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SCARECROW ON SEATTLE
Scarecrow


Deadly Justice (1985)

Veteran character actor Richard Crenna won an Emmy for his performance as a police officer named Richard Beck in this shot-in-Seattle, based-on-a-true-story, made for television movie that aired on ABC back in 1985. Originally it was called The Rape of Richard Beck but the home video powers that be gave the picture a more generic action-y title and utilized typical cop movie images and graphics for the DVD artwork thus doing their best to conceal the more socially serious nature of the film. Early on in the movie we see a shot of the Public Market sign that pans over to a juggler entertaining tourists. Beck and a few other cops walk along the produce stands as they break in a rookie detective who brags about being a former octopus wrestler at the Seattle Aquarium. Beck continues trying to impress the new recruit with his macho talk as the two head down to the shipping container yards on the Seattle waterfront where Beck meets up with one of his informants. The guy is a total creep but he gives the cops some good information and, through the entire scene, we get a view of the Seattle cityscape and the working waterfront in the background. Later, Beck consoles a rape victim who is curled up in a phone booth next to the Tlingit totem pole in Pioneer Square and, afterwards, the insensitive cop makes some crass comments about the woman with some of his police buddies. That night a restless Beck cruises around aimlessly in the hopes of finding some criminals in action. He drives through the Battery Street tunnel and ends up in the alleys of Pioneer Square where he confronts a couple of hooligans. As you can guess from the original "spoiler alert" title, Richard Beck does get raped and this horrific crime is perpetrated after he is overpowered by the pair and dragged into the Seattle Underground. The once cocky cop now finds himself violated, humbled and humiliated. His dad, who lives in a boat moored in Salmon Bay (you can see the train trestle in the background), offers no sympathy and chastises his son for not fighting back. Beck finds little emotional support from his fellow officers and tries to ignore his feelings by engaging in activities like a jog though Gasworks Park and shooting pool at Merchants Caf. He eventually revisits the Underground Tour but is still unable to cope with his post-traumatic stress issues. Some of his fellow cops pursue the perpetrators in a car chase that takes place under the viaduct near the ferry terminal but, even then, Beck has a difficult time confronting his rapists. Ultimately he finds some solace when he accosts that guy who lives by the storage containers. The creep has kidnapped a woman and Beck rescues the victim. He throws the guy on the ground and almost lets the criminal get run over by one of those gigantic container cranes. Having learned a hard lesson the worst imaginable way possible, Beck has come full circle and the film ends with the police officer delivering a victim sensitivity speech to a classroom full of rookie cops. -Spenser Hoyt


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