A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
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New York City cop Daniel Ciello is involved in some questionable police practices. He is approached by internal affairs and in exchange for him potentially being let off the hook, he is instructed to begin to expose the inner workings of police corruption. Danny agrees as long as he does not have to turn in his partners but he soon learns that he cannot trust anyone and he must decide whose side he is on and who is on his. Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sidney Lumet agreed to direct under two conditions: he wanted an unknown actor to play Leuci and he wanted the running time to be at least three hours long. Treat Williams was unknown at the time but the final cut was edited down to 2 hours and 47 minutes. See more »
When Barnes is picking up the Ciello family at their home, Barnes puts his hat - a brown fedora - on Ciello's young child's head. In the next shot, when Barnes takes his hat back from the child, it is not the fedora he had just put on the child but instead is a dark hunting hat with a long baseball cap like bill and no brim. See more »
Dave's been calling all over town about you. Why do you always have to shoot off your mouth, Ciello? I heard he's talkin' about some cop who's squealin' to the Chase Commission.
Carl, let's not sit so close to the TV set. I can't get any kind of recording here.
Man, that's not funny.
Listen, you oughta think about comin' over, Carl. Lotta cops are doin' it. You see that waitress over there? The one with no tits? She's been wearin' a wire for six months. She's got a transmitter stuffed right up ...
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Treat Williams plays a corrupt New York narcotics detective who tries to redeem himself by volunteering to go undercover on the force to weed out other corrupt policeman only to find himself facing an increasingly difficult series of moral dilemmas involving his former partners. This intelligent film is possibly the best cop film ever made. Treat Williams delivers the best performance of his career although the excellent supporting cast, Jerry Orbach, in particular, comes very close to stealing the movie right out from under him. Williams is so good here that you can't believe he is the same guy who later appeared in "Dead Heat." (What happened?) Director Sidney Lumet, who also co-wrote the insightful, penetrating script with Jay Presson Allen, was never better. He does such a great job that you can't believe he's the same guy who directed "Family Business." (What happened?) The film is long, but you never lose interest. A must see.
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