If the latest fatal turn in the Ronni Chasen murder investigation had been inserted into a screenplay about Chasen’s bizarre death, it would be dismissed as poor plotting — a mystifying, incomprehensible occurence that adds nothing and leads nowhere.
TheWrap and the L.A. Times are reporting that late yesterday afternoon an ex-convict transient named “Harold” was approached at a transient hotel (i.e., the Harvey Apartments on the 5600 block of Santa Monica Blvd.) by Beverly Hills detectives as a “person of interest” in the Chasen killing. (In the parlance of Zodiac, the cops “liked” him — i.e., regarded him as a possible suspect.)
And then what happened? Harold “backed away, pulled out a handgun and shot himself” to death. Rewrite!
It gets worse or better, depending on your perspective.
L.A. Times reporter Abby Sewell spoke to a guy named Brandon Harrison, a “neighbor” of Harold’s who knew him slightly and described him as a “very strange” ex-convict who’d done time over drugs and weapons charges. Sewell reports that Harold “told” Harrison “several times [that] ‘If it ever came down to me going back to prison, I would die first.'” The inference is that Harold, apparently convinced that the bulls were going to take him back to jail for something or other, made good on his pledge.
Sewell further reports that Harold told Brandon Harrison “he was supposed to be getting $10,000, at one point saying it was for a job he did and on another occasion saying it was from a lawsuit.”
That sounds like b.s., of course. Nobody pays losers living in East Hollywood transient hotels sizable sums to do anything. But of course, right away your mind leaps to the obvious implication and/or nonsensical conclusion, which is that somebody may have paid Harold ten grand to shoot Ronni Chasen. This is awful, awful writing. It’s beyond ridiculous. It’s like something out of Cop and a Half, the 1993 Burt Reynolds flick.
Here’s some more bad writing. As Harold is dying on the floor from the gunshot wound, one of the detectives (i.e., the one not calling for an ambulance) crouches beside him and says, “Harold! For God’s sake, Harold…did you have something to do with shooting a woman on Sunset Blvd. a couple of weeks ago? C’mon, Harold…spit it out. Don’t die with a lie…cleanse yourself…tell the truth.”
In Tony Gilroy‘s Michael Clayton, George Clooney tells Sydney Pollack that Tom Wilkinson‘s apparent suicide is a big “why?,” that it makes no sense at all. Pollack’s reply is borderline irate: “Why? Because people are fucking incomprehensible…that’s why.”