The Opportunists

Institute History


Set on the streets of New York City, The Opportunists is the story of a strange and endearing group of Irish Americans and their quest for the American Dream.

Michael Kelly, a young man from Ireland, arrives in New York, his ambition to persuade his Uncle, Victor Kelly, a legendary safe cracker, to teach him the tricks of the trade. Victor, now the proprietor of a used car lot, is no longer interested. He has to think of his daughter, Miriam, and his Aunt Deirdre, both of whom he feels responsible for.

Neither woman sees Victor in this light. Deirdre, living in an old folks home where her nephew can't make the payments, dreams of escape to a plot of land she holds in Wyoming. And Miriam, more often than not, finds herself having to bail Victor out of trouble.

Needing funds to pay Deirdre's fees, Victor and Michael, posing as priests, embark on a series of profitable petty scams.

When Hector Jiminez, an old acquaintance of Victor's, arrives, Michael finds himself out of a job. Jiminez, by threatening to call in an old debt, persuades Victor to undertake a warehouse heist. Wishing to protect his nephew from a life of crime, Victor refuses to include Michael in the job. Instead he gives his nephew the money to get home.

Precision is called for, and preparations for the heist take place. Meanwhile Michael,
unknown to Victor, moves in with Miriam and spies on the gang's preparations.
The day of the robbery arrives. Michael lies in wait for the gang. As they pile out of the warehouse in a blaze of alarms, Michael jumps them and makes off with their haul.

Michael finds himself in a dilemma when the gang offer him Victor's life in return for their loot. Reluctantly he gives in, and finds himself bundled into a car, and taken, along with Victor, to a New Jersey swamp. As they wait, waist deep in mud, for a bullet, Michael confesses to Victor that he is not really his nephew. He's an opportunist who met the real Michael Kelly in jail, and was impressed by stories of Kelly's illustrious uncle. A gunshot sounds and both men still stand, and turn to see that Deirdre has foiled their execution.

Michael and Victor patch up their differences, only to be picked up days later by the police for an earlier trick. Meanwhile, Deirdre and Miriam settle into an old Airstream mobile home on Deirdre's plot of land in Wyoming.

The Opportunists, rich in character and place is a journey of the soul for Michael and the people he encounters in America.


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