2010-06-13: Authorized Criminality





Guest Starring: Kris Torres

Date: June 13th, 2010


"The risks to individual officers are especially serious. Not only must the undercover officer present and maintain a credible false identity in a criminal milieu, but often he must also gain the confidence of his criminal associates. Maintaining this dual identity can sometimes lead to corruption, disciplinary problems, substance abuse, and sometimes severe psychological problems. Permitting agents to participate in crimes adds yet another layer of strain to this tangle of conflicting demands and loyalties by heightening role confusion."

— Breaking The Law To Enforce It

"Authorized Criminality"

FBI Organized Crime Division


"This Salvatore business is getting out of control. Nobody'll talk. By this time next week, he'll have the whole city under his thumb if we can't get the leverage we need for a case."

"That's why you called us, Chief, and we're here to help." SSA Hoover raises a hand to hover behind the tired officer's back, not quite pressing him but using the other hand to gesture forward and simultaneously suggest they walk into the room prepared for this particular case. "It's been determined already by headquarters that getting a man inside is the best chance we have of cracking Salvatore's operation."

At the doorway, Nathanson stops, twisting around to stare with unabashed uncertainty as he searches the other FBI agent's face for a chink in his confidence. "Inside that? I don't think you know this crime family like I do, agent, no offense. Any man in there will be found out and then torn apart. And that's even if he can get a foot in the door with what they do in those clubs. And don't even say we haven't tried…"

Hoover's eyebrows twitch, not quite an admittance of doubt, and he compensates with an authoritative snap of his fingers that directs Nathanson's attention to the files on the wall. "I understand that you're the organized crime division and all, but we've done a bit of research ourselves, sir. And the transition will be seamless. Solving the case we were here for, the whole team will pack up and, as far as anyone else outside this room will know, all leave. Miles will—"

"Wait, Miles? Your Agent Miles?" The division chief interrupts, lowering his voice the second time only when leveled with a grim stare from the unit chief. He still directs a distrusting glance out at the bullpen — the gathered BAU team mingles awkwardly with the other agents who mostly remain skeptical as to this particular branch's methods. In their midst, the tall blond man stands like a referee, cautiously and respectfully eliciting details from the leads on the case. Tensely cropped hair, crisp blue shirt, tan coat. His badge is as visible as his gun — "He looks like a cop."

Hoover's mouth levels out evenly, "That's because, for the next twenty four hours, he still is one."

Brooklyn Apartments


The Brooklyn Bridge is straight ahead in Maggie's view as she falls into her car outside O'Meara's apartment. The assorted information taken — one way or another — from the police's search up there is now down here, on the seat beside her: waiting to be taken back to the station.

Not all of it will get there.

That fact — which will be made true by none other than the detective herself — causes her to frown as she regards the pile of full envelopes and video cases. She reaches to tug one from the other, a half-folded, creased envelope, but it's then that the two assisting officers head toward their waiting car just behind hers. Her hand tightens, crinkling the papers within. Willpower wins over curiosity this time — because curiosity is only put on hold.

* * *

Maggie's Apartment

It's later as in late, and the lateness of the hour is tempered by a warm glow inside a second bedroom vaguely resembling an office … in that there's a desk, covered with things. Looking a little faded around the edges at the end of one of a long day — all her days are long days — Maggie curls onto a low-slung wooden-framed tan couch, the same colour as the warmly painted wall behind it. Half-changed from work, bare-footed, she's in the same black pants, but now nestled into an oversized and shapeless white t-shirt. Cozy, but she's not feeling it — certain documents and negatives O'Meara had gotten his hands on are now in hers. Leaning ahead cross-legged, she spreads them out on the couch.

The whole set-up is a dive into the past: negatives of surveillance photos of the man Roscoe, caught associating with others of the notorious Salvatore family. Documents on the old case speak of "the agent" but not by name, even as their dates correspond with those of the CONFIDENTIAL report stating the case's end. But the real information is before — those three years listed now in a cold, factual manner on a printed piece of paper stolen from its meant to be resting place. A couple of notations along the sides tell of the other place it once traveled — the words are all by the then-current DA, cementing a case whose details extend beyond those that can be written down.

The legend of Roscoe Peregrino isn't a complicated one: arsonist, bully. Grew up to a life that could only have led to this kind of work. A string of petty crimes that just happen to put him meeting the 'right people'… everything according to plan. And then:

REPORT: Operative implicates Saul Jidano for crimes of corruption

"It was a set-up."

It's out of her before he even can even fully cross the dilapidated threshold of the emptied halfway house being used by agent Kris Torres — who currently stands in its center, her arms crossed as tightly as her lips are pressed, which is still not enough to stop them from quivering slightly. Words bubble forth as Laurence slides a hand behind him to maneuver the door shut. "They knew that we knew — the whole thing! It—" Arms separate to flutter with wordless frustration in the air. Though Laurence's own hands clench and unclench uneasily at his side, his face is a mask of calm to her anger, offering only a respite as she stares at him hopelessly.

In a moment, he knows. "… Who was it?"

Kris' hand broaches her chin, running along the bottom of her lips as though to hold them in place. But too soon she hardens her voice. "Michaels. Derrick…" A pause: hesitation, if only in an instant, "… Roland…"

Purposeful strides and he's at her side, a hand to her shoulder that draws Kris against Laurence's side even as she begins to crumble, herself. Her eyebrows wavering, she fights for several more moments with the anguish that wants to rule her face, clinging to anger to spare herself from grief. "He's dead— they're dead. We lost men because of that information. Information that I reported, that you—" Her hands seeking strong refuge from him now turn against that supportive chest. With fists forming, she slams the first one into Laurence, somewhat separating their stances when she stumbles backwards from the force. "Tell me you didn't know." The follow-up is with the side of her hand against his jaw, hard but lacking follow-through. His head twists to the right from the hit and stays there. But as her hands raise again, his are there to block her. She flails, already losing steam but unable to stop a slap that he catches, fingers wrapping lightly around her wrist and eventually navigating both of her hands together and against his chest, over his heart. "Goddammit if you knew…"

"I didn't. The heads… they only tell their secrets to each other. And who is Roscoe? A friend of a friend…" As Kris' head falls forward, Laurence is easily able to look over her, his face visible only to the vast clutter of the junkie haven. It gets his regretful eyes, the turn downward of his mouth as he has to listen to the dark-haired woman sniffle against him. A fight of helplessness against that which has already happened. The thought of the future. Knowing. It sees as a wallowing guilt hardens into action. "… I can do better."

NOTATION: Case upgraded after loss of three agents in bad sting vs Jidano's information

These are documents Maggie was never really meant to lay eyes on. Neither was O'Meara, but that thought is the polar opposite of comforting. She's drawn the page drawn closer, the last notation drawing a sort of wince that finds purchase on her features, staying put. Knuckles that have curled at the side of her mouth as she reads, moving now as she twists to reach for something on the floor, before she forgets about it. Her eyes are on the paper all the while, though, as if it has moving pictures and she'll miss something with a glance away, not as though it's text on a page. A blue mug dangling with the string from tea is retrieved distractedly; she keeps reading the report.

REPORT: Case called into review after Jidano's release

"Don't be stupid now, kid, it ain't worth it." Saul Jidano's eyes are hard even as his mouth smiles, the curve of the lips matching the way he bends the several cards in his hands to keep them from prying stares of the others at the table. Across from him, cards held against the surface of the folding table with one hand, and the other at his hip, the blond associate Roscoe snorts impatiently. Jidano's gaze flickers that a way, lightening the attention on Gino, who finally scoops up a handful of bills and tosses them recklessly into the middle of the table.

"What are you even doin' here, Jidano?" The youngest card player asks, tilting a closely shaved head at the suspended officer. "Everybody knows you squealed."

"Yeah, and?" is reported carelessly as Jidano adds his bet to the pot, "And we kill a bunch of rotten feds— morale never been higher. They should be thanking me for talkin'." Several faces harden around the circle. "But I ain't no fool. It'll be someday… maybe soon… but here I'm more concerned — and all ya'll should be, too —" he raises his knuckles, waving them at the assembled crew, "But who was it sold me out, then. I'd like to have a word with that fella," his eyes direct forward moodily, "You know what I mean."

Another lays down his cards, in surrender. "Ranks are closin' tighter than ever. It's like us outside guys are gettin' our balls squeezed more every day to see if honesty comes out."

"Can't do a single job without bein' muscled around like a goddamn rat."

Mutters of agreement chime from the circle. But as the nay-saying comes around to Gino, he leans with an elbow to nudge his closest companion, Roscoe, leading the man to bat at his arm, pushing the elbow back to Gino's own side. "Guys like us, we too talented to let go, eh?" Roscoe eyes him warningly but is interrupted by a grumble from the other side.

"Oh yeah— and who're you, anyway, new stuff?"

Gino shifts defensively, as if the remark was personal. "Hey, I toldya, he's a friend of mine. We're good here, fellas."

"Are we?" Brasco mutters darkly, suspiciously, "Bad time to be new blood, friend of Gino."

Jidano's smile has drifted into a smirk as he leans backwards against his chair, cards used as a fan while he watches the heat grow against the man opposite him. "Yeah, Roscoeenlighten us." Jaw tightening imperceptibly, Roscoe's eyebrow raises just the tiniest bit — 'as you wish'.

INCIDENT REPORT: Operative was forced to shoot and kill victim to maintain cover

It sounds innocent, almost. Air escaping. Muted. But that single sound-effect wipes the expression of mirth from Jidano's face as his eyes instantly widen and then slacken. His chin drags against his chest when he looks down, staring with dull comprehension at the spread of red appearing on his shirt. "Oh…"His head raises with some effort. He isn't instantly dead; he fades slowly and visibly in front of them. "… I… I didn't think it would be you…" Then, with a thud, he slumps forward onto the table, scattering cards and money.

Idly, Roscoe's hand draws up from his hip, revealing the gun and the silencer that had been balanced against his leg, just under the surface of where they'd been playing. Three of the faces register surprise — the others are far too used to this.

Gino openly gapes. "Y-You— he was a— shit. Did you have authority—?" The staring eyes, unable to tear away from Jidano's corpse, miss the movement until the silencer presses with an inescapable finality against his temple. Eyes find Roscoe's. They fill with question. His mouth opens.

Zhip. Blood flourishes in an arc from the other side of Gino's head. He's gone before he hits the edge of the table, bounces once, and then stays tucked over.

REPORT: Decision retroactively sanctioned by headquarters

With steady hands, Roscoe twists the silencer until it comes away from the weapon and is tucked into his pocket. The gun remains out a moment longer as he lifts bored eyes to the cards, the large betting pool now scattered. With a short lean, he can root into Gino's pocket, firmly laying tugging out the surveillance wire for all to see. A few of them nod; Brasco's previously suspicious face turns appreciative.

Roscoe drifts his hand behind his jacket, tucking the gun away and then nonchalantly scooping up the cards. "So if you're all done bitchin' like women about the mole problem…" He sniffs contemplatively, then sets them out, splayed and face-up. "Full house."

REPORT: Review of case to consider operative's removal concludes operation should continue — Agents Freeman and Danish have asked that their opposition to this decision be recorded

As if she can picture the details more vividly than the type on the page can express, Maggie suddenly flattens a hand to her chest. Her thorough gaze only grows darker, flickers of further reactions to the report buried under a calmer face — even though there's no one around to see her response. In this way, she's forcing herself to read on about this "Roscoe", the same way she forces herself to sip her tea.

She lays the page face down, a growing testament to her progress, and reads on.

It's not the greatest bedtime story in history.

Dates go by. The year's moved on, just numbers marking time as if it were nothing more than that. The first mention of authorized cocaine use passes like it's no biggie. Just words, that form in front of Maggie, until the turn of another month:

REPORT: Notation that handler Agent Kristina Torres has filed for removal citing danger to acting agent

"So, you drink now?" Kris' voice is light, raised in pitch, but it's this same attempt at casual that gives her away.

Opposite her, Laurie tips the bottle towards himself, curiously speculating on the label as if seeing its alcoholic brand for the first time. "I suppose I do," he replies in a breezy tone that succeeds where hers didn't. Letting himself into the bathroom proper, the undercover agent chooses to relax against a stall doorway. Kris seems almost bitten by its carelessness, her head jerking away and to the mirror in front of her. In the reflection, she can see the swinging movement as Laurie brings the bottle up, swigs a swallow down. Her hands tug the ripped stockings higher up her leg as she rests the foot against the sink.

"And are you going to be abusing?" She questions, half teasing — but wariness fills the rest where, earlier, the joke might have been complete. "Should I be writing a report?"

Reversed by the mirror, Laurie's face tugs into an overly exaggerated expression of thought and then disregard. His shoulders raise against the surface of the door, shrugging in the same overdone fashion. "Does the FBI want to know?"

"Touche…" the FBI handler allows, swinging her leg away from the sink and to the floor with the ordeal of putting on nylons completed. She wiggles a bit, unabashedly lifting her skirt in front of her male company to adjust the tops of the stockings more comfortably over her hips, around the curves between her legs. Hiding in the concentration of his mundane action, her lips draw a serious line. Trying to flush the judgment from the phrase, she asks: "So you think it'll happen tonight?"

"It will," Laurie assures without any of the reassurance. He's only stating, really, in disguise. "This time tomorrow," an idle hand movement swishes the liquid inside the bottle around. "I'll be a made man."

Kris' hands raise to the sink like she means to mess with the make-up kit there, but she doesn't. Her eyes trail the occasionally grimy surface to where she can catch a reflective repeat of Laurie's eyes. She expects to hear it — that little almost voice that haunts her, that asks her to stop him — that sounds like Laurie. There's nothing. For the rest of her life, she'll never be sure if this makes her more sad than that — when she carefully schools her face and starts, "Loz…" — he only shakes his head and raises the bottle in a toast.

REPORT: Complaint overruled for the safety of the case

It's there that Maggie's focused study of the report drifts away. Her gaze is no less intense than it was; now instead of on paper, it's somewhere across the room, through the open door that leads into the rest of her apartment, and more distant than even that. Decidedly unnerved, she fusses with her free hand at the collar of her t-shirt for awhile before, with a frown, reading past the overruled complaint.

Nothing reassuring waits for her.


The abrupt knock at her door jolts Kris from her place lounging on the couch; it wasn't a relaxing lounge, anyway, with files spread underneath her fingertips — a pen in her mouth. Boxers for men swish rather unofficially around her thighs but she trails a hand to her hallway stand to collect a small wooden instrument into her palm as she approaches the door, pulling it open with her grip tight on the weapon.

A familiar profile is back-lit by the dim street-lamp beyond, prompting Kris to loosen her stance. "Loz… you shouldn't be here…" As bare feet sidle backwards to let him get in, away from the visible porch, the light from her own hallway falls over Laurie. Blood. It's everywhere. The brisk yellow lighting of her house moodily illuminates every pattern of red as it saturates the agent's slick blond hair, his wrinkled clothes. A red hand as he makes to steady himself as the door, looming at her and turning her shamefully pleased expression into instant horror. "Loz… Laurence— where— ?" The cut-off sentiments are punctuated by her frantic search as she presses hands over his chest, around his sides, searching quickly but thoroughly for the source of this gruesome appearance; she hopes to stave off further blood loss.

Tolerating — in fact, barely seeming to notice — her investigation of his body, Laurie rocks unsteadily against the door he's got the hand on, his head sagging with his lack of effort to keep it up. There's a distinct nothing in his blue eyes as he watches her worry, finally gives a shake of his head. "It's not mine…" When she doesn't immediately stop, he bats her hands away. "It's not mine, Kris." There's no triumph to this statement, no pride. No glory. Only a truth — and a grimace. "I'm in."

After that—

REPORT: File pending
REPORT: File pending…

… on and on. More of the same. Once in a while something official crops up — but for every one through there's another that's still stuck in the system. Six years later.


REPORT: Operation concluded.

NOTATION: Following agent's retirement, portions of this operation have been prepped to be used as a case study // acting agent has not registered for an alias or assumed name
NOTATION: It should be advised that the identity has been reinstated by Agent Sam Wright, handler.


The crew of Irishmen sit around, inhaling and exhaling a collective smog created by a cigar in each one's hand. There's a package filled with suspicious white substances, but, whether for work or recreation, it lies untouched. Mostly, the four square off with each other across the table, speculatively eyeing the door to their left behind which there is business to which they are not invited.

"We should send those dirty Japs a message," one on the left muses, his irritation having taken a back-seat from the repetitive nature of his complaints. This isn't the first time he's said this — won't be the last. "Takin' our hit. Bastard was runnin' off with our goods — we deserve it, don't we? All the warmth and kindness we gave that rotten copper."

The others begin to groan in a chorused round of protest at his tired subject when the door swings open, releasing into the room the tall figure of Roscoe, who angles his way directly towards their table. "What are we talking about, boys~?" He carols, just moody enough to suggest there's something else on his mind — and he isn't inclined to be wasting his time.

One guy doesn't take the cue. "O'Meara," he rails openly, "Denny here thinks we owe the turn-coat a proper retaliation on his dead ass' behalf." Roscoe snorts non-committally; it isn't an approving reaction by any means, but elicits further talking anyway. "When really, we ought to be wonderin' about the next pay day— what with the recent— " He's shushed with a variety of glares, noises, and random loose items tossed at him.

"I says good riddance. Swear loyalty to the boss up and down they could, an' I still dun like 'em," the middle man sneers, clucking his tongue in abject disapproval before tilting his head ever so slightly to the side in a subtle bid for approval from the man standing there. When he's given a tolerating glance, he ventures bravely for further camaraderie: "Never trust a lawman, eh, Roscoe?"

There's collective breath-holding as the law is mentioned around the recently imprisoned mafia man, and he indulges their obliging carefulness around him with a long pause, nose wrinkling and a mouth in thought that looks much like a sneer, as the expression comes too naturally to him. Ultimately, his lower lip juts out unpleasantly — but only right before he smiles, really almost warmly. "Only as far as you can still hit 'em in the fuckin' head." Having earned his attention, the two closest have their seats tapped with a hand. "You and you. Come with me."

There's work to be done.

* * *

Report missing, file pending, file pending, file pending— Maggie runs a thumb over the notes and flips with a growing need-to-know and a near-frantic frustration that isn't kind to the papers' well-being.

The search stops abruptly on a point that isn't exactly a spoiler for anyone who's heard much of anything about the consultant's past, but it's what seizes her all the same on paper: a date six years past the original. Six years. There comes an unexpected catch to her breath and a further unintended reaction in the form of a pained look, an empathetic frown. The notation of reinstatement by one Agent Sam Wright only proves to increase it with a tired, disappointed tip of her head.

The papers rustle. A bare foot, then another, plant beside the mug of tea that had been set back down on the hardwood floor after all.

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