John Berlin, a big-city cop from Los Angeles, moves to a small-town police force and immediately finds himself investigating a murder. Using theories rejected by his colleagues John meets a young blind woman named Helena, who he is attracted to. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on the loose and only John knows it.
John Berlin is a cop teetering toward burnout from life on the streets of L.A., and the collapse of a bad marriage. At the invitation of an old friend, fellow cop Freddy Ross, Berlin bolts from the LAPD for a supposedly quieter life in rural California with the Eureka police force. Instead, Berlin prickles his new colleagues, including John "J.K." Taylor, who was passed over for promotion in order to make room for Berlin, by re-opening the case of a serial killer of blind girls which went unsolved despite a full-time six-month effort by the department. The case has already cost the lives of seven victims. Berlin is trying to connect the case to a body found at a dump, but Taylor and chief Citrine refuse to believe that the body at the dump is in any way connected to the case. Berlin becomes convinced that "Jennifer 8" -- or victim 8 -- will be blind student Helena Robertson, whose roommate Amber was the seventh victim. Berlin becomes obsessed with the case, despite an almost complete lack of hard evidence, and he becomes romantically involved with Helena, who resembles his ex-wife. Concerned for Berlin's physical and emotional welfare, Ross accompanies Berlin on a stakeout at the institute where Helena lives in a dorm, after leaving Helena at a party with Ross's wife Margie. When Berlin and Ross see lights in the closed school, Berlin investigates and is knocked unconscious by the killer. The killer then shoots Ross dead with Berlin's gun. After a grueling interrogation by FBI agent St. Anne, who thinks it was Berlin who killed Ross, Berlin is arrested for Ross's murder, but is bailed out by Margie, who believes the truth that Berlin is not the killer. Berlin sets out to clear his name by finding the killer.
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