Rookie Los Angeles cop Nick Styles is at a Los Angeles street fair, where hit man Earl Talbot Blake pulls a double cross on some drug dealers, killing four men. Minutes later, Nick shoots Blake in the knee, and Blake is grabbed by Nick's partner and best friend Larry Doyle. Nick becomes the focus of the media, thanks to an amateur cameraman's footage of Nick disarming Blake. Over the next few years, Nick's career takes off: he's offered a job in the district attorney's office, and his hip media style keeps him in the public eye. Nick marries a woman named Alice and they go on to have two daughters named Lisa and Monica. While Blake is in prison, he vows revenge on Nick. When Blake comes up for parole, he orchestrates a bloody escape — which includes faking his own death. Blake doesn't want Nick dead. He just wants Nick to suffer in spades. He wants to ruin Nick's life as completely as possible, and then have Nick sent to prison for murder so Nick will know how Blake feels. Blake begins his vendetta by killing city councilman U. B. Farris and planting evidence to make everyone think Nick and Farris are running an underage pornography ring. Blake then kidnaps Nick, forces him to take drugs and have sex with a prostitute, videotapes the whole thing, and then releases Nick. Nick tells everyone that it was Blake who kidnapped him, but everyone refuses to believe Nick because everyone thinks Blake is dead. That night, Blake breaks into Nick's house, and makes a threatening videotape with Lisa, Monica, and an ax in it, but Blake didn't actually do anything to Lisa and Monica. Nick is then suspended from the DA's office, with everyone thinking that Nick is mentally ill because he keeps saying that Blake is still alive. Blake then begins the final phase of his vendetta — he kills Larry and frames Nick for it. Blake also links Nick to misappropriation of public funds, specifically, the funds he's supposed to be raising for a children's center in a building at the base of the Watts tower. Nick is forced to turn to his childhood friend, gang leader Odessa, for help in clearing his name and stopping Blake once and for all.
- This is one case that's going to be settled out of court.
He's a cop accused of murder. And the only man who knows he's innocent is the killer who framed him.