Daily Dialogue — March 23, 2018

Jake: I didn’t shoot him…
Alonzo: Roomful of cops says you did.
Jake: Fuck you. I don’t care. I didn’t shoot him. You did.

Alonzo pulls his gun. Aims at Jake’s face.

Alongo: (as a newscaster) A Los Angeles Police Department narcotics officer was killed serving a high risk warrant in Echo Park today. An L.A.P.D. spokesperson said the young officer was survived by his wife and infant child.
(himself) Shit gets deeper. Get the picture?

Jake: I got the picture.

Jake strikes — twists back Alonzo’s gun sharply — sweeps away his legs with a kick. Alonzo finds himself on his back, Jake’s knee on his neck, staring down the maw of his own pistol.

Jake: That’s the second time you’ve stuck a gun in my face. Won’t be a third.

Paul presses his Beretta against Jake’s temple.

Paul: Be my pleasure putting a hydrashock in your melon.

Tim, Jeff, Mark gawk at the Mexican standoff.

Paul: But I’m gonna be cool. Open your hand slowly. Drop the weapon.

Jake’s free hand inches to his holstered gun —

Jake: (super-calm) Hey, sorry, man. Relax, okay7

— and snatches it — He swings on Tim — who swings his .45 on Jake. A three-way standoff.

Jake: Wanna shoot me, Paul? Go ahead.Because these two are gonna be wiping my ass in the netherworld.

A beat. Then:

Tim: Alonzo. This is bad.
Paul: This dude’s a fuckin’ fed.
Alonzo: He’s no fed. Just a choirboy with heart who got the drop on you fools. Everyone, let’s take a deep breath and defuse this… Jake? You hear me?
Jake: You can’t just spring this shit on me. I never signed up for this.
Alonzo: I hear you. I know you’re angry — Paul, Tim, please put down your guns.
Tim: Hell no.
Paul: Choirboy first.

SIRENS approach. Lots of them.

Alonzo: Both of you: guns down. Now.

Paul and Tim reluctantly lower their weapons. Jake lifts his knee off Alonzo’s neck, stands and backs away, aiming both pistols at Alonzo, who climbs to his feet.

Training Day (2001), written by David Ayer

The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Standoff. Today’s suggestion by Lois Bernard.

Trivia: David Ayer wrote the first draft in 1995, way before the Rampart Scandal made headlines in 1998. In the first draft, Alonzo was a Latino officer in charge of drug enforcement in the gang infested area of Pico-Union within the Rampart Division. He was a loner and didn’t have any partner because of his reputation as a corrupt and racist cop. But the basics elements of the character were there: he wears expensive jewelry and drives a 1979 Monte Carlo.

Dialogue On Dialogue: One way to craft a scene is to look at who’s in control. In this scene, it starts off with Alonzo in charge, then Jake gets the upper hand when he snatches the rifle and trains it on Alonzo, then the other cops draw their pistols on Jake… and we end up with a standoff. It’s up to Alonzo, who shifts ‘masks’ from authority figure to negotiator, to diffuse the situation… and ultimately regain control.

Note the differences between script and screen. Some subtle, but important changes.