Stevens and Fearless Smith are on a late-night stakeout.
Fearless' cell phone rings: Smith...okay, thanks.
He hangs up the phone and says to Joel: We got the warrant.
They get out of the car and start walking towards a house.
Fearless looks up the street: What the hell is that?
A semi-truck, with its horn blaring, crashes into the house.
Teresa is asleep in the back of an ambulance.
Randy (her partner): Teresa. Teresa!
Teresa sits up: I'm up. I'm up!
Randy opens the back doors of the ambulance: Come on. We just got a big one.
The ambulance arrives at the scene of an accident involving an 18-wheeler. Teresa climbs into the cab.
Teresa: Hi. What's your name?
Driver: Sean Dornan.
Teresa: Sean, do you know where you are?
Sean: Yeah, Los Angeles. Unhhh...I can't believe this happened!
Teresa examines him for injuries: Do you know what day it is?
Sean: Yeah, it's Thursday.
Teresa: That's a nasty cut on your chin, Sean.
Sean: I didn't even feel it. Did anybody get hurt?
Teresa: My partner's checking, now. Here. (She hands him a bandage.) Keep some pressure on that till I get back, okay?
As Teresa gets out of the truck, she hears a man shouting: Get in the car!
She sees a man jump into a car and calls out: Hey, are you hurt? Hey!
The car speeds away.
Randy: I've got two over here.
Teresa hurries over to a car trapped beneath the truck's trailer.
Randy: The driver's DOA. I'm checking the passenger.
Smoke fills the car, obsuring their vision.
Randy: When's that engine coming?
Teresa hears the fire engine's siren: It should be here any minute.
She peers, through the smoke, into the backseat: Randy! Someone's alive in here.
She sees a young boy. He says: Help...
At the hospital, Teresa is waiting in the boy's room.
Joel enters the room: How's he doing?
Teresa: I don't know anything, yet. Except, he's going to wake up an orphan.
Joel: What is he? About seven?
Joel: The same age as my boy, Willie.
Teresa: You know, his grandmother's coming in from Indiana. Bad weather kept her plane on the ground.
Joel: Teresa...I'm going to need to talk to you about the accident. Things aren't quite as simple as we thought. Should we go talk in the hall?
Teresa: I'd rather stay here, if you don't mind. I just don't want him to wake up alone.
Teresa is talking to Andrea, who's taking notes.
Teresa: I just don't want him to wake up alone. Are you putting that in your story?
Andrea: Not if you don't want me to.
Teresa: It just makes me sound like I'm gunning for sainthood.
Andrea: Everyone will identify. No one likes to wake up alone. Although, there are times I've wished I was alone.
Teresa, laughing: A neck model!
Andrea laughs: A neck model?!
Teresa: Yeah...Oh, God, you know, sometimes people in comas can sort of hear what's going on.
Andrea: I'm not sure that's such a good thing.
Teresa: Well, it's good for him to hear laughter.
Fearless is in his motel room, lying in bed, smoking a cigarette.
At the police station. Fearless and Joel are walking down a hallway with Officers Ray Hechler and Tom Turcotte.
Ray: Sean Dornan, the trucker. He tested positive for methamphetamines.
Joel: Is that in the report?
Ray: Yeah, it's in the report!
Fearless: A DUI with two fatalities. He's looking at Murder One.
Ray: Well, that's why this case gets dropped off on your desk, Detective.
Tom: Yeah, he says it wasn't his fault.
Ray: Yeah, he says that the guy cut him off, jammed on his brakes and that's why he lost control of his rig.
Joel: Any witnesses to corroborate that?
Ray: It's in the report!
Fearless: An 18-wheeler on speed...
Ray: Well, that's what happens, these days. They deregulated the shipping rates, so these guys gotta drive two or three shifts straight through just to make ends meet for their families.
Joel: Sean Dornan can make his own excuses, Ray.
Fearless: Who was first on the scene?
Tom: Paramedics - Teresa and Randy.
Ray: Oh, yeah...by the way, there's this claims adjuster from the insurance company. She wants to shadow the investigation. We can make her go away, if you want.
Fearless: Claims adjuster...
He stands up and sees the the woman: Excuse me.
Fearless walks over to where the claims adjuster is standing. She's talking on her cell phone: I'll call you back.
Claims adjuster: Bobby Smith!
Fearless: Hello, Vicki.
Vicki: When did you move from Fraud to Homicide?
Fearless: About three years ago.
Vicki: It seems to suit you. You look good.
Fearless: Thanks. You, too.
Vicki: You know, I always thought you'd call.
Fearless: Well, you said you were involved, and you could have called me.
Vicki: I considered it. Except, you told me you never mix business with pleasure.
Fearless: So, I guess we're back to square one.
Vicki: Except, I'm no longer involved.
Fearless: Maybe...we should take care of this business thing.
Vicki: All right.
They walk over to Fearless and Joel's desks.
Fearless: This is my partner, Joel Stevens. Vicki Peneda.
Joel shakes her hand: How are you?
Vicki: I'm doing good.
Joel: I'm going to go to the hospital, talk to Teresa, see what's going on with this truck driver.
Fearless: Okay, cool.
Joel, as he leaves the room: Nice to meet you.
Vicki: Nice to meet you.
Vicki to Fearless: So, same deal as before? You run the show. I get a front row seat and fill in where I can.
Fearless: It works for me.
Fearless is talking on the phone: Okay...no...thanks, that's all I need.
He hangs up the phone and says to Vicki: That's the fifth person I've talked to and they all say that Sean Dornan is a stand-up guy.
Vicki: We don't let him hire just anybody to drive his trucks.
She stands up, Fearless pushes his chair back, blocking her path, and puts a cigarette in his mouth.
Vicki takes the cigarette out of his mouth: Bobby...as a friend and a risk assessment professional, I suggest that you NOT light up.
Fearless: And if I ignore your advice?
Vicki: Then, I'll join you.
Outside, Vicki lights Fearless' cigarette after lighting her own.
Fearless: So, what are you still doing investigating insurance claims? Cause when we worked that phony home invasion, you were pretty disillusioned with the job.
Vicki: With the company. Not the job. And I didn't want to start at the bottom of a new field. I'm good at what I do. I like the puzzles. So, I guess I just figured a way to make it work for me.
Joel walks outside, clearing his throat.
Fearless: You talk to Teresa?
Joel: Yeah, I did.
Fearless: Anything to confirm that trucker's story?
Joel: Well, she said she remembered a small four-door car, maybe 10 years old, stopped on the shoulder just past the accident scene. Said it looked like it might have been rear-ended.
Fearless: Did she get a plate?
Joel: No. She said it took off too quick. It was faded green, with a red left-rear door.
Fearless: That's not a lot to go on.
Joel: No, it isn't.
Vicki: Listen, guys, I need to get back to the office. Keep me posted, okay?
Fearless: You know I will.
Vicki: It was good to see you again, Bobby.
Fearless: It was good to see you.
Joel: Ahem...Bright lady. Seems like you two might have worked on more than a case together.
Fearless smiles: Yeah, we kinda danced around each other. The timing wasn't quite right for either of us.
Joel: What about now?
Fearless: Now, we get to find this vehicle.
Joel laughs: I'll have Communications put out an info-only broadcast.
Fearless: You know, if these guys really did cause this accident and they're smart, they'd ditch the car.
Joel: You're right.
Fearless: How many wrecking yards you think we've got in L.A.?
Joel: Phew...we better start making phone calls.
Joel and Fearless are walking through a wrecking yard with the manager, Mack Rosell.
Rosell coughs: The doctor says I can't keep breathing this stuff. I got to sell the business, go where the air is better. But, nobody will give me a fair price.
Joel: What about the car?
Rosell, pointing to an empty space: Well, it was right here.
Fearless: Are you sure about that?
Rosell: I saw it just after lunch.
He calls out to a nearby worker: Hey, Fred! Where's that green and red job you put here, this morning?
Fred points, off-camera: You mean that one?
Joel and Fearless run forward, flashing their badges yelling: Hold it! Hey! Hey, don't! Stop that machine! Stop!
A machine is about to compress the vehicle they're looking for.
Fearless, examining the manager's paperwork: Come on. Come on, man! The guy buys the Accord from you last week and he sells it back to you for scrap this morning.
Joel: And you didn't think to mention that to us, earlier?
Rosell: I was out sick with this cough, all last week. One of my guys handled the sale.
He has a coughing fit as Joel and Fearless walk away. He calls to them: Do either of you have a lozenge?
Fearless to Joel: I'm thinking this accident was no accident.
At the police station.
Fearless: We think the driver of the vehicle may have been looking to get into an accident.
Vicki: L.A. should be proud. It's the insurance-fraud capital of the world.
Joel: Yeah, we're talking about a really small car up against a semi. This guy must have had some stones.
Vicki: Well, they pay these guys to lure well-insured target vehicles into accidents. It happens all the time. They got these fraudulent rings running 24/7, costing us millions.
Joel: So, why do you guys pay, if you know the claims are fake?
Vicki: It's cheaper to settle most claims than to fight them.
Joel: I guess so. And, somehow, send the cost back to the customer.
Vicki: I'm not trying to justify it. I just want to let you guys know how the system works. Now, the guys at the top - the lawyers, the doctors, who are helping run these scams - they're making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, too. And there's almost no risk.
Fearless: Yeah, unless you happen to be one of the guys who drives the car.
In a garage, Caesar is working on the green and red car. He starts it up.
(The following conversation is in Spanish.)
Ruben: You the man.
Caesar: I told you, I fix anything.
Ruben gives him some money.
Caesar: Thanks, I can't get buy on what they pay here.
Caesar: I work my ass off, double shifts. I hardly see my family.
Ruben: Do you want to make a few extra bucks?
Ruben: I know a guy who pays good for a couple of hours of work. Three, four hundred dollars.
Caesar: I don't want anything to do with drugs, man.
Ruben: Caesar, it isn't drugs. You just take a ride in the car with me. It's not illegal. Tell me you can't use four hundred dollars.
Caesar and Ruben go to the Tiki Lounge, where they meet up with Hugo.
Hugo: Ruben, my man! This must be the car guy.
Hugo and Caesar shake hands.
Caesar: How are you doing?
Hugo: Caesar, a noble name. I like it. I like your friend's name.
Hugo to bartender: Sandy, por favor, two Guatamelan Coolers.
Sandy: You got it, Boss.
Hugo: I thought you guys might appreciate a little taste of home.
Ruben: Actually, I'm Mexican and he's Ecuadorian.
Hugo: That's the beauty. This is a nation of immigrants, my friend. Step into my office over here.
Hugo and Ruben slide into a booth.
Hugo: Sit down, Caesar! Cop a squat. Relax your crack...Okay, what color car are you driving?
Caesar: It's green.
Hugo: Green. Okay, here it is. (He reaches into a sack and pulls out a small green toy car.)
You guys are in the green machine and over here's a big fat truck. (He uses a Tiki glass as the truck.) With me? Okay, it's simple. Simple. You're going along, you're going along, you're going along and all of a sudden, you cut in front of him. He'll back off, you back off. You slow down, which pisses him off and all of a sudden, you just slam on your brakes. Wham! Ohhh, whiplash! Dios mio, that hurts!
Hugo: You pull over, exchange information, and then you go out and get breakfast and wait for my call. It's a four-seater, right?
Ruben: Yeah, yeah.
Hugo: You should find two more guys. Remember, more guys in the car means more money in your pockets.
Caesar: I don't know.
Ruben to Hugo: No, no, it's okay.
Ruben to Caesar: It's okay!
Hugo: Caesar, my friend, I've been doing this forever. Hmm? Nobody gets hurt. We only get these big companies - BIG companies - to share some of their ill-gotten gains. Like Robin and his Merry Men.
Caesar smiles and nods.
Hugo: Drink up, amigos, huh? Everything's going to be fine. No problema. Salud!
Ruben and Caesar are in the green Accord, with two other men.
Ruben: That's the one, CalSouth Groceries.
Caesar: That's a big damn truck.
Ruben: Yeah, with big insurance. All right. Here we go.
He pulls the car over in front of the truck. The driver, Sean Dornan, honks his horn at them.
Ruben: What the hell's he doing?
Sean pulls the truck into the other lane and passes them.
Ruben: It's okay. He's pissed off. That's good.
Ruben catches up with the truck and pulls over in front of it, again. Sean honks the horn again.
Ruben: Everybody, hold on tight!
He slams on the brakes. The truck collides with the rear end of the car, pushing the car off the road and into a pole.
Joel and Fearless enter the garage where Caesar is working.
Joel: Caesar! We're looking for Caesar.
Caesar looks up.
Joel and Fearless walk over to him.
Joel: Are you Caesar? Detective Stevens and my partner, Detective Smith. A guy named Mack Rosell told us you sold him a car for scrap, earlier today.
Caesar: I don't know who you're talking about.
Fearless: Ah...well, he owns the wrecking yard where you buy your parts. He gave us a couple of receipts with your signature. (He pulls the receipts out of his pocket and shows them to Caesar.)
Caesar: So, what?
Joel: What happened to your face, Caesar? It looks like you went and had an accident.
Caesar turns away abruptly.
Fearless: Ah, ah, ah...Caesar, now, be still. You know, we got you. We have a witness who ID'd the car in accident over on Doncaster?. Are you going to talk to us here or are you going to come down to the station?
Caesar: It was just supposed to be a fender-bender, okay? But, things just got messed up.
FLASHBACK to the accident scene.
After the car hit the pole, Caesar looks out and sees another car trapped beneath the semi's trailer.
Caesar: Dios mio.
He gets out of the car.
Ruben: Hey! Hey, hey, where are you going?
Caesar: I've got to help them.
Ruben gets out of the car: Get in the car!
Caesar: I've got to help those people.
Ruben punches him in the face: Get in the car! Do you want Hugo to put a bullet in your head, huh?
Teresa calls out to them: Hey! Are you hurt?
They get in the car and Ruben speeds away.
Caesar to Joel and Fearless: We were going to fill out some papers for the insurance and this guy was going to pay us four hundred dollars.
Joel: This guy?
Caesar: I don't know his name.
Joel: Well, what did 'this guy' say he was going to do to you if you gave him up?
Caesar: I don't know.
Fearless: You don't know if he threatened you?
Caesar: You just don't get it. I work my ass off and I still don't make enough. You know... when my kids get sick, I have to choose between the rent or the doctor.
Joel: Caesar, there's a seven-year-old boy in the hospital, right now. When he wakes up, he's going to find out that he doesn't have a mother or a father. And guess what? That's on you.
Joel: Yeah, that's on you! And 'this guy'.
Caesar (in Spanish): No, I didn't do that...I didn't do that.
Joel (in Spanish): I understand. But, what if it was your kid? Hmm?
Caesar breaks down in tears.
Joel: What's his name?
Caesar: I don't know his whole name. They just called him Hugo.
Hugo is at his home. He hears a car honking outside, looks out the window and sees Ruben drive the Accord into his driveway. He hurries outside.
Hugo: What the hell's going on?
Ruben gets out of the car: The driver messed up, man. He went crazy and lost control. I think someone may have been killed. We had to get the hell out of there.
Hugo: And you came here? Why?
Ruben: Well, I didn't know what you wanted us to do.
Hugo: I sure as hell didn't want you to come to my house! Get out of here. And get rid of the car.
Ruben: What do you mean, get rid of it? Where?
Hugo: I don't know. Your buddy, Caesar, found it. See if he can find some place to dump it.
He notices that Caesar's face is bleeding.
Hugo: What happened to him?
Ruben: Nothing. He's all right. Vamos!
Hugo to Caesar: That's why I tell you guys to wear seat belts.
Ruben: What about our money?
Hugo: Get out of here! Now! Go!
They drive off and Hugo goes back inside his house.
He picks up the telephone: Hey, Boss...yeah, we...got ourselves a little problem.
Hugo is sitting in his booth at the Tiki Lounge.
Joel and Fearless enter.
Fearless to bartender: We're looking for Hugo.
They walk over to Hugo's table.
Fearless shows his badge: Hugo, I'm Detective Smith. This is my partner, Detective Stevens. Mind if we sit?
Hugo: Would it matter if I did?
Joel: Not really.
Joel and Fearless sit down at the table.
Fearless: Pretty nice little old joint you got here, man.
Hugo: All original, too. None of that retro crap. Check this. (He holds up a rib.) Hawaiian spare ribs. Same recipe since 1962. Umm, I swear it's like a poem. A food poem. What can I do for you?
Fearless: We want to talk to you about a little incident. We heard you had something to do with that big accident down on Doncaster. A semi jackknifed, killed a couple of people.
Hugo: Yeah, I saw that on the news.
Joel: Yeah, it left their little boy in a coma.
Hugo: Terrible. It's a tragedy. Hey, but I didn't have anything to do with it. I was in bed asleep when it happened. Now, there's a plausible scenario - man asleep in bed jackknifes semi on Doncaster Blvd.
Joel: The car stopped short in front of the semi, trying to get hit.
Fearless: It's called a scoop and squat. You hired the driver of the car.
Hugo: You're grasping at straws.
Joel: We have a witness.
Hugo: A witness to what? It never happened. That's all I'm going to say.
Joel stands up: That's fine. Let's go.
Fearless: We've been to your office. Now, you come to ours.
Hugo gets up from the table.