TERENCE MCDONAGH, homicide detective with the New Orleans Police Department, saves a prisoner from drowning in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In so doing, he severely injures his back. Hes promoted to Lieutenant, put on prescription pain medication and returned to active duty.
A year later finds Terence addicted to vicodin and cocaine, buoyed by the conceit that he can take care of everyone he needs to take care of and that hes a better cop than ever. He has his bosses sufficiently convinced in his ability that when a family of African immigrants is found massacred, he is chosen to head up the investigation.
He comes up with the identity of an eyewitness - a delivery boy name DARYL who, to gain parole for his incarcerated mother, is willing to testify against a drug dealer named BIG FATE whos thus far been invulnerable to prosecution due to his propensity for killing witnesses. It falls to Terence to safeguard Daryl.
Terence and FRANKIE love one another with the conviction of the last two people alive in the world. The fact that shes a hooker doesnt make him love her less he only wants to protect her more. When she tells him that a client beat her up and cheated her, he takes Daryl and drives to Biloxi to bring her home.
Finding the assailant - a weasel named JUSTIN - in Frankies room, Terence roughs him up and takes his money. Daryl, now convinced that Terence is too much of an addict to be capable of protecting him, takes advantage of Terence checking on a football score to make his getaway. Terence searches for Daryl, threatening the boys grandmother, only to be told that hes left the country.
His downward spiral picks up speed. The District Attorney now has no case against Big Fate, and is hauled over the carpet by the Police Departments Internal Affairs Bureau. Then hes summoned to Frankies apartment where shes being terrorized by armed thugs in the pay of Justins father. They tell Terence he has to come up with $50,000 and a free round of Frankies services. Terence asks for two days in which to get the money and gets them to leave.
In desperation, he hides a reluctant, dope-sickened Frankie at his fathers house, hopeful that she and his fathers wife will work out their differences. Seemingly at the end of his career with the Police Department, Terence goes to Big Fate with a proposition - for a price hell provide intelligence about police operations before they happen. Once Terence proves he can deliver, Big Fates in.
Taking his cut in dope, Terence gets Big Fate to take a hit off his lucky crack pipe just before the guys working for Justins father, having tailed Terence, show up to get paid.
Big Fate and his boys kill them instead. Terence has the lucky crack pipe - now with Big Fates DNA on it - planted at the scene of the African familys murder.
In the convoluted moral universe in which Terence lives, Big Fate is convicted, Terence, though still copping dope, receives another promotion and Frankie is sober and pregnant.
Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Coolidge, Shawn Hatosy