Jim Murray

5 months ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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The Sword Of Damocles, Limited Series Treatment

NOTE: This is a political/character drama, not an action picture. A good thing to keep in mind when you are reading this treatment. It currently is in second draft script form, and runs 301 pages in length. It is sectioned into 3 acts of approximately 100 pages each.


Screen story
by Jim Murray

The Sword Of Damocles: Any imminent, impending, or eventual trouble, danger, or disaster. In Greek mythology, the courtier, Damocles was forced to sit beneath a sword suspended  by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king’s fortunes.  Usually used in the phrase “the sword of Damocles hangs over one/one’s head.”

The first 29 years of Jackson Fry’s life were spent as Billy Farrell, orphaned young, fostered three times and finally cut loose where he made his home town in Louisiana to New York City with a dream to join the Marine Corps.

A decade later he returns from 3 consecutive tours in the Middle East, mostly Afghanistan, with more than half a million in black market dollars in a Swiss bank account, and another $300,000 held in trust by his parents’ family lawyer, a new identity, a fearsome reputation as a sniper, a dream to start a new life in Richmond, Virginia, chosen totally at random, and a desire to leave the world of long distance killing behind and pursue another kind of shooting…with a camera.

When he gets to Richmond, he transfers his money from Zurich,  rents a small house to live in, a small studio to work in, buys a Jeep to drive around in and a good 30 calibre rifle to shoot with at a gun range, plus all the necessities to start a photography business. in a local roadhouse restaurant, he befriends the owner, who, in turn, refers him to a designer named Marlena Ross, who can create a business identity for him.

He also finds a gun range where he can practice, and meets the owner, Alvin Tuttle from whom he purchases a Ruger 30 calibre semi-automatic rifle.

When Jackson and Marlena Ross meet, they find there is a strong mutual attraction. She is very impressed with the photographs he shot while in the corps, and Jackson hires her to create a web site and the business forms he needs, as well as to manage any photo printing that he might want to do. Slowly, their relationship builds from business to romantic. 

Marlena's father is an investment advisor and venture capitalist named Phillip Ross. Several years earlier he had retooled his business to advise and invest in companies in the renewables, reuse and recycling marketplace. He has built this business into a healthy one, managing more than $240 billion in assets.

He is also one of the more active opponents of the fossil fuel industry and is the one of the private sector darlings of the current Democratic government working to establish as many components of the ‘Green New Deal’ as it can.  

The political committee driving this effort is headed by Virginia senator and friend of Ross’ by the name of Roland Winters. One day, Winters meets with Ross and reveals to him an idea that he would like Ross to put together a team to handle. It could loosely be classified as domestic terrorism…a threat to several of the larger players in the fossil fuel and manufacturing industries.

Winters has hired an outside contractor by the name of Ethan Jones, an ex-MI6 operative, to research and plan a program of threats to these fossil fuel movers and shakers. The overall objective is to soften these pro-fossil fuel business owners up and provide them with incentives to diversify into or convert their businesses to renewable energy. Jones has named the operation Damocles, because it uses the threat of serious harm as a motivator.

Phillip Ross’ reward for mounting this operation is promise that he would get qualified introductions to any businesses that decide it’s time to diversify into renewables.

Ross is a bit leery of the idea, but after thinking it through concludes that perhaps this is something that needs to be done to break up the logjam of resistance from the fossil fuel industry. He agrees to meet with Jones. As things develop, it is revealed that Ross and Alvin Tuttle, a gun range owner are friends and confidantes. Tuttle’s range, just north of Richmond is where Jackson does his shooting.

After Tuttle gets to know Jackson a little, he feels him out about sponsoring him in some local shooting competitions. Jackson’s refusal to even entertain the notion strikes Tuttle as a bit odd, so he has an associate/hacker, named Damon Reese, investigate. During this process Reese uncovers Jackson’s true identity.

Shortly thereafter, Phillip Ross and and Tuttle, discuss the idea of Tuttle’s using his knowledge of Jackson's real identity, to coerce Jackson into becoming part of this project.

By this time, the relationship between Jackson and Marlena Ross (Phillip Ross’ daughter) has turned romantic and the two go out to Phillip Ross’ house for dinner.

Ross is completely taken aback by this development, and advises Tuttle not to try any sort of extortion, but instead to simply try and persuade him to become a part of the team. Ross gives recruitment job to Jones who, being a bit on the psychotic side, makes sure that his persuasiveness of backed up by the fact that he knows who Jackson really is.

Jackson is actually intrigued with the idea but upset at how his new identity was so easily blown. Nonetheless he chooses the lesser of the two evils before him and makes the commitment and the project starts in earnest.

The first three targets that Jones has identified are, Jim Carmody the owner of Lone Star Oil, the largest independently owned oil producer and retailer in the US, Thomas Braddick, the owner of USA Motors, the largest domestic automobile and truck dealership in the US, and Jeffery Durham, the owner of PennSteel, the largest independent steel producer in the US.

Together Jackson and Jones scout these targets and using a 50 calibre Accuracy International Sniper Rifle equipped with special explosive ammunition, they execute a series of attacks on the properties of these three men.

The attacks are initially successful, drawing attention from both local police forces and the FBI, but because they are meticulously well planned, and executed, there is very little for them to go on.

The first target, Jim Carmody had already been thinking long and hard about the encroachment of alternative energy sources and their impact on his business, and puts his people to work on creating ideas for diversification that they can submit to Senator Winters’ committee.

At the same time he hires a private investigator named Hollis Keene to try and figure out who was responsible for the attack.
Through a couple excellent contacts and educated guesses Keene actually manages to find out about Jackson’s true identity and how he had disappeared himself. Very much playing a hunch, he begins searching the shooting ranges close to Newport News Virginia, where the first attack took place.

In the meantime Jackson and Jones are planning and executing the other attacks.

Jim Carmody and his VP Of Corporate affairs, Alex Rollins, present a plan for LoneStar to add state of the art e-vehicle charging stations to each of their 4000+ plus service stations across the country and present it to the New Green Deal Committee and Senator Winters.

Winters, in turn, introduces introduces Carmody to Phillip Ross, who can help him implement this diversification.

After the second attack on two of Frank Braddick USA Motors dealerships, Jones suggests to Phillip Ross that is might be a beneficial business idea for Carmody and Braddick to get together, which Ross makes happen.

Meanwhile Jackson and Marlena Ross are making the rounds of some of the more important galleries in the area, showing Jackson’s work in the hope of getting a gallery to represent him.

The third assault takes place in Pittsburgh and is a success like the first two. At this point however, with Hollis Keene snooping around, along with several local police forces and the FBI, Jackson talks to Ross and Tuttle about pulling the plug, for fear of being discovered, either by Hollis Keene or, worse, the law.

This news upsets Ethan Jones tremendously, because he now knows how valuable Jackson is to him. So he decides to turn the tables on Winters, and contacts the three victims and arranges with them to put a contract out on Winters.

Jones plans to blackmail Jackson into cooperating with him, and uses all the communication between them, plus proof of Jackson’s true identity as leverage. This puts Jackson between the rock and the hard place.

Through some ingenious computer work by Damon Reese, Jackson manages manage to turn the tables back on Jones, forcing him to release the incriminating material in exchange for his life.

Unfortunately, Jones, in his anger, says the wrong thing, and Jackson, who holds Jones’ life in his hands and has no desire to have a sword of Damocles hanging over his head, decides the best way to deal with the situation, is to eliminate Jones altogether.


At this point, Senator Winters is in a strong position to force all three companies to both make the effort to diversify, and to use their influence in the fossil fuel industry, to encourage other companies to do the same.

Marlena and Jackson make a representation deal with a prestigious gallery in Baltimore.

And the government moves three major steps ahead in its mandate to green the country.

Copyright 2021, Jim Murray




Jim Murray
I am an ex-ad agency creative director,
writer, art director, strategist, editorialist,
reader, TV & movie watcher. I have been actively
posting on social media since the early 2000s.

I live with my wife on the beautiful Niagara Peninsula
in Canada and work with a small group of companies

who are making a positive difference in the world.



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Samina Khan

5 months ago #1

I can't wait to read more about this.

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