Submitted by Tornado Dragon
Strike is never charged with Darryl’s murder; the blame remains on his brother, Victor, for his death, but Victor sticks with his story that he shot Darryl in self-defense. However, Strike ends up left with no choice but to leave New York City for good, because all the circumstances surrounding the murder has resulted in Rodney now wanting him dead, his young friend Tyrone shooting and killing Rodney’s right-hand man Errol in defense of him, and his family (more or less) disowning him. Detective Klein (who had been investigating the murder and was obsessed with getting Strike to confess that Rodney pressured him into killing Darryl because he wanted to put Rodney in prison for a long time) winds up driving Strike over to Pennsylvania Station to help him get out of town, since Strike loves trains but has never ridden an actual one before (apart from the subway).
Before Strike goes into the station, Klein tells him that Victor is still sticking with his self-defense plea, and Tyrone will likely get sentenced to six months in a youth house for what he did to Errol (thanks to Klein rehearsing a confession with Tyrone before putting it on a tape recorder in an effort to ensure that he receives a light punishment). When Strike asks him why he became so obsessed with this case when most police officers usually don’t care all that much about black people killing each other, all Klein does is warn him that, if he ever sees him anywhere in New York City again, he will book him on charges of criminal solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder, and then he will arrest Rodney on the same charges and ensure that they both share the same cell and bed in prison. Strike thanks him for helping him get out of town and goes inside the station.
Victor is last shown exiting the prison a day or two later and embracing his wife, his sons, and his mother when they come to pick him up. Tyrone is last shown playing with Strike’s train set, which Strike had left for him. Strike is last shown sitting on a train and silently staring out at the passing landscape, which shows that he is somewhere in the Western half of the U.S.
Sometime after Detective Thompson (Michael Imperioli) busts a group of yuppies from Connecticut for possessing drugs that they bought from one of the “clockers” (street-level drug dealers) working under Rodney (Delroy Lindo), he tells Detective Klein (Harvey Keitel) that he is going to use those guys to bring down Rodney and his drug ring. Klein replies that he and Detective Mazilli (John Turturro) know Rodney personally, so they can pick him up for him. Klein and Mazilli later arrest Rodney and place him in a holding cell, and when Rodney asks the detectives who sold him out, Klein gives him an obvious hint that Strike (Mekhi Phifer) was the one responsible. Meanwhile, Strike – who has no idea what happened to Rodney but knows that his relationship with him has badly deteriorated over all of the circumstances surrounding Darryl’s (Steve White) murder, specifically Klein repeatedly questioning him about it because Rodney thinks that he and his drug operation get brought up during those questionings – decides to leave New York City, so he gets some money, clothes, and other assorted items together, disposes of whatever drugs and drug paraphernalia he has, and leaves a note for the landlord explaining that he is going away and that Tyrone (Pee Wee Love) can have his train set if he ever stops by this place. However, when he lifts up the mattress to get his handgun out from under it, he discovers that it is gone.
Strike then finds Victor’s (Isaiah Washington) wife, Sharon (Lisa Arrindell Anderson), and hands her an envelope containing the remaining $5,000 that Victor needs to make bail, and he instructs her to give that to his and Victor’s mother, Gloria (Frances Foster), but not tell her that it came from him. She asks him if he is going somewhere, and he replies that he might, but he doesn’t know yet. After telling him that he needs to talk to his mother, she thanks him for the cash and leaves his presence. That night, he meets the rest of his fellow clockers in the neighborhood park that they work out of, and he learns from them that Rodney got arrested today. Tyrone then rides past on his bicycle telling Strike that he really needs to talk to him, having tried to speak to Strike before about a brown paper bag in his possession that he says belongs to him, but Strike – who told Tyrone during their previous encounter to stop associating himself with him for the sake of his future – just orders him to get out of here. Klein then appears, and after quietly telling Strike that he is going to make him pay for not being straightforward with him about several things pertaining to Darryl’s murder and not admitting straight up that HE was the one who killed Darryl, he tells Strike in front of the other clockers that he has come by to thank him for his help in getting Rodney put in jail. Strike tells him that he can’t pin this on him, and Klein replies by warning him that Rodney will be making bail tomorrow and wonders what the other clockers are going to tell him after hearing this conversation, then recommends to him that he go to the D.A. right this minute to get some protection. He then tries to pressure Strike into admitting here and now that Rodney intimidated him into killing Darryl, but Strike still won’t confess anything to him. Klein then leaves, and when one of the other clockers, Scientific (Sticky Fingaz), accuses Strike of snitching on Rodney, Strike punches him, but the others get in between them and stop the fight before it can escalate any further. Soon after, Rodney bribes a guard to let him use the phone, and he calls up Errol (Tom Byrd) and tells him that he wants him to kill Strike because Strike put him in jail today. Meanwhile, Strike stops by his family’s apartment to see his mother, and after Sharon tells him that she is asleep, Strike quietly enters her bedroom and kisses her goodbye.
When Strike steps out into the park the next morning, he finds out from Scientific that Errol is looking for him. Tyrone then tries to talk to Strike again and holds out the paper bag for him to take, but Strike once again tells him to stop trying to hang out with him and walks off. Not long afterwards, he spots Errol from afar and hides himself, but then, Tyrone rides right up to Errol on his bicycle and shoots him twice in the chest with Strike’s handgun, which is what he has been keeping concealed in the bag, having taken it from Strike’s place when he wasn’t looking. Errol dies, and as Tyrone pedals back the way he came, Strike yells at him for doing such a foolish thing, but Tyrone just ignores him. Tyrone is taken to the police station, and while he is sitting with his mother in one of the offices, Officer Curtis (Keith David) – who personally knows both Strike and Tyrone and acts as a father figure to the latter – talks to Klein outside the office. After telling Klein that Tyrone is a good kid and whatever happened today was just a big mistake, Curtis asks him to help Tyrone and his mother on a statement in order to lighten Tyrone’s punishment as much as possible, knowing that this incident could very well ruin his whole life. Klein and Curtis then take Tyrone and his mother into an interrogation room, and before Klein turns on the tape recorder, he goes over a plausible story with Tyrone about how he got a gun in order to protect both himself and his mother and that he shot Errol in self-defense when he pulled his own gun on him (a scenario made believable by the fact that Errol has killed a child before), and he gets Tyrone to agree that they will repeat this story verbatim when he turns on the recorder. He then asks Tyrone where he got the gun from, and Tyrone answers that he accidentally bought it from Strike. After hearing this, Curtis storms out of the room, and Tyrone then tells Klein that he has tried to give the gun back to Strike more than once, but he has been ignoring him lately. In the next scene, we see Curtis furiously beating up Strike in front of the whole neighborhood and telling him that he has ruined Tyrone’s life, and he demands for him to leave New York City and never return, along with warning him that, if he does return, he will kill him. Strike then quickly gets into his car when he sees Rodney standing outside of his own car nearby, and he drives over to the police station with Rodney following him the whole way there. He meets Klein at the front door, who was just about to leave with a warrant to arrest him, and he goes inside just so Rodney can’t follow him any further.
Klein takes Strike into an interrogation room to question him again, and he tells him that Tyrone killed Errol to protect him, plus he knows that Rodney sent Errol after him. Klein then tells him that, with Victor and now Tyrone in custody, he is the only one that can protect him from Rodney now, and he once again demands for him to confess that Rodney pressured him into killing Darryl and promises him that they will put Rodney away for good if he does. Strike once again denies responsibility, and when he changes his story two more times regarding who really shot Darryl, Klein loses his temper, grabs him, and pins him against the wall in an effort to scare him into telling the real story. However, all Strike does is pin the blame for the shooting on another person. After Klein threatens to take Strike outside to see Rodney, Mazilli enters the room with Gloria and Sharon, and Gloria orders Klein to get his hands off her son. She then explains that an upset Victor called her before the shooting went down and told her that he was going to do something bad, plus he said that he was sick and tired of things and that somebody had to pay. He came home an hour later in complete hysterics and told her that he had shot someone, and he subsequently spent the whole night vomiting and found himself physically unable to get out of bed the next morning. Strike asks his mother if she got the money that he gave to Sharon for Victor’s bail, and Sharon produces the envelope from her purse and answers that she wouldn’t take it. Gloria then takes the money and throws it in Strike’s face, then tells Klein that Victor said that he shot Darryl in self-defense and that he must believe him. Mazilli then escorts Gloria and Sharon out of the room.
While Strike is in the station, Rodney inflicts heavy damage on his car, then steals his stuff out of the trunk and spray-paints a death threat on the exterior before fleeing the scene. Strike, Klein, and Mazilli come out of the station shortly afterwards and see what Rodney has done, and Klein tells Strike that he is taking him to the Port Authority Bus Terminal right now so he can find somewhere else to live. Having never gone on an actual train ride outside the city in his entire life, Strike asks Klein to take him to Pennsylvania Station instead, and Klein is fine with that.
Just after they arrive outside Pennsylvania Station, Klein tells Strike that Victor is sticking with his self-defense plea. He also informs him that Tyrone is in the custody of his mother until his trial, and if he is lucky, he will just get six months in a youth house. Strike then asks him why he was so obsessive about everything pertaining to Darryl’s murder when most cops usually don’t care all that much about black people killing each other, but after a pause, Klein just warns Strike that, if he ever sees him anywhere in New York City again, he will book him on charges of criminal solicitation and conspiracy to commit murder. He will then let Curtis beat him down again, and then he will arrest Rodney on the same charges and make sure that he and Rodney share the same cell and bed in prison. Strike thanks Klein for helping get him out of town before walking into the station.
A day or two later, Victor is shown exiting the Brooklyn Correctional Facility and embracing Sharon, his sons, and Gloria when they come to pick him up. Klein and Mazilli are shown investigating the recent murder of Scientific, and nearby, we see Tyrone in his bedroom playing with Strike’s train set and showing it off to his mother. The movie closes with Strike riding on a train and silently staring out at the passing landscape, which clearly shows that he is somewhere in the Western half of the U.S.