The body of a young woman is found in a ditch in the woods of the small California coastal town of San Benito.
Sandra Bullock (Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Miss Congeniality) stars as Cassie Mayweather, the seasoned homicide detective and crime scene specialist assigned to the case along with her new partner San Kennedy (Ben Chaplin - Lost Souls, The Thin Red Line). Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt are two high school initellectuals who believe they can commit the "perfect" murder.
The two detectives make their way through microscopic hints of evidence, which seem to indicate a random act of violence, but Cassie has a gut feeling that there is more to this murder than meets the eye. Something about this case reminds her of her past exactly at a time when she is asked to appear at a parole hearing on an old police matter.