Beirut Hustle

Hap & Leonard meets the wire, in the chaotic neon-drenched streets of Beirut.

As Beirut is gripped by protests, two very different cops defy the powerful, the corrupt and the violent to investigate a string of murders in the city.

The Story

It’s summer in Beirut, the heat and humidity hang in the air as the city is gripped by mass protests to bring down the failing and corrupt government. Against this backdrop we meet Bash, a suspended Metropolitan Police officer who is back in his hometown for the first time in a decade to take care of his dying father Maroun. Their relationship is tense. Maroun was part of one of Lebanon’s deadliest militias, and even as his health deteriorates, he feels none of the remorse Bash wants — and needs — him to feel.

As Bash copes with the overwhelming city around him, his relationship with his father and his crumbling career, he finds refuge in Beirut’s dive bars and clubs. Temples of alcohol-fuelled excess and self-destruction, where an entire generation tries to forget the dead-end lives they are destined to. At Stollys he meets Leila, a cop who works at the station across the street. She is ambitious -- one of the first women to be allowed into the country’s hyper-masculine and regressive police force -- and frustrated by the incompetence of the men around her. Her dream is to become a detective, but her superiors, won’t let that happen.

As Bash and Leila meet there has already been a murder in the city, of a young Syrian refugee. They are both incensed at how little attention it is getting from the media or the authorities. The following week, when a woman shows up dead at a construction site by the Mediterranean shore, the police finally start an investigation. Bash is on the verge of ditching the idea of being in Beirut altogether, but Leila convinces him to come to the crime scene with her. When he gets there, he realizes he has seen this exact staging of a murder scene before. He has no option but to join forces with Leila and start a parallel investigation. To find some kind of justice for this woman, and maybe some broader justice.

The investigation leads them into the dark corners of contemporary Lebanese society. The more they investigate, the more they come across members of Maroun’s old militia. They seem to be sabotaging both the official investigation and Bash & Leila’s parallel one at every turn.

Bash and Leila form an unbreakable bond as their lives collapse and tangle in the exhilarating messiness of life in Beirut. Will they be able to put a dent in a system that protects the worst in society?