- Directors: Antoine Fuqua
- Producers: Bruce Berman and Davis Guggenheim
- Writers: David Ayer
- Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
- Actors: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke
The film follows a single day in the life of a young LAPD cop Jake Hoyt (Hawke) as he is subject to an evaluation by Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington), a highly decorated LAPD narcotics officer who could put him on the path for rapid career advancement.
After meeting in a diner, Jake rides with Alonzo in his car, a black 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider, during the day. From the first few moments of their interaction, it becomes quickly apparent that Jake’s belief in the system is in stark contrast to Alonzo’s philosophy of blending in with “the real world” without regard for the rules. They first detain some college students buying marijuana from a dealer, but instead of arresting them they confiscate the drugs. Alonzo offers Jake a hit from the marijuana which Jake initially refuses. Alonzo threatens him and states that a drug dealer would have killed him for refusing. Jake stands fast, but Alonzo puts a gun to his head and threatens to throw him out of the car. Jake relents and takes the hit, but quickly discovers that the marijuana was laced with PCP.
Alonzo then takes Jake to the home of a man named Roger (Scott Glenn) for an apparent social call. After leaving Roger’s, Jake notices a female high school student being attacked by two men in a side alley. He demands Alonzo to pull over as he jumps out to save her. Alonzo watches, but doesn’t intervene. Jake wants to process the men and the girl, but Alonzo dismisses her and leaves the two men out on the street, saying the girl’s cousin (a gang member) will take care of her attackers. Jake denounces this as street justice, but Alonzo tells him that as a narcotics detective he is focused on shutting down major drug operations, not stopping individual crimes. Jake discovers the girl’s wallet and takes it with him.
In his desperate escape to LAX, Alonzo is surrounded at a quiet intersection by a crew of Russian hitmen who spray his car with machine gun fire. The final scene has Jake pulling into his driveway and going home to his wife, Lisa (Charlotte Ayanna), and daughter, while a radio broadcast reports Alonzo’s death â€” describing it as occurring honorably ‘in the line of duty.’