CHASING THE DON - A movie script in development
Someone had to fight the crimes of the Black Hand. Someone who knew the language and who could fit in, a person who was tough and had the courage to do battle with the Mafia
This is a true story. The epic of one detective's all-out war against The Don and his cutthroats and of the mission that took the detective from New York to Palermo

Our Story Unfolds

New York has always been a major melting pot for the world's immigrants. And during the close of the 19th century the blending of people and cultures also brought to the USA a steady flow of criminals and their crime skills. Many came from southern Italy, and, on arrival, they set up crime machines that had the Irish cops on the street baffled. The media called them the Black Hand. They were really factions of the Neopolitan Camorra and the Sicilian Mafia. One 5'3" man from Italy proper joined the NYPD and used his language, his disguises, and his incredible courage to put Mafia leaders on the run - sending many to prison and having many others deported.

No policeman was better known in New York City in the early 1900s than Giuseppe 'Joseph' Petrosino, a man who loved music, played the violin with some skill, and had the reputation for "knocking out more front teeth than a dentist." He prowled the New York Little Italy in disguises, sitting next to his crime targets in bars, and picking up details of their plans and membership. He had a first name relationship with the future President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, and could mingle with the worst of the cutthroats then inhabiting the city's bars, brothels, and back alleys.

(Who was bigger than life)

Petrosino as a Patrolman Petrosino wanted to be a policeman since working the steps of one police precinct as a shoe-shine boy in his teens. He was always too short, too heavy, spoke poor English - - and wasn't Irish. The officers always laughed when they heard his future goal to join them as a foot patrolman. Later, he did join them and went on to shake a city and dismember the Mafia. This is the true story of Giuseppe Petrosino.

His Remarkable Qualities

Petrosino, a man short in stature, who married late, fought his way into the police department, was promoted three times, took on the worst criminals in New York's history at the time, chased the Mafia down no matter where it hid, and became the world's first intelligence commander within a police department.


Where We're Headed

This is a true story developed from the facts as they still exist. We found little need to fabricate since this man did it all, was colorfully eccentric, blunt in his talks with the media, his commanders, the commissioners, Presidents of the United States, and absolutely fearless whenever he had an opportunity to face down bandits, arsonists, extortionists and murderers. No one could stand up to him face to face - - and then he made his fateful journey to Palermo.

For information or to contact the writing team, use this handy EMAIL address.


The Palmer Press has brought together several writers with knowledge of police work and police intelligence. Their skills include research, the production of books, plays and movie scripts, a traveler's knowledge of Italy and Sicily, and a deep committment to bringing Giuseppe Petrosino's life and work to the screen.

© copyright 8 May, 2003 - The Palmer Press, Jack Morris, Publisher - All rights reserved