Concerned that he might be transferred to Alaska because of his failure to obtain a conviction in the past three years, Alex, an FBI supervisor temporarily assigned to the Philadelphia office, decides to quicken his pursuit of a local political boss (who is suspected to accepting bribes) by setting up a "sting" operation which involves the offering of an illegal payment to a lesser official. With the reluctant cooperation of Peter, another FBI agent who agrees to pose as the representative of a group of rich developers, a small-time politico, Jimmy, is approached with the promise of a cash payoff if he can provide access to Tommy O'Hara, a highly placed official who controls patronage throughout the state and is the "man to see" when the rules need bending. Essentially honest, but in need of funds to pay for his daughter's college expenses, Jimmy, after wrestling with his conscience, agrees to go along with the plan—thereby setting in motion a gripping series of disturbing events and suspenseful scenes in which questions of trust and betrayal are contrasted with those of greed and corruption. Ironically, it is "big fish" Tommy, the wily, cautious old pro, who wriggles off the hook, leaving the hapless "little fish" Jimmy to take the rap—despite the troubled Peter's last minute attempt to spare him, even at the risk of jeopardizing his own career and of upsetting the quest for "justice," which, it seems, must be pursued regardless of the price exacted.
A taut, hard-hitting drama which explores the moral questions raised when law enforcement authorities lure suspected wrongdoers into incriminating themselves. "Matthew Witten's tough-as-nails drama THE DEAL is as current as today's headlines." —The Hollywood Reporter. "…trenchant, timely play…THE DEAL is an exciting political thriller." —Drama-Logue. "Playwright Matthew Witten has created a fascinating look into the ethics of greed and entrapment that begins to make the government pursuers look equally slimy as their prey." —Tolucan/Canyon Crier.