FBI agent Joel Campbell (James Spader) has gone into hiding. Traumatizes and beaten down after years of pursuing pyschotic killers in Los Angeles he is tryi g to carve a new, less stressful, life for himself in Chicago. But his guilty past follows him. He has only been in Chicago for a few months when there is a rash of gruesome murders, all of which follow a sickeningly familiar pattern; they are undoubtedly the work of one man - David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves). The cunning and tormennting Griffin prodded and eluded Campbell for years in Los Angeles, and now he has pursued his tracker to Chicago. For Griffin, the vicious merciless killing of lonely young women has merely become a pretext for a sadistic game of cat and mouse between himself and Campbell. Before each murder he sends the FBI agent a photograph of his intended victim and dares him to find her before he strikes again. Each succesive killing reminds Campbell of his past failures, dredging up feelings of helplesness and loss that he has been trying to supress. For his nemesis Griffin, Campbell's exquisite torture becomes his entire reason for killing. He meticulously stages one final murder, designed to destroy Campbell by confronting him with his guilt-plagued past. And unless Campbell can stop him, he will become the killer's ultimate victim.