When his longtime partner on the force is killed, reckless U.S. Secret Service agent Richard Chance (William L. Petersen) vows revenge, setting out to nab dangerous counterfeit artist Eric Masters (Willem Dafoe). Along with his new, straitlaced partner, John Vukovich (John Pankow), Chance sets up a scheme to entrap Masters, resulting in the accidental death of an undercover officer. As Chance’s desire for justice becomes an obsession, Vukovich questions the lawless methods he employs.
Renegade cop Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) pulls bank robber Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) from a federal prison on a 48-hour leave to help him capture Hammond’s old partner, Albert Ganz (James Remar). Having escaped from a prison work crew, Ganz is on a killing spree around San Francisco, on the trail of half a million dollars that went missing after one of his robberies. The cocky Reggie knows where the money is, but spars with the hotheaded Jack as he enjoys his temporary freedom.
Los Angeles marketing analyst Michael Boll (James Spader) struggles with insecurity despite his successes — until he meets a mysterious man, Alex (Rob Lowe), who promises to help him gain confidence. However, Alex’s guidance becomes toxic when he introduces Michael to sex, drugs and crime. When Michael’s life begins collapsing, he comes to realize that his mentor is a sociopath. Is it too late, or can Michael escape Alex’s sinister web of machinations?