A murderer is loose on the streets of Manhattan. A diabolical killer whose brutal slayings leave a trail of cryptic messages hidden at the scene of the crime. Clues which only a brilliant mind can interpret.
Now as the city lies in fear, a gifted but disabled detective is on the case. Together with the help of a rookie street cop, the two must go inside the mind of this terrifying madman and defeat him at his own game. For he will strike again…But next time, they may just be too late.
Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington), a New York City detective specializing in forensics, was once the country’s leading criminologist. Author of numerous best-selling books, Rhyme’s keen eye for details and nose for clues have made him legendary within the law enforcement community. Following a near-fatal injury in the line of duty, Rhyme is left bed-bound, his arms and legs useless, and with little will to live.
Feisty, street-smart policewoman Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) is only in her early twenties but already feels aged beyond her years. On the eve of being transferred to a desk job, her last call as a street cop leads her to a crime scene and the discovery of a gruesomely – mutilated corpse, where her quick thinking and daring act of bravery will not go unnoticed.
Rhyme’s fellow detectives try to enlist his assistance in solving the grisly crime, but he sends them packing, declaring that it’s an open and shut case and not worthy of his time. However, after taking a look at the physical evidence file and the photos therein, Rhyme is suddenly intrigued. For the photographer who took the pictures has also seen the complex messages hidden in subtle details at the crime scene … someone who speaks the language of forensics as Rhyme does. A kindred spirit.
On the first day of her new job, Rhyme has Amelia pulled against her wishes and reassigned to assist him on the case. Together, they realize that this murder is not just a random act, but the work of a violent criminal mind – a serial murderer … who has only just begun. An unlikely pairing at first, Donaghy must become Rhymes’ eyes, ears and legs, scouring horrific crime scenes for evidence as they race against the clock to prevent the next hideous act of this brutal killer. A killer who taunts them by leaving arcane clues for Rhyme to unravel and Donaghy to unearth, in what just might be enough time to save the victims’ lives.