2010-02-19: Questions For The Concerned



Date: February 19th, 2010


A conditionally back-to-work detective questions a TV actor who was the last person to see Erin McCarty before she apparently went missing.

"Questions for the Concerned"


Maggie is back at work … sort of.

A glance in her direction, however, says little of her trials and tribulations with getting back to work — sure, she's a little pale, a bit drawn in the face, but so is the half of the precinct who's been working late hours in the middle of February. The detective walks down a short hallway, tightening her waving blonde ponytail, a determined, but not unpleasant look set upon her face. It's been a month, and sure, it's not the case she wants to be working on, but it's work — and it's important. Someone is missing. Given their identity, it's been the talk of the station.

A boyish-faced officer already in the small hall, Officer Parker, pipes up as Detective Powers approaches. "Dr. Awesome's in Interrogation Room One!"

"I know!" Maggie chirps in reply, whisking right past. Outside the door of the interrogation room, she brushes down the wrinkles in her sky blue blouse, sleeves rolled up to the elbow, and proceeds to calmly step inside. "Taine Whitaker? My name is Detective Powers. Thanks for coming in— we were trying to contact you."

Detective Powers? That sounds like something he'd hear on the soap opera script… she even looks good enough to be on the show, though Taine keeps this observation to himself. He looks tired, as if he didn't get much in the way of sleep, and he also looks worried. "Nice to meet you, Detective— Have you heard anything about Erin yet?" he asks, voice genuine, but—

Despite being in soap operas, he's a good actor. He could be faking it.

Maggie leaves out the part of her introduction that includes her usual specialty… as a homicide detective. When there's a chance the person's missing is still alive, that might be unsettling. Her smile is, for the moment it appears, warm, but it's short-lived. Anyone who steps foot in this room could be a suspect — even if they walked in of their own volition. She pulls the chair across from Taine out slightly and sits down, instantly adopting a leaning pose, her bared forearms on the table, fingers linking together. "No, I'm afraid not. It's still early. If it weren't for all the media attention because of Ms. McCarty's fame…" she trails off into a tiny pause, reluctant; she doesn't want to sound callous. She's not. "Well it's hardly been twenty-four hours." Another flash of smile. Moving on, though! "I understand you were the last person to see her?"

There's a slumping of his shoulders, a lowering of his eyes. If it is an act, he does it with skill. Taine isn't acting, though— all he can think is what she said before she left, what she'd told him. "I should have had her stay the night. She… called a cab and left around midnight, not sure exactly when it was. I was tired— I didn't know that she never showed up for the cab until the phone started ringing." Agent contacting him about media requests, the police…

Though the detective watches Taine very closely, hers aren't the sharp, penetrating eyes of a TV detective. Maggie is simply perceptive, her gaze glinting with a watchful curiosity rather than interrogation of the eyes. Something specific amidst that Australian accent of Mr. Whitaker's piques that curiosity. "Why do you say she should've spent the night, Mr. Whitaker? Was she upset before leaving the apartment? Was she in some kinda… trouble?"

"Just retrospect. If she'd stayed the night she might not be gone now," Taine says quietly, voice sincere and eyes stuck in the same place. He may not be able to pass a lie detector test with flying colors, but he knows how to keep things to himself. Was she in trouble? Oh yes. But how can he say that when the trouble would implicate her for murder? "I've been getting letters lately. From this one fan, who keeps… they don't even go through the usual channels. Some of them go directly to my apartment. I don't know if it's connected, but— recently the letters have said how Erin isn't good enough for me."

This is true. He doesn't think it's connected— but it's a truth that's believable. "Though in the letters she's called Morgan, like on the show."

"Letters…" What Taine reveals seems to strike a chord of thought with the detective, as her gaze drifts faraway, considering — somewhat darkly, at that, by the toward curve of her brows. "Yeah, we might need to see this fan mail. Do you know if Erin got any similar mail? Threats?" Maggie asks, focused on Taine once more. "Is it true that you and Ms. McCarty are in a relationship? That's why she was visiting?" So late, at that. She unfurls her locked hands and lifts her fingers in a small gesture of apology at Taine. "I'm sorry for all the questions, Mr. Whitaker, I just hafta get the details."

"She knows about my letters, but as far as I know she hasn't gotten any of her own," Taine says honestly, voice still quiet. "I can bring the letters over, the ones that I still have. I didn't keep all of them," he says honestly, having tossed some of them. Can't keep every letter that there is. He doesn't think it's connected, but— it's better than the truth in some ways. "But our relationship wasn't a secret. She stopped in for a visit, we spent time together, and then she decided not to stay the night." Which he's regretting not pushing for now, from the sound of it.

"I don't read the tabloids, and if I did I wouldn't believe them," Maggie explains with a smile, tighter now that she's deep in thought in that head of hers. It's true, the gossip around the station basically summarizes what she knows about Erin and Taine. "Please do, haul in the letters. Listen, it's not your fault she didn't stay." If he's innocent. Which, with a arch of her brows, brings her to… "Your relationship was going fine then, no problems…?"

"No, no problems. I mean yeah, we had some issues, but this was probably one of our better times," Taine says, sticking with honesty again. He does seem to be blaming himself. He could have driven her home. But then who knows where he'd be… "We weren't having any arguments, this time, and I… I don't think she'd have just disappeared and not answer her phone." Even if it's not even been a day yet, it feels like a long time.

Maggie starts to sit back in her seat. What relationship doesn't have problems? Not that she's an expert… "It's apparently unusual for her to go MIA like this as I understand? Missing her call time. Okay, Mr. Whitaker— we might have some more questions for you later— " If Ms. McCarty doesn't show up right away… or if she does and makes it a homicide case, Maggie thinks. She's not an optimist, but missing soap star… maybe the girl will turn up in a swirl of drama. One can hope. " —but right now, you're free to go, alright?" She gets to her feet with a faint scrape of the metal folding chair. "If you think of anything that might help us find her, call straight away, and don't forget to drop those letters off."

Every relationship has problems, but this time was one of the better ones. Forgetting the whole 'I assassinated someone' part of the conversation. Taine didn't pack up and leave, at least, so he'd think it went well enough she wouldn't take off. "No, she doesn't normally vanish without word… Especially not since we were supposed to be filming today." Soap operas don't get nearly as much time off as any other line of work.

"I'll drop the letters off soon," he says, pushing himself out of his seat. He hopes #1 Fan isn't involved in anything bad, besides writing a lot of letters…

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