12 - Street Justice

A police investigator wants to apprehend a vigilante superhero who's been cleaning up the streets, but sometimes killing people in the process.

Mickey McAllister is a detective for the Seattle Police, and one of the better ones, too. Lately, she’s been devoting a lot of her attention to the Warden, a local superpowered vigilante that the police alternately love and loathe. Pretty much everyone agrees that he’s been doing a lot of good - and also that he really shouldn’t be. “If he wants to clean up the streets,” Mickey says, “He should join the police.”

Mickey gets called to a post-Warden crime scene. She’s been getting used to these; he leaves a calling card with his logo, along with at least one wanted criminal tied up. This time, though, there’s something else: a body. One of the criminals is dead by the Warden’s hands. When Mickey tells the chief about it, he gets a judge to issue a warrant for the Warden. Mickey is put in charge of tracking him down.

There’s a big public backlash against the police for trying to catch the Warden. His work is very public and is seen as a huge positive for the community, whereas the police are usually portrayed as ineffective at best, corrupt at worst. Even the mayor tries to get the police to overlook this instance. But Mickey and the chief know that if they do overlook this, and it starts to be a trend, they’ll get blamed for ignoring it.

One night, as Mickey walks home alone, the Warden drops in out of nowhere. She pulls a gun on him, but he disarms her easily and tells her he just wants to talk. He tries to assure her that he didn’t want to kill the guy, that it was a necessary act of self-defense, but Mickey tells him that she doesn’t care; it’s not her call to make. She tells him if he just turns himself in the whole process would go a lot easier, but he says he can’t; he’s got work to do.

Mickey had been secretly recording the conversation, and she uses the recording as a basis for hunting down possible alter-egos of the Warden. She uses his accent, his vocal patterns, and his word choices to try to narrow down at least what part of Seattle he comes from.

At the same time as she’s tracking down his alter-ego, she tries to catch him as the Warden, too. Mickey has a couple slightly under-the-table contacts, and she pushes them for information on the Warden. There seem to be a few ideas of the types of operations he goes after, and she starts staking out crimes to see if he’ll intervene - which is maddening to her, because she’s ignoring actual crimes. She can’t really take it, and ends up busting up a crime alongside the Warden, instead of trying to catch him. She doesn’t regret it, but her chief isn’t thrilled.

The terminology he uses after they bust the crime together leads her to believe he’s a cop, and she looks into that possibility. When she realizes every single one of the criminals he’s busted have committed a crime within her police district, she theorizes that she might actually know and work with him. Which would explain how he’s been avoiding the police.

She investigates her coworkers as surreptitiously as possible. Based purely on physical build, she’s able to narrow down the list to only a handful of officers. One of the officers catches on, though, and it’s one who’s pretty sympathetic to the Warden; he warns the other officers, just in case one of them is the Warden.

Mickey figures out that the Warden is targeting particular types of operations, and eventually realizes he’s targeting a particular gang: the Woodpeckers. She does some digging, and gets an idea of where the Warden is going to go after them next. She sets up another stakeout with the detectives tracking the Woodpeckers, so that they can stop the gang, while she stops the Warden.

The Woodpeckers had figured out the Warden’s patterns too, though, and they set their own ambush. They kill the detectives and catch the Warden. Mickey tries to help, and she gets caught too - and only isn’t killed thanks to the Warden’s insinuation that she’s worth a lot of money.

The Woodpeckers, for all their ferocity, aren’t good at taking prisoners. They leave the Warden and Mickey tied up with each other, and by working together, they’re able to slip their bonds and take out their guards. Now they’re armed and in the middle of the Woodpeckers’ lair.

Mickey wants to get the hell out of Dodge; now that they know where the Woodpeckers are operating from, they can get warrants and come back and bust them all. She even offers to let the Warden “escape” her custody as soon as they’re out. But the Warden refuses, saying he’s not going to pass on this opportunity; she wants to get out, but he’s been trying to get in. He slips off on his own, and she just tries to run,

Mickey finds the Woodpeckers’ boss completely on accident as she tries to escape. The Warden is nowhere to be seen. They get into a shootout. She wings him, but he gets a good shot on her, mortally wounding her. Before he can finish her off, though, the Warden shows up, stops him and his men, and gets Mickey out. The police and paramedics show up in time to save Mickey.

A few weeks later, at the Warden’s hearing, Mickey testifies as a character witness in his favor, even as she explains the evidence against him. The judge eventually decides that there’s not a strong enough case against him, and he’s acquitted without having to unmask himself. Mickey asks him to just let her know who he is, but he refuses as he leaps off into the distance.