man) Sir.

Mattress man sits down.

Judge: What kind of emergency requires a wearable mattress?

Gary: Well, like I said, my clothes were stolen. (Looks like a child who knows he’s in hot water)

Judge: Right. The disappearing pants thief and mugger.

Gary: And my wallet was stolen.

Judge: And rather than report this crime to the police you decided to take this man’s mattress.

(Gary looks down as he’s scolded. Marissa now enters the courtroom.)

Gary: But you see there was this kid that was…that was gonna get hurt and there was a vase, a very rare vase that was gonna fall. It was more like an urn actually. Well I had to cover 2 blocks and I didn’t have any clothes.

(Judge just looks at Gary.)

Judge: So you strapped on a posturepedic.

Gary: Well, Your Honor, you see…

(Judge holds his left hand up to stop Gary’s further protest. Gary still looking embarrassed, upset and nervous.)

Judge: Enough. Considering that the mattress is unharmed and you saved a young child and a rare vase…

Gary: Your Honor…

Judge: I’m going to knock this down to a misdemeanor. (Mattress man looks upset.) Set bail at a reasonable $200 and let you go home.

(Gary heaves a sigh of relief.)

Gary: Thank you very much Your Honor.

Judge: On one condition.

Scene: Courthouse corridor. Marissa and Gary sitting on a bench as Gary finishes dressing in the clothes that Marissa has brought him.

Gary: Psychiatric evaluation. What do I look like? Some kind of a nut?

(Sits on bench. Takes shoes Marissa hands him.)

Marissa: Not to me you don’t.

Gary: What is that some kind of a joke?

Marissa: Listen, we’ll get you home. Get you some food. Get something to eat. You may feel better.

(Gary is leaning over putting his short boots on.)

Gary: Get me home. I don’t have time to go home. Right now I have to race across town and stop some woman from breaking her back at Once Upon A Child.

(Marissa reaches for her bag and takes her cane out.)

Gary: But then again, it’s a beautiful day because I have my first appointment with my brand new court-appointed shrink. A great day. A great day indeed!

(Gary gathers up his jacket and paper and leaves without another word or a thank you to Marissa.)

Marissa: You’re welcome… for the clothes.

Scene: Interior of a store facing the windows and the door on the street. Gary enters looking around with paper in hand. Mumbles to himself. In another part of the store a pregnant woman climbs on a stepstool reaching for something on the top shelf. As she loses her balance and starts to fall Gary spots her and runs across the store to stop her, jumping over an obstacle in the process. She falls backward knocking him into a pile of shoeboxes and lands halfway on him. They struggle to get to their feet as another woman comes up behind them. She moans.

Gary: Ow. (Puts his right hand to his back.) Are you all right?

Pregnant Woman: Yeah. No thanks to you.

Gary: Huh? I was just trying to…

(Woman turns on him.)

Pregnant Woman: Well if you’d hire a few more sales people this never would have happened.

(Gary gives her one of those "why me" looks.)

Gary: Well, no, I don’t work here. (Indicates store with one hand)

Pregnant Woman: You know that’s the bottom line with big chains like you. That’s all you really think about. You know who gets lost in the shuffle? The customer! (Shakes her finger in Gary’s face and walks off.)

(Speechless Gary leaves the store still holding his back.)

Scene: El flashes by. Gary walking down the street trying to get the kinks out of his back. Spots his mugger.

Gary: Hey. Hey I want my clothes back!

(Guy takes off running down an alley. Gary chases him. A horn honks as a minivan comes speeding around the corner toward Gary and the mugger.)

Driver: Move it. Get out of the way.

Gary: I’m trying to catch this guy!

Driver: Get in line!

(Horn honks again. Gary moves to the side of the alley to his left to avoid being hit. Van races past him. Gary stops by a dumpster. Van speeds past going through a puddle. Big wave of muddy water sprays Gary. Shakes himself. Grimaces. Looks at watch.

Scene: Psychiatrist’s Office. She looks at Gary skeptically as he throws crumpled newspaper in a trash can.

Doctor: According to this file, after you lost your clothes you commandeered a mattress. (Puts file on table.) Gary seated on couch. Looks uncomfortable in her presence.

Gary: No, no, no. I didn’t lose them. (Points at her with his right hand.) They were stolen. They were…I was robbed.

(Camera switches back and forth between them.)

Doctor: That’s right. By the man who splashed you just before you came here. (Gestures with pen.)

Gary: No. No. No. That was a different man. That man was chasing the man who stole my clothes. (Gestures with right hand again.)

Doctor: I see. (Scribbles in Gary’s file.) I’m curious about it sir. (Gestures with right hand.) After you borrowed the mattress you didn’t head home to get more clothes. Instead you went running in the opposite direction.

Gary: Well that was because of the kid. (Points again)

Doctor: The one that was going to get hit by the falling urn.

Gary: Exactly. (Gary nods smiling. Looks down and up again.)

Doctor: And you knew that how?

Gary: I have feelings.

Doctor: That so? (Looks skeptical.)

Gary: Well people…people say that I’m a little psychic. (Smiles & squirms.)

Doctor: Psychic. Does that happen often?

Gary: Every once in a while. (Looks uneasy but nods.)

Doctor: Where does it come from?

Gary: How’s that?

Doctor: Your sense. Is it like a voice in you head? Do you get messages from a tealeaf?

Gary: Well, no. That’s crazy!

Doctor: The radio?

Gary: No.

Doctor: The newspaper?

Gary: No. I…(Hides paper under his jacket on the couch.) No.

(Doctor leans back in chair.)

Doctor: You’re a Sun-Times reader.

Gary: I – I like to stay current.

(Doctor scribbles in Gary’s file again.)

Gary: Well is.. isn’t there any way you can just stamp me as not crazy and let me get out of here? I really got a lot of things I gotta be doing right now. (Waves his arms around. Doctor looks at him.)

Doctor: Let’s talk about the man who splashed you.

(Gary looks uncomfortable and squirms a little more.)

Scene: Skyline. Time lapse from night to day.

Scene: Gary’s loft. He’s seen through the glass of his door leaning down for the paper. Walks back in the room reading and closes the door. Opens the paper. Reads. Stops near bench with weights on it. Cat is lying on top of the bench. Article catches his eye.

Gary (to Cat): That’s him. Mel Schwartz.

(Newspaper headline: Man electrocuted by own stun gun. Gary looks at Cat. Shows him the paper.)

Gary (to Cat): This is the guy that was in the van.

(Cat looks at him)

Cat: Meow.

Gary: What am I talking to you for?

Scene: Lobby of apartment building. Gary searches for Mel’s apartment number.

Gary: Schwartz.

(Finds door 1A and knocks. Turns away for a second and then turns back. Door opens.)

Gary: Yeah. I’m lookin’ for…You! (Recognizes pregnant woman from the store. She’s got big dark circles under her eyes.)

Mrs. Schwartz: Thank God you’re here! (Reaches for Gary’s arm and pulls him into the apartment. Pushes him out of the way. Gary turns stunned & quiet.) You’re from the baby store right? Hello. I met you yesterday. (Pulls him toward another room down the hall.) It’s in the back room. My husband called you right?

Gary: Huh?

Mrs. Schwartz: The crib. Wake up. You need coffee or something? ‘Cause all I have is decaf. (Pushes Gary into the room where a disassembled crib lies on the floor.) I don’t know why they have to make a crib so complicated. But I’ve been on my husband’s case all month to get somebody over here. (Gary looks at her confused.) Or, God forbid, do it himself.

Gary: Your husband is Mel Schwartz?

Mrs. Schwartz: Yeah. I hope he paid you up front because I can’t find my checkbook.

Gary: Look is he here?

Mrs. Schwartz: Mel? Are you kidding me? It’s tax season! He’s practically living at the office.

Gary: Which office might that be?

Mrs. Schwartz: Kurtz Cohen O’Malley. What’s the problem? You need your taxes done. I’ll tell you what. You get this thing together by noon I’ll get Mel to give you a discount.

Gary: How ‘bout I just give him a call?

Mrs. Schwartz: Look at me. Look at me! I’m not getting any less pregnant! (She’s on the verge of tears. Gary is very nervous.) Ok. Could you just…I wanted to have the whole room ready a month ago. I told Mel that. I told him I didn’t want to wait until the last minute. The baby’s coming any day now and he’s going to need a place to sleep.

(Gary’s eyes get very big as he listens to Mrs. Schwartz’s ranting & raving.)

Scene: Mel’s office. He’s walking a client out.

Mel: We’ll maximize IRA contributions. Pension funds. Your quarterlies are all up to date. So I think we can look into a small refund. (Walks client down the hall past the receptionist/secretary.) That way to the Fidelity Department. Call me. The Receptionist will validate your parking (Shakes hands with client as he leaves.).

Mel: (To Receptionist): Linda. What time is it?

Linda: Quarter to. You’ve got Simons coming in at ten and Lerner called. He wants to see you this afternoon.

(Mel and Linda walk from her desk to his office. She’s carrying the appointment book.)

Mel: You need to reschedule my appointments.

Linda: Which ones?

Mel: All of them. The whole day.

Linda: Mel I can’t…(holds hand up)

Mel: Linda.

Linda: You have a partner’s lunch at noon. It’s mandatory.

Mel: Cover for me. (She goes back to her desk. Mel goes to his office.)

Scene: Mel’s office. He undoes his coat & tie and approaches a well-stocked closet. Takes off the coat and hangs it up. The camera pans the office stopping on a movie poster. It’s for Steve McQueen in The Hunter.

Scene: Mel’s apartment. Gary’s paper has headline: Man electrocuted by own stun gun. Gary is in the nursery. The crib is partly put together. Gary attempts to sneak out. Mrs. Schwartz is running the vacuum cleaner in another room. Gary gets halfway to the door before she spots him.

Mrs. Schwartz: Hey. Where are you going?

(Gary is startled and runs the rest of the way to the door and out.)

Scene: Reflection of building on a moving vehicle. Mel is driving in his minivan. A Tape is playing. Mel has on a leather jacket & sunglasses.

Man on tape: Chapter 3. Finding Your Fugitive. Your fugitive’s last known address is ground zero. Spend some time in the fugitive’s neighborhood. Learn the streets. Soak in the smell. (Passes people standing on street corner.) It’s just like fishing. Remember what my Daddy used to say. (Man on bike with bundle passes by.) Even the trickiest trout in the crick has to come out to eat.

Scene: Side street. Gary’s mugger – Mel’s fugitive rounds the corner. Mel stops up short. Fugitive sees him. Horns honk and tires squeal. Fugitive runs, pushing people out of his way. Mel pursues in his van. Fugitive crosses street in front of Mel. Runs into an alley. Mel follows in the van.

Man on tape: Keep your guard up at all times. Cornering a fugitive is like braving a wolf in its den. Only one of you is getting out of there."

(Fugitive runs into dead end. Mel drives toward him. Holds handcuffs in right hand.)

Mel: Where you going to run now my fugitive? (Fugitive tries locked door at the end of the alley.) Nowhere. You’re out of road. (Fugitive, breathing hard, stands and faces Mel.

Scene: Busy street. Gary jobs around the corner paper in hand. Folded over to important article. Looks at article then looks for street sign.

Gary: Gunnerson Street. All right this is Gunnerson Street. Where on Gunnerson Street?

(Hears Mel yelling for help. Runs toward the sound. Mel and his fugitive are struggling. Fugitive is trying to pull Mel out of the van.)

Mel: Help

Fugitive: You wanted to get rid of me. Come on.

Mel: Help! (Reaching for something to his right in the van.)

Gary: Hey!

Scene: Gary runs into the alley and up to the van, pulling the fugitive off of Mel. Both fall to the ground. Mel grabs stun gun and gets out of van. Points the stun gun at Gary and the fugitive. Fails to work. He drops it in a puddle. Reaches for it and slips on the mud. Gary looks up and sees. Runs toward Mel shouting.

Gary: No. No. Don’t touch that! (Grabs Mel and pushes him toward a wall away from the puddle. Paper is sticking up out of his back pocket. Stuns Mel.

Gary: You all right?

(Fugitive gets to his feet and starts to leave. Gary sees him and rushes to intercept him.

Gary: No! No! (Blocks his way and points at him.) I want my clothes back!

(Fugitive stares at him in surprise, rolls his eyes and turns his head.

Fugitive: Who are you guys?

(Mel reaches in his jacket and takes out a wallet with a badge.)

Mel: Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter

Scene: The three men are in Mel’s van. Gary and Mel sit in the front. The fugitive is in the back seat behind Gary.

Gary: Bounty Hunter?

Mel: Technically the title is Fugitive Recovery Agent

(Gary looks at Mel, then the fugitive, then back to Mel again. Gestures with his right hand.)

Gary: I thought you were an accountant.

Mel: I’m kind of going through a transition.

Fugitive: I know what that’s like

Gary: Shut up!

(Fugitive kind of cringes.)

Gary: Don’t you have to have some kind of special training to be a bounty hunter?

Mel: Oh, I’m trained. I took a class

Gary: What kind of class is that?

(Mel looks over at Gary. Then at the seat next to him. Picks up the book on tape. Hands it to Gary. Big leather clad dude’s picture on the cover.

Gary: "Bringin’ ‘Em Back: How to Become a Bounty Hunter in Nine Easy Steps"

(Gary looks at Mel with a "you’ve got to be kidding" look. Mel looks smug.)

Mel: Guy’s a legend.

Gary: Where did you get a tape like this?

Fugitive: Late night TV. I almost got one myself.

Gary: Shut up! (Turns back to Mel.) You mean an infomercial?

Mel: It’s a twelve-hour course. Accredited.

Gary: Look. Don’t you think bounty hunting is just a little dangerous?

Mel: A good bounty hunter learns to smell the danger and swallow the fear. Tape 3 Part 2.

Gary: Well, what I mean is, isn’t there a better vocation that you could have picked seeing as you have a wife and a little baby on the way?

Mel: How’d you know that?

(Gary hesitates, apparently wishing he hadn’t said that. Looks around the van, then back at Mel.)

Gary: Well, because you got a brand new baby seat.

Mel: So I got married. Lots of bounty hunters get married.

Gary: Well you could have been killed.

Mel: You know what? I don’t want to hear this. I don’t need any Doubting Thomases in my life right now.

Gary: Look pal, I’m just trying to help you out.

Mel: Yeah? Well don’t.

(Gary looks away from Mel out the front windshield.)

Mel: While I appreciate your…assistance back there, you’re not my father, you’re not my rabbi, you’re not my shrink. Okay?

Gary (nods, irritated.): That’s great. (Suddenly pulls back left sleeve and looks at watch.) Shrink. Oh, no.

Scene: Psychiatrist’s Office. She is obviously displeased that Gary is late for his appointment.

Gary: Uh, I’m.. I’m sorry.

Doctor: The appointment was for twelve. Twelve noon.

(Gary has paper in his left hand. Right hand pulls sleeve back as he looks at his watch again.)

Gary: Yeah, but you see it was really beyond my control.

Doctor: Do you do that often?

Gary: (Hesitates before answering.) Do what?

Doctor: Shift the responsibility for your own actions somewhere else?

Gary: No. I don’t do that. I never do that.

Doctor: So you were late today because…

Gary: Because of Mel Schwartz.

Doctor: The accountant turned bounty hunter.

Gary: And he just happens to be the one who splashed me the other day as well.

Doctor: Really. (Makes a note in Gary’s file.)

Gary: That’s right. (Watches her nervously.)

Doctor: Mel Schwartz. Really. So how do you explain the sudden appearance of Mr. Schwartz in your life?

Gary: Hmm. That’s a very interesting question. (Fidgets in his seat.) He just sort of keeps popping up all over the place actually. But you see that’s because he’s going through a mid-life crisis probably and he’s looking for adventure and stuff.

(Doctor looks at him skeptically even as she nods.)

Doctor: Who’s looking for adventure?

(Gary looks miserable with this conversation.)

Gary: Mel Schwartz.

Scene: Bail bondwoman’s office. Woman in leather jacket is holding a camera.

Woman: Say "scumbag".

Mel: (Holding Wanted Poster & lighter) Scumbag.

(Flash goes off. Picture ejects from camera.)

Woman: Another blow for justice. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? (Hands picture to Mel. Mel puts poster down and takes picture.)

Mel: You have no idea.

Woman: You’re pretty good at tracking down people.. (Sighs) You never forget your first felon. (Sits at her desk. Mel walks over. Hands Mel a check. Sirens are heard in the background.)

Woman: There ya go. Two hundred and fifty on delivery.

Mel: Wow!

Woman: To be honest (leans back in her chair) I didn’t think you had it in you Mel. You must be one tough accountant.

Mel: So what’s next?

Woman: Hey, slow down there tiger.

Mel: I want to get back out there.

Woman: My cupboard’s all bare right now.

Mel: (Disappointed) Nothing?

Woman: Oh well, (gets up from chair and crosses to file cabinet) I got one outstanding skip. (Takes file from cabinet) But this one…he’s not for you.

Mel: Why not?

Woman: He’s armed and dangerous. Up on assault & battery charges. He’s already served an armed robbery rap.

Mel: Can I see it?

Woman: I’ll do what’s best Mel. I can’t send a rookie up against this guy. I can’t have that on my head.

Mel: Listen, Miss Davlin. I have found my calling. When I chased that guy down today it was like, like I was awake for the first time. I’m not looking to take foolish risks, I’m a CPA for crying out loud. I’m trained to evaluate risk. (Bail Bondwoman just looks at him.) Worst case scenario? I don’t find him you send someone else. What do you say? (Bail Bondwoman still smiling at him.)

Woman: I like your spirit! Umm! (Opens file folder.) Odessa McNeil. He was arrested for ah leaving four members of a rival biker gang unconscious (walks to her desk) in a street fight. Posted a $90,000 bond for him two weeks ago. I haven’t heard from him since. He goes by his nickname Stumpy.

Mel: Stumpy? (looks concerned)

Woman: Rumor has it that he ripped the arm off of a guy who owed him money and beat him to death with it.

Mel: But that’s just a rumor, right?

Woman: Here’s a list of McNeil’s acquaintances, associates, bars and motels he frequents. Good luck.

Scene: Psychiatrist’s office. Gary is sitting on the couch. The doctor is sitting in her chair writing. Gary looks over at her anxiously.

Gary: You know I’m not making this up. (Gestures with his right hand and looks away and back again.) There’s nothing wrong with me. If you pay attention to me and you listen you’ll see…(Looks at paper. Headline reads: Accountant’s body found in dumpster)

Doctor: See what?

(Gary not paying attention to her as he reads the article.)

Doctor: Mr. Hobson.

Gary: I have to go.

Doctor: Excuse me?

Gary: I have to go right away. (Gets up from his seat.)

Doctor: But we’re not through here.

(Gary heads toward the door with his paper in hand. Doctor gets up from her chair.)

Gary: Yeah, well it’s a matter….

Doctor: Of life & death.

Gary: (points at her with his right index finger) You said it not me!

Doctor: Whose? Is it…is it…?

Gary: (reading paper again looks up) Mel Schwartz and I’ll see you tomorrow. Same time. (Opens door) Thank you. (Goes out)

(Doctor goes over to her desk. Picks up the phone and dials a number.)

Doctor: Yes, uh, yes. This is Doctor Sunland from Forensic Psych. I’m calling about the Hobson case.

Scene: Gary exits the doctor’s building paper in hand open to the article about Mel. He follows the article with his finger and then runs off.

Doctor: Gary Hobson. The diagnosis is much more complicated than first perceived. I want the full team in for evaluation. Yeah. I think we might have to take him off the street.

CONTINUE TO PART 2


Many thanks to Janet for sharing her fanscription of "Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter" – Thank you!


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