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The Pretender

SYNOPSIS FOR
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
which aired on Saturday, January 8, 2000

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PRETENDER SYNOPSIS FOR RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
The episode begins with Miss Parker, Broots and Sydney getting ready to trap Jarod at his latest job - as "Jarod Harper" - a UPS employee in Fletcher Ridge, Illinois.   Just as they are walking out the door, Miss Parker's phone rings and it's her father!   He tells her to meet him at the junkyard near the Quintin Street overpass, then hangs up.  Before Miss Parker can rush out of the office, Mr. Raines appears in her door and gives her a prayer card that he said he had under his pillow  when he slept in hopes that it would be filled with the answers she needed.  He then tells her "God Bless" and leaves.   Sydney and Broots come back in and ask Miss Parker if she's coming ... and she tells them she'll be right back.  They ask her, "What about Jarod?" and "What about Lyle?"  but she keeps on going and asks them to buy her some time as she leaves.
In Fletcher Ridge, Illinois, Jarod is standing in an alley when a young child runs a remote controlled police car into his feet.  He learns that the boy bought the car with his "tooth fairy"  money and finds out that children get money from the tooth fairy for putting their baby teeth under their pillows.

Across the street, Jarod notices Billy, Cam and Sarah Larsen sitting on the steps of a mortuary, arguing over whether or not the arrangements need to be made.   Billy and Cam leave, Sarah sees that they have guns in their car, over her protestations, they tell her they are going to the hospital and drive away.  Sarah frantically tries to call someone on a nearby pay phone, but it's out of order.   Jarod offers her his cell phone and she calls 911 - trying to warn someone that her brothers are on the way to the hospital with guns.   When she turns to thank him and give him back his phone, Jarod is gone.

At the hospital, the state police are arriving and are taking their guns out of the trunks of their cars.   Inside, Cam is telling Billy to hurry up and get the windows of a room that they are in painted so that they can't be seen from the hallway.   They are holding the people in the room hostage.   As Billy holds his rifle on a nurse and a candy striper, Cam walks over to one of the beds and says "How ya doing, Pop?"
Outside, the Sheriff is talking on his car radio, telling the person on the other end to let him know if there's a clear shot available.   Jarod walks up and tells the policeman that he is Jarod Jackson, an FBI hostage negotiator.
The Sheriff tells Jarod that Billy is 21 and Cam is 28 ... his Deputy tells Jarod they are in there with a rifle and a shotgun, according to their sister.   Jarod asks that she be brought to the hospital ASAP.   There have been no demands made but when Jarod asks the Sheriff what his read is on the situation, it seems as though Billy and Cam aren't the only ones in the building who are hostile ... the Sheriff answers "You're the big badge, you tell me."   Jarod "guesses" that it's some sort of grievance against the hospital.   When Jarod yells through the door to ask them what they are demanding, they tell him they want exactly $41,342.17.
Jarod says he wants a direct phone line into the room and that he wants blueprints of the hospital.   When he asks for equipment to be able to "spy" into the room, the Sheriff tells him that the town has 2 red lights and some hardware stores ... and he can't supply the equipment.   Jarod asks if the town has an electronics store - the Sheriff says yes - Jarod gives the deputy a list of things he needs in order to build his own laser camera and audio system.

Miss Parker is wandering around among homeless people at the junkyard, looking for her father.  Mr. Parker pulls her into an abandoned bus.   He tells her that he's been "underground" and gives her a key which he says will fit into a box that is hidden in a panel behind the fire hose on SL-22.   The box has money in it which he needs to keep hiding - he wants her to bring it to him.  In the middle of their conversation, her phone rings.   It's Broots saying that Jarod never showed up for his shift at his UPS job.   He says that Lyle is looking for her and is peeved.   Miss Parker tells Broots to keep searching for Jarod and that she'll be back as soon as she can.   When she turns around to continue speaking with her father, he has disappeared again.

At the hospital, Jarod is talking to the hospital administrator, Rebecca Simmons, and Dr. Steven Franklin, the chief cardiologist - the last two people from the hospital to speak to the Larsen boys before they took the hostages.   Dr. Franklin tells Jarod that the Larsen boys' father has a mild heart condition that is painful, but not fatal - he planned to release them.  Rebecca Simmons tells Jarod that there are patients in that room that will die within the next few hours if left untreated.  Jarod asks them if the dollar amount that was demanded means anything to either of them and they both say that it doesn't.

Jarod sees Sarah and asks her if she knows what's happening.   She tells him that their mother died not long ago ... after being sent home from the same hospital, even though she was still very sick.   She tells him that he knows her brothers are doing the wrong thing, but they are doing it for the right reasons and she's not going to help him kill them for it.   She gives him back his phone and leaves.   Just then the deputy arrives with a box of things that Jarod wanted from the electronics store.

In the hospital room, Cam is trying to figure out what to do.   Billy is still holding the nurse and candy striper at gunpoint ... there are two people in two other beds, besides the Larsen boys' father.   Outside in the hallway, Jarod is building a remote controlled car that has a video camera and microphone attached to it.   When he finishes, he puts it into the air conditioning ducts then looks at the blueprints and maneuvers it to the air vent of the room where the Larsens are holding the hostages.   Through the slats in the vent, he can see and hear what is going on in the room.   The Sheriff wants to use it to help get a clear shot, and Jarod asks him if it isn't his job to consider everyone's safety.   The Sheriff tells him that it's his job to consider the innocent civilians inside ... that if one of them dies because he hesitates, it's his fault.

As Jarod watches the boys speaking with their father and trying to figure out what to do, the Sheriff has the lights and the air conditioning cut off to that room.   The boys begin to panic, so Jarod uses the direct line to call them and try to negotiate.  Jarod tells Cam that he will turn the lights and the air back on if he will give up a couple of hostages.   Jarod gives Cam his word that no harm will come to either Cam or Billy as long as they keep talking.   As Cam is considering Jarod's request, one of the Sheriff's snipers takes several shots at Billy through the window.   He misses, shattering not only the glass from the window, but on a medicine cabinet across the room. 
Jarod argues with the Sheriff for ordering the shots to be taken.   The Sheriff tells Jarod that Cam Larsen can't be trusted because he incited a riot when he was in prison.   Jarod tells the Sheriff that the guards in that prison were convicted for excessive brutality and the brutality was the reason that Cam incited the riot.   Jarod gets back on the phone and convinces Cam that he had nothing to do with the shooting.   He tells him that he wants to go in there and speak to him, face to face.   As he is talking, a police officer brings Cam's two small children into the hospital corridor where Jarod is on the phone.   Cam agrees to the meeting.

Miss Parker is on Sub-Level 22, looking for the fire extinguishing hose.   She finds it, opens the panel and pulls out the strongbox, but the key her father gave her won't work on it.   Her phone rings ... it's Broots.   He was scanning police stations and heard about the hostage situation in Illinois.   Since it seemed like the sort of thing that Jarod would be drawn to, Broots called the Chicago FBI and found out that they had sent no hostage negotiators to the hospital.   Miss Parker tells Broots to get the jet ready - she'll be back as soon as she can.   Broots asks, "What about Lyle?" just as Mr. Lyle walks across the room, followed by two oriental women.   Miss Parker answers "Lyle who?" grabs the entire strongbox and leaves on the run.

Over ice cream malts or sodas, Jarod is talking to Cam's kids.   They tell him that Cam was yelling the night before, saying that the hospital was going to send "Grandpa Jake" home to die, just like they did "Grandma" ... she called the hospital "murderers."   Jarod notices that Cam's son has lost a tooth and asks him what he is going to do with it. Then he offers Cam's son $5.00 instead.

Jarod enters the room with the Larsen brothers.   He tries to get Cam to tell him why he's doing what he is, but Cam says that Jarod wouldn't understand.   One of the other patients in the room begins to show signs of distress and Jarod tells Cam to let her be removed before someone dies and Cam and Billy end up spending the rest of their lives in prison.   Jarod gives Cam his son's tooth and tells him that if he gives up now, he could be home in time to put the "tooth fairy money" under his son's pillow.   Cam doesn't buy into the lie, but agrees to allow the woman who is in distress be taken from the room by Jarod.

Outside, the Sheriff is telling Jarod that if some of those patients don't get treatment real soon, they could have a disaster.   He wants Jarod to lure Cam near a window so that his men can get a clear shot at him.   Jarod asks him why he thinks that bullets are the only answer, but the Sheriff does not reply.   The Sheriff leaves and Jarod wants to have a word with the Deputy.

As Jarod watches the Larsen brothers talking to the nurse in the room, their father stops breathing.   The demand that help be sent in right away, but Dr. Stevens refuses to go, so Jarod grabs a crash cart and goes in himself.   After many tense moments, Jarod saves Mr. Larsen.  Afterwards, as Jarod tries to negotiate for the release of another hostage, the Sheriff tries to maneuver the remote control car for a better look so that he can see if there's a clear shot anywhere and ends up sending it straight through the air conditioning vent and into the room.   Once again the boys are spooked and Cam is ready to shoot Jarod, but Mr. Larsen stops his son and they end up letting the candy striper go.

When Jarod gets out of the room he yells at the Sheriff, telling him that he almost got all of them killed in there.   The Sheriff doesn't relent ... only tells Jarod that he's had a "belly full of him" and once again calls Jarod "the big badge."   As he is walking away, Jarod hears him calling his office and asking for the number of the Chicago FBI.   Time is running out.

Lyle is going through Miss Parker's desk, throwing things over his shoulder.   Sydney tells him that he doubts that Lyle will find Miss Parker that way.   He tells Lyle that he knows his sister marches to the beat of a different drummer ... Lyle is disgusted and asks Sydney and Broots if they would lie to him.   Sydney doesn't answer and Broots blurs out a non-sequitur about some football game.

Back at the hospital Jarod is searching through the hospital's database and finds Mr. Larsen's file.   Combined with the cursory examination he gave Mr. Larsen while he was using the de-fib paddles on him, he is intrigued by what he sees in Larsen's file, especially when he sees that Dr. Franklin is the attending physician.   Jarod seeks Dr. Franklin out and determines that the HMO relies on his recommendation regarding whether or not any particular procedure is approved.   Jarod tells Dr. Franklin that this hospital has denied 11% more major surgeries than the national average - he asks Dr. Franklin if he might know why that would happen.   Dr. Franklin says that it just must be that people are healthier there.   As soon as Jarod leaves, Dr. Franklin calls someone on the phone and tells them that they need to talk.
Jarod is telling the Sheriff that the amount that the Larsen boys made as their demand is the exact amount that the hospital charges for a heart by-pass surgery.   He tells the Sheriff that Jake Larsen's records indicate that he is headed for a massive heart attack without that surgery and that the hospital denied it to him.   The Sheriff demands to know who Jarod is ... he says that the FBI in Chicago has never heard of him.   Jarod says the FBI is a big place ... maybe the Sheriff  just talked to the wrong person.   Jarod then tells the Sheriff that he knows about the hostage situation where the Sheriff lured the perpetrator into the doorway, but then hesitated to take the shot.   Because he hesitated, a 15 year old stock boy ended up getting killed. 

After the conversation, Jarod looks out a window and notices Dr. Franklin arguing with Rebecca Simmons in the parking lot.   He hurries down and catches Rebecca just as she is getting into her car.   It doesn't take long for her to admit that Dr. Franklin has been denying certain surgeries, saving the HMO thousands of dollars, for which Dr. Franklin got a kickback.   She "looked the other way" because she thought that she was going to end up living "happily ever after" with Dr. Franklin - and eventually became trapped.   If she told, she would be implicated, too.

Back at the junkyard, Miss Parker is delivering the strongbox to her father.   She tells him that the key he gave her doesn't work and he says that it must just be the wrong key.   Immediately, he pulls out the correct key and opens the strongbox.   Inside, there is money, some certificates that might be bearer bonds and an envelope that is labeled "Medical Records -- Baby Parker" ... Miss Parker wants to know what is in that envelope, but Mr. Parker won't tell her ... only asks for her gun.   She wants to know if he knows who ordered the "hit" on him, but he says he doesn't know.   He gives her a picture of  Brigitte's unborn child and tells her that the baby is all that matters now -- the heir to the Parker name.   Miss Parker is shocked by the statement, but, as usual, her father doesn't notice.   She asks him what else she can do and he tells her that the key is still Jarod ... if she brings him back, everything will be like it was.  Then he takes her gun and everything else that he needs and leaves her standing there, in an abandoned bus in a junkyard.   Her phone rings ... she answers it and says she's on her way.
Jarod is hiding a video camera in Dr. Franklin's office at the hospital.  Then he makes up a solution of something and swabs it on the keyboard of Dr. Franklin's computer.   He fills a hypo with some other solution, then calls Dr. Franklin on the phone and tells him that the Larsen boys have accessed the computer files and it might be a good idea if Dr. Franklin downloaded anything that was important.   Dr. Franklin goes into his office, gets on his computer and begins deleting any file that might implicate him in wrong doing.   As Dr. Franklin is working, Jarod bursts through the door and pretends that the Larsen boys are in the hallway and that he has been shot.   As Dr. Franklin gets up, he begins experiencing chest pains so severe that he collapses on the floor.   At that point, Jarod explains to him that he has put something on Dr. Franklin's keyboard that caused him to have a heart attack and that he will die without the hypo.   He gets doctor Franklin to confess to his illegal activities and when Dr. Franklin begs for the hypo, Jarod drops it on the floor and says, "claim denied"  - then walks out the door and leaves Dr. Franklin there.
As the police are taking Dr. Franklin away, Jarod explains that all he really did is give him a severe case of heartburn and that Dr. Franklin will also lose bladder control for a couple of days.   The Sheriff says he's going to drop some of the charges against the Larsen brothers and thanks Jarod for keeping him from letting a mistake in his past ruin the future.   As they are shaking hands, Jarod sees Mr. Lyle, Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots pull up and makes a hasty exit.  Miss Parker tells the real FBI agent (who has just arrived) that they are with the "Blue Cove Gazette" and they realize within moments that they've missed Jarod.  Lyle talks to the FBI man and tells him he has heard there is an imposter there.  When Lyle realizes that they have missed Jarod, he tells Miss Parker that she will be held responsible for it.   Thinking about her bizarre meeting with her father, Miss Parker acknowledges her responsibility, but doesn't seem to really care.   They head back toward the car as

... the screen fades to black.


This episode of The Pretender starred:
Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, Andrea Parker as Miss Parker, Patrick Bauchau as Sydney, Jon Gries as Broots, Jamie Denton as Mr. Lyle, Harve Presnell as Mr. Parker and Richard Marcus as Mr. Raines

Guest Stars:
Dana Ashbrook as Cam Larsen;  Michael Hagerty as Billy Larsen; Myron Natwick as Jake Larsen;  Drew Pillsbury as Dr. Steven Franklin; Basil Wallace as the Sheriff and Cali Timmins and Rebecca Simmons

Also starring:
Tommy Aquino, Lindsey Beamish, Larry Dorf, Natasha Dorfhuber, Peter Moore,  Lindsay Thompson, 
Jimmy Tyler-Flynn and Micah Williams

"Rules of Engagement" was written by:
Ethan Matthew Lawrence
and Directed by:
Rodney Charters





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