THE KOI KEEPER
Treatment

by
Felice Bassuk & Richard F. Russell


Logline: 
After the sudden death of her mother, a Japanese-American teen is abducted
in Bangkok and taken to a training compound for ninja mercenaries.
While her father searches relentlessly, she falls in love with the master and marries him,
only to discover he was her mother’s secret lover and the powerful mobster who kidnapped her.

Bangkok, Thailand. KIMBERLY HARRINGTON, late 30s, stunning Japanese woman in negligee, reclines on her bed in a stupor. CLAY HARRINGTON, Kimberly’s cuckold husband, a DEA agent stationed in Bangkok, labors in his office. SYBIL, their 16-year-old Japanese-American daughter, discovers the pipe that incites a nasty rift between her parents.

Addicted to the drugs her lover TOSHIRO supplies, Kimberly plans to run away with him. But on the appointed day, strung out and irresolute, Kimberly calls it off.

Toshiro is quietly enraged, and his jilting ignites this tale of revenge, domination, seduction, and triumph.

Clay returns home to find Kimberly lifeless, pills strewn about her. At her memorial, Toshiro furtively studies Sybil. The following day, Sybil is attacked in the street. Her bodyguard resists in a highly charged martial arts battle – but she is killed, and Sybil is hauled away.

Locked in a cold cell, abused, starving, Sybil is on the verge of death. Suddenly, she is whisked off to a large estate with walls and guards and gates. To her astonishment, she’s given a lush bedroom complete with private bath. She eats with other captives who obey a strict pecking order. At the head of the table sits GOLDEN GIRL, a blonde Thai, the slave-master. She is tough, aggressive, and hates Sybil’s ‘privileged’ attitude. RATANA, a practical Cambodian girl, briefs Sybil on the rules, and they bond as sisters.

Sybil has her first meeting with Toshiro. He grants her request to call her father, but she cannot reach him…anywhere. Toshiro invites her to consider the compound her temporary home and promises to keep trying to contact her father. Finally, he informs her that her father has left the country without a trace. Sybil settles into this strange, new life at the compound – a mix of luxury, iron-clad rules, and martial arts.

Toshiro leads Sybil to a garden where men and women trainees spar with Golden Girl. Upon Toshiro’s signal, Golden Girl levels each one with ease and grace. On another occasion, the trainees challenge each other. Winners stay for further training; losers are evicted. Sybil watches in awe.

At a glistening koi pond, Toshiro draws Japanese philosophic lessons from the multi-colored fish. He tells Sybil that koi seek perfection; if they fall short, they are released from a flawed life. Sybil is increasingly fascinated by Toshiro, but is he her protector or her captor?

Devastated by his double tragedy and having no inkling of his daughter’s whereabouts, Clay teams with SOMCHAI and his gang of criminals. He begins using drugs himself, and after assaulting a janitor, becomes persona non grata. The American AMBASSADOR orders him to leave Thailand.

Clay departs but returns covertly. Installed in a run-down hotel, he continues his search for Sybil.

Having lost her fight at the compound, an ex-trainee plots to kidnap Sybil and claim the reward offered for Sybil’s return. She leads a posse of “businessmen” into Toshiro’s compound. They grab Sybil, but at the gate they are stopped by Toshiro, who rescues Sybil and demolishes the invaders. Toshiro tells Sybil she will begin fight training the next day.

Golden Girl, the keeper of the koi, senses Toshiro’s growing attraction to Sybil and twitches with jealousy and malice. Reluctantly, she trains Sybil to fight, and Sybil’s skills improve rapidly.

Toshiro learns where Clay is living and sends Ratana to kill him. Instead, Clay kills Ratana. Devastated by her friend’s death, Sybil flees to Bangkok, hoping for safety and asylum at the American Embassy.

But as she approaches the Embassy gates, a van screeches to a halt before her. Glimpsing Toshiro’s guards, Sybil takes off, jumping into the back of a tuk-tuk. The small vehicle squirms through the dense traffic, but ultimately Sybil is captured, returned to the compound, and severely punished.

Trapped again, with nowhere to go, Sybil settles into her new life. She focuses on the koi, her only friends now, and grows to love them. She learns to identify the different types and how to care for them. Toshiro appoints Sybil his Koi Keeper – replacing Golden Girl, who can barely hide her rage.

WONGSAWAT, a police captain, visits Toshiro, looking for a missing girl. He doesn’t find her, but remains distrustful of Toshiro.

A journalist, LAMAI SOMSAKUL, solicits Sybil’s story from Clay. On a web series, she casts suspicion on Toshiro as the kidnapper.  Wongsawat sees the report, and his ire grows. At home, in bed, Wongsawat is brutally attacked. But the attacker is killed without revealing who was behind the assault.

Stockholm syndrome: Sybil becomes deeply enamored of Toshiro. She’s been seduced by his looks, his mysticism, his power, and the drugs he offers. Her moxie, her fighting ability, and her care of the koi have impressed him. He takes her out to buy her new clothes and wines and dines her.

Then the koi are massacred. Sybil claims responsibility, but Toshiro believes it was the work of Golden Girl. In a stunning motion, he slashes her throat.

Sybil accompanies Toshiro to Tokyo on a trip to restock the koi pond. He shares his tortured memories of being abandoned by his family and convinces Sybil they are joined by their common abandonment. They marry in a simple Shinto ceremony and spend their honeymoon in a hotel.

Somchai learns where Sybil lives, and Clay joins the gang in an attack on Toshiro’s compound. A gun battle rages between the gang and Toshiro’s guards, and Clay kills a guard. But Sybil is nowhere to be found. She and Toshiro are still at the honeymoon hotel. The police arrive, and Clay is arrested. Incarcerated, Clay’s beard grows wild as he wastes away, unaware that Sybil rejoices in her love for Toshiro.

But love, like Sybil’s story, takes many twists and turns. Sybil finds evidence of Toshiro’s affair with her mother and her father’s search for her. She confronts Toshiro, who denies nothing.

Clay’s friends at the Embassy hear of his arrest and concoct a scheme to break him out of jail. They convince Wongsawat that Toshiro has Sybil. Wongsawat plans a raid.

Under a moonlit sky, a drunken Toshiro dances Sybil into the koi pond. Sybil buries a knife in his chest, leaving him alive but impotent. Suddenly, gunshots explode from all directions as the police, Clay’s gang, and Toshiro’s guards converge at the pond. Sybil is knocked down, a body on top of her. Clay has taken a bullet in the shoulder, but he has saved her. Toshiro, barely alive, is taken into custody. 

Clay and Sybil return to the States, to their home in Virginia. But a month later, they are back in Thailand, back at the compound, training women in self-defense.