The ride back to Headquarters was silent and tense. Possibilities kept swirling through both their heads, but they kept coming back to one indisputable fact.
The real Danvers was days dead.
And a fake was waiting for them in Dobey’s office.
Hutch broke the silence. “Do you think he’s the murderer?”
“Pretty safe bet. We’ll have to find out how he’s connected to the hooker killings, but I’m positive he’s the one who killed the real Danvers.” “
Proof, Sherlock?” Hutch asked, smacking him lightly on the arm as he stopped the Torino in front of Headquarters.
“Why else would he pretend to be him?”
Hutch rolled her eyes. “Something that’ll hold up in court?” At his look, she spread her hands. “Look, we can get him arrested on impersonating a police officer. But murder charges are gonna be harder to make stick.”
Starsky nodded. “We’ll get it.”
“I wish I had your confidence,” Hutch sighed as she got out of the car and they headed inside.
The pair walked into Dobey’s office grim-faced and without knocking. Sure enough, ‘Danvers’ was there with Dobey.
Before either of them could say a word, ‘Danvers’ got right to the point. “I guess you’ve seen there’s been another murder.” He was glaring at Hutch.
Hutch met his eyes unflinchingly. “Actually, there have been two.”
“Two?” Dobey gasped.
“Yes – the hooker….” She paused, eyes locked onto ‘Danvers’. “And Vice Lieutenant Danvers.”
“WHAT?” Dobey roared.
Starsky drew his gun as ‘Danvers’ moved. “Try it.” The fake cop froze, moving his hands away from his body, and Starsky nodded in satisfaction as he combed him for weapons. “You’re under arrest, buddy – for impersonating an officer of the law.” He began to recite the Miranda rights.
Dobey leaned over the desk. “You better be sure of this—“
“Is finding Danvers’ days-old corpse sure enough for you?” Hutch cut him off.
Dobey stared at her for a moment. “Find out who he is,” he growled. “Get to the bottom of this!”
“Aye, sir,” they chorused as Starsky shoved a disarmed felon out the door of Dobey’s office.
Dobey sank into his chair and put his face in his hands. “G-d, help me,” he groaned.
Hutch walked back down to Vice grim-faced. “Julia, is Captain Hastings in?”
The desk clerk frowned slightly. “He sure is, Kay. Is something wrong?”
“Yeah,” was Hutch’s simple answer as she walked to Hastings’ door and knocked smartly, once, before walking on in.
Hastings looked up, startled. “Detective Hutchinson!” he smiled. “Is there something I can do for you?”
She shook her head. “I’m the bearer of bad news, Captain.”
“B-bad news? What’s happened?”
“Starsky and I found the body of Lieutenant Danvers this morning. He’d been dead for days.”
Hastings’ eyes widened. “DEAD? DAYS?” But he was here just this morning!”
“No, sir. There’s been a look-alike threatening me and we’re fairly sure he’s the one who murdered Danvers. The coroner and medical examiner are going over the scene now – Starsky’s with them.”
“Damn.” Hastings sat back in his chair, shaking his head. “I always thought Danvers was an arrogant, smug son-of-a-bitch – but nobody deserves that.”
Hutch sighed. “And we were wondering, Captain, if we could borrow the files on that string of hooker/dancer murders.”
Hastings began to frown. “You think there’s a connection?”
“I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t.”
Hastings nodded thoughtfully, then picked up his phone. “Julia, pull all the files on the recent hooker/dancer murder spree and give them to Detective Hutchinson.”
Hutch looked up as Starsky walked into the bullpen. “How’d it go?”
Starsky let out a sigh and dropped into the chair at his desk. “Cause of death – one bullet to the chest.”
“.38 special.” At the expression on Hutch’s face, Starsky asked, “What, you got something?”
“I think so.” She tapped the stack of files. “Consistencies.”
“One bullet to the chest -- .38 special.”
Starsky leaned forward. “Any ties to Danvers?”
Hutch tilted her head toward the phone. “I’ve got Julia running Danvers’ cases, comparing them with the known IDs of the victims.”
And the phone rang.
Starsky and Hutch found themselves back in Hastings’ office a few moments later. Hutch sat down in front of the Vice captain’s desk, and Starsky made a bee-line for the coffeepot.
“You get it, you drink it black,” Hastings said. “I got no sugar or other junk.”
Hutch couldn’t resist the smile as Starsky came to sit down beside her, grousing all the way.
Hastings even smiled at Starsky’s antics. “You must keep Dobey in stitches.”
“You have no idea,” Hutch chuckled, then sobered. “You said you had something for us?”
He nodded. “Report came from the coroner’s. That was Danvers’ body.”
“Yeah, we know, they called us too.” Starsky sighed. “We need information on his cases and on who that idiot in the holding cell is!”
Hastings slid a folder toward him. “Ever watch the Patty Duke show?”
Starsky frowned. “What does that have to do –“
Hutch silenced him by laying a gentle hand on his arm. “Are you saying that’s a relative of Danvers’?”
“What, an identical twin?” Starsky asked.
“No, not a twin,” Hastings said. “A cousin. Their fathers were the identical twins.”
“So why did he kill—“ Starsky began.
“Look,” Hutch said, passing him the file. “Applied for admission to the Academy, but refused – twice – because of his rap sheet.”
Starsky whistled. “Assault….armed robbery….rape…..”
“No wonder he wasn’t admitted,” Hutch growled.
Hastings nodded. “Danvers turned up with pneumonia a few weeks ago. And all of a sudden he showed up much better and ready to go to work.”
“Which is where the fake Danvers took over,” Starsky nodded. “And when the real Danvers started to get better….”
“It threatened the imposter’s new life,” Hutch finished. “So to protect himself, he killed Danvers.”
Hastings nodded. “That’s what everything seems to point to.” He looked at Starsky. “And your hunches were right.”
“Oh?” Starsky and Hutch chorused.
Hastings lifted another folder. “This just came in – ballistics report on the gun that killed Danvers, the one that killed the victims, and the gun you took off the man in the cell.”
“And?” Starsky asked.
Starsky smiled at Hutch. “We got him. It’ll hold up in court.”
She nodded “We’ve got means for the women’s murders. We’ve got method. We’ve got opportunity. There’s just one thing we’re still missing.” She met her partner’s eyes and they said it in unison.
That word pounded in their brains until it was time to question Danvers. Hutch and Starsky would be watching through the mirror. Dobey didn’t think it would be a good idea for either of them to be actively involved in the questioning, since Hutch was the one he was threatening and Starsky was her partner.
So they watched while Hanson questioned Danvers, who had waived his right to having an attorney present. It turned out, that was his real last name.
Of course, he denied everything – until Hanson produced graphic photos of his victims. When he paled, Hanson tapped them. “They were raped before they were mur—“
“I didn’t rape them!” Danvers interrupted. “They were prostitutes– that’s their job!”
“Gotcha,” Starsky whispered.
Realizing he had just confessed, Danvers slumped in his chair.
Hanson leaned forward. “Why did you kill them?”
“I couldn’t have them telling her that I was the one who would be her … It wasn’t time yet.”
“Would be her what?” Hanson pressed.
Danvers met his eyes. “Would be her disciple – I was going to learn from her.”
Danvers’ eyes went wide with disbelief. “Isn’t it obvious? Learn how to be a respected policeman! They said with my record, I could never be a cop – but she has a record and she a cop!”
Hutch’s jaw lowered. “He’s talking about….b-but I don’t have a record!”
As if hearing her, Hanson asked, “Are you talking about Detective Hutchinson?”
“Detective Hutchinson does not have a criminal record—“
He was cut off by Danvers’ bark of laughter. “Oh, come on! With those looks? You can’t tell me she didn’t use to sell herself!”
Hutch shook her head. “Good night, he’s completely deluded….”
Hanson frowned. “So you’re saying that ‘undercover assignment’ was a ruse?”
“How else to get her back in her natural element? She would have taught me, and I would have rewarded her.”
The frown deepened. “Rewarded her how?”
“The way any prostitute is, man! Give ‘em the thing they live for – get paid for!”
Hutch’s hand flew to her mouth as the bile began to rise.
Hanson pressed. “And after you’d learned all you could?”
Danvers cocked his head and replied in a very matter-of-fact tone, “Well, I couldn’t very well have her reveal me, could I?”
It was too much for Hutch. She threw herself away from the window and tore down the hallway. Flying into an empty interrogation room, she barely made it to her knees beside the wastebasket before she became violently ill.
Seconds later, a pair of strong arms encircled her waist and held her forehead as she heaved. Her hands reached up and braced against the leather-jacketed arms as dry heaves nearly folded her in two.
“I’ve got ya, partner,” Starsky whispered as he supported her. “I’ve got ya.” She felt the weight of his forehead press against her shoulderblade and the weariness in his voice. “It’s over…”
“No,” she sobbed, cursing the involuntary tears being ill had caused. “We…we’ve still g-got the trial…”
“And he’ll go to jail, Kay. It’s over.”
Kay. Used, she suspected, to jolt her to calmness.
It worked. She allowed herself to lean back against him, to borrow her partner’s strength until she could find her own. “I will never, ever doubt your hunches again,” she sighed.
Ever so briefly, his arms tightened around her waist as he chuckled in her ear. “Of course you will – you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t!”
The door to the Venice Place apartment opened with enough force to set a plant or two swinging. Starsky entered behind a visibly fuming Hutch, spreading his hands. “What?” he asked.
A growl was his answer as she stormed toward the bedroom.
“Hutch, why are you so teed off?” he asked, wrestling the knot of his tie down a few inches to try to relieve the feeling of strangulation. “The case is closed. Danvers is going to the psych hospital – he’ll never see the light of day again!”
”I know!” she sighed as she turned to face him. “I know, and believe me, I am so relieved that piece of garbage is off the street!”
Starsky shook his head. “Then I’m not seein’ the trouble.”
“You wouldn’t,” Hutch growled. “You’ve never had to deal with it.”
“Deal with what?” Starsky asked.
“THIS!” Hutch’s hand slapped against her skirt-encased thigh. “Looks good, but it’s drafty as hell!” And she stormed into the bedroom.
Starsky blinked after her for a second, then gave a low chuckle as he shook his head. He moved to her coffee table and picked up a manila envelope that had caught his eye.
“Internal Revenue Service?” he asked himself, and called, “Hey, Hutch?”
“Got the taxes done, huh?”
“Oh, crud!” Hutch emerged in sweats and a matching shirt, her hair loose. “I forgot to mail that on the way to court!”
He smiled at her. “It’s okay, I’ll drop it in the box on my way out. Decided to just bite the bullet, huh?”
She chuckled. “Nope. I’ve got a note in there from Doctor Laffoon – a copy of the one in Dobey’s files.
Starsky’s jaw dropped. “Oh, man! That’s brilliant!” He chuckled. “And it’s the absolute truth to boot! No need to mention the radiation gun!”
“Yep!” she laughed. “Far as the government’s concerned, Ken Hutchinson became Kay Hutchinson by a sex-change operation!”
And both partners collapsed onto her couch, laughing until they were holding their sides and gasping for air.
Return to The Realm