ONE FOR THE MONEY
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Sandee.
Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) lives in suburban New Jersey, and has recently been laid off from Macy’s, where she was a lingerie dept mgr. She goes home for a family dinner where her mom tells her she needs to get married again, her dad tells her she needs a job, and her feisty grandma (Debbie Reynolds) tells her she just needs some action. They hear some noise outside, and it is Stephanie’s car being repossessed. Grandma tells her that her cousin VInny needs some help at the office with files, so stop by and see him. Steph doesn’t want to; she said that Vinny tried to kiss her at her wedding.
Next morning, Gran knocks at Steph’s apartment. She offers Steph the use of her classic old car, “Big Blue”. Steph goes to Vinny’s office, which is a bail bonds shop. He no longer needs help with the files, but his main agent just had his appendix out, and he is short-handed, so he lets Steph try her hand at catching an “FTA”: Failure To Appear. If she brings him in, she gets 10% of the bond as her payment. They have a couple of civil cases which aren’t’ dangerous, but don’t pay much. The big case is to bring back Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara), who is out on a $500k bond. Steph’s eyes widen as she realizes her fee would be $50,000. Vinny warns her to stay away from that case, as Joe is a cop up on murder charges. He is on the run.
Steph knows Joe Morelli from high school: she “gave him her cannoli” (lost her virginity) to him in high school and he never called her back. She still holds a grudge against him for that, and would love to bring him in and earn the big buck$.
Steph stakes out an old haunt of Joe’s, and sees Joe’s dumb cousin, Mooch Morelli go in. He is driving a yellow sports car. She sneakily goes over to the car to try to look for clues, and as she nears the car, Mooch comes out, and she narrowly avoids getting caught. She follows him to an abandoned building. He went in, and then quickly left. She sneaks in, looks around, and Joe grabs her from behind. He’s mad at her because in high school, she had a “problem” with the accelerator on her car, and ran him over, breaking his leg in 3 places. She tells him she is bringing him in, and he laughs: she came with no plan, no gun and no back-up. He tells he can’t go back, because everyone thinks he is a bad cop. He moves in close and compliments Steph, and then quickly takes her keys, throws them in the dumpster, and leaves her.
Vinny arranges for another bounty hunter named “Ranger” (Daniel Sunjata) to train her. He takes her to a gun shop and buys her a gun, then takes her to the range for shooting lessons. Steph describes Ranger as “Michelangelo’s David, dipped in caramel”. Ranger explains the trouble with Joe’s case: he shot Ziggy in the head and claims he was shot at first, but no other rounds were at the scene, no gun was found on Ziggy, and he was off-duty when it happened.
At the precinct, Steph asks a cop named Eddie for information. He also wants to catch Joe, and allows her to read Joe’s statement: Joe said there were witnesses, including a girl named Carmen. Carmen is missing.
Since Carmen was a “working girl”, Steph goes to an area with hookers. She stops to talk to two, and Lula (Sherri Shepherd) tells her that Carmen’s boyfriend is Benito, a bad guy, real tough, and he boxes at the gym. Steph goes in and meets the owner, Jimmy Alpha (John Leguizamo). He tells Steph that Ziggy was a real dirtbag. He points out Benito. Steph tries talking to him but he gets angry and throws her up against the chain-link cage. She hits him with her purse, and then a shot rings out: Joe is there, shoots at Benito, and grabs Steph and they escape. Steph pulls her gun but Joe takes it. He warns her that Benito is really bad: he was brought up on rape charges 3 times, but they never went to trial because all three girls went missing. Joe thinks Benito made Carmen “go away” too.
Steph hold him at gunpoint, and walk him to her car. As she fumbles for the keys, Joe grabs her keys and takes her car, laughs and calls her “cupcake”.
She arrives for dinner, and finds her parents have set her up on a date with Bernie from the neighborhood. He is fat and balding, and owns a hardware store. Steph talks about her day, and Bernie says he knows Ziggy is badhe places bets at the butcher shop across the street from his store. Grandma plays with Steph’s gun while they talk, and shoots it at the roast chickenthe gun was loaded, and Bernie comments that it was “like fireworks made of meat”.
A threatening call is made to Steph by Benito; Ranger comments that she must be on the right track. They pay a visit to Joe’s apartment to look for clues. Steph doesn’t find anything, but she does see Joe’s car keys, and takes his Explorer, as he has her car. She drives it to Vinny’s, where he gives her a FTA to pick up: an old man missed his court date. He sits at home, naked, and refuses to put on clothes. Steph takes him, in the buff, in Joe’s Explorer to the precinct. On the way there, Joe spots her driving his car, and bangs on the door and wants HIS car back. She smiles, and drives away, collecting her first FTA check.
Late at night, Steph finds her car and pulls the master fuse so that Joe can’t drive it. She waits for him to come; it rains. Mooch comes instead, and tries to steal the car, but can’t. Steph goes home. She showers, suddenly Joe is there, grabs the shower curtain, and handcuffs Steph to the shower rod. He trashes her apartment looking for the keys. Joes finds them and leaves her, locked and naked, in the bathroom. Steph reaches her cell phone and calls Ranger to help. He comes over right away, picks the lock, and laughs.
The next day, Steph pays a visit to Eddie the cop. She shows him the places she’s spotted Joe, where the shooting was, and makes an X on the map. She realizes all the X’s are in the same area, so that is where Joe must be. They are all near Jimmy Alpha’s gym.
After picking a lock to Carmen’s apartment door, she meets Rosa and her young son. Rosa was there the night of the shooting, but didn’t see anything. She tells Steph to go upstairs and talk to Cho (Leonardo Lam); he was present at the shooting.
Cho is a pothead, a likeable, funny young Asian. Cho tells Steph that there were others at the shooting, and Ziggy and some flat-nosed guy started the shooting, and that he never saw Carmen there.
The office calls: there is another FTA to do, and they got Ranger to be her back-up. The guy grabs Steph’s purse at the front door and runs. Ranger catches him, but gets shot by the guy who is using Steph’s gun. He flees, and Steph clothes-lines him, leveling him flat. Ranger is ok, as he had his Kevlar vest on. They handcuff the guy and he lets Steph bring him in.
With beer and food, Steph pays a visit to Lula, and asks about this strange, fancy orange truck that follows her. Lula tells her it is Benito. Eddie calls; Cho is dead. Someone threw him off the 4-story building. Steph freaks out and tells Eddie that Rosa and her son are next, so he better get them out of that apartment. Eddie thinks she is overreacting, and that Cho probably was stoned and fell.
Outside, the orange truck cruises past, and drops an unconscious Lula out. They take her to the hospital; she is going to be ok. Jimmy Alpha comes to visit, and brings her flowers, says he is paying all her bills, and please don’t finger Benito for this. Stephanie says it’s not so much about the $50k anymore…it’s PERSONAL.
She goes home and Joe is in her apartment. They have each other at gunpoint, and then both put the guns down. He tells her that her apartment needs more deadbolts-it was easy to get into. Joe tells Steph that he is looking for Ziggy’s gun, as it is the only thing that will clear him. He sleeps on the sofa. At breakfast, they decide to work together. Joe tapes a wire to Stephanie, so he can tape any conversations, plus follow her location as it can be picked up for 1 mile.
There is a knock at the door: Joe hides. It is Morty (Fisher Stevens), the agent that Steph replaces. He wants the file on Joe-he wants the big money case. She refuses to give it to him, and kicks him out. On his way out, he steals the keys to Joe’s car from Steph’s purse. He gets in, starts the car, and it explodes.
The cops come, and while they are there, they get a call that a building is on fire: it is Rosa’s building. Steph freaks out and knows Benito did it to kill Rosa for talking to her. Rosa and her son are safe-Eddie got them out of the building to a safe place the night before.
Steph goes to the butcher shop and sees the flat-nosed guy loading barrels into a truck. Then the butcher closes shop early, and goes with him in the truck. She follows in her car, and talks aloud to Joe via the wire, telling him where she is driving. He loses reception, and Steph doesn’t know if he can hear her or not. She sees the truck parked near the water, and reluctantly goes in alone. She sees barrels-the ones from the butcher shop. She also sees the flat-nosed guy, shot dead.
Steph hears something-it is Joe, he found her. They start looking in the barrels for Ziggy’s gun, and they see old remainsit is Carmen. Benito comes up from behind, with a gun pointed at them. Joe hits him from the side, they fight, and Steph remembers she has a gun. She can’t get a clear shot, so goes back to her purse, and pepper-sprays Benito. Then Joe hits him and knocks him out.
Jimmy Alpha shows up, and picks up a gun that was knocked to the ground in the fight. He handcuffs Joe to a rail in the butcher’s truck. He explains that Ziggy and he were dealing heroin out of the gym. Carmen found out and was telling the cops. Steph crouches down, pretending to be sick, and Jimmy laughs at her faint stomach. She kicks him hard, he topples, and then she gets her gun. Jimmy goes for his gun, and they both shoot: Steph shoots and kills Jimmy, and she is hit in the butt by a shot from Jimmy.
As she goes to uncuff Joe, she pauses…and leaves him in the truck. She closes and locks the door, and he is frantically shouting for her to let him out, and she replies that, “You had it coming, cupcake”.
Steph calls in the drop-off of the FTA, and is met by a bunch of cops, who clap and cheer that she brought in Joe, and solved the case.
3 days later, she is released from the hospital and Ranger picks her up and drives her to Vinny’s. She is surprised to see Lula working there now. She picks up her big $50k check and is very happy. Vinny tells her that Morelli is looking for her.
She goes home, and soon after, there is a knock: she leaves the chain on and opens it. It is Joe, and he holds up a cupcake. She smiles, and he remarks that he is glad she let go of her grudge against him. She says “That isn’t itI just can’t say no to a cupcake. “