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Authorís Notes: This story is in screenplay format, not in fiction format. NOTE: This screenplay is protected by registration with the Writers Guild of America, East: R14442-00.
Number of Chapters: 7
Summary: The Rune-Bearer is a two-hour Movie-of-the-Week that can also serve as the pilot for a one-hour weekly fantasy/drama series. It features a female private detective who is suddenly bestowed with supernatural powers after a chance encounter with the dying victim of a serial killer. She uses her skills and her new powers to fight evil and to solve mysteries in Memphis, Tennessee. It's like Witchblade, only lighter and funnier.
The Rune-Bearer is a two-hour Movie-of-the-Week that can also serve as the pilot for a one-hour weekly fantasy/drama series. It features a female private detective who is suddenly bestowed with supernatural powers. She uses her skills and her new powers to fight evil and to solve mysteries in Memphis, Tennessee. It's like Witchblade, only lighter and funnier.
SUMMARY OF THE PILOT
Two years earlier, Casey Callahan, law-school-graduate turned private detective, was the victim of a near-fatal stabbing by the insane husband of a divorce-case client. Despite her history (or maybe because of it), when Casey sees Mitzi Howard being brutally stabbed in an alley by a mysterious man in black, Casey doesn't hesitate to come to the woman's aid.
Unfortunately, Casey's aid comes too late. Mitzi's attacker gets away, and Mitzi herself dies, but not before giving Casey a gift--a divine gift, a powerful legacy passed down through generations of women all the way from ancient Scandinavia to the present, all the way to Casey. This gift is a Rune, a brand resting just over her heart. The Rune gives Casey magical powers, such as prophetic visions and the ability to move objects with her mind. When she receives this gift, Casey becomes a Rune-Bearer.
Before Casey can realize her new powers, though, she is arrested for Mitzi's murder by homicide detectives Pete Peterson and Liz McMahon. When the evidence supports Casey's version of events, Casey is released, and she begins aiding Pete and Liz in the investigation. Despite Liz's disapproval, Casey and Pete also begin to explore their growing attraction to each other.
Mid-investigation, Casey makes a terrifying discovery: Frederic Johan, the mysterious man in black who killed Mitzi, is now after Casey herself. Frederic is no ordinary man, however. He too is a Rune-Bearer. Frederic wants to steal the Rune that once belonged to Mitzi and that now belongs to Casey. He wants to add this Rune's power to his own, and he plans to do just that, no matter what the cost.
Just when Casey thinks things can't possibly get any stranger, Mitzi's ghost makes an appearance. The irrepressible young prostitute shares her knowledge of the Rune and provides Casey with a much-needed introduction to her new powers.
This introduction comes just in time as Frederic ambushes Casey at the safe house where Pete and Liz have taken her. Pete is seriously injured, and Casey also takes a beating, but she still manages to steal the dagger from Frederic and use it on him, forcing him to flee.
Once cleared from the hospital, Casey uses her Rune's powers to "see" where Frederic may be hiding. She has a very clear vision of Frederic at the Peabody Hotel. Casey tells Liz what she has learned, then slips away to confront Frederic on her own.
At the hotel, Casey engages Frederic in a battle for power, which culminates in a dramatic final fight on the roof of the Peabody. When this fight is done, only one Rune-Bearer will be left standing.
CASEY CALLAHAN is a private detective and now a Rune-Bearer. She has been in private investigation for five years. While in law school and interning at the prestigious firm Markham and Associates, Casey was introduced to Henry Wilson, a private detective and the owner of Wilson Investigations and the building in which it is housed. Much to everyone's surprise, Henry lured Casey away from the lucrative field of law to the exciting career of private investigations.
Three years into her new profession, Casey was nearly killed when the insane husband of a divorce-case client came seeking revenge on his wife's lawyer and private investigators. Casey's boss and mentor, Henry, was killed in the attack, and Casey herself was nearly stabbed to death. Although she has recovered physically from the attack, she is still traumatized by the event. Casey inherited both the building and the private investigations business when Henry died, so money is not an issue for Casey.
As a Rune-Bearer, Casey has special powers: she has visions, she is telekinetic, she is super-strong, and she can heal herself. As an ordinary human, Casey is highly intelligent and a classic overachiever. She has a do-gooder mentality, one of the reasons she went into criminal law in the first place. She was drawn from law to private investigation because she gets to be her own boss, she gets to sneak and snoop for a living, and she gets to really help people. Although she does take on stereotypical P.I. cases (spying on spouses for divorce cases, for example), her main interest is in cold cases. She is neat and organized. She likes good food and good drink. She spends most of her free time in physical activities, such as working out, training, sharp shooting, and remodeling old homes. She's not very social; she prefers a small circle of friends and personal interaction in groups of two or three.
Casey's greatest strength is her determination. Once she sets her mind to a task, she doesn't quit until it's finished. Her greatest weakness is the fear generated by the attack of two years ago. She suffers from post-traumatic stress and finds dating extremely difficult. She is very attracted to Pete, although the notion of getting involved with him terrifies her.
Casey is around twenty-nine years old, white. She's tall, definitely trim and toned.She has long hair and gorgeous eyes, clearly very attractive. She is scarred on her chest, abdomen, and back from the attack from two years ago. She usually dresses casually, but she can easily chameleon from grunge, to professional, to fashion, depending on the needs of a case. She is highly trained in self-defense and a crack shot with her gun. She is also teaching herself how to renovate homes.
PETE PETERSON is a junior homicide detective with the Memphis Police Department. He has been a cop since he was old enough to qualify for the police academy. He is highly intelligent and knowledgeable, although not a college graduate. He has been in homicide for the last seven years, five in the northern city he's originally from and the last two in Memphis, partnered with Liz McMahon.
Pete has always been fascinated with the notion of solving mysteries. He also feels true empathy for homicide victims and their families. He has an excellent memory, preferring not to take notes while he investigates. His greatest strengths are his analytical mind, his open-mindedness, and his sensitivity. His greatest weakness is his lack of organization and neatness. In his opinion, it's what's in his mind that matters, not his appearance. Pete is not attached to anyone. His recent divorce is what prompted him to leave his hometown up north and take this job in Memphis. His dedication to his job has interfered with his attempts at dating. He is instantly attracted to Casey, though, and that attraction only deepens as he gets to know her.
Pete is around thirty-seven years old, white. He is tall and very handsome. He has a smile that could melt butter, but he doesn't keep his appearance up as well as he should. He has dark, sometimes unruly hair; he's often unshaven and dressed in rumpled clothing. He is in top physical condition, though.
LIZ MCMAHON is Pete's senior partner in the homicide division of the Memphis Police Department. She has been a police officer since she graduated from college. She has quickly moved up in the ranks of the police department because of her hard work and her skills. She has been in homicide for ten years. She is a native of Memphis. She is a lesbian; she lives with Kate, her girlfriend of fifteen years.
Liz is a take-charge kind of person, but is still a good team player. She doesn't lord her seniority over Pete. Although she disagrees with some of Pete's methods, she works well with him and likes him very much. She has a fiery temper at times, though, especially when someone suggests that she gained her position because of her gender, her race, or her sexual orientation. She is a no-nonsense, just-the-facts type of investigator.
Liz is around forty-seven years old, black. She is on the short end of average in height, thin but fit. Her hair is very short but stylish. Liz is always professionally dressed: her suit pressed and her makeup, jewelry, and glasses there but unobtrusive. She maintains her work area meticulously.
MITZI HOWARD is a ghost and former holder of the Rune that Casey now bears. Before being murdered by Frederic Johan, Mitzi was a prostitute, doing her best to get by in the world.
Mitzi is a practical gal. She focuses on the needs at hand and isn't picky about how she fulfills those needs. She is a romantic at heart, though, always dreaming of a better day, despite the harsh reality of her life. She is a talker and a rabid fan of daytime television. As a ghost, she is non-corporeal; she can pass through objects and people, and they can pass through her. She can also materialize and de-materialize at will. Only Casey can see and hear Mitzi. Mitzi takes full advantage of her invisibility, using it both to spy on and to mock those who cannot see or hear her.
Mitzi is twenty-two years old, white, and always appears exactly as she did at the time she was killed. Her hair is dyed an outlandish neon color; she wears a short skirt, wispy top, and tall boots.
SETTING AND SITUATIONAL DYNAMICS
The Rune-Bearer takes place in Memphis, Tennessee. While remaining only minutes from the pleasures of rural life, Memphis has all the pluses of any large city: shopping, music, sports, business, culture, universities, and so on. Unfortunately, it also has the minuses: pollution, traffic, crime, violence. Basically, Memphis has everything a private eye super heroine needs to keep busy.
Some of the episode situations will be fairly straight-forward detective stories with Casey's powers simply adding a supernatural element to the detection process.
Other situations will be much more supernatural, especially as the history of the Runes is slowly unfolded over the course of the series.
HAUNTED: As Casey uses her new powers to help Pete on a disturbing cold case involving a child disappearance, the two pursue their budding romance. Meanwhile, Frederic Johan returns, as a ghost like Mitzi, determined to show Casey that the fight for the Runes isn't over.
INSIDE JOB: While trying to cash a check, Casey becomes one of a handful of hostages held by a trio of would-be bank robbers. Can Pete and Liz save Casey and the others before the robbers go ballistic? Or, with Mitzi's help, can Casey somehow use her powers to defuse the deadly standoff?
NEVER FORGET: After a grueling battle with an evil-doer, Casey collapses in an open freight car in the train depot. When she awakens, she tumbles out of the car and wanders off into the open countryside. She ends up in a Mennonite (Amish-like) community near a small town--with no money, no I.D., and no idea who she is. While Pete, Liz, and Mitzi search frantically for her, Casey gets drawn into a local mystery that may cost her more than her memory.
GIVING UP THE GHOST: As Casey and Pete grow closer, Mitzi feels more and more left out. What little information she has about the Runes, she's already shared. And being non-corporeal, Mitzi can't help in any physical way. After a failed attempt to get Casey to dismiss her, Mitzi disappears, right when Casey needs her. Will Mitzi return in time to save Casey and to realize her true value to the team?
SEVERED: Casey's worst nightmare has come true: Victor Rimes, the man who nearly stabbed her to death two years earlier, has escaped from prison, intent on finishing what he started. The strain of dealing with a stalking Victor takes its toll on Casey, forcing her to relive her traumatic past. Instead of turning to the ones she loves, Casey pushes them all away, including Pete.
SOMETHING WICKED: Casey is thrilled when another Rune-Bearer comes to town. Finally, she thinks, she can get some answers about the Runes and their history. Casey's excitement fades when she is told about the Summani, a secret group whose membership once included Frederic Johan and whose mission will put it in direct opposition to the Rune-Bearers. Casey's enthusiasm fades even more when the beautiful and charismatic new Rune-Bearer sets her sights on Pete. Meanwhile, Mitzi spends time with the new Rune-Bearer's ghost companion, learning that there is more to her existence than she ever imagined.
TRIAL BY FIRE: Colleagues of Frederic Johan in the Summani use their money and influence to have Casey arrested and put on trial for Johan's murder. As Casey fights for her life in the court room, Liz and Pete fight for their jobs as they come under the scrutiny of Internal Affairs for their performance in the Howard and Johan murders.