Sheriff William Gillespie

Councilwoman Harriet DeLong-Gillespie

Chief Hampton Forbes

Virgil Tibbs

Allison Tibbs

Captain Bubba Skinner

Jhourdhaun Gillespie-Skinner

Lana (Farren) Gillespie

Lonnie Jamison

Angela Jamison

Eugene Glendon

Liase Davies

Kale Peterson

Dr. Shephard

Dr. and Mrs. Davies



Eric DeLong

Bobby Gillespie

Zachary Gillespie

Parker Williams





Coach Mattox

Mrs. Winn

Mrs. Stalworth





SETTING: The Sparta High School track. All sorts of college and high school runners can be seen as well as banners announcing the state championship for the Olympic Trials. Bubba, Jhourdhaun, Harriet, Zachary, the Sheriff, Hampton, Lana, Lonnie, Angela, Virgil, Allison, and Eric are gathered near a large board.


ERIC: Wow! Check this out, Aunt Harriet! Look at all of these names.

HARRIET: (Laughing) Yes, Eric, it is pretty impressive.

ERIC: (Pointing) Yeah, but look. Gene's name's up there. It's almost like he's famous or something. (Looking at the Sheriff) Don't you think so, Uncle Bill?

GILLESPIE: Yessirree. It sure seems that way. (Looking lovingly at Harriet holding Zachary) Who knows? Someday, we might be seeing your name up there.

LANA: Let's hope not too soon. (Ruffling Eric's hair) We want to keep the sprout with us for as long as we can . (Turning to the board and reading) Bubba, I didn't know you had another brother?

BUBBA: I don't. It's just me and Robert.

LANA: (Puzzled) Then I guess there are some more Skinners around. Maybe some cousins or something?

BUBBA: Well now, I have a lot of cousins, but none of them have the Skinner name.

LANA: (Pointing to one of the names) Then who's that? He must have been really athletic because it has baseball, football, track and field, and basketball by his name. Do you know an Andrew J. Jackson Skinner who was here in 1976?


Jhourdhaun, Lonnie, the Sheriff and Hampton break into laughter. Jhourdhaun, trying to get herself under control, walks over to her sister and puts her arm on her shoulder.


JHOURDHAUN: Let's see, um ... 1976, huh? (Turning to her husband) Sweetie? Weren't you here in '76? (Playing innocent) You must have known him. Sparta High has never been that big.

BUBBA: (Embarrassed) Keep it up, Jhourdhaun, and you're walking home.

LANA: (Confused) Will someone tell me what's going on here?

JHOURDHAUN: (Smiling) Nothing, sis. I was just giving Bubba a hard time.

LANA: Whatever you say.

LONNIE: Could I get a little quiet around here? I would like to see if Gene makes the state cuts for the Olympic trials.

ANGELA: (Punching her husband) Yeah, and you want to see if he uses any of the stuff you taught him. (Rolling her eyes) If he does make it and uses some of your moves, I'm moving back to the house.

LONNIE: You're supposed to be supportive. (Looking around) Come on. We'd better get some seats before all of the good ones are gone.


They all move to their seats with the younger couples sitting in a group and Eric, Hampton, and Lana sitting with Harriet, Zachary and the Sheriff.


HARRIET: There he is, Eric. (Calling to Lonnie) Do you think he has a chance?

LONNIE: Sure. He has a great one if he keeps his mind on what he's doing.

HARRIET: (Matter-of-factly) Oh, is that all.

ANGELA: Don't worry, Harriet. I'm sure he'll make the trials. He comes from good stuff.


The race begins and Eugene wins easily. As the young man moves toward the winner's block, he looks up at the group and his expression of joy vanishes. This does not go unnoticed by Harriet ... or the Sheriff. The others come over.


HAMPTON: Are y'all ready to go? I believe that was his last race.

GILLESPIE: It was, and I'm ready if the others are. (Grinning) I'm looking forward to this feast the ladies whipped up for today.

BUBBA: Can we hold up? Lonnie and I want to see how that Davies kid is going to do. They say he could be the youngest person to make the team.

ANGELA: You mean Liase Davies. (Agreeing) He is supposed to be good. With the way he's been running lately, he's probably going to have his pick of college and university offers.

JHOURDHAUN: You sound almost proud of him. I didn't know you kept up with high school athletics.

ANGELA: I don't, but Liase's mom is on the board of Sunshine's Gardens. She always talks about him. I also know that he is an excellent student and he goes to church regularly. You can't beat that combination.

ALLISON: (Sighing) I recognize that line! That's a Mrs. Davies classic. He really is all she ever talks about. (Sotto voce) Personally, I find it a bit over the top.

HARRIET: Oh really. All this from a woman who constantly brags about the twins newest accomplishments. (She laughs when Allison blushes)

HAMPTON: (Looking around) Well, I hate to run off, but I promised LuAnn I'd pick her up and bring her to the party.

GILLESPIE: (Raising an eyebrow) Now that is very interesting.

HARRIET: Do I detect a hint of romance?

HAMPTON: (Smiling as he walks away) We'll see.


Eugene walks up. The others quietly move away to watch the rest of the meet. Gene sets his sights on his mother and purposefully ignores everyone else.


ERIC: (Running to him) Congratulations, Gene! I was really proud of you when you won.

EUGENE: (Walking past him) Thanks.


Eric looks rejected and slowly moves to Jhourdhaun who picks him up and hugs him while glaring at Gene's back.


HARRIET: (Angrily) Was that really necessary? You know how much he admires you. That probably broke his heart.

EUGENE: I didn't have the time to deal with him, okay. (Pausing) You coming by the house today?

HARRIET: I might try, but I won't guarantee anything. (Thinking for a minute) We're having a family get-together over at our house. You're more than welcome to come over there.

EUGENE: (Looking directly at the Sheriff) I don't think so. (Looking at Zachary with distaste) I don't think I could handle your new version of "family" atmosphere.

HARRIET: (Appalled) Gene! (Hurt and hugging the baby tighter) Well, if you're going to have that attitude about it, I don't believe you'd be welcome. (Turning to her husband) Bill, I'm ready to go. Could you get Eric and tell everyone I'll see them later? (She walks away)

GILLESPIE: You know, it's wrong what you do to her.

EUGENE: Did I ask for your opinion? (Disgusted) I don't need some White man to tell me about my relationship with my mother.

GILLESPIE: You know, for as long as I've known you, you've held my race against me. You've used every opportunity to taunt your mother. For what, I ask? A simple case of skin color?

EUGENE: (Angry) You think that's all. Well, I'll tell you, it isn't! A White man fired my daddy because he couldn't conform to his Black ideal. That very same White man pushed to have him put on Death Row. Another White man locked him up in his jail and eventually took his wife. Then they decided to have a half - White baby (Glaring at the Sheriff) Of course, this White man didn't look at things the same way when another White man killed my aunt over her half-breed. Now, I don't know about you, but those sound like good enough reasons for me not to like any of you!

GILLESPIE: I see. (Pausing) But, Gene, you forgot something. You failed to mention the fact that if it hadn't been for a White man, you wouldn't be here. (Pausing again) Or, have you forgotten that your blood grandfather was one?


Gene looks at the Sheriff with pure hatred. He stands there for a minute then turns and walks in the opposite direction of his mother. Gillespie watches him go. He shakes his head and signals for the others. Eric is now on Bubba's shoulders.


GILLESPIE: (Helping the boy down) Lana, we're leaving and heading to the house. Are you riding with us?

LANA: Thanks, Papa, but Jhourdy and Bubba already offered me a ride. (Looking in the direction that Harriet went) Is everything okay?

GILLESPIE: Everything's fine. Harriet was just a little tired. (Turning to Eric) Let's go, my boy. We don't want Bobby to beat us home and eat everything in sight. (Calling over his shoulder) Virgil, Miss Kibbee said for y'all not to forget her and the twins.

VIRGIL: I know. We'll all see you there. (The Sheriff and Eric leave)

JHOURDHAUN: (Moving closer to Lana) What happened? Where did everyone go?

VIRGIL: Home. At least that's what Bill told us. (Moving to his wife's side) Well, did Liase win?

ALLISON: Um hm, both races. Are you ready to pick up Aunt Etta and the twins?

VIRGIL: Yep. (Turning to the others) We'll see y'all over there. (They leave)

LANA: Papa was upset.

JHOURDHAUN: Wouldn't you be if you had to watch what Gene did to the woman you love?

LANA: (Shaking her head) Doesn't he realize how much he hurts her?

JHOURDHAUN: I think he does; he just doesn't care.

LANA: I wish there was some way we could help him realize that he should treasure every moment with her.

JHOURDHAUN: (Sighing) I really don't think that's possible coming from us. (Pausing) Haven't you realized that we're a part of the enemy?




SETTING: The track but closer to the field-house. Liase Davies moves toward the building but stops as he spots another young man standing by some of the bleachers.



LIASE: What are you doing here? I thought I told you not to talk to me at school!

KALE: Ease up, Davies. I just stopped by to tell you the good news.

LIASE: Okay. Make it fast. What's the good news?

KALE: Just that we're going to hit the big house tomorrow night. My dad found out that no one's going to be there because of some big case. It's the perfect chance!

LIASE: I don't know. This isn't like all those other places. This is a V.I.P.'s house.

KALE: Don't go trying to wimp out on me! You know that we've been doing those other houses to prepare us for this one. We can do this with no problem.

LIASE: All right. But this is the last time. My folks have big plans for me, and I don't want to mess up. (Looking around) I have to go before they come looking for me. What time do you want me to meet you?

KALE: It should get dark about 7:00, so let's make it 7:45. And don't worry, there won't be any problems.

LIASE: (Leaving) I hope not.

KALE: (Pulling a gun out of his pocket) At least no problem we can't handle.





SETTING: Sparta Police Department. A full complement is on duty and the Sheriff is visiting Hampton. Jhourdhaun walks into the station.



JHOURDHAUN: Good morning, one and all! If this wasn't a business call, I'd personally speak with each and every one of you. But, it is. (Moving to her husband's side while everyone greets her) Um, Captain Skinner, could I speak with you in the conference room for a minute? (As Bubba walks with her, she winks at LuAnn) When Hampton and the Sheriff are through, could you let us know?


They enter the conference room, close the door, and instantly embrace.


BUBBA: What would your constituents think if they knew their new D.A. was consorting with the police captain in a room at the station?

JHOURDHAUN: They'd probably tell me it was about time. (Kissing him passionately) The campaign took me away from you too much. This is where I need to be.

BUBBA: At least until you have to get back to work. (Continuing the kissing)


A very discreet knock is heard. Jhourdhaun quickly fixes her clothes and hair and moves to the door. When Bubba gives her the okay, she opens the door and walks toward Hampton's office.


JHOURDHAUN: Morning, gentlemen. (Watching as Bubba walks in) As you know, there have been a very large number of burglaries in Sparta lately, and a lot of people are highly upset about it. They are applying pressure on me to find out what you're doing about the situation.

HAMPTON: I see. And, what do you want to know?

JHOURDHAUN: I want to know ... what your game plan is. I'm not putting any undue strain on you, but I really don't want to be left in the dark.

GILLESPIE: Now, that does sound fair enough. (Grinning wickedly) Hampton was just explaining to me the fact that there isn't a game plan.

JHOURDHAUN: (Confused) Excuse me.

HAMPTON: What the Sheriff is trying to say is, we would have a game plan if we had something to go by. The burglars have left no prints, no clues, not even a mess. There has not been one thing that we could use. They haven't even set a pattern.

JHOURDHAUN: (Thinking) So, basically we have a couple of invisible bandits. Hmmmm .... that's something I can work with.

BUBBA: What are you talking about, Jhourdy?

JHOURDHAUN: (Excitedly) Like I said, I've had a lot of citizens wanting to know what you're doing about this problem. All I have to do is turn it around and let them help by keeping their eyes and ears open. I can turn the responsibility back to the people and make them believe that they have a part in the process. (Looking at Hampton) And, just so you won't be bogged down, I'll set up a system for them to call in their observations. (Smiling innocently) All I need is someone to man the system. (Pausing) How does this grab you?

HAMPTON: Sounds good, and I think I have the perfect people for the job. (Making a note in his datebook) So, are you going to need any of us at the courthouse with you? I hear that jury selection for the Dunning case is set to go on into the night.

JHOURDHAUN: (Smiling cunningly) Then you haven't heard the latest. Stewart Dunning asked for a private session with Judge Olson and asked that his plea be changed to guilty if he could get a manslaughter charge. She said it was okay with the stipulation that he had to serve ten before he could even contemplate parole. Lisa's family agreed, and so, all I have to do is fill out some paperwork and I'm done with his case. (Turning to her husband) Might I be able to interest you in a nice little dinner and an early night?

BUBBA: (Upset) I wish you had told me this earlier because I told Lonnie I'd sit in with him on this stakeout. I can assign someone else to ...

JHOURDHAUN: (Interrupting him) That's okay. We can do it some other time. (Slightly stretching) I can use the time to catch up on my sleep. Do you have any idea when you'll be in?

BUBBA: About nine. Are you sure this isn't a problem?

JHOURDHAUN: (Moving closer to the door) I'm sure. (Turning to her father) Tell Harriet, Eric, Zachary, and Bobby I send my love, and I'll check on them later. (Kissing the top of his head) Pass this around to them, Dad. (Blowing a kiss to Bubba) See you later. (Walking out the door) Bye, Hampton.

GILLESPIE: She's something else, isn't she?

BUBBA: (Watching her leave the building) You won't get any argument from me.

GILLESPIE: (Puffing up) You know, I must say that both of my girls turned out all right.

HAMPTON: (Laughing) Yeah. Guess it had a lot to do with their being raised by their mothers.

GILLESPIE: (Glaring at him) Bubba, would you kindly escort me out of here before I have to explain a shooting.

BUBBA: (Laughing) Yessir.





SETTING: The Main Street of Sparta. Allison is window shopping when she sees Angela walk out of a store just ahead of her.


ALLISON: (Yelling) Angela! (Moving to catch up with the other woman) Hi. Funny meeting you here.

ANGELA: (Smiling) Then you must not have talked to my husband. He would quickly tell you that outside of Sunshine's Gardens and him, shopping is my other passion.

ALLISON: (Laughing) Virgil would probably say the same about me, (Looking at Angela's packages) though I'd have to concede to a lesser passion. Are you buying gifts for the kids?

ANGELA: Nooo. (Sheepishly) Lonnie and Harriet's birthdays are coming up and since this will be my first with either of them, I wanted to make them pretty special. (Looking at her packages) I guess I kind of went overboard.

ALLISON: Not if you're trying to single-handedly keep the retail market solvent. Did you leave anything for the rest of us?

ANGELA: Depends on who you're shopping for.

ALLISON: Virgil and I wanted to get a congratulatory gift for Jhourdhaun. I thought I'd get it out of the way before the rush from the rest of the group.

ANGELA: I'd forgotten about her party. (Thinking) Well, I still have a week to get something fabulous. I hope it will be enough time.

ALLISON: As busy as she's been lately with the Dunning case and the burglaries, she probably will be too tired to think about her gifts. Uncle Bill said these cases have really kept her running.

ANGELA: (Laughing) Wouldn't it be something if our illustrious new D.A. missed her own celebration party because she was too involved in these cases? I can just see us all gathered at the hospital celebrating while she recovers from exhaustion.

ALLISON: I hope not. You really can't party very well at hospitals. Too many sick people.

ANGELA: (Laughing harder) I think we're the only sick people around. I hope Jhourdhaun's ears aren't burning too much. I'd hate for us to be the reason for her to be uncomfortable with so much at stake.





SETTING: The Gillespie home. It is large and seems to radiate warmth and welcome. Eric and Bobby are playing with their dog, Beauregard, and Zachary is asleep on a blanket on the floor while Lana and Harriet talk over tea.


LANA: I don't mean to pry, but has Eugene ever come over here for a real visit?

HARRIET: (Sighing) No, not once. I think the only reason I even saw him this time is because I went to the trials. He just stays in my old place with a few of his friends whenever he's in town and completely ignores the fact that he has a family over here. He even pretends that Zachary doesn't exist. (Shrugging) But, you know what? I don't care as much as I thought I would. I'm so happy that it just doesn't phase me hardly at all.

LANA: I'm glad to hear it. You and Papa deserve some happiness. (Looking over at the boys) Of course the rest of us are going to make sure that you stay this way.

BOBBY: (Yelling from across the yard) Mom, did you fix us anything to drink?

HARRIET: (Frowning) Now what kind of silly question is that? Of course I fixed you something.

ERIC: I'll come and get it, Mama. (He races to the table, grabs two glasses and quickly heads back) Thanks, Mama.

LANA: (Surprised) When did that happen? Yesterday, they were still calling you Aunt Harriet.

HARRIET: (Grinning) Last night, after you left, we held a mini family meeting. Bill and I told the boys that their adoptions would soon be formalized, and the boys told us their decision on what to call us.

LANA: I bet Papa was thrilled. He loves the boys.

HARRIET: Yes, he does and he was. He practically strutted to bed like a proud peacock and ... (Grabbing her head) Ohh ....

LANA: (Supporting her) Are you okay? Are you having a spell or something?

HARRIET: (Getting control) No, I'm fine. (Shaking her head) It's just I got this funny feeling that something was wrong, and then I suddenly flashed on Jhourdhaun.

LANA: (Worried) Do you want to call her?

HARRIET: (Looking at her watch) It's just past seven now and she has late jury selection, tonight. She won't be home until around nine or ten. We'll call her then.

LANA: Okay, if you're sure.

HARRIET: I'm sure. (Still looking worried)





SETTING: The Asheley Estate, home of Bubba and Jhourdhaun Skinner. The house is large and filled with a countless number of elegant and expensive things. Jhourdhaun enters the house.


JHOURDHAUN: (Aloud) Does it feel good to be home. (Dropping her briefcases on the table in the foyer and walking to the settee) This probably isn't very proper but, right now, I'm too tired to care. (Laying down) I hope Bubba comes (Yawning) looking for me instead of panicking when he comes home. (Yawning) I couldn't (Drowsily) make it upstairs if I wanted to.


Within a few moments, her even breathing can be heard. In another part of the house, Kale and Liase are busy wiping everything down.


KALE: Are you sure we've picked up everything we can sell out of this wing? I don't want to miss something valuable.

LIASE: I'm sure. I double-checked this part. (Looking around) Now, all we have to do is hit the rooms on the first floor and wipe them down, then we've got it made.

KALE: You go on ahead. It'll be easier to finish up with only one person around.

LIASE: Okay.


Liase leaves and heads downstairs. As he moves into a study, he accidentally knocks over a plant stand. He moves to clean up the mess but decides to wait and heads on into the room.


JHOURDHAUN: (Startled) What was that? (Looking around, she moves to the endtable and pushes a panel. She removes a gun from the hidden compartment and moves to the foyer and notices the fallen plant) How did that fall? (Pausing)I don't like the way this is starting to feel. (She walks to the phone and begins to dial when she hears someone dragging something heavy. She hangs up the phone and walks back to the door where she sees a boy) What are you doing here?

LIASE: (Whirling to face her) Where did you come from? No one's supposed to be here!

JHOURDHAUN: (Pointing the gun at him) Look, I'm where I'm supposed to be. You're not. (Looking at the large bag beside him) I do believe you picked the wrong place at the wrong time to hit. (Motioning for him to move away from the phone)I know the police are really going to enjoy meeting you. (Picking up the phone) Make sure you keep your hands where I can see them.

LIASE: (Speaking loudly) Look, lady, why don't you put down that gun, and maybe we can talk about this. I'll just put this stuff down, and we can talk reasonably.

JHOURDHAUN: And next you'll be trying to sell me some ocean-view property in Arizona. Do us both a favor and keep your mouth shut and your body still. (Looking at the gun) I do know how to use this.


When she turns back to the phone, Kale inches down the stairs and pulls out the gun.


LIASE: Kale, no!

Jhourdhaun barely has time to look up when the first bullet hits her. Her own gun fires and Liase screams as he falls down. Dazed, Jhourdhaun tries to point the gun at Kale, but a second bullet staggers her. Kale fires again and watches as she grabs the door. He aims yet again and fires, but this bullet misses Jhourdhaun as she finally falls to the floor.


LIASE: (Writhing on the floor) You killed her! You killed the D.A.! We're going to burn, man! I ... (Crying) ... oh, God, this hurts.

KALE: (Moving to Liase) Forget about her. We've got to get you out of here! (Helping him) We'll leave the stuff. I can't carry you and it. Can you make it?

LIASE: (Suffering) Yeah. (Trying to look back at Jhourdhaun) What about her? We can't just leave her like that.

KALE: I told you to forget about her. Like you said, she's probably dead. Besides, she can identify us, and, if you want to live out your dad's dream, she's better where she is.


Kale helps Liase out and closes the door. Jhourdhaun lies on the floor ... motionless.





SETTING: Outside of the Asheley house. Lana, Gillespie, and Harriet are standing on the verandah when Bubba drives up.


HARRIET: Are you sure she wasn't working late? The house seems awfully quiet.

LANA: When is this house ever not quiet? It's always had a tomb-like quality to me.

BUBBA: (Walking up to the others) What's going on here? (Laughing) Jhourdhaun got lonely, didn't she? (Shaking his head and pulling out his keys) I told her I could have assigned someone else to the stakeout. (Snickering) Anyway, It didn't take me as long as I thought.

GILLESPIE: I hate to curtail your enjoyment of this situation, but, Jhourdhaun didn't call us over. (Looking in his wife's direction) Harriet had a bad feeling about Jhourdhaun, but she thought the girl was working late. When I got home, I told her differently and here we are.

BUBBA: (Unlocking the door) You probably picked up on her loneliness, especially with Tully and Garrett away. I don't care how long we live here, she can't shake her uneasiness about all of the things that happened. (Opening the door) I wonder what ...

HARRIET: Oh my God! (Pushing past the others) Jhourdhaun!

BUBBA: What? (Looking into the house and seeing Harriet and Lana kneeling over his wife) Jhourdhaun! (He moves to her and gently lifts her head) Honey, can you hear me?

GILLESPIE: (Checking her pulse) Lana, call 911; tell them we have a shooting victim. (Lana leaves and her voice can be heard on the phone) Harriet, get me some towels. We have to stop the bleeding. (She heads upstairs) Bubba, you got to be careful. We don't know how much damage there is.

BUBBA: (Not hearing him) You're going to be all right, baby. I'm here and so's your dad and Lana, and Harriet. We're all here and we're going to help you. Just hold on. (Looking at the Sheriff in agony as Harriet returns with the towels) Look at all of the blood. Why's there so much blood?

GILLESPIE: Calm down, boy. You've got to get control of yourself; you can't help her if you fall to pieces. (Taking the towels and putting them on Jhourdhaun's wounds) Bubba, I need you to apply pressure to some of these places, so that we can stop the bleeding. (Sirens can be heard in the background) Come on, son! We've got to do as much as we can before the ambulance gets here.

LANA: (Coming into the room with two paramedics who start working on the injured woman) Is she okay, Papa?

GILLESPIE: (Trying to get Bubba) I need your help over here. (Together, they move him) Come on, boy, let them do their jobs. (Bubba struggles and the Sheriff turns him towards him) Bubba, leave them alone! She's alive, but if they don't do what they have to, she might not make it.


The paramedics put Jhourdhaun on the gurney and move her out. Harriet returns downstairs with a suitcase. Lonnie and Hampton arrive.


BUBBA: (Pushing away from the others) I'm gonna ride with them. (He gets into the ambulance)

HARRIET: I packed her a few things that she'll probably need. I want to get there as soon as possible, so we can be there for them.

HAMPTON: Can somebody please tell me what's going on here? What happened to Jhourdhaun?

GILLESPIE: (Looking over at the bag in the middle of the floor) It looks like she interrupted someone while they were burglarizing the place. (He nods as Harriet points to the car. She and Lana leave) It looks like our burglars have moved up to robbery and attempted murder. (Sighing) For their sakes, they better hope it doesn't go up to murder. (His shoulders slump) Find them. .... Find them quick before Bubba or I go look for them. (Pausing) We'll .... be at .... the hospital, .... if you need us.

HAMPTON: (Watching the Sheriff leave) You heard him, Lonnie. Get on the line and tell everybody to get to work on this place. I want it checked from top to bottom, and then I want it done all over again. This is priority one. I have a feeling our bandits forgot something.