In the mid-1980s Marion Cobretti, nicknamed Cobra, is a ruthless LAPD lieutenant whose leather-jacketed garb and souped-up early-50s car make him "a reject from the 1950s," as his partner Sergeant Reni Gonzalez puts it. Cobretti and Gonzalez are part of the LAPD's Zombie Squad, officers tasked with criminals considered too violent or unpredictable for regular police; the Zombie Squad, however, is also considered a "dumping ground" for officers considered too extreme for a department increasingly besieged by politics, shown in Cobretti's running clashes with Detective Andrew Monte, an officer who despises Cobretti's methods (the two officers nearly come to blows when Monte accuses Cobretti of using a terrified witness solely as expendable bait), and also in a confrontation between Cobretti and a TV journalist after a gun-wielding psychopath opens fire in a supermarket and is dispatched with ruthless panache by Cobretti. The supermarket showdown comes amid a wave of knife killings by a man known as The Night Slasher, and Detective Monte stubbornly refuses to heed Cobretti's warning that the Night Slasher killings are the work of a criminal anomaly - an organized army of psychopaths. Cobretti's theory proves accurate when Ingrid Knudson, a model, accidentally witnesses a Night Slasher killing and is pursued by the gang, and is placed under the protective wing of Cobretti and Gonzalez. Tragedy nearly strikes, however, when a message from police HQ separates Cobretti and Gonzalez from Ingrid Knudson, and simultaneous attempts are made on the lives of Cobretti and Knudson that both barely escape. Furious that a mole in the department is working for Night Slasher, Cobretti and Gonzalez must take Knudson out of the city, unaware that the department is quietly hoping this will draw Night Slasher's gang away, which leaves the two officers and their scared witness in a wild flight for their lives in upstate California.
- Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure.
The strong arm of the law.