1950s L. A.
A thuggish cop Bud White (Russell Crowe) wishes to become a detective. He hasn’t attained that level yet because all he’s good for is beating up criminals. At least that’s what the paternalistic Captain Smith (James Cromwell) implies.
Bud doesn’t like the rule-bound, ambitious Detective Exley (Guy Pearce) who doesn’t understand how things work and makes trouble.
But Bud very much does like Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger) a prostitute whom he meets in the course of investigating a shootout at a diner.
His acquaintances include Detective Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), the consultant for a TV cop show (played by Dragnet). Vincennes is almost too cynical to breathe.
Not to mention his informant, the sleazy tabloid “journalist” Sid (Danny DeVito) who knows all the dirty secrets of everybody in town.
It’s just top drawer all around: plot, characters, acting, cinematography, pacing. If you haven’t seen it (lucky you!), grab your movie snack of choice and settle in for a treat.