Cruising (1980) - Plot Summary Poster


Plot Summary

  • A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society. While barely seeing his girlfriend Nancy anymore, the work starts changing him.

    - Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
  • Severed male body parts have been found around New York City. These discoveries happen concurrently with a few gay men, they being involved in the subculture of leather S&M, being murdered, their arms and legs bound behind their naked bodies, and multiple three-inch deep knife wounds in their backs. The police believe the two sets of incidents are related. Lead investigator Captain Edelson offers the job of going undercover into the leather S&M gay subculture to find the murderer to police constable Steve Burns, who matches the physical type of the victims. Despite being straight, he accepts the job as he aspires to be a detective, but he is told he can't tell anyone, even his girlfriend Nancy, of his undercover work. Steve goes through a steep learning curve about this gay subculture as he tracks suspects. As he goes through this undercover work, he has to decide how far he will go to achieve success. But he also is highly affected not only by what he sees in this subculture, but by the police's reaction to events that are happening around him. This may affect his ability not only to carry out the job but in his personal relationship to Nancy.

    - Written by Huggo
  • In New York, the ambitious police officer Steve Burns is assigned by his Captain Edelson to work uncover in the gay S&M underworld to seek out the serial-killer that is killing and severing the members of gays since he has the same appearance of the victims. Steve has the objective to be promoted to detective and get his golden shield and Capt. Edelson is the only one in the department who knows Steve's assignment. Steve does not tell to his girlfriend Nancy his mission and he needs to learn the behavior of this community. During the investigation, Steve is affected by the discoveries in this new world, but Captain Edelson does not want him to quit his assignment.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Cruising is the fictional account of a series of gruesome killings in modern day New York City. Steve Burns, a "beat" officer still wet behind the ears, is recruited by Captain Edelson of the NYPD Homicide Unit to go undercover in search of the perpetrator. The victims in these killings are all homosexual men known to frequent "Leather," S&M (Sadism and Masochism), and B&D (Bondage and Dominance) clubs so Burns, in "deep cover," must mascarade as gay in order to attract the killer. He fits the victims' profiles: dark hair, dark complexion, dark eyes. Cruising tells the story of his adventures and misadventures in this small subculture of gay society as he searches for the killer.

    - Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>
  • A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

    - Written by Matt Patay


In New York City, body parts are showing up in the Hudson River at the same time that a serial killer is targeting gay men...

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