A beachfront property was seized in a drug raid by the US government in an undisclosed location in Southern California. It was turned into a residence for top undercover agents of the DEA, FBI, and Customs.
The following is based upon actual events surrounding this house, unofficially know as…
Deputy Director of the FBI, Sam Campbell is giving a speech at the graduation taking place in Quantico, Virginia. He says he remembers sitting exactly where the graduates are sitting today. He was ready to knock down some doors and kick some righteous ass, just like them. Sam tells the graduates he thought he was the smartest, the fastest and the best the academy had to offer. And then, he stepped into the real world.
Nighttime in San Pedro, California, Donnie Banks sits in a car listening to the radio. Sam’s speech acts as a soundtrack to the events unfolding in San Pedro. Sam tells the new agents that they are the best of the best within the academy walls. But then Sam says he wants them to take a moment to think about what’s going to happen outside the walls. In San Pedro, another car arrives.
Donnie flashes his headlights at the oncoming car and puts his badge into the glove compartment. He exits the car and greets, in Spanish, the two men from the second car. A third vehicle pulls up with three occupants, two men and a woman. Men pull out briefcases filled with cash. The undercover agent shouts “let’s cook it up” as one of the Latino men hands him a block of heroine. He immediately rolls up his sleeve and places a tourniquet around his upper arm as the others watch. Donnie discreetly places a rubber ball in the inside crook of his elbow. When he bends his arm, the needle doesn’t enter his skin, it only appears to do so.
Sam reinforces the point that they will fail and when that day comes, he hopes they’ll have the brains, the guts and the straight up good luck to survive it. In San Pedro, Donnie literally drops the ball. He gets shot and everyone else gets in their cars and drives off.
It’s morning at the beach. In a house known as “Graceland,” Gerry Silvo enters Paul Briggs’ bedroom. He calls out to a man named Joe “Johnny” Tuturro and a woman named Lauren Kincaid. He tells them to take Donnie’s stuff out of his room because Briggs is getting a new trainee named Mike Warren. Gerry tells them that Mike graduated at the top of his class at Quantico. Gerry orders Paul to pick up Mike at the airport. Paul decides to go surfing and pawns the chore off on Johnny.
When Mike and Johnny arrive at the house, Mike asks why they call it Graceland. Johnny says they seized it from a drug lord who was supposedly really into Elvis. He says when they turned it “into a flophouse for us” the name stuck. Johnny tells Mike the basics about the house’s other residents: Catherine “Charlie” DeMarco and Paul are FBI like Mike and Johnny. Lauren and Donnie are DEA and so is Paige Arkin, but she’s away on a case. There’s also a U.S. Customs agent named Dale Jakes. Johnny explains some of the basic house rules and tells Mike that he’ll fill in Donnie’s spot on the chore wheel. Mike asks how Donnie’s doing, and Johnny tells him that Donnie’s alive and locked away in a safe house.
Johnny takes him into a room and tells Mike that’s where he’ll make all his “UC” calls. All of a sudden Lauren storms in and tells them to get out just as the phone rings. She answers speaking in Russian. Johnny tells Mike that Lauren was Donnie’s partner. Johnny takes Mike to his room. Lauren walks in and tells him he shouldn’t touch anything or get comfortable.
Dale, who everyone refers to as Jakes, comes home. He asks what is going on. Mike introduces himself. Jakes points out to Mike that he’s drinking his juice. Jakes proceeds to explain that everything on the top shelf of the refrigerator is his. Jakes tells him he’s not Mike’s frat brother or one of his college pals.
Paul finally arrives. Mike tells Paul what an honor it is to be working with him. Mike says he’s ready to begin immediately. Paul says he’s happy to get him started and tells him that anywhere on the chore wheel it says Briggs to substitute Mike. Paul says this will help Mike assimilate to working undercover.
Charlie DeMarco is in a crappy apartment. She removes something from underneath a floor board and puts it into her pocket. She walks into the next room and a baby begins crying. A lifeless looking woman is sitting on the floor. Charlie tells the woman to take care of her baby and leaves. She arrives at Graceland where she and Mike wind up pulling their guns on one another. She says he must be the new guy and tells him that no guns are allowed downstairs.
Lauren calls Donnie at the safe house. They discuss how the members of a Russian cartel want him dead. Donnie asks her if they’ve given away his room. She tells him it isn’t a done deal. He’s surprised to hear about Mike and says that’s cold. She says that it’s not “Graceland” without him and to get strong.
The following morning, Paul wakes Mike up to go surfing with him and Johnny. Mike wipes out and sits under the pier. Charlie joins him. Mike tells Charlie how Paul is revered at Quantico. Charlie asks him if he was expecting someone more buttoned down, and Mike says “something like that.” She tells him that Paul used to be that way until something went down, Paul took a leave of absence and he came back all Zen. Mike asks Charlie if she knows what happened and she says Paul never talks about it. She also tells him that “Graceland” is a tight fit. He’ll find out soon enough there are no secrets.
They return from surfing and Lauren tells Paul he got a message from a man named Felix Arroyo. Felix wants to make a buy. Paul tells Lauren that he’s off their active list. Lauren says he works for the Vzakonye cartel she and Donnie were trying to bust. Lauren is desperate for any information she can get. Paul asks Mike if he wants to do a reverse. Mike asks what a reverse is, and Lauren tells him Felix wants to buy cocaine.
On the way to Felix’s, Paul explains to Mike how things are going to work. He’s just supposed to go in and make the deal and give them the signal when to make the bust. Paul tells him to keep it simple. He says bad guys don’t tend to ask a lot of questions because they don’t want to be asked a lot of questions themselves. Mike asks what he’s supposed to say if Felix asks how he and Paul know each other. Johnny tells Paul Mike should say he’s in the movie.
It turns out that in the midst of a big sting few years earlier, Paul won an award and the press decided to do a piece on him. His face was plastered all over the TV for a week. When he and Johnny went to meet with some big-time dealers, one of them recognized Paul’s face. Paul told them that he was an actor and sometimes he plays a cop. Initially, they didn’t believe him and were ready to gun the agents down, but Paul came up with a very detailed plot and pulled out his badge and said it was a movie prop. Paul says to tell Felix Mike played his brother-in-law who was married to a hooker.
Mike shows up at Felix’s, and Felix tells Mike he doesn’t have any money. Felix says he’s in a bind because his buyer didn’t show up and he’s stuck with the merchandise. Mike asks Felix what the other guy was buying. Felix asks if Mike might be interested in trading his stuff for the cocaine. Felix tells him it’s in the alley, and they should go check it out. Felix opens the back of a truck that is filled with jeans. He tells Mike he can get 15 bucks a pair on the street. Mike tells Felix he has a feeling that Felix’s wife wants him to get the truck off the street. They agree that if Mike can make it disappear, they have a deal. Mike says the bust line “pleasure doing business with you” and the arrests go down.
That night Sergei Nayfield (Nick Jameson) shows up at the station posing as Felix’s lawyer. Felix tells a cop that Sergei is not his lawyer and not to let him bail him out. Sergei tells Felix they need assurance that he won’t talk to the feds. Sergei informs Felix that his family will be staying with “them” until this is all over. Felix says he’ll do anything. Then Sergei asks about Mike. Felix tells him Mike is his brother-in-law.
Paul and Mike find out that the Russians have Felix’s family. Gerry says Felix panicked when they asked about Mike and said he was his brother-in-law. Gerry tells them they got lucky because Felix does have a brother-in-law with a passing resemblance to Mike which means he’s white. The man’s name is Frankie. They brainstorm ways to make sure Mike can pass for Frankie.
Mike asks Paul what happens now. Paul says kidnapping the family is messy, and the Vzakonye are bailing Mike out because they want to make sure Felix doesn’t talk. Paul says the Russians will get Mike to do something illegal and if Felix talks, they’ll turn Mike in. Paul says they’ve seen this happen before, and they’re going to ask Mike to kill someone. Paul tells Mike all he’s got to do is get a name. The feds have a connection at the newspaper who will write up a fake homicide story and an obituary. The Russians will think the guy is dead and let the family go.
After being prepped on Frankie’s background, Mike is bailed out by Sergei. They sweep him, but Mike’s transmitter is located in a watch and all he has to do is push a button to cut off the signal. Paul, Charlie, Gerry, Johnny and some other feds are monitoring what’s going on. They can hear Mike, but he can’t hear them. Lauren shows up and says she wants in on this. Gerry tells her no; that she’s the one who set this whole thing in motion. She threatens to go over his head. Gerry says she could, but he doesn’t want an agent out there looking for revenge and neither does her boss. Gerry and Paul exchange looks, and Gerry tells Lauren to sit down and listen.
Sergei takes Mike to an auto body repair shop. There are several Russian men there. When Mike accidently knocks over a glass of water the feds worry their plan is blown. The head Russian yells for the other man to take Mike out. He screams at Mike that he’s of no use to him because he’s a junkie. Mike tells him he can do anything, even kill somebody. Mike tells the man he’s done it before. The Russian finally agrees and tells Mike if he helps him out, he’ll let Felix’s family go. Mike asks who the target is, and the man tells him it’s a surprise. Mike also finds out that he has to make the hit immediately. They arrive at a house and one of the Russians hands Mike a key. When Mike asks where he got it, the man tells him from the Russian housekeeper. Mike is instructed to kill the man in the back bedroom. He’s given a gun and told to fire all of the bullets.
Once Mike is out of the car, he gives the feds the address. They can’t find any information on the owner of the house. Paul pulls Jerry aside and tells him they should “crash this thing,” and Paul heads to the location.
Mike heads inside the house with his gun drawn. He sees the door to the back bedroom ajar. At the same time, Charlie realizes Mike’s in some kind of safe house. Mike enters the room just as Lauren figures out they sent him to kill Donnie. Mike, who doesn’t know who Donnie is, tells him he’s not going to hurt him. Donnie tells him to put the gun down. Gerry orders Lauren to call Donnie and for Johnny to wake up the bureau chief. Donnie has his hand on a gun hidden under a blanket. The phone starts to ring. Donnie keeps telling Mike to put the gun down, and Mike tells him he wishes he could. Mike goes to answer the phone, and Donnie shoots but misses. Mike tells Donnie that he’s with the FBI but Donnie insists on seeing ID. Mike tells Donnie he’s working undercover. Donnie asks who sent him, and Mike tells him the Russians who are waiting outside. Donnie says those Russian bastards aren’t going to finish him off and Mike realizes who the man is. Mike confirms he’s Donnie Banks.
They both slowly lower their weapons. Donnie asks Mike if he’s wearing a transmitter. Mike shows him the watch and says they can hear them back at command. Mike tells Donnie he has to finish what he started. He shoots the rest of the bullets into the ground and heads back outside. The Russians plan on killing Mike, but Paul shows up and shoots them instead.
The roommates have a bonfire on the beach. Paul tells Mike that no matter how much Gerry complains, Mike did a good job. Mike thanks Paul and tells him that means a lot. Paul tells Mike that he is now officially an undercover agent for the bureau and his lies are his life. Mike’s phone rings and he walks away from the group as he answers it. The caller is Sam Campbell. Mike tells Sam that he was right; there was no way he could have everything that has happened to him. Sam says he heard that Paul saved Mike’s life, and Mike says he did. Sam tells Mike he’s calling to tell him he has to investigate Paul. Sam wants to know if the fact that Paul saved Mike’s life will affect his ability to do so. Mike tells him it won’t. Sam tells him if he keeps that attitude, Mike will become deputy director one day.
After Mike hangs up Paul approaches him and says he heard they kind of slammed Mike with this job. Paul asks Mike if he has any idea why his D.C. assignment fell through, and he wound up with sand in his shoes. Mike tells him no, and they both head back to the bonfire.
Written by: Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
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