Hells Kitchen

Matthew Lederman


Hells Kitchen is a series designed for HBO in the tradition of the "Sopranos" and "Sex in the City." It follows a cast of characters as they live and work in Hells Kitchen in the present time.

Hell’s Kitchen is in the process of changing. Times Square has been Disneyfied. Mickey Mouse has supplanted Damon Runyon as the dominant literary icon. The hookers and pimps and junkies and drug dealers have been pushed out, moved farther west and north. Tourists have moved in. The con men, muggers and grifters that prey on them are being watched more closely by the police. The Irish gangsters that used to control the docks and the unions of the West side are getting old and marginalized. Younger gangsters, Italians, Russians and Chinese, have moved in with the influx of prostitution and drug trafficking and are trying to take over the territory. Hell’s Kitchen itself is no longer exclusively the home of working class people, but has had an influx of actors and writers and white collar workers. These people have been followed by upscale restaurants and bars. All of this has put a strain on the neighborhood dynamic.

Pilot Plot Summary

Day 1

Scene 1

The camera flies overhead giving an aerial view of Hells Kitchen showing the dual nature of the neighborhood, the gritty side and the Disney side. It flies down to the entrance of a gritty working class bar in the afternoon.

Scene 2

Bart Tompkins is a semi-alcoholic aspiring writer in his 20s who tends bar in a Hell’s Kitchen saloon run by Ernest Schultz, a tough 50 something guy, who has been a gambler, boxer, and thug in the past. The bar is filled with its standard afternoon crowd of older neighborhood types. Bart tells an old woman who has probably been a regular since before he was born that she’s not allowed to smoke in the bar anymore. She responds by cursing the mayor.

Scene 3

Patrick Coffin is a 20 something neighborhood kid, who is financing his college education by working for the Irish mob in Hell’s Kitchen. He works as a loan shark, bookie, drug dealer, enforcer and anything else. He walks confidently but warily through the neighborhood looking until he sees a man, one of the many Hispanic men who have moved into the neighborhood prior to the gentrification, who owes him. He calls the man over and politely, but ruthlessly, collects the money.

Scene 4

Jenn Madison, an aspiring actress in her twenties, is having sex with Dan Glick, a TV producer, in his office in the afternoon. She is obviously acting - no one has as much fun having sex as she is displaying. Glick knows this, but does not care.

Scene 5

Patrick sees a man on the street named Duffy, an older Irish guy, who he apparently has known all his life. Patrick calls to him, trying to collect a debt. Duffy at first tries to avoid him and when that fails gets angry at Patrick for collecting from another Irishman. He tells Patrick that he gave the money to his daughter.

Scene 6

In the bar, Ernest complains to Bart about the smoking ban. He rails about the government interference as if they are personally picking on him. Bart agrees just so the complaining will stop.

Scene 7

Jenn and Dan are still groping wildly. Jenn notices a picture of Dan’s family and goes out of character briefly to put it face down on the desk. Jenn finally calls out that she needs an acting job.

Scene 8

Ernest is still railing about the politicians who he thinks have screwed up the city. He starts complaining about arab terrorists and the North Korean government.

Scene 9

Dan and Jenn are lying around, still partially clothed, after having sex. Dan promises to have her character on his soap opera written in to tomorrow’s taping, but he does not want her to overact. Dan tells her that he only gave her the job because his wife will not perform oral sex on him. Jenn says that he only uses that as an excuse and he hires her because she’s great actress. There’s a little truth in both positions.

Scene 10

Patrick meets John Costello, a 50 something gangster who runs the local Irish mob, and his two bodyguards. In addition to running drugs and doing enforcement and collections for Costello, Patrick does a little robbery for himself on the side. Patrick gives Costello his share of the money he’s collected. Costello sniffs the money and teases Patrick for having to deal with "greeks and spics." Patrick allows that he has a few Irish customers, too. Costello invites Patrick to go have a drink and Patrick accepts. On the way, they discuss how the neighborhood has changed and is changing.

Scene 11

Costello and Patrick go into the bar. Ernest is attentive almost to the point of being obsequious, which is not lost on Patrick, Bart, or Costello, by running over and pouring Costello a drink without being asked and by giving everyone in the bar a drink on Costello without asking for money. Costello asks Patrick about college and criticizes him for not going to a private Catholic school.

Scene 12

Father Brian Flanagan, a crusading priest who is tortured by his pedophilia, looks wistfully at the boys in a playground.

Scene 13

Costello sends Patrick to run some Russian drug dealers out of the neighborhood.

Scene 14

Times Square scene again showing the dual nature of the neighborhood.

Scene 15

Patrick confronts the Russian drug dealers, Dmitri and Ivan, and runs them out without a problem except that he angers them by showing them up in front of their colleague, Alonzo, and presumably their bosses.

Scene 16

Jenn sits in the bar complaining to Bart and honing her acting skills by cadging drinks off men.

Scene 17

Michael O’Malley, a 30 something guy who grew up in the neighborhood, who has become a lawyer instead of a gangster like his father, is having dinner with his mother. He wants his mother to move out of Hell’s Kitchen. She wants to stay.

Scene 18

Maggie Duffy angrily confronts Patrick and pays her father’s debt.

Scene 19

Liz Racine, a bisexual actress, cuddles with her girlfriend, Renee Gregoire, a lesbian magazine writer, in a booth at the bar. Liz has pretty much given up acting to be John Costello’s mistress as well as a call girl for Dan Glick. Renee is frustrated by writing crap for magazines, her girlfriend’s infidelity and her inability to write her novel.

Scene 20

Father Flanagan, meanwhile, finds a young boy out on the street and tells him he is taking him home.

Scenes 21

Dan Glick, who needs a girl for his money man, calls Jenn on her mobile phone and she agrees to meet them at a restaurant.

Scene 22

Jenn leaves the tourist she was flirting with at the bar, and he leaves shortly after her. Patrick follows the tourist out of the bar and intends to rob him.

Scene 23

Liz and Renee watch Jenn leave.

Scene 24

Patrick is following the drunken tourist when he sees Father Flanagan and the young boy. He decides that he has to help the boy and stops to talk to them, letting the tourist escape. Patrick and Flanagan have an unpleasant exchange of words, their tense relationship dating back to Flanagan’s molestation of Patrick as a child. Patrick insists on accompanying them, foiling Flanagan’s designs on the child.

Scene 25

Jenn arrives at the bar.

Scenes 26

Jenn enters the restaurant to meet Dan Glick and his business associate, Jack Yeager, pretending she wasn’t called. Dan realizes she’s drunk and tries to get rid of her, but Yeager is entranced and he insists that she stay.

Scene 27

Patrick and Flanagan bring the boy home. After they send him inside, Patrick warns Flanagan that he will extract revenge for any child that Flanagan molests.

Scene 28

Liz and Renee talk at the bar.

Scene 29

On his way back to the bar, Patrick beats and robs three black teenagers who try to rob him.

Scene 30

John Costello shows up at the bar and invites Liz and Renee out to dinner. Liz accepts but Renee, jealous of Liz’s relationship with Costello, says she is going home to write. Liz takes a call from Dan Glick, who has left Jenn and Yeager and now is looking for a little companionship of his own. She turns him down and he is furious.

Scene 31

Dan Glick hangs up on Liz angrily.

Scene 32

Jenn and Jack are flirting in the restaurant.

Scene 33

When Patrick returns to the bar, he criticizes Bart for drinking too much and wasting his time with the lowlifes at the bar. Ernest, in turn, criticizes him for working for Costello and asks about his career plans. Patrick replies that he is going to go into white collar crime.

Scene 34

Dan Glick picks up a transvestite hooker.

Scene 35

Leaving the bar with Liz and Costello, Renee stops to talk to Bart who in turn introduces her to Patrick. Although she announces that she’s a lesbian, Patrick tries to pick her up anyway and angry at Liz, Renee allows herself to be picked up.

Scene 36

Costello and Liz talk about Renee.

Scene 37

Patrick gets Renee back to his apartment.

Scene 38

Dan Glick takes the transvestite hooker to a cheap hotel. As they start to undress, Glick realizes that the hooker is a man and, in a rage, kills him.

Scene 39

Jenn and Yeager are in a hotel room. Jenn is preparing to perform oral sex on Yeager when he tells her that his wife does that for him. Jenn lives by a somewhat bizarre code of ethics in which performing sex acts that wives don’t does not constitute cheating so she offers Yeager anal sex, which he apparently doesn’t get at home.

Scene 40

Bart and Ernest are closing up the bar. Bart criticizes Costello and Ernest warns him not to. Ernest leaves Bart to lock up.

Scene 41

Bart walks down a dark street. He sees three men loitering ahead of him, reminiscent of Patrick’s earlier encounter. He tries to avoid them but they chase him down, beat, pistol whip and rob him.

Day 2

Scene 42

The next morning Patrick receives a call from Bart in St. Luke’s emergency room. He wakes Renee, who is appalled that she has slept with a man, and goes to get him out of the hospital.

Scene 43

Dan Glick searches the newspaper to see if the prostitute’s killing has made the news.

Scene 44

Patrick goes to the hospital to get Bart.

Scene 45

Bart tells Patrick that he wants to go get a drink.

Scene 46

Patrick takes Bart to a bar.

Scene 47

Patrick takes Bart to the police station, where Detective Kowalski shows them the three black guys that were arrested for beating up Bart. Patrick recognizes the three guys as the ones he beat up and robbed earlier and he does not believe that they were the guys who beat up and robbed Bart. Bart, who was drunk, is not sure that they are the guys either.

Scene 48

As they leave the police station, Patrick tells Bart that they are not the right guys.

Scene 49

Michael O’Malley is the Legal Aid lawyer who has been given the case of the kids who are accused of mugging Bart. He tells them that they don’t have much of a chance at a fair trial.

Scene 50

Jenn wakes up alone with a headache.

Day 3

Scene 51

A few days later, Bart is back at work tending bar. Michael O’Malley comes in to see him. Ernest knows Michael from the neighborhood and greets him warmly, by Ernest’s gruff standards, anyway. Michael warns Bart about identifying the kids if he is not sure they were the ones who robbed and beat him.

Scene 52

Patrick sees a skateboarder bump into Mrs. O’Malley on the street and makes him apologize to her. He then smashes the skateboard anyway. Patrick does not tell Mrs. O’Malley who he is, but, of course, she knows.

Scene 53

Liz shows up at the bar looking for Costello. She is interested in Michael, if only because she hasn’t met him. Liz goes outside to take a call on her mobile phone, which gives Ernest the opportunity to tell Michael that Liz is John Costello’s mistress. This surprises and intrigues him.

Scene 54

Jenn and Dan meet at a restaurant and discuss their evenings. Not surprisingly, Dan does not mention the transvestite hooker that he killed.

Scene 55

Liz hits on Michael.

Scene 56

Liz and Michael step outside so Liz can smoke a cigarette.

Scene 57

Dan goes over to the hotel to see if anything has happened regarding the hooker he killed.

Scene 58

Liz propositions Michael.

Scene 59

Renee is at home typing on her computer and she hears Liz come in.

Scene 60

Liz calls out, looking for Renee. Renee ignores her.

Scene 61

Liz tries to apologize for going with Costello the night before, but Renee counters by telling she went home with Patrick. Liz is hurt by this and Renee, while still upset, decides to continue using sex as weapon in her relationships. Liz leaves in tears.

Scene 62

Costello and his henchmen show up at the bar and run into Michael. The have a friendly, but tense discussion about lawyers and clients.

Scene 63

Renee sees Patrick get a package from some gangsters and decides to follow him.

Scene 64

She trails him on the subway.

Scene 65

Costello discusses the dead hooker with Michael.

Scene 66

Renee follows him to Baruch, watches Michael go inside and waits on the corner.

Scene 67

Bored, Renee gets a cheap bottle of wine and stakes out the building she saw Patrick go into.

Scene 68

Patrick, who has spotted her, sneaks up behind her and startles her. He asks her not to follow him and she agrees.

Scene 69

Two investment bankers, Schwartz and Black, who do some cocaine dealing on the side, wait for Patrick at a bar. Patrick shows up and they talk business then head outside to make their deal.

Scene 70

Patrick sells them the package of drugs he picked up earlier.

Scene 71

Renee is watching from across the street and, when Patrick and the bankers part, she follows the bankers.

Scene 72

Jenn is getting drunk at the bar and complaining about her relationships with men. She explains to Bart that she does not consider it cheating if she only performs sex acts with men that their wives do not.

Scene 73

Black and Schwartz are sitting in a bar discussing their cocaine business. Black thinks that Patrick is a lightweight, but Schwartz argues that they need him. He also warns Black that Patrick is a real criminal and that they are really bankers. Renee comes over to them and initiates a pick up.

Scene 74

Liz is lying in bed fielding calls on her mobile home. She tells Costello that she is home in bed and too tired to see him. Michael O’Malley comes into the room naked and gets back in bed. They start to make love until Liz pushes him off violently and puts a picture of his mother face down on the table.

Scene 75


Scene 76

Patrick comes into the bar looking for Costello.

Scene 77

Renee has gotten Black back to his apartment and is seducing him.

Day 3

Scene 78

The next day, Michael is meeting with his clients. He suggests that they can plead guilty because he doesn’t think that they’ll win at trial even though they are innocent.

Scene 79

Costello and Patrick are in the bar discussing the drug business on the Upper East Side.

Scene 80

Liz is at the bar asking Bart if he thinks Renee is getting serious about Patrick. Bart reminds her that Renee is gay.

Scene 81

Michael finds Patrick on the street. He asks him to testify but Patrick refuses. Michael does give him a lecture on law.

Scene 82

Patrick is in the bar asking Bart to meet later at an after hours gambling place. Bart would rather not.

Scene 83

Patrick is walking down the street when Black and Schwartz pull up in a black Mercedes.

Scene 84

Patrick gets in and they drive to a car where Patrick has left a large stash of cocaine.

Scene 85

Patrick gets the drugs out of the car and gives them to Black.

Scene 86

Black and Patrick get into the new car while Schwartz follows to make sure they are not being followed.

Scene 87

Meanwhile, Father Flanagan is walking with Colin, a young Irish boy.

Scene 88

Patrick, driving by slowly, sees Flanagan and Colin and tells Black that he has to leave. Black does not want to interrupt the drug deal.

Scene 89

The Mercedes stops and Schwartz comes up to the car.

Scene 90

Furious, Black starts pistol whipping Patrick. Schwartz pulls up behind Patrick and Black and rushes to the car to see what the problem is. Patrick snatches the gun away from Black and beats both Black and Schwartz up.

Scene 91

Patrick gets out of the car, taking Black’s gun with him.

Scene 92

Patrick follows Flanagan and Colin into a tenement and buzzes all the apartments.

Scene 93

Patrick climbs the steps looking for Flanagan’s apartment. He shoots the door open and bursts inside.

Scene 94

Flanagan is desperately dressing and the boy is crying. Patrick puts the pistol down and beats Flanagan savagely. When he hears a police siren wailing, he stops beating him, takes his pistol and the boy and leaves.

Scene 95

Patrick leads Colin down the stairs until he hears the police running up, then he leads him upstairs to the roof.

Scene 96

They escape over the rooftops and through the alleys.

Scene 97

Patrick and Colin come down the stairs of another building.

Scene 98

Patrick and Colin open a basement door.

Scene 99

Patrick and Colin slip out through an alley.

Scene 100

After they are safely away, Patrick asks Colin if he is all right. Colin is hesitant to reply, so Patrick takes him home, but tells him how he can be reached if needed.

Scene 101

Patrick takes Colin home.

Scene 102

After Patrick has left Colin at home, he is confronted by O’Sullivan, one of Costello’s thugs. O’Sullivan wants the money that Patrick should have gotten for the drugs and, when Patrick says he doesn’t have it, wants to bring Patrick to see Costello. Patrick does not want to go, so O’Sullivan pulls a gun. Patrick tells O’Sullivan that he will come without coercion, but when O’Sullivan puts his gun away, Patrick pulls a gun on Sullivan, takes his gun and leaves.

Scene 103

Bart is tending bar and Jenn is picking up a tourist, when Patrick calls Bart to ask to borrow his keys. Bart gives them to Jenn to deliver.

Scene 104

Jenn takes the keys and walks outside.

Scene 105

Patrick slips through the streets warily, making sure he’s not followed.

Scene 106

O’Sullivan comes to the bar to tell Costello what happened. Costello makes Liz leave so they can talk.

Scene 107

Patrick sneaks up behind Jenn and surprises her. She can see that he’s been beaten and is concerned. Patrick sends her on her way, warning her not to tell anyone she’s seen him. Patrick then calls Schwartz and tells him that he’s on his way uptown to pick up the money.

Scene 108

Patrick slips through the dark streets.

Scene 109

Patrick slips into Bart’s building.

Scene 110

Patrick climbs the stairs carefully.

Scene 111

Patrick goes to Bart’s apartment and lets himself in. He washes up and borrows a Brooks Brothers suit. Then he calls Costello and tells him he is going to get the money.

Scene 112

Costello hangs up and tells his henchmen to bring Patrick in.

Scene 113

Patrick slips carefully through the streets.

Scene 114

Patrick takes the subway up to the Upper East Side.

Scene 115

Patrick calls Schwartz again and leaves a message.

Scene 116

Patrick begins looking for Schwartz and Black in the bars and clubs. He is wary and alert, but not afraid. He is definitely hunting, not searching.

Scene 117

Michael O’Malley sits in a booth at the bar with Costello talking about who beat up Father Flanagan and why.

Scene 118

Patrick continues his hunt on the Upper East Side.

Scene 119

Patrick enters a bar, looks around and leaves.

Scene 120

Patrick walks on the Upper East Side, still searching for Schwartz and Black.

Scene 121

Patrick enters another bar, looks around, and leaves.

Scene 122

Jenn is back at the bar flirting with a tourist when Dan Glick comes in. She leaves the bar to talk with him.

Scene 123

Patrick enters another bar.

Scene 124

Patrick finally locates Schwartz. He is in a bar with a coked up woman named Amanda. Schwartz is terrified, but the woman is intrigued. Patrick has Schwartz call Black so they can go get the money.

Scene 125

Patrick, Schwartz and Amanda leave the bar.

Scene 126

Patrick, Schwartz and Amanda get to Black’s building.

Scene 127

When they get to Black’s apartment building, Patrick asks the doorman not to announce him.

Scene 128

Patrick, Schwartz and Amanda take the elevator upstairs.

Scene 129

When Schwartz rings the bell, Black tells them that the door is open.

Scene 130

When they go inside, Black is waiting for him with a drawn gun. Black takes his gun back from Patrick and they discuss whether or not Black will steal the money from Costello and frame Patrick for it. Black points his gun at Schwartz to help assure his loyalty and Patrick draws O’Sullivan’s gun on him. Black decides he cannot win the shoot out and puts his gun down and sends Amanda for the money. However, to punish Black for the pistol whipping and general trouble, Patrick demands and takes a finger, which he deftly severs with his knife.

Scene 131

Patrick heads back down to Hell’s Kitchen, where he runs into O’Sullivan again. Patrick gives O’Sullivan his gun back. O’Sullivan takes him to see Costello who is at Liz’s apartment.

Scene 132

Costello is angry that Patrick has disobeyed him, and while he is satisfied with the return of the money, he demands a finger. Patrick gives him Black’s finger, which satisfies him.


Bart couldn’t identify them even if they were guilty. Patrick tells Michael that they are innocent. He doesn’t believe him. Patrick accuses him of a kind of paternalistic racism. Michael sneers that a punk like Patrick shouldn’t be going to college.

Costello doesn’t care who goes over for mugging Bart and tells Patrick not to get involved.

Patrick will shake down several people for loans and gambling debts owed. One of the people he shakes down will be Maggie Duffy’s father. This will lead to a confrontation with Maggie as well as a discussion of the immorality of the New York State lottery system.

Future Plot Lines

Patrick dates a black girl from school.

Bart writes a novel about the Irish mob.

Renee writes a magazine article about the Irish mob.

The Russian mob tries to kill Patrick.

The Russian mob tries to kill Costello.

Patrick runs a gambling operation which pays out better than the New York Lottery.

Copyright © 2005 Matthew Lederman. All rights reserved
Contact: matt@matthewlederman.com