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By Mark ONeill

GENRE: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Film-noir, Thriller
LOGLINE: An exiled American police detective from Los Angeles, his half-British/half-Chinese friend, and Chinese female “Girl Friday” take on criminal cases with international flair and sometimes supernatural origins in Hong Kong and its environs. This is Magnum P.I. set in Hong Kong & Guangzhou.


Former Army Ranger, Jake Doberman served ten years with narcotics, Los Angeles Police Department and as a member of the Army Reserve Civil Affairs. He spent most of his energy being the best soldier and toughest cop that he could be, not having much time for women or friends outside the police force. During his free time, when he was not with his Army Reserve unit, he competed in mixed martial arts and volunteered at a youth counseling center. He rarely took vacations or travelled abroad. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder in form of flashbacks to Iraq and the streets of Los Angeles, particularly some of his battles against street gangs in South Central Los Angeles. Much of the first season or two will deal with his efforts to calm down his mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder –something nearly all police officers and infantry soldiers deal with to varying degrees. After a large string of arrests of high-level operatives, a violent motorcycle drug gang (modeled on The Mongols) vowed revenge on Jake and his entire unit. Gang members began to hunt members of Jake’s unit and anyone associated with them, killing them one by one. Though they could not get to Jake, the gang tried to kill Jake’s younger brother, who was a beat cop in Long Beach. Jake launched a counter- attack and went looking for two specific leaders who he knew were behind the vendetta. In a wild gun battle at their stronghold he killed one of them, received shrapnel wounds in his neck and one bystander was killed. Jake was forcibly retired from the police force, dragged before the Chief of Police and District Attorney, and told to leave town. They said if he tried to fight it they would have him up on charges. He acquiesces and leaves. Not knowing what to do, Jake remembered a contact from a previous case. While working the streets of Los Angeles, Jake saved the life of a young Chinese woman who was kidnapped, raped, tortured and held in an abandoned office. Her father, Mr. Wei, flew from China and met him at the police station to thank him for saving his daughter. (The daughter subsequently entered a Catholic nunnery.) Giving him a piece of paper and a phone number, Mr. Wei had said that if he ever needed help, all he had to do was call. He said that he owed him a debt “for life”. At the time, Jake thought nothing of it, though he bowed to Mr. Wei just to show respect. When Jake had to flee Los Angeles, on a whim he called the number and spoke to a Chinese-English woman, the secretary of the wealthy man. After verifying his story, she called him back and told Jake that he would have a place to stay and a job if he could get to Hong Kong. Hong Kong: The Set-Up In Hong Kong, Jake receives word that he is not to return to Los Angeles because they have intelligence that a wide network of mercenaries and former enemies were looking for him. Jake’s goal is to get enough money together to return to the United States after six or seven years and pursue the remaining gang leader who was behind the war. “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” he says. Jake remembered a former British soldier that he served with in Iraq, a half-Chinese guy named Nigel Yat-Sen from the security firm that he contracted with that always bragged about Hong Kong. They had spent about 9 months working together day in and day out on security for the reconstruction. Jake finds him working as a boat pilot on the bay, owner of two boats and a tour-guide service. He becomes his first friend in Hong Kong. Another friend from the same unit is hanging around, Lance White – though he is not doing so well. Not knowing how to make money, he set himself up as a detective, telling Nigel “Detective work is the only skill that I have. That and soldiering. And I don’t want to go to Afghanistan.” He specifically tries to get into financial crimes to avoid violence, and in his advertisement, he says “Specializing in financial crimes” even though he has no experience in white collar crime. He also tells clients that he does not want any violence because he doesn’t like to hurt people – but he often does due to the situation. At this same time, Jake is subtly telling himself that he needs to have more fun and quit trying to be the “world’s toughest cop”. He tries to get himself to relax and enjoy life. He starts to sleep-in occasionally. Hong Kong / Guangzhou: The Show His wealthy sponsor sends his secretary, Rain Lee, to him on occasion to ask for investigative favors, favors that he does not have to comply with, but usually ones that he does not mind helping out with. The secretary speaks to him as though she thinks that he is a bum. However, over time and over the seasons she becomes more and more and more involved in his work. After a few seasons, she is virtually his partner. In the beginning of the show, Jake Doberman is a bit of a cad, insensitive to the Chinese. He always thinks that he can beat up the people that he is chasing, but they frequently prove him wrong. As often as not, he is on the wrong end of a beating. He is fairly skilled at Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, the official martial art of the U.S. Army and the LAPD, but he is often out-numbered. His friends and clients frequently tell him to “be more Chinese” to which he replies “That’s impossible, I’m American”. There is a lot of hand-to-hand fighting in the show, not so many gun fights. Jake Doberman begins to study Kung Fu at night with Nigel Yat-Sen and his friend Chueng Li. The three of them hang-out with their Kung Fu instructor who continually nags them about their dress and lazy habits. Through this process, Jake begins to respect the more subtle way of solving problems that is offered by the Chinese. They take trips into Guangzhou and the countryside of Guangdong and learn about the local culture. Jake begins to drink green tea and practice Tai Chi. Mr. Wei, his sponsor, also gives him the use of a new red Ford Mustang so he can do security checks at the various businesses in town that he owns – mostly casinos and hotels, and a Ford dealership. Mr. Wei also lives at a very secure house up on the hill – with a panic room and its own water supply system. He asks Jake to come up and check on or reinforce the security there from time to time. Through Mr. Wei and his secretary, Rain, Jake rubs elbows with the wealthy of Hong Kong and some of them become his clients. Mr. Wei draws him into cultural events and the British ex-patriot community. The LAPD send a letter to the Hong Kong PD, warning them about Mr. Doberman. In response, the Hong Kong PD sends Inspector Sung to watch over him and ensure that he is not in any trouble. This bothers Jake because he thinks that the police have compromised his security and breached agreements on confidentiality. He begins to have a different opinion of the police and he sees why some people do not appreciate the police. However, through a few cases and episodes he realizes that Inspector Sung is not such a terrible person and can be trusted. Other secondary characters in the series include Nigel’s best friend from childhood, Cheung Li, who runs an import/export business with international dealings who has ties to the underworld, and Inspector Sung of the Interior Ministry, who is an occasional ally and sometimes a foil to Jake. Another secondary character is Hui Zhong, a beautiful and highly competent Hong Kong police inspector that Jake admires from afar. Finally, there is Deyin Jian, the elderly Kung Fu instructor who is also well versed in Confucian philosophy. He served with the British Army in Malaysia. He does not like Mr. Wei. Types of Stories: Generally the series will focus on “mysteries of the week” in which Jake and his accomplices will investigate a new case and follow it to some conclusion, usually (but no always) solving the mystery. Some cases may unfold over multiple episodes and there will be storylines, usually dealing with character back-stories or major evolving story arcs, which unfold over the course of the season. Some stories will delve into the supernatural /mythological, fusing Western and Eastern traditions and reflecting upon the multi-cultural locale and diverse nature of Hong Kong. The series will incorporate action sequences into every episode but also involve some cerebral sleuthing and make use of outdoor locations for variety wherever possible. Examples of potential storylines may include: Investigating racketeering and thefts at casinos; investigating murder cases; finding missing persons; recovering stolen property and rare artifacts/antiquities; getting mixed up accidentally into international espionage; disrupting human/drugs/weapons trafficking rings; providing bodyguard services; and possible plotlines involving terrorism. Although Jake tries to avoid divorce cases and family disputes, occasionally he’ll be reluctantly dragged into these when business is slow. Sometimes his clients are not what they initially seem and in the tradition of American film noir, he discovers that these clients are using him for their own purposes. Themes: Exile on Tung Chau Street would draw heavily from themes to develop a deeper connection with the audience. Friendship: Jake develops strong bonds with his friends in Hong Kong and depends on them to survive. The friendship that he has with Nigel is the strongest, having been “in the shit” together. In Iraq, Nigel was doing personal security work, while Jake Doberman was working in reconstruction. Another friend of theirs, Lance White, comes to Hong Kong. He had also worked personal security for the leadership in Iraq. He has problems with alcohol and drugs. Nigel and Jake work hard to help Lance, but he continually lets them down - similar to Angel of the Rockford Files. (Note: When I was in Iraq, though I worked in the National Reconstruction Center, our security contract was Aegis, a British firm. Many of my friends from Iraq are Brits who work in the security industry.) Military/Police Service: Why do people do it? Why does military service tend to run in families? Why is there such a strong bond between those who have served together? Why do certain types get such satisfaction out of service – while others only pursue money? One of the creators, Mark O’Neill, has spent 12 years in the Army, 6 years on active duty. Chinese-American-British Relations: The show provides an opportunity to explore the relations between Americans and Chinese. Being somewhat extreme, Jake provides a good counterpoint to the Chinese. The British in Hong Kong provide a contrast to both the Americans and Chinese. Growing Up / Growing Older: Over time, Jake mellows. He also realizes that there is more to life than fighting bad guys. He tries to be well-rounded, but it is a struggle for him. He likes kicking ass. Advantages: American Hero: If we’re trying to get on American TV, we should probably have an American hero. Motivation: The hero has a strong motivation to make his business work. He needs to make and save money. Similar to: This is pretty similar to Burn Notice and Magnum P.I. – two ratings hits. Plus, some of the old film Big Trouble in Little China. Set-up: Set-up for a variety of stories. Detectives can become involved in situations and solve cases that police procedurals cannot. Disadvantages: Not strongly Chinese Confining back story Relies heavily on main character Series Creators: Mark O’Neill & Jonathan Samuel Ross Contact: Mark: 310.409.8159 Jonathan: 310.729.5728

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