Having solved a high-profile case involving serial killer Edmund Cutler (Leland Orser) that ended with her being taken hostage by Cutler but managing to overpower and arrest him regardless, Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) is a rising officer in the San Francisco Police Department. She is transferred to the homicide division and promoted to the rank of inspector. Her deceased father's former partner, SFPD Chief John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), her foster father, also serves as her proud mentor. Shepard finds that she might once again have to prove herself in a department that takes no prisoners. In addition, Shepard's parents were both killed in the 1970s when she was young as a result of her father murdering her mother's extra-marital lovers then Shepard's mother and himself, an event which scarred her in the past and caused Mills to foster her.