Dr. Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver), a psychiatrist famous for her writings about serial murderers, is nearly killed by obsessed psychopath Daryll Lee Cullum (Harry Connick Jr.). As a result of this trauma, Helen becomes a drunken, pill-taking agoraphobic who can't leave her San Francisco apartment. After a series of bizarre murders, she calls the police suggesting that the murders were the work of a serial killer. Detective M.J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) and her assistant Ruben (Dermot Mulroney) believe Helen and discover, during the investigation, that the man is re-creating murders by the killers described in Helen's book: The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, Son of Sam and the Hillside Strangler. After Helen's secretary, Andy (John Rothmen) is murdered, Helen begins to fear for her own life.