A Memphis police detective, Jacob King (Steven Seagal), deals with the traumatic childhood memory of his brother's murder by devoting his life to hunting down serial killers. The story opens with King capturing and throwing from a fifth story window Billy Joel Hill (Mark Collie), a madman who had used timed explosive devices implanted in his victim's bodies. King and his partner Detective Storm Anderson (Chris Thomas King) then begin investigating another local serial killer, Lazereus (Michael Filipowich), known by the press as "The Grifter," a pervert with delusions of grandeur who murders prostitutes and leaves cryptographic clues involving zodiac signs on and in their bodies. During the investigation King and Storm get help from a sympathetic coroner (Isaac Hayes) and fend off interference from a by-the-book FBI agent, Frankie Miller (Holly Elissa Dignard). Miller is alarmed by King's ultra-violent police tactics and suspects the detective may be mentally unbalanced and more involved in the murders than anyone knows. King solves the Lazereus murders by researching cryptography and brutally beating information out of Memphis' lowest lowlifes, but has trouble actually nailing the elusive Lazereus. During a struggle, Lazereus scratches King and then places what he scratches off under the fingernail of his latest victim, in an effort to frame King for the murders. In the meantime, Billy Joel Hill is released on bail and continues his rampage, eventually kidnaping and murdering King's police officer girlfriend, Celine (Karyn Michelle Baltzer) throwing further suspicion on King. King finds and kills Hill in a brutal confrontation and is cleared of the murder suspicions by the written confession of the captured Lazereus. When Storm and Miller find HIll, they also find that King has disappeared, leaving a note for Storm thanking him for his friendship and telling him that he will not be seeing King again. The final scene shows King arriving at a house that looks exactly like the one we were shown in his childhood flashbacks. There King is greeted by people who appear to be his wife and children, all of whom speak to him in Russian. They greet him enthusiastically as though he was returning from a long trip. The woman who seems to be King's wife leads him to the bedroom and seductively strips for him. King smiles and looks happy to be home.