John Hatch has been working the beat in the hardest part of San Diego for longer than most other cops have been dreaming of the job. The years, the work, the city streets have all been wearing on him. He's long given up hope for a normal life, the kind with a wife and kids and a mind at ease. The job just won't allow it. It's a sacrifice he feels every day, but he's good at what he does. When a call from dispatch sends him to a gruesome murder scene, his gut tells him there's something more to learn than the homicide team uncovers. But he's a street cop, not an investigator, and he's got trouble enough with his hot headed new partner, a rookie sergeant, and the disaster that is his personal life. One by one, the burdens of the job take their toll as he faces the daily reality of the streets - the druggies and wife beaters, cheaters and crooks - that remind him how short his life really is, and how impossible it is to live well in a world where bad things are just inevitable. In the end, no matter what kind of cop you try to be, whether you opt for the straight road or the easy, nothing about the job is as black and white as you'd like it to be.