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Training Day (2001) - Plot Summary Poster

(2001)

Plot

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Summaries

  • In Los Angeles, a city where streets are overrun by drug dealers, those who have sworn to uphold the law are breaking them to clean up the streets. Denzel Washington plays L.A.P.D. detective Alonzo Harris, a veteran narcotics officer whose methods of enforcing the law are questionable, if not corrupt. 'Training Day' follows Harris as he trains rookie Jake Hoyt over a 24-hour period. Ethical dilemmas arise for Hoyt as well as the audience as questions present themselves as to whether or not Harris' methodology for ridding the streets of South Central Los Angeles of drugs is right or wrong.

  • A former Los Angeles security guard named Jake Hoyt has applied for a LAPD position as a Narcotics officer. However, in order to be accepted, he must go through approximately 24 hours of training from a veteran Narcotics officer. Unfortunately for Jake, he is appointed to Alonzo Harris, an officer who has a nasty reputation for not treating victims very well, abusing suspects, handling drugs and other evidence in a questionable matter, and opening fire randomly. So, Jake must watch his own back with Alonzo on this "Training Day".

  • Jake Hoyt wants to become a LAPD narc agent, stop narcs from selling drugs on the streets. But that might be hard as he works with LAPD narc agent Alonzo Harris for the next 24 hours. Alonzo is an LAPD veteran who has been working the narcs for over a decade, but his ways and techniques of becoming a narc agent are questionable, if not corrupt. As the 24 hours go by, Jake observes Alonzo's methods, and in the madness, Jake tries to solve all the twists and turns, trying to figure out who really is the enemy here. Training Day. Its a day of reckoning.

  • On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The movie begins as we see Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) waking up on the 1st day of his new assignment as an undercover narcotics officer in the grittiest part of LA. The head of his unit is Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) who has 4 other men working for him. Today, Jake will be riding along with Alonzo so he can show him the streets, and see how young Jake performs under pressure. Jake meets Alonzo at a small coffee shop where Jake finds out quickly that Alonzo is a tough-talking, no-nonsense maverick narcotics officer.

    For the next few hours we are taken from the ghetto to the barrio, from drug dealers to rapists. We learn a lot about Alonzo's as he seems to know every bad person out there. He even lives with a girl in the ghetto with their son. In that particular neighborhood, behind his back, everyone hates Alonzo's abuse of authority. Alonzo also promises Jake that he can accelerate his promotion within the department.

    While driving past an alleyway, Jake sees a young girl about to be raped and yells at Alonzo to stop the car. He doesn't want to stop because that's not what he's there for. Alonzo jumps out of the car and rescues the girl but not before getting into a huge fight with the two men. Jake is victorious and as he is consoling the girl, Alonzo shows up and tortures the two men briefly before sending them on their way. The girl hurriedly leaves and Jake finds her wallet on the ground and absently pockets it.

    Alonzo takes Jake to the house of an old friend of his, Roger, (Scott Glenn) who is a retired LAPD veteran but is now dealing drugs on the side. They share a drink together and a few laughs. Roger asks Alonzo about an incident that happened when Alonzo was recently on vacation in Las Vegas but Alonzo brushes it off, saying it's not a problem.

    Everywhere they go, Alonzo gets away with more money, or drugs by shaking down or just scaring the hell out of the bad guys. At one point Alonzo forces Jake to smoke PCP-laced marijuana, holding a pistol to his head and telling him that if Jake had been with a drug-dealer and refused, he'd be shot. It's obvious that Jake doesn't agree with what's going on but Alonzo explains to him that to protect the sheep, you need to kill the wolves and the only way to do that is to become a wolf. Jake smokes the weed and spends a few miles in a PCP-induced stupor.

    They go to a lunch meeting with some big-time LA judges but about all we can make out is that they aren't exactly the most law-abiding officials. They also ask Jake about Las Vegas and Alonzo reacts much the same way he did with Roger; he seems unconcerned. He asks the judges for a search warrant, which they grant him.

    Alonzo and Jake meet up with the other four members of the unit and, armed with the warrant, they storm into a small house. The house turns out to be Roger's, who has $4 million stashed away in the floorboards. Alonzo and his guys plan to divide up three million of the stash among themselves. Jake is very unsure of how the deal will go down. Back in Roger's living room, while they discuss their plan, Alonzo tells Jake to shoot Roger. Jake refuses and Alonzo does the deed himself, saying "it's not what you know, but what you can prove." The plan is to use one of Roger's guns to shoot Jeff (Peter Greene) in his Kevlar vest to make the act look like self-defense. When Jeff is shot, one of the bullets penetrates his vest and he angrily begs Alonzo to call for an ambulance. Jake suddenly grabs the shotgun and holds Alonzo and his crew off, telling them he won't play along. Alonzo gets Jake to back down when he tells him that a blood or urine test will show that Jake had used drugs. Jake backs down, back up and the paramedics arrive and the crime seems to go unquestioned. Back at Alonzo's car, Jake tells him that what just occurred was murder. Alonzo counters, saying that Roger dealt drugs to kids in his neighborhood and that since the money was dirty, it was theirs to keep. Alonzo seems to concede on one point; that Jake is still a rookie and needs time to accept Alonzo's dirty dealings.

    They head out to the barrio where Alonzo tells him he needs to give some goods to the family of one of his informants. There is a card game going on in the kitchen and Jake waits there while Alonzo goes into the bathroom. The owner of the house, Smiley (Cliff Curtis) opens the package that Alonzo left and has his sister count out the money that was inside. Jake sits down to play cards with Smiley and his guys and a brief discussion about Jake's sidearm takes place, an ploy for Smiley's buddy, Moreno (Noel Gugliemi) to get Jake's weapon away from him. Smiley then reveals that Alonzo left him behind and explains what happened in Las Vegas: allegedly a Russian gangster had been mouthing off to Alonzo until Alonzo lost his temper and beat the man to death. The gangster's bosses gave Alonzo an out: play them $1 million and they'd forget the incident. If Alonzo can't pay by midnight, he'll be hunted down and killed.

    Knowing that he's been set up by Alonzo, Jake desperately tries to fight his way out but Smiley and his guys take him down. They drag him into the bathroom and just as they're about to shoot him in the head, one of them decides to take his wallet first. Out of his pocket comes the pink wallet he recovered from the rape scene earlier that day. Smiley furiously asks Jake how he got the wallet; Jake tells him that he'd stopped his cousin Letty from being assaulted and raped earlier. Smiley calls Letty and she confirms Jake's story. Smiley decides to let Jake go as a solid for rescuing his cousin.

    Jake hops a bus and heads out to the worst part of South Central area where Alonzo is living and confronts him just as he is packing up his million to give to the Russians. For the next 10 minutes or so there is a shootout in the house, on the roof and in the streets of the neighborhood. Finally, Jake forces Alonzo to crash his car, temporarily knocking Alonzo out. Jake drags him from the car and holds him at gunpoint. When he recovers, he and Jake face each other in the street with all the gang members surrounding them. Alonzo offers to make whomever shoots Jake a "very rich man" but the gang members, tired of Alonzo's ego and control of them, refuse. Jake walks off with the money, leaving a shouting Alonzo to whatever fate awaits him.

    Alonzo gets into his car and drives towards the airport. His car is forced to a stop by a several vans and out jump the armed Russians who kill him in a hail of gunfire.

    When Jake arrives home we hear newscasts describing the killing of a highly-decorated narcotics officer who was gunned down while investigating drug trafficking at the airport.

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