Divide and Conquer (by Barbara)


Summary:   While serving a three-month suspension, Starsky & Hutch can’t let go of a pending case.
  Starsky & Hutch
Genre:  crime drama
Rating:  PG
Word Count:  9464



Hutch drove today. He and Starsky were on their way to an early morning court date. They rattled down the main drag of Bay City. Neither man said anything to one another except for a brief ‘good morning’ when Hutch picked up Starsky at his apartment. It was several miles before Hutch finally piped up.

“Hey!” He said brightly. “Look at that. A Puli!”

“What da hell is a Puli?”

“It’s a dog. A Hungarian dog. It’s quite a rare breed.”

“It looks like a bath mat.” Starsky said as they drove passed the dog who was being proudly walked by its owner.

“It’s supposed to look like a mop.” Hutch corrected.

“Why would anyone want a dog that looks like a mop? And if it’s so rare, how do you know about it?”

“I’ve been reading a book on dogs. I miss having a dog.” Hutch expounded. “I had a yellow lab growing up. Molly. I loved that dog. She was my partner in crime before you came along.”

“You’re comparing me to a dog?” Starsky protested.

“It’s a compliment, Starsk.”

“If you say so…” The curly-haired cop shrugged then abruptly changed the subject. “Do you want an Oreo?” He asked as he held the cookie under Hutch’s nose.

“No thanks. I hate those things.” Hutch swiped it away as if it were a pesky bug.

“Well, you’re the only one on the planet who does. How come?”

“My mom used to give them to me when I came home after school. I choked on one once and I haven’t eaten one since. Death by Oreo.”

“Well, you’re supposed to chew them Hutch, not swallow them whole.”

“Good tip. I’ll try to remember that.”

“Aren’t you even going to hassle me about my choice of breakfast?” Starsky asked somewhat disappointed.

“Nah. I’ve given up trying to make you healthy. You’re a grown man. I’m not your mother. You can eat what you want.”

“I’m healthy.” Starsky scoffed defensively. He peered down at his body inspecting it.

“Yeah. You and Dobey… the picture of health.”

“First you compare me to a Labrador Retriever and then to Dobey?” Starsky blasted. “I thought you were my friend.”

“You’re not my friend, Starsk.” Hutch said bluntly.

“Oh no? Then what am I?”

“You’re my best friend.”

Starsky smiled coyly but the camaraderie quickly faded and his face soured. He knew their light-hearted banter was just a distraction. It was simply an attempt to quell their substantial unease. Starsky popped the last Oreo into his mouth. He stared out the car window deep in thought. He watched the city streets whiz by. The breeze was hot and muggy. Starsky breathed in heavily and exhaled loudly. His gut churned.

“We’re in big trouble, aren’t we?” He stated.

“Yes, we are partner. Yes, we are.” Hutch replied solemnly.

“What do you suppose will happen at the hearing today?”

“Well…” Hutch sighed. “…we don’t have many friends in the DA’s office. Especially Martinson. He hates us. We’ve burned a lot of bridges in the last 7 years. Dobey will do his best to defend us but, I don’t see us getting out of this one. Not without some sort of punishment.” Hutch outlined. “So, I think we are looking at suspension at the very least.”

“And the most?” Starsky asked as if he didn’t already know.

Hutch paused. Anxiety filled his being.


“Dat’s what I was afraid of.”

“Don’t worry, Starsk. If we head to the slammer, I’ll protect you.”


“Detective Starsky.” Prosecutor Martinson began. “Can you tell us what happened one month ago during your investigation of Billy Remnick?”

“Sure.” Starsky replied as he glanced over at Hutch for assurance.

The blonde cop sat next to his lawyer at the desk facing the judge. Dobey looked on from the gallery. A few other spectators dotted the courtroom.

“My partner and I were assigned to seek out and detain Mr. Remnick after he was identified by an eye-witness. She provided us with a detailed description and we had a rendering done by our department artist.”

“I see.” Martinson said. “And, what was the charge against him?”

“He is a suspect in the murder of an eighteen-year-old prostitute – Jamie Lynn Forster.”

“And, can you outline how you began your search?”

“As we always do, I suppose. Like I said, we questioned the witness.” Starsky shrugged. “Then we just get out on the streets, make a few contacts, track down some leads…”

“Bust a few heads?” The prosecutor interrupted.

“OBJECTION!” The defending lawyer blared. His outburst startled Hutch. “Conjecture you’re honor.”


“It’s no secret around this city…” Martinson continued with a condescending chuckle, “…that these two hooligans resort for violent methods to obtain information from innocent people.”

“Their methods are not the subject of this hearing, Mr. Martinson.” The judge said impatiently. “Can we get on with it?”

“But, their methods have certainly put them in this predicament, you’re honor. They have been charged with assault. It is these very practices that put my client in the hospital for almost a month!”

“He must have done something wrong…” Starsky blurted, “or he wouldn’t have run from us.”

“Maybe he was aware of your reputation Detective Starsky. Did you ever think of that?”

“No.” Starsky said simply.

“Maybe he feared for his life when he saw you and your partner bare down on him like a pair of ferocious Rottweilers!”

“That’s the second time today I’ve been compared to a dog and I don’t much like it.” Starsky said as he leaned forward and pointed at the lawyer. “Now, listen, Martinson. We do what we have to do. Yes, our methods are intimidating but we are not dealing with the PTA out there. We’re trying to make the streets safe from the dealers, and the pushers and the murderers. And, our track record, while sometimes unorthodox, shows we have solved more cases in the last 7 years than all the other detectives in our department combined. So, don’t give me that self-righteous crap about what we do and how we do it. Hutch and I put our lives on the line every- single-day! We work very hard and long hours for very little pay, I might add, and I am not going to sit here and take this garbage from a desk jockey like you!”

Hutch raised his eyebrows and sat up straight in his chair. He gave his partner an approving nod but Starsky was too incensed to notice. He glared at the prosecutor who stood his ground.

“That was a very nice speech, Sergeant.” Martinson said calmly. “But, it does not deny the fact that in your haste to arrest Billy Remnick you managed to PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY ASSAULT DANIEL DAVIS CAUSING IRREPARABLE DAMAGE!”

“It was a simple cast of mistaken identity.” Starsky defended.

“Well, there is such a thing as due diligence Detective. Something you and your partner seem to ignore time and time again. You should have exercised restraint before deciding one’s guilt or innocence. THAT is not your job.”

“We did what we had to do.”

“You had to beat and interrogate an innocent man?”

“Remnick and Davis look exactly alike.” Starsky reasoned. “He ran, we chased and we brought him in for questioning. We do it every day and we’d do it again.”

“Yes, I know you do Detective Starsky and that is why we are here today so you and your partner can finally be held to task.”

“Okay, okay… I’ve heard enough.” The judge interjected. “Let’s break for lunch. We’ll commence at 2:30 and I’ll give you my decision.”

“But, your honor.” Martinson protested. “I haven’t even examined Detective Hutchinson yet. He’s just as guilty in this violent escapade.”

“Now who is assigning themselves judge and jury, Mr. Martinson? It is my job to ascribe guilt or innocence, not you.” The judge glared at the prosecutor. “I’ve heard enough. This court is adjourned.”


“That was beautiful, Starsk.” Hutch said as he took a bite of his egg salad sandwich. “I think your tirade may have swayed the judge in our favor.”

“I’m not sure about that.” Starsky replied. His salami sandwich sat on his plate untouched. “Martinson is right. We dropped the ball on this one.”

“No, we didn’t.” Hutch defended. “Davis and Remnick look like twins. Davis must have done something wrong. Why did he try so hard to get away from us? We ran after him for ten blocks! He resisted arrest. He gave us no choice. He fought us… we fought back. There’s something there, Starsk. He isn’t as innocent as Martinson is making out.”

“Maybe our reputation has gotten out of hand. Maybe we are too…”

“Too what? Too violent?” Hutch stated bluntly. “Listen, we have to fight fire with fire. If we don’t, we’re the ones that pay. It’s like you said, the streets are a dangerous place. What are we supposed to do? Ask nicely? Excuse me, sir.” Hutch mocked. “Would you mind if we place these hand cuffs on you and take you for a nice ride in our nice red car? We’ll take you for a guided tour on the way to the station. Can we offer you a Pepsi? How about a snack? No way. What we do and how we do it is the only way. It’s our way.”

“I know. I know.” Starsky sighed. “But, we may have crossed the line with Davis.”

“We did not!” Hutch insisted. “Look, Remnick is still on the loose and once this is all over, we’ll get out there and get him. Think about that little girl and what he did to her. The man’s a monster.”

“You ain’t wrong there. Let’s just hope we can survive the outcome of this hearing.”
“We will, Starsk.” Hutch assured. “We’ve survived worse.”



“While I do not condone your methods, I do understand them.” The judge began. “But, in this case, I’m afraid you may have been somewhat careless. Mr. Davis is an innocent man who had the unfortunate circumstance of resembling your targeted suspect, and due diligence as Mr. Martinson has posed, should have been exercised.”

Starsky and Hutch stood before the judge. They looked polished and sharp in their tailored suits wore only for court, the odd wedding or funeral. Starsky seemed sheepish as Hutch stood straight and unabashed. Defiant.

“In this case, the charge of assault has been presented and proven. But, as I have reviewed your records – yes, they are stellar, it will NOT be as a criminal offense and will NOT be placed in either of your files as such. It is an Internal Affair only. And, as I have been granted jurisdiction from your department, I will assign punishment. But, this is a warning to you both.” The judge pointed his finger. “Rethink your methods gentlemen or further action will be taken if any other matter ever comes before my court again. A suspension of 3 months will be served by each of you… starting immediately.”

The judge slammed his gavel and that was it.



Hutch plopped onto his sofa, loosened his tie and popped the top button of his shirt. He let out a relieved sigh. Starsky sauntered over to Hutch’s fridge, grabbed a beer and leaned against the kitchen counter top. He took a long swig.

“Well…” Hutch said. “What do you want to do now?”

“Right now, I just want to finish my beer.”

“And, after that?”

“We’ve got three months to figure it out.”

“I know what I want to do.” Hutch stated.

Starsky stared at his partner apprehensively awaiting Hutch’s plan.

“I want to go out there and find Melnick.” Hutch said boldly.


“Melnick.” Hutch repeated.

“No, no. Remnick.”

“Okay… Remnick.”

“Did you hear what the judge said? We are suspended. Sus… spend… ded.” Starsky enunciated. “Dobey took our guns and our badges. We can’t go after Remnick. If we do, we might as well kiss our careers good-bye.”

“Screw the suspension!” Hutch barked angrily. “Did you see what he did to that little girl? She was a baby! If we don’t get back on the streets and do our JOBS, then he’ll do it again. Then how will you feel.”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Damn right, I’m right.” Hutch replied with certainty. “Now drink up and I’ll take you to dinner. You can have anything you want.”


“Yes really. Then tomorrow we’ll get up bright and early and get back to work.”

“Okay, but there’s one thing I want to do first.” Starsky said as he walked into the living room and sat on the edge of the coffee table facing his partner. Their knees touched. He passed the bottle of beer to his pal and Hutch took a sip. “I want to pay a visit to Daniel Davis.”

“Ah, Starsky. You don’t want to do that.”

“We were pretty rough on him. I feel bad.”

“Okay. Alright.” Hutch reconciled “We’ll go pay Davis a visit and apologize. Then we’ll hit the streets and track down Melnick.”

“It’s Remnick.”

“Yeah, yeah… Remnick. You know who I mean.”



“He’s dead, Starsk.”


“Looks like it.”

“How do you know? Maybe he just had a heart attack.”

“Well, the blood and the bullet hole in the chest kind of gives it way.” Hutch retorted sarcastically.

“Well, that could have caused a heart attack.” Starsky smirked uneasily.

“I’ll tell you what…” Hutch said as he rose from viewing Davis’ dead body.


“We are going to get the blame for this and if Dobey finds out we’re here in Davis’ apartment, that 3-month suspension will become a permanent one.” Hutch declared as he tapped his forefinger into Starsky’s chest.

“That’s no good.” Starsky replied with slight panic. “I like my job. I NEED my job!”

“Let’s get out of here and place an anonymous call. Last thing we need is being caught at a crime scene.”

“Hold on. Hold on.” Starsky said stopping his partner as he turned for the door.

“Anonymous call? I don’t think so. You know we’re going to be suspected anyway.”

Starsky reasoned. “Let’s just face the music and tell Dobey that we came by to apologize. It’s the truth. There is no evidence here that implicates us.”

“No.” Hutch stated. “But, there’s motive.”

Starsky’s face drooped.

“I told you this stunk.” Hutch said as he placed his hands on his hips and looked around the room.

“Yup. Like a rest stop outhouse.”

The partner’s paused momentarily before making eye-contact. It was obvious what they had to do.

“I’ll go call Dobey.” Hutch resigned. “He is going to flip…his… lid.”



“YOU TWO ARE GOING TO SEND ME TO AN EARLY GRAVE!” Dobey seethed as he peered over his desk at his two detectives.

“We just wanted to apologize, Captain.” Starsky posed.

“Apologize, my ass. You wanted to continue the Remnick investigation. Don’t give me that cock and bull story about an apology. Do you think I’m stupid?”

“No captain, but we…”

“Just stop.” Dobey put his hand out and placed his head in the other.

Starsky and Hutch sat as still as possible in their chairs. It felt like being in the principal’s office for detention. They glanced at one another and raised their eyebrows then focused back on their boss awaiting his response.

“Remnick has killed again.” Dobey announced out of the blue.

“You mean you think he murdered Davis?” Hutch inquired.

“No. Another young prostitute was found this morning.”

Again, the partners shared a worrisome look between them.

“Well… we could take up the case again.” Hutch suggested quietly.

“Do you see all those people out there roaming the halls, Hutchinson?” Dobey blasted.

“They are on the payroll too, you know! You two aren’t the only detectives in this department!”

“No, but we are the only detectives that can solve this case and you know it. Stellar records. That’s what the judge said, remember?” Hutch stated brazenly.

Dobey stood and looked out the window. He was conflicted. He knew Hutch was right. The Mayor, Commissioner and the Chief were breathing down his neck to find the killer that roamed the streets of Bay City. The pressure was daunting. Finally, he turned to face his men.

“You two get out of my office and stay by the phone.” He said angrily. “I’ll talk to Martinson and the judge and try and get this suspension overturned. In the meantime, stay out of trouble.”

“Yes captain.”

“I swear, it’s like babysitting two little kids.” Dobey grumbled as the detectives left his office.

“I’ve seen Dobey upset before, but I thought he was going to self-combust in there.” Starsky commented as he and his partner walked down the hallway.
They stopped at the vending machine. Starsky punched it and a candy bar fell into the tray.

“Dobey self-combusting…” Hutch replied with a smirk. “That would be one big mess to clean up.”

“Wanna bite?” Starsky offered as they continued down the corridor.

“Oreo’s for breakfast and a candy bar for lunch.” Hutch murmured.

“Yeah, and pizza for dinner.”



Starsky and Hutch spent the afternoon awaiting Dobey’s call at Hutch’s place. Starsky lounged on the sofa and read the newspaper. He ordered that pizza and ate all but one slice. After enjoying his dinner of an egg-salad sandwich, Hutch puttered about the apartment tidying up and tending to his plants. Little conversation passed between them. At 4:56pm the phone finally rang.

“Hutchinson.” He answered.

Hutch stood over his partner while he got the news. Starsky could hear Dobey’s voice on the other end of the line but couldn’t make out the conversation. He strained to try and decipher it. Hutch held his hand out for Starsky to standby. Hutch made a few faces and tried to interject but was shut down by Dobey every time. Finally, after several painful moments, Hutch hung up the phone.

“Well?” Starsky inquired.

“We’re back in.” Hutch stated.

“Dobey didn’t sound very happy.”

“Does he ever?”

“Good point.”

“So, what now?” Starsky asked. “Are we investigating Davis or Remnick?”


“Both? How are we going to do that? Do you think they’re linked?”

“No. I don’t. Do you?”

“I’m not sure.”

“What do you suggest we do?”

“Divide and conquer, my friend.” Hutch posed. “Divide and conquer.”

“Well, that’s a new one, but a damned fine idea.”

“Thank you.”

“So, who gets whom?”

“Flip a coin?”

“Okay. Head’s gets Davis.”

Hutch dug into his khakis and pulled out a quarter. He flipped it in the air, caught it and slapped it on the back of his wrist. It was heads.

“I win!” Starsky said.

“If you call investigating a murder with absolutely no suspects or leads winning, then yes, you win. Congratulations.”



Starsky entered the morgue in a tepid mood. He was in familiar territory but there was something missing. His partner. He couldn’t remember a time in the last 7 years that Hutch wasn’t in his company. He felt odd on his own. It was like walking around without shoes.

“Open it up, Charlie.” Starsky instructed the coroner assistant.

“Who you looking for, Sarge?”


Charlie scanned his paperwork for the correct locker number, got up from his desk and walked down to the end of the room and opened the drawer.

“Got his file?” Starsky asked quietly.

“Right here.”

“Autopsy done?”

“Yes. Yesterday.”

“Watcha got?”

“Pretty simple.” Charlie said. “He died of a bullet wound to the chest. Probably died instantly. It was close range. No mystery there.”

“Got the bullet?”

“Yup. Got all his personal effects and the bullet is in the evidence bag.”

“You do good work, Charlie.” Starsky grinned.

“Thanks, Sarge.”

“Any next of kin?” Starsky inquired.

“Just a sister. She lived with him.”

“Really.” Starsky pondered. “That’s interesting.”

“It is?”

“It’s a start. Got her name?”

“Carrie Davis. I’ve been trying to contact her but I haven’t been able to yet.”

“Okay. Thanks Charlie.”



Starsky sat behind the wheel of the Torino in the parking lot. He opened the file on Davis and reviewed it. He was most interested in the sister Carrie. She was the key to solving Daniel’s murder, Starsky surmised. He dumped the manila envelope that held Daniel’s personal effects onto the passenger seat. There wasn’t much. Just a wallet, some keys and a watch – a very expensive watch. Starsky was immediately jealous of it. He loved watches. He rifled through the wallet. It held three hundred buck, a driver’s license and a smattering of meaningless slips and credit cards.

“Hmm.” Starsky muttered to himself. “Rolex and cash. What did you do Mr. Davis?”
Starsky put the Torino in gear and peeled away from the parking space. He would return to the scene of the crime to see what other clues lay about. And, hopefully find Carrie and question her.



Starsky pulled up outside the Davis apartment building, swung open the car door and made his way up the walk and into the lobby. He jogged up the stairs to the 2nd floor. Yellow tape was still draped across the door.

The apartment was neat and tidy. Expensive. The only thing that was out of place was the large blood stain on the carpet in the middle of the living room. Starsky strolled around hoping a lead would jump out at him. He wished Hutch was there to bounce ideas off of, but alas, he was on his own.

Despite Davis being away from his apartment for a month, the pantry was full and so was the fridge. It held hi-end beers and a wide range of pricy foods. This man lived well. A fancy jar of cookies stood on the counter, so Starsky helped himself to a few.

The kitchen was clear of any dishes. All pots and pans were clean and stowed away in their places. The cupboards were orderly. Even the oven was spotless.

Starsky meandered back into the living room where the fashionable furniture seemed undisturbed. No struggle was apparent. Whoever killed Davis was familiar to him.
Starsky checked the front hall closet. A wide range of leather coats and jackets hung neatly.

“Looks like Hutch’s place.” Starsky noted dryly.

He headed down the hall to the bedrooms. They too were unnervingly orderly – bed made and everything. One room had girl’s clothing and was obviously Carrie’s. Daniel’s room was stylish and adorned tastefully. It was masculine and furnished with only the best money could buy.

He rummaged through a few drawers and happened upon a picture of Daniel. Again, he was impressed by the incredible resemblance to the drawing of Billy Remnick the eye-witness described. Starsky tucked the photo into his jacket.

Starsky then returned to the living room and sat on the sofa to mull. He was stumped. Whatever Daniel did for a living was lucrative. Whoever killed him knew him. His sister seemed elusive. What little facts he had rattled around his brain. He leaned back and stared at the ceiling hoping his next move would come to him.



Hutch entered the morgue in a tepid mood. He was in familiar territory but there was something missing. His partner. He couldn’t remember a time in the last 7 years that Starsky wasn’t in his company. He felt odd on his own. It was like walking around without shoes.

“Mornin’, Charlie.” Hutch greeted the coroner assistant.

“Hey Hutch. Starsky just left.”

“Oh yeah?” Hutch responded. “I must have just missed him.”

“He was here for the files on Daniel Davis. Is that what you’re looking for?”

“Nope. I’m here for that Jane Doe that came in yesterday.”

“Oh…” Charlie said with slight confusion.

“What’s a matter?”

“So, you and Starsky aren’t partners anymore?”

“Sure, we are. Just a big work load this week, that’s all.” Hutch assured. “We just decided to divide and conquer.”

“Oooh. That’s good. You had me worried there for a minute.”

“You know us, Charlie. Starsky and me are, well… no need to worry.” Hutch said realizing that he and his partner were indivisible. “Now let’s take a look at that Jane Doe.”

“Sure, Sarge.”

Charlie grabbed the file and made his way down the aisle to drawer number 12. He pulled it open and unveiled the young girl. She was badly beaten and obviously strangled. It wasn’t pretty and Hutch had to look away.

“I assume she died of asphyxiation?” Hutch deduced.

“Yes. Strangled by a belt looks like.”

“Okay. Thanks Charlie.”

Charlie passed the file to Hutch and he left the morgue and returned to the parking lot. He sat in his car and reviewed the file. He casually sorted through the girl’s belongings. There was just a lipstick, a single key and three-dollar bills. Hutch glanced through the police officer’s notes. He scowled thoughtfully when an address caught his eye. It took several moments for it to register that the girl was found in the back alley of Daniel Davis’ apartment building.

“So much for not being linked.” He commented aloud.

He started the car and peeled out of the parking lot.



“What are you doing here?” Hutch said as he entered Daniel’s apartment.

“Thinkin’.” Starsky replied nonchalantly as he was now stretched out on the lavish sofa – hands behind his head. “What are you doing here?”

“Remember when I said that I didn’t think the Davis and Remnick cases were linked?”


“Well. They are.”

“What do you mean?” Starsky asked as he sat upright.

“I went to the morgue to see Remnick’s latest victim. A Jane Doe.”


“And.” Hutch continued. “Her body was found in this building’s back alley.”

Starsky leapt to his feet and ran to the window that overlooked the back-parking lot. The remanence of crime tape still flapped in the hot, city breeze.



Now reunited, Starsky and Hutch fell into their familiar roles and began their investigation of the back alley and the murder of the young Jane Doe. They had worked together for so long, it was easy. Their communication like sonar. A simple look between them spoke volumes. Every movement coordinated – like a dance. No one could enter their world. It belonged to them completely. Their comfort level was simply off the charts.

“Anything?” Starsky yelled as he rummaged through an abandoned cardboard box.

“Not yet.” Hutch replied as he scouted the opposite side of the lot.

“Did you know Daniel had a sister?” Starsky remarked.


“Yeah. Lived with him, too.”

“Have you talked to her yet?” Hutch asked as he sidled up to his partner and looked in the box Starsky was so involved with.

“Nope. Nobody seems to know where she is.”

“Who have you talked to?” Hutch inquired.

“Well, no body yet.”

“What have you been doing for the last several hours?”

“I told you.” Starsky defended. “I’ve been thinking.”

“Just can’t live without me, huh?”

“Well, I was about to…” Starsky tried.

“Shall we talk to the superintendent?” Hutch suggested.

“That was my next move.”




The duo walked back into the building and located the superintendent’s office. It was an apartment on the first floor. They knocked on the door and a woman answered.

“Good morning ma’am.” Starsky greeted with his trademark shiny smile. It was irresistible. He pulled out his badge and showed it to her. “I’m Detective Starsky and this is my partner Detective Hutchinson. Is your husband at home?”

“I don’t have a husband.” She answered dryly.

“Oh.” Starsky remarked. “That’s too bad.”

“Why is it too bad, curly?”

“Well, I just meant that… hmmm, I don’t know.” Starsky fumbled.

He looked desperately at Hutch for help.

“Let me handle this.” Hutch interjected.

He gently pushed Starsky aside. Hutch stepped forward and Starsky was thankful he did because he was quickly digging a hole he would be hard pressed to get out of. He gladly handed over the reins to his counterpart.

“Ma’am.” Hutch began. He too beamed his most dazzling smile. It was irresistible. “This is the superintendent’s office, isn’t it?”


“Well, where is the superintendent? We’d like to ask him a few questions about the two murders that occurred on this property in the last few days.”

“What makes you think the superintendent is a man?”

“Well, I…” Hutch stammered, now realizing he was in just as much hot water as his colleague.

“Well you what, blondie?” She snapped.

Starsky took a small step back and grinned. He was staying out of this one. If Hutch wanted to handle it, fine with him. He could dig his own grave.

“I just assumed…” Hutch said.

“You assumed what? That a woman couldn’t possibly manage a building like this? That a woman is inept, incompetent, unable to fix a faucet or handle the extensive administration a job like this entails?”

“No. Of course not. I mean of course I do.” Hutch said as fluster engulfed him. He began to turn red. “A woman can do anything. Absolutely, she can… I just…”

“You know something, Detective Hutchinson?”

“What?” He replied with trepidation.

“You’re a male chauvinist.”

“Dats what I’ve been telling him, ma’am.” Starsky piped up from behind his partner. He couldn’t resist the jab.

“Will you stay out of this!” Hutch blasted.

“A woman can do anything she wants, right Hutch?” Starsky teased again.

“Including getting married, right Mr. Starsky?” She quipped sharply.

Starsky immediately stopped talking. She had him cold. Hutch glared at his friend before returning his attention back to the woman.

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” He said. “We got off on the wrong foot here.”

“Looks like your foot is in your mouth, handsome.” She retorted. “Well, pull it out of there and come on in.”

Hutch rolled his eyes then closed them tightly. He shook his head to clear out his embarrassment. Starsky released the chuckle he’d been holding in since the awkward conversation began.

“That was unpleasant.” Hutch mumbled to Starsky as they both proceeded through the doorway.

“You should know better, Hutch.”

“You started it!”

Their whispered banter subsided as they entered the living area of the apartment/office.

“Take a seat, gentlemen.” The lady instructed.

The partners sat side-by-side on the sofa.

“I’m Sheila Noble by the way. Would you like a cup of coffee?” She said sweetly.

“No thank you.” The partners replied in unison.

They were still a bit leery of the woman who was middle-aged and quite attractive. But, she was a bit rough around the edges.

“Yes, the police informed me about Daniel. I talked to several officers about it.” She began. “Daniel was a nice guy. I really liked him. He just got back home a few days ago after being in the hospital for a about a month. I took care of his place while he was away.”

“Were you and Mr. Davis involved, Ms. Noble?” Starsky asked with apprehension.

“What did I just finish telling you about men? I don’t need or want a man in my life! I think you were part of that conversation we just had in the hallway, were you not? I seem to remember you standing there. That was you, wasn’t it?” She barked defensively.
Sheila glared at Starsky as if he were a naughty child. Her outburst was like being breathed on by a dragon.

“I’m sorry, I just…” Starsky struggled, not used to the abuse. He then sat back to allow Hutch to continue the discussion.

“What about his sister, Carrie?” Hutch asked, quickly changing the subject.
“Oh her.”

“Excuse me?”

“She’s a piece of work, that one. Hardly ever here and soaks her brother for everything he’s got. He feels responsible I guess, but if she was my sister, she’d be out the door as fast as you can say prostitute.”

“Excuse me?” Hutch repeated.

“Well, that’s what she is.”

“Carrie Davis is a prostitute?”

“Yes sir. No doubt about it. I’ve been chasing johns away from this building for years. This is a nice place. The residents don’t appreciate that kind of thing and neither do I.”

“When was the last time you saw Carrie?” Hutch asked.

“Oh, maybe a week or so ago. When she comes here she doesn’t stay long.”

“What can you tell us about the day Daniel was killed?” Hutch probed.

“Not much. I didn’t hear or see a thing. I’m usually hooked up to my transistor radio. I love my music loud. Daniel gave me these headphones for Christmas last year. They’re great. I can listen to my music as loud as I want without disturbing anyone.”

“We wouldn’t want to disturb anyone.”

“Yeah, so when I saw all the cops arrive, I was pretty shocked. And, sad for Daniel. Like I said, he was a nice guy. I really liked him. Not enough to marry him though.” She quipped while leering directly at Starsky.

Starsky stayed quiet. He was afraid of being barked at again.

“What about the woman found in your back alley?” Hutch continued. “Know anything about that?”


Hutch pulled out the file he had on the Jane Doe. He flipped open the folder and pulled the autopsy photo from the paperclip that held it in place. He handed to the woman.

“Ever seen this girl before?” He asked.

“Sure have.” She replied casually.

“Oh yeah? Do you know her name?” Hutch said with hopefulness.

“Sure do. That Detective Hutchinson, is Carrie Davis.”



“Okay. What have we got.” Hutch asked his partner as he sunk his teeth into his egg- salad sandwich.

“Don’t you eat anything else?” Starsky inquired ignoring Hutch’s question.

“What are you talking about?” Hutch chewed.
“Seems like all you eat lately is egg-salad sandwiches.”

“So? I like egg-salad sandwiches.”

“Why can’t you just eat like a normal person and order a hamburger like everybody else.”

“Why would Huggy have it on the menu if nobody ordered it?”

“It’s weird.” Starsky winced.

“This from a man who eats Oreo cookies for breakfast.”

“Right. Normal.” Starsky affirmed. “Everybody eats Oreo cookies for breakfast.”

“Since when do you care what I have for lunch?”

“Well, I don’t actually.”

“Then why are we even having this conversation?” Hutch declared with sincere puzzlement. He took another bite.

“I just never saw anyone eat as much egg-salad as you do, that’s all.”

“Starsky, come on. Can we concentrate on the case instead of my food preferences?”

“Okay, but next time we eat, you ain’t having no egg-salad.” Starsky declared.

“Deal.” Hutch agreed. “Now, what – have – we – got?”

“Okay.” Starsky sighed, now satisfied that he got that off his chest. “We have got… three murders. Prostitute number one – Jamie Lynn Forster. Daniel Davis and his sister Carrie – apparently prostitute number two.”

“All killed in different ways.” Hutch stated.

“Right. The first girl was beaten and stabbed. Daniel Davis was shot and Carrie Davis was strangled with a belt.”

“So, why all the different M.O.’s” Hutch quarried. “I mean, in all the years we’ve been investigating multiple homicides, I don’t ever remember one instance where the murderer used different means to kill. They always kill in the same way.”


“So, how could one person be responsible for all three of these murders? It doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, we never established that all three of these murders were done by Remnick. We just put it together that they are linked at all.” Starsky replied as he enjoyed his hamburger.

“Right. Remind me again why are we after Remnick in the first place?”
“Because of the eyewitness.”

“Oh yeah. The eyewitness. She saw Remnick fleeing the scene of the crime. What was her name again?”

Starsky put his burger on his plate and rummaged around his jacket. He finally pulled out his notepad and flipped back several pages. He scanned through until he found his notation.

“Julie Bates. Friend of the first girl. Fellow prostitute.”
Hutch put his sandwich down and pondered. He took a mouthful of beer and casually pointed his finger at his partner.

“Do you suppose that Julie made the same mistake we did?”

“What mistake?”

“Maybe Julie thought see saw Billy Remnick but actually saw Daniel Davis instead. We assumed it was Davis’ bad luck to look like Remnick, but it was really Remnick’s bad luck.”

“So, we’ve been trying to track down Remnick all this time and it was Davis all along?”

“His sister Carrie was a prostitute.” Hutch rationalized.

“But, who killed Davis?”

“That, my friend, is the million-dollar question.”

“I got a picture of Davis from his apartment. Have you still got Remnick’s rendering?”

“Yeah.” Hutch replied as he pulled it from his back pocket.

The partner’s compared the two images and there was no doubt that they resembled each other to a tee. Same weight, same colouring, same age, same hairstyle. It was spooky.

“So? What should we do now?” Hutch asked.

“Let’s pay Ms. Bates another visit and show her the photos and see if she can tell us a little bit more about what she saw that night.”

“Okay.” Hutch agreed. “I just want to finish my egg salad.”



“Remember this place?” Starsky said as he and Hutch pulled up in from of the hotel where Julie Bates lived.

“How could I forget.” Hutch replied with disgust. “Artie Sulkin’s den of iniquities. What’s a young girl doing living a dump like this?”

The partners walked into the disheveled lobby. Nothing much had changed. There was no one at the front desk, so they made their way up to the third floor and down the hall to apartment 4.

“If she answers, don’t ask her if her husband is at home.” Starsky quipped recalling their unfortunate conversation with the lady superintendent.

“I didn’t think prostitutes have husbands.”

“Oh yeah.” Starsky smiled. “Don’t ask anyway, just in case.”

Hutch rolled his eyes at his friend’s obtuse advice and knocked on the paint-chipped door. It took several moments before the knob turned and the door opened slightly. A girl peered through the crack.

“Yes?” She said.

“We’re looking for Julie Bates?”

“She’s not here.”

“Well, may we come in?”

Without pause, the girl opened the door enough for Starsky and Hutch to enter. They were taken aback that she would allow two strange men into her apartment so readily.
“I usually don’t get men like you knocking on my door.” She said flirtatiously.

“Excuse me?” Hutch asked as he looked around the place. It was as nice as could be considering it was in such a seedy tenement.

“I mean, you are two handsome, young guys. We usually get… well, we don’t get clients like you around here.”

“What’s your name?” Hutch quarried softly. He was horrified that someone so young was hustling him.


“How old are you, Amy?”

“Does it matter?”

“Yes.” Hutch replied. “It matters.”

“I’m old enough.” She said with mild resentment.

“What are you doing in a place like this? You should be picking out prom dresses and hanging around the taco stand. Where are your parents?”

“None of your business… who are you guys?”

“It’s your lucky day, Amy.” Starsky said. “We’re cops.”

Amy turned to run away but Starsky caught her by her upper arm and gently walked her over to the torn sofa and sat her down. Hutch took a seat beside her and Starsky perched himself on the coffee table opposite the girl.

“Listen, Amy.” Starsky began. “We are here to see Julie but we want to help you too.”
“How are you going to do that?”

“Well, we can get you out of this rat hole for a start.” Hutch said. “Maybe find your parents or a relative you can stay with. Where are you from?”


“Kansas?” Starsky replied slightly startled.

“Yeah. It’s the only Wichita I know of.” Amy said sarcastically.

“You’re a runaway?” Hutch deduced.

“Listen, mister,” She protested. “I’m 21 years old, I can do whatever I want. You can’t take me anywhere. I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“If you’re 21…” Starsky quipped sarcastically. “I’m the Queen of England.” He smirked at his partner. The girl couldn’t have been more than 16.

“We want to help.” Hutch offered.

“I don’t need any help!” She insisted defiantly. “I’m doing just fine. Julie takes good care of me.”

“If you say so.” Starsky resigned.

“So where is Julie?” Hutch asked.

“She just stepped out to the store. She won’t be long.”

It was then that Julie entered the apartment. She carried a paper grocery bag. She stopped in her tracks at the quality of man that sat in her meager home. She was a pro and been working the streets for a long time.

“Well, this is a nice change of pace.” She commented. “Where did you find these two, Amy? Good work! Heeeey…, wait a minute. I know you.”

“Yes, we interviewed you about a month ago about the murder of Jamie Lynn Forster.”

“That’s right.” She smiled coyly. “You’re not easy to forget.”

“Thank you, I think.” Starsky said sheepishly.

“Has there been a break in the case?” Julie asked with her best cop show lingo.

“Well, we just want to clarify a few things.”

“Sure. Glad to help. Jamie was my best friend. Anything to get that rat bastard Remnick put in prison suits me just fine.”

“That’s what we want to talk to you about.” Hutch started. “How well do you know Billy Remnick?”

“He just hangs around the neighborhood. Classy guy. Really great dresser. Flashing money around all the time. I’ve run into him here and there. Nothing professional though.”

“So, you know him pretty well then?”

“Well, I wouldn’t say we are friends. I just know him to see him, that’s all.”

Starsky pulled out a picture and showed it to her.  “Is this Billy?”

“Yes.” Julie replied with certainty. “That’s him.”

“This is not Bill Remnick, Miss Bates.” Starsky corrected. “This is a picture of a man named Daniel Davis.”

“No. That’s Billy. I’m sure of it.”

Hutch took out the rendering and passed it over to Julie.  “This is Billy Remnick. This is what our artist did using your description.”

Julie held both photos, one in each hand. She studied them carefully.  “These two men are identical.” She remarked.

“Yes. We know.”

“Are you saying that I saw this other man leaving the crime scene? That I mistook him for Billy?”

“We think so.” Hutch affirmed.

“Well, do you think they are twins or one man with two names?”

Both Starsky and Hutch snapped their heads toward each other and made eye contact. That scenario hadn’t crossed either detective’s minds. But, the possibility was now evident that Billy Remnick and Daniel Davis were the same person.

“May I see the pictures.” Amy asked.

Julie passed them over to her roommate. She too held them side-by-side.

“It’s Daniel.” She said quietly.

“You know this man as Daniel Davis?” Starsky asked.


“How do you know him?”

“He’s the one who found me. He took me off got me off the streets and took me in. He’s my pimp.”



“So…” Dobey said sitting behind his desk enjoying a tray full of sandwiches. “Fill me in.”

“Seems our suspect is the same person.”


“Billy Remnick and Daniel Davis are the same person.” Hutch reiterated.

“But, your eye-witness identified him as Remnick.”

“Yes. And, we now have another person who says she knows him as Daniel Davis.”


“The witness’ roommate.” Hutch outlined. “She says Davis was her pimp.”

“Davis was a pimp?”

“We showed both pictures to each girl….” Starsky said. “Julie knew him as Billy and her roommate Amy knew him as Daniel.”

“So, we’ve had an APB out on a person that doesn’t even exist?”

“Explains why we weren’t able to find him.” Starsky said.

“So, you think Daniel Davis killed Jamie Lynn?”

“Yes, we do.”

“What about the Jane Doe?”

“She turned out to be Davis’ sister, Carrie.”

“So, who do you suppose killed her?”

“Not sure yet, Captain.” Hutch said.

“What are you sitting here for? Get back out there.”

With Dobey’s order Starsky and Hutch sprung to their feet and entered the squad room. They took their seats behind their respective desks.

“Where do we go from here?” Hutch asked.

“Well,” Starsky began. “I think we have to go back to Daniel’s apartment and tear that place apart.”

Hutch simply grabbed his jacket and headed for the door. Starsky followed.



It was dusk by the time Starsky and Hutch arrived at Daniel’s building. All was quiet. Just a smattering of joggers and a few dog-walker’s milled about the neighborhood. The men briskly walked up the path and into the lobby. They proceeded up the stairs to Daniel’s apartment, entered and flipped on the light.

The first thing they noticed was that the blood stain on the carpet had been removed. They weren’t sure by whom as this was still designated an active crime scene. Neither man spoke but rather pointed to the floor where the gruesome puddle used to be. They immediately went on full alert and they drew their weapons. Adrenaline began to flow.
Starsky signaled to Hutch that he would investigate the kitchen and beyond. Hutch pointed down the hallway to the bedrooms. The partner’s separated.

Hutch held the barrel of his gun to his temple as he skulked. His heart raced. He felt a presence. He moved stealthily toward the darkened rooms. He first reached Carrie’s and moved inside without a sound. Nothing.

He backed out into the hall and headed to Daniel’s bedroom. Before entering, he leaned his back against the wall and peered around the corner of the doorframe. All seemed clear so he silently entered.

The blow to his head was swift and devastating. Hutch crumpled to the ground heavily. He was unconscious before he hit the floor. His gun flew out of his hand and was scooped up by his attacker.

“Hutch?” Starsky called from the living room. He heard the thud. “You okay?”

There was no response.

“Hutch?” Starsky yelled again.

With gun posed, Starsky made his way to the hallway entrance. Out of the dimness a figure appeared. Starsky strained to make out who faced him. Finally, it came into view. It was Sheila Nobel. She had Hutch’s gun and had it pointed directly at Starsky. She had him cold.

“Put down your gun.” She demanded – her hand shaking with ire.

“It was you.”

“You’re damn right it was me.”

“Why?” Starsky asked. “I thought you said you liked Daniel.”

“I did.” She divulged. “Maybe too much.”

“So, you killed him because you loved him and he didn’t love you?”

“I found out what he was.” She began to cry. “He was no better than Carrie. I hated her. Then, I had no choice but to hate him too. There is no place on this earth for people like that.”

“You’re a sick lady.” Starsky remarked. “Let me help you.” He said as he slowly moved toward her – his hand outstretched.


She then ran back into Daniel’s room where Hutch lay in a heap. A new pool of blood now stained the immaculate carpet. Shards of a crystal vase were strewn around him. She put the gun to Hutch’s head. Starsky ran after her and stopped dead in the doorway when he realized the dire situation.

“DON’T!!” Starsky yelled as he lunged toward her.

“GET BACK!” Sheila screamed. “Or he will be next.” She cocked the gun.

“NO!” Starsky blared. “STOP…. Okay, okay. I’m leaving. Don’t shoot.”

He slowly began to back out of the room terrified to leave his partner so vulnerable – his instinct pulsing to give aid to him.

“It’s okay Sheila.” He said warily. “I’m going. Just don’t hurt him.”

Starsky kept walking backwards. He felt his way back down the hall to the front door. Sheila followed at a distance with the gun aimed directly him. Starsky fumbled behind him for the knob and he managed to find it. He opened the door.

“Get. Out.” Sheila ordered with desperation.

Starsky moved into the corridor as Sheila slammed the door and locked it.


Starsky stood stunned in the vacant hallway. Panic set in. He wanted to bust through the door to get to Hutch but he knew that would be too risky. He closed his eyes tightly to think about what to do and found himself running back down the hall into the lobby and out to the Torino. He ran so fast, it felt like he had flown there. He reached through the open window of the car and picked up the radio handpiece.

“This is Zebra Three.” He said, trying to stay calm and coherent. “I need back and an ambulance at 54 Wilton Ave.”

The dispatcher affirmed Starsky’s request.

“Patch me through to Captain Dobey.”

It took a moment before Dobey answered. By then, Starsky could hear sirens in the distance.

“Dobey here.”

“She’s got Hutch!” Starsky announced.


“It was the superintendent. She was the one and now she has Hutch and I can’t get to him.”

“What are you talking about Starsky?”

“Just get down here. 54 Wilton Ave. NOW!”



Red, flashing lights bounced off the apartment building. The place was surrounded with black and white police cars. Thirty officers took control of the hostage situation, evacuating the building and controlling the crowd that had gathered on the street.

“How is he?” Dobey asked as he joined Starsky on sidewalk.

“I don’t know.”

“The negotiator is on his way. Should be here in a few minutes.”

“Then what?” Starsky inquired doubtfully.

“He’ll call the apartment and talk her down. That’s protocol.”

“That could take hours. Hutch hurt, Captain. Really bad. There was blood all over the floor. He could be dead already. We can’t wait.”

“What do you suggest we do?”

“Give me your gun.”

“What’s your plan?” Dobey asked with trepidation.


Dobey passed it over to Starsky who took it and ran. Again, his urgency made it feel like his feet weren’t even touching the pavement. He circled around the building into the back ally where Carrie Davis’ body had been found. He looked up to the second- floor apartment where Sheila held Hutch captive. There was a balcony. Starsky searched for a way to get to it.

He recruited several of the plain-clothed cops to pile garbage cans and boxes so Starsky could scale to the first-floor balcony then make his way up the second-floor balcony that would allow him to reenter the apartment.

The officers gave Starsky a boost and he managed to grab the bottom rung of the balcony’s wrought iron railing. He pulled himself up and over. His next obstacle was getting up one more floor. He simply had no choice but to stand on the top of the railing and reach up and try and grasp the bottom of the second-floor balcony.

The cops below watched quietly and stressfully. It looked dangerous and almost impossible to do. They looked on with angst as Starsky precariously balanced on the railing and made a gymnastic leap upwards.

He grabbed it with the tips of his fingers. He hung there swinging two storeys up. With all the might he could muster, he flung his leg and his heel caught the bottom of the balcony floor. Hand-over-hand he worked his way up the railing to the top and threw himself in. He’d made it.

The men below wanted to cheer but they knew it would give Starsky away.
He took several moments to catch his breath and ready himself for the next phase of the rescue.

“Please be unlocked.” He whispered as he placed his hand on the handle of the glass-sliding door that lead into Daniel’s living room.

Starsky closed his eyes and pulled. It opened freely. In complete silence he stalked through the living room toward the darkened hallway that lead to Daniel’s bedroom. The place was completely silent. All Starsky could hear was the rapid beating of his heart.
He creeped down the hall with his back against wall and Dobey’s gun drawn. When he got to the door he peeked around the corner of the frame. There Hutch lie. Still. There was no sign of Sheila. Where was she?

The police lights were the only thing illuminating the place. All was dark except a display of flashes as if from a disco ball. Starsky silently entered the room and knelt down to check on Hutch. Letting his guard down momentarily, he felt for a pulse. It was strong and Starsky let out a sigh of relief.

Starsky stood again and tweaked his ear for any sign or sound of Sheila. Then a whimper echoed. He moved around the bed and finally saw her. She was in the corner, behind the drape. All Starsky could see was her feet. He did not know if she still had the gun. He slowly moved closer and softly pulled the curtain back. Sheila did not acknowledge him. He reached down and took the gun from her. She did not protest.

She looked up at him, defeated.

“I had to do it.” She sobbed.

Starsky helped her up and handcuffed her unceremoniously. He handled her sympathetically. He knew she was fragile and ill. Once she was secure he immediately turned his attention back to Hutch. He picked up the phone on the dresser and gave the all clear. Within moments, officer’s and paramedics swarmed the apartment.



Hutch whistled a non-descript tune as he puttered around his kitchen. He was feeling good. A blinding-white bandage still encircled his head. It had been a week since the stand-off at Daniel’s apartment. He spent two days in the hospital and was now home for a few weeks to recuperate. He was enjoying the time off.

“Hey!” Starsky said as he entered the flat unannounced.

“Hey yourself.” Hutch replied without diverting his attention from the task at hand.

“How ya feelin’?”

“I’m okay.”

“Good. Got a surprise for you.”

“Ah, Starsky. You know I don’t like surprises.”

“Well, you’re gonna like this one.” Starsky stated as he turned back to the open door. He held out his arm like an emcee introducing an act at a variety show. “Come on in ladies.”

Julie and Amy walked in, both dressed in lovely sun dresses and beaming smiles.

“Well, this is a nice surprise.” Hutch said as he cross the apartment and gave them both hugs.

“I just wanted to drop by and let you know I’m going straight.” Julie proclaimed. “Starsky got me into a secretarial course so I can start a new career.”

“He did, did he?” Hutch gave his partner a smug glance.

“Yes. It’s time to leave my old life behind and start a new one. Maybe settle down with a nice guy and start a family.”

“That’s great.” Hutch replied approvingly. “What about you Amy?”

“I’m going back to Wichita.” She said shyly.

“Back to your folks?”

“Yes. Starsky got us a counselor so we can work things out.”

“I told you we could help.” Hutch gushed.

“We? I helped.” Starsky declared. “He didn’t help. I helped. He’s been lazing around here all week pretending to be sick. He didn’t do anything. I did it. Don’t be giving him credit for any of this.”

“Well, I love him anyway.” Amy said as he grabbed Hutch around the waist.

“Hey! What about me?”

“We love you both.”

After a few more pleasantries, they all said their good-byes and the girls left the apartment to begin their new lives.

“You did good, Starsk.” Hutch said as he returned to the kitchen.

“I did, didn’t I.” Starsky answered proudly as he flopped on the sofa and opened a magazine to flip through. “I’ve been thinkin’.”

“Oh yeah? About what?”


“Go on.”

“What kind of a man recruits his own sister to be a prostitute.”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing, Starsk.”

“Well?” Starsky queried, expecting an explanation.

“I don’t know.” Hutch sighed. “It’s the world we live in, I suppose.”

Starsky had to be satisfied with that.

“Have you eaten yet?” Hutch asked, changing the subject.


“Do you want some lunch?”

“Sure. What are you making?”

***THE END***


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One thought on “Divide and Conquer (by Barbara)

  1. Loved this story! especially since the RPFF site is empty of new material. good interactions among the guys – cute bantering among the guys which I thought was the series’ strong point. mysterious plot and an odd twist ending. his story had everything.


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