It has been 2 years since a stolen Mercedes sedan intentionally drove into a large crowd of people killing 16 and injuring dozens more. Bill Hodges , the now retired police inspector who was in charge of the investigation, could never let go of the case or the killer who was never caught.Hodges begins to receive mysterious unsettling messages containing information never released to the public and decides to start his own unofficial investigation.
Augie Odenkirk arrives at 3:04 am at the Bridgeton City Center Mall for a job fair, and discovers that people are already lined up. He gets in line next to a woman, Janice Cray, who has her baby daughter Patti with her. They introduce themselves and Janice says that she had to bring Patti because she doesn’t have a job to afford a babysitter. Patti coughs and Janice says that it’s croup and sounds worse than it is. She and Augie chat and then Janice sits down to settle Patti down.
People try to sleep, but Patti’s crying wakes them. Augie provides his sleeping bag so that Janice can change her inside. He zips Janice up once she’s inside and hands her the bag with the diaper. A Mercedes pulls up and parks, the engine idling. The driver turns on the headlights and puts on a clown mask, and then drives into the crowd. People die, and the Mercedes runs over Janice when Augie is unable to get her out in time. The driver hits Augie and drives on.
Later, the police arrive and secure the crime scene. Police detective Bill Hodges arrives and his partner Pete Dixon tells him that there are sixteen dead and triple that injured. When Xxx says that the driver lost control, Bill figures otherwise.
Two Years Later
A retired Bill wakes up in his recliner in his house when the phone rings. It’s Pete, who asks if they’re on for lunch. and Bill says that they are. Once Bill hangs up, he gets up and eventually manages to urinate. He then goes outside and gives lettuce to his pet tortoise, Fred. Back inside, Bill puts on a record and gets dressed, and then goes to the restaurant. Pete figures that Bill hates retirement. The waitress Sheila comes over and manages to coax a smile out of Bill. Once she leave, Pete asks how Bill’s daughter Allie is doing and asks if Bill is okay.
Sheila comes back with a piece of rum cake for Bill. Pete says that maybe Bill has been having a bit too much. Once she leaves, Bill jokingly wonders why Bill is trying to sabotage his chances with Sheila. Pete gets a call about bones found in a murder case they’ve been investigating. He asks to reschedule for the next day and leaves. Bill looks at his reflection in a spoon and eats his rum cake.
Brady Hartsfield drives his IT car back to the store Supreme Electronix at the mall and tells his co-worker, Lou Linklatter, how it went. He tells her that he had to deal with an old lady’s screensaver, and their boss Anthony “Rob” Frobisher comes over and complains that Lou was rude to a customer. He has video of the incident, and says that he took them both in because they’re waywards and he tries to be a beacon for waywards.
Bill drives home and watches the children and the couples with babies. He passes an ice cream truck and some kids set up a street hockey net ahead, blocking the street. Bill pulls around them and parks, and his neighbor Ida Silver comes over and complains that Bill’s yard is overgrown. He tells her that his regular kid Jerome Robinson had SATs on Saturday and couldn’t make it. Ida points out that five days ago and tells Bill to call Jerome. Bill tries to ignore her and heads inside, and Ida says that she has more for supper than she needs and he’s welcome to join her.
Inside, Bill pours himself a drink. A ball from the hockey game bounces into Bills’ bushes, and he goes out and yells at the boys. He tosses the ball in his hand, and one of the boys invites him to play. The boy says that sometimes they see Bill watching them through his window, Bill walks off, disgusted.
That night, Bill and Ida have dinner at Ida’s house. Ida talks about his problem urinating, having seen the boxes in his garbage, and then asks if he wants to have sex with her. She points out that he’s not an attractive man and she’s likely the only woman he’s going to get. Bill mentions the street hockey kids, and Ida says that Bills cares them. Ida shows him a nude photo of herself, and says that if Bill drops dead then the resale price could lower her property values as well. She talks about how physical and emotional inertia killer her husband Larry, and tells Bill that he needs to find some kind of purpose.
Back home, Bill drinks a beer and sits down at the computer. There’s an email and video from Mr. M, with a smiley face saying that it’s been a long time. Mr. M starts to congratulate Bill, who shuts off the video. He turns off the TV and then starts the video, and Mr. M taunts him. He brings up photos of the people who died at the mall, and reminds Bill that he didn’t catch every killer. Mr. M says that Bill failed to come for him like he promised, and that he’s coming too. He finishes by wishing his love to Fred. Bill takes his gun out of his lockbox and looks nervously out the window, and then tries to delete the email only to find out that it’s disappeared.
The next morning, Bill wakes up at 6:30 when he hears Jerome mowing his yard. Jerome says that Ida called him and told him to do it. Bill asks him to check his computer, and Jerome says that it would take high-end software to make the email disappear. He says that he can retrieve it given time.
Brady drives home for lunch where his mother Deborah is drinking and watching TV. She invites Brady to sit with her, and tells him that he’s working too hard. Deborah tells him to have a social life, and that his only “friends” are Lou and Rob. She says that he could have any girl he wanted. Brady says that he has to get back to work, and Deborah tells him to give her a little kiss on the cheek first. When he does so, she turns and kisses him on the mouth and grabs his crotch. Brady pulls away and goes downstairs to his private computer room. Once he locks the gate, Brady masturbates and once he’s done, voice-activates his computers. He gives the password to stop the twenty-second self-destruct.
As they have lunch, Pete figures that retirement is killing Bill. Bill says that it isn’t except for the cases they never solve. He asks about the Mercedes killer and asks if the case is still active. Pete figures that Bill will never let it go, and Pete tells him that Olivia Trelawney, the owner of the stolen Mercedes, recently killed herself. It was never disclosed that a smiley face sticker was found on the steering wheel, and the clown mask was never recovered. When Pete wonders why he’s interested, Bill says that he’s just making conversation.
Brady is at the store putting discount stickers on CDs when Rob gives him a list of six outcalls. When Brady says that he was going to leave at 3 for his other job, Rob asks what else he has going. He tells Brady that he thinks of himself as Brady’s mentor, and lectures him about how his career is at the store. Rob tells him that Brady has to accept what he is and walks off.
When Bill returns home, Jerome tells him that he couldn’t find anything. Ida arrives and wonders what Jerome is doing there. She asks for a minute alone, and Jerome quickly leaves. Ida tells Bill that it’s his choice if he has sex with her, and complains that he was repulsed by her nude photos. Bill wonders what she wants, and Ida tells him to look at the pictures. He finally does so and says that it’s very nice. Ida smirks at him and leaves.
Bill goes back to his computer and looks up articles on the massacre. There’s a smiley face ad about being out of work and depressed on the page, and when Bill clicks on it, he sees the same video, along with dashcam video of the massacre. Bill goes out with his gun but doesn’t see anyone.
The next day, Bill talks to Pete about the case and asks if the police still get pranks relating to the case. Pete says that they haven’t, and wonders if Bill is obsessing about it. He tells Bill that he’s retired and he’s the one on the case, and goes inside.
Bill drives to Supreme Electronix and asks Rob if they carry surveillance cameras. Rob is eager to help him, and Bill finally tells him to give it a rest. Once Rob leaves, Bill asks Lou for her opinion and she says that it’s good. He buys it and then drives to the impound lot. The impound man reluctantly lets him in and Bill checks out the Mercedes. He gets into the driver’s seat and imagines the massacre. Bill gets out, gasping for breath, and walks away.
Later, Jerome installs the surveillance camera while Bill feeds Fred. The ice cream truck pulls up and Jerome suggests that Bill treat him to an ice cream bar. As Jerome goes over, Bill finds another ball in his bushes. He discovers that there’s a smiley face inked on it like the one in the video. Meanwhile, Brady--running the ice cream truck--sees Bill find the ball and smiles.
- Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges
- Harry Treadaway as Brady Hartsfield
- Kelly Lynch as Deborah Hartsfield
- Jharrel Jerome as Jerome Robinson
- Scott Lawrence as Peter Dixon
- Robert Stanton as Anthony Frobisher
- Breeda Wool as Lou Linklatter
- Justine Lupe as Holly Gibney
- Mary-Louise Parker as Janey Patterson
- Holland Taylor as Ida Silver
- Ann Cusack as Olivia Trelawney
- Katharine Houghton as Elizabeth Wharton
- Makayla Lysiak as Barbara Robinson