NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy

New York City, 1991 - Detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) is in a car with his partner. He then enters a bar where cops don't have to pay for their drinks. The bartender serves Matt two shots and a cup of coffee. Two punks then come in and try to take some money, when the bartender says no. They shoot the man in the chest, prompting Matt to take his gun and fire at them. He runs into the street and shoots one man down. The second man and a third drive away. Matt shoots the driver while the final man flees. Matt gets him in the thigh and follows him down some steps. Matt shoots him down.

Over the opening credits, we see a woman lying down with her eyes wide open. A man kisses her cheek. Then we see another man next to him. The woman also happens to have tape on her mouth. A tear rolls down her cheek.

Eight years later, Matt, now a recovered alcoholic, is in a diner about to have a meal when a junkie named Peter (Boyd Holbrook) approaches him, asking Matt for help for Peter's brother. Matt at first doesn't seem interested, but he follows Peter out and then goes with him to the home of his brother, Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens). Kenny knows of Matt's work as a private investigator and offers him $20,000 to find the men that kidnapped and killed his wife, despite Kenny paying the ransom they requested. Matt figures out that Kenny is a drug trafficker and refuses to help him.

Matt returns to his apartment and finds Kenny sitting outside waiting for him. He tells her his wife's name (Carrie) to assure Matt that he did care about his wife. Through a flashback, we see the moment Kenny got the phone call from the kidnappers demanding a ransom of $500,000, while Kenny tried to haggle them for $400,000. The main kidnapper threatened to send Kenny one of Carrie's breasts to prove he was not messing around. Kenny complied and brought the money to the area they told him to go to and to wait for Carrie to get back in the car. She never arrived. He was then told to look in the trunk of an old car in Red Hook. There were many bags in there. Kenny picked one up and cut it open, and blood spilled out. Kenny hands Matt a tape recorder that was in the trunk. Matt listens to it after Kenny leaves, which has a recording of the kidnappers harming Carrie and her screaming. This gives Matt cause to investigate.

Matt looks around Red Hook to get leads. What he knows is that the kidnappers were most likely involved with the DEA. All the people he asks say they saw a van and two men close to where Carrie was last seen. Every person Matt asks gives him a different name of what was written on the van, since the two men keep repainting the van.

Matt goes to the library to find articles on similar killings. He reads two articles on victims named Marie Gotteskind and Leila Anderssen. Behind him is a street kid named TJ (Brian "Astro" Bradley). Matt asks him for help with looking for other articles. Together, they learn that a leg was found in a dumpster by a florist, while other bags filled with body parts were in the pond of a cemetery. Matt then treats TJ to pancakes at the diner.

Matt goes to the cemetery to speak with the groundskeeper, Jonas Loogan (Olafur Darri Olafsson). He repressed the memory of finding the dead woman in all those bags, and is upset when Matt brings it up.

TJ follows Matt as he heads to an apartment, trying to aid him in detective work. Matt leaves him and finds Leila's fiance Reuben (Mark Consuelos) in his apartment and asks him about the last time he saw Leila. He was supposed to meet her at a cafe, but he witnessed her getting taken into a van by the two men and a third. Matt also suspects Reuben of being a drug trafficker. Matt looks out the window and sees a cage of birds on the rooftop of the building across the street. He goes to that building and finds a shed at the top that belongs to Jonas. In it is a page of a book he was writing, along with pictures of Reuben and Leila having sex. Jonas finds Matt in there and takes out a knife. Matt convinces him to put it down. Jonas admits that he was the driver when he and the two men kidnapped Leila. He didn't like that she was doing drugs with Reuben, so he conspired with the two men to take her away from there and keep her safe. Instead, they had Jonas drive to a spot where he witnessed the main kidnapper cutting her blouse open and asking her which breast she likes more while he cuts off the other one. Horrified, Jonas fled the scene. Matt asks where he can find them. Jonas feeds his birds and gives Matt one name (Ray) before he jumps off the roof and lands on a car.

We meet the two kidnappers, Ray and Albert (David Harbour and Adam David Thompson), in their home, reading about Y2K fears. They drive by the home of another drug trafficker, Yuri Landau (Sebastian Roche). They see Yuri's pretty 14-year-old daughter Ludmilla, better known as Lucia (Danielle Rose Russell), walking her dog. She quickly waves to the men as she passes their van. Ray is enchanted by her.

Matt goes to a store and asks the owner about Marie Gotteskind. Matt later goes to an apartment where he is struck by the owner and his son since they have apparently been repeatedly accused of killing her. They tell Matt that she was a cop and that she was dealing drugs along with them.

Matt comes across TJ in the streets, now carrying a gun he found. Matt tells him how to use it and then says TJ should shoot himself in the head because that's all that can happen if he's carrying it.

The next day, Matt is followed by a man coming out of a van with East Village Plumbing Supply written on it, similar to the one the kidnappers were driving. Matt gets into an apartment and hides himself. He wraps a scarf around his fist and gets the man to peek his head through the window before he smashes through it into the guy's face. Matt then finds out the man is an agent with his partners. They take Matt in a van and drop him off after he asks them about Marie and gets no answers.

Matt gets into Peter's apartment where he's about to shoot up. On the wall are dozens of nude paintings of Carrie, as Peter was in love with her. Matt tells him to tell Kenny that he will return him his money since he doesn't want to be involved in this case anymore.

In the rain, TJ is found by two punks that want their gun back. He tells them he threw it in the river, so they beat him with his backpack. Matt finds him at Bellevue Hospital. There, he learns from the doctor that TJ has sickle cell anemia, which was triggered by either the rain or the assault. When TJ wakes up, he asks Matt why he stopped being a cop. Matt reveals that during the shootout (from the opening scene), one of the bullets accidentally struck a 7-year-old girl in the eye, killing her.

Ray and Albert break into the Landau home and tase the dog before tasing Lucia and kidnapping her after she tends to her sick mother.

Peter finds Matt and brings him to the Landau home where the kidnappers have called and are demanding a ransom for Lucia. Yuri answers and tries to negotiate, but Matt takes the phone from him and tells Ray that they won't get a cent if Lucia is harmed. After Ray proves that the girl is safe, they arrange a drop. Matt calls TJ on a phone he left him and asks him to go to his place and get a box, and to give it to Peter. TJ comes with Peter and the box, as TJ did not trust Peter alone with it

Matt, Kenny, Peter, Yuri, and TJ all go to the cemetery to meet with the kidnappers. Peter is hiding behind the tombstones with a rifle. They make the exchange, though Lucia's hands are bloodied, with Ray making a comment that this happened before the conditions were set. The girl returns to her father, and Albert takes the money. He realizes it's counterfeit and tries to tell Ray before Matt takes out his gun and shoots Ray twice in the chest, though he is saved by his bulletproof vest. Albert shoots at everyone and hits Peter, while Matt manages to get Ray in the side, wounding him. The kidnappers get away in their van while Matt and Kenny tend to a dying Peter. Peter tries admit his love for Carrie, but since he can only say "I loved...", Kenny takes it as an admission of brotherly love, and he returns it. Matt goes to the car and sees TJ is missing.

TJ snuck into the back of the kidnappers' van and followed them to their home. He gets the street name and lets Matt know. In their house, Ray and Albert try to patch up Ray's bullet wound. They go to the basement where Albert strangles Ray with the garrote. He goes back upstairs to eat when Matt, Kenny, and TJ come into the house. Matt cuffs Albert to a pipe and leaves him to Kenny. Matt sends TJ back to his place in a cab. Kenny whacks Albert in the head with a bottle and goes downstairs to find Ray. Albert gets himself loose. Matt decides to go back inside and finish the job, remembering the 12 Steps he heard at an AA meeting. He finds a bloody scene, and sees Kenny dead downstairs, a pool of blood around the steps. Matt slips on the blood and falls down the steps. Albert nearly kills him with the garrote, but Matt fights back. Matt grabs the taser from Ray's pocket and gets Albert in the groin, and then again in the neck. Matt grabs a gun on the
floor and shoots Albert in the head.

Matt returns home to find TJ sleeping on the couch. He spots a drawing that TJ made of himself as a superhero. Matt sits down and slowly closes his eyes.

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