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The Establishment pays them to kill...The Establishment!
Four outsiders meet at Indiana University in 1964, where they share an off-campus apartment provided by the university due to medical and other disabilities.
Gary Banomena is a sixteen year old scholarship student full of ambition and impunity, which gets him in trouble and interviewed by the FBI over a term paper about ‘political homicide’. Survind Juggerghazi is the gifted son of hard-working Bengali immigrant parents who thought Indiana would be full of people like them. Dag Ulköln is a budding financial wizard with a father high in the CIA and natural clandestine abilities. Warkentin Westgate is a likeable backwoods rich boy with a talent for broadcasting and surveillance who suffers from a terrifying secret psychotic condition.
Towards the end of their studies Warkentin accidentally murders a female student at her home on a romantic date when he stops taking his medication. All of them collaborate to cover up the crime. They successfully keep the guilty secret and an intense bond of both friendship and shared fear is forged between them. After graduation they all separately make their ways to New York City to find their fortunes. None of them think they will ever meet again.
But each of them find themselves unexpectedly unemployed in the cruel big city. All four come back together, their friendship restored and renewed. Each has skills that could build an impossible-seeming proposal by Gary, a private contract murder organisation. Their market will be the senior executives of large but vulnerable companies desperate to get rid of high-ranking liabilities.
Their sole motive is money. With no other prospects than going home in failure and disgrace, they collectively decide to try their luck in the assassination trade. Dag reveals he can get them the seed capital for a viable start-up by fraud.
Founding Black Hand Incorporated, Gary and Survind and Dag and Warkentin learn and practice the arts of killing with increasing success. Meticulous about planning and security and efficient execution, they manage to avoid federal official attention.
Job after job after job goes successfully for them. Dissatisfied customers are terrorised into silence and submission. Mistakes are brutally suppressed. Blackmail is their greatest friend against exposure. As the optimistic Sixties end and the grimmer Seventies progress BHI becomes secretly very well known in the corporate world.
Competition appears but they literally bury it. A journalist tries to expose them but Gary and his cohorts cleverly discredit the principled reporter and steal his stash of accumulated hard evidence. Threats of investigation eventually materialise but they find devious ways to subvert it. Black Hand Incorporated operates above and beyond the law for years.
They call their work ‘Executive Removal’ and their targets ‘Designated Victims’.
Gary himself is secretly tormented. Haunted by the horrific things he and his business associates have done over their unusual careers, he is not able to endure the fear and remorse that have built up in him. Eventually he begins going to a psychiatrist. Admitting his crimes despite the risk. No matter what he says however, the psychiatrist thinks he’s simply a paranoid fantasist. Worse, out of long habit Gary secretly records himself in the sessions.
Unfortunately for Gary, Survind has been vigilant as his deputy. He knows all about Gary’s dangerous confessions through intercepting the recordings. As company number two and head of internal security, the responsibility falls on him alone for dealing with such an emergency. The company charter is clear about betrayal. As 1980 dawns and the Reagan Era begins in America Gary finds himself an Executive Removal candidate; a fully contracted ‘Designated Victim’…