Frank Black and the Seattle Police Department attempt to solve the mysterious murder of a couple whose young daughter was forced to witness their deaths in their newly purchased high-security home. As Catherine attempts to help the girl recover, it is discovered that the killer intends to prove wrong humanity's false assumption of being safe and secure.
A man, Cutter (Pablo Coffey), visits an open house viewing, where he is given a tour by the estate agent, and seems to take an interest in the bedroom of a young girl. That night, the owners have returned home, and are settling down for the evening when their daughter, Patricia, begins screaming. Later, a security guard for the family's alarm company finds the bodies of the parents hacked to death on the first floor, but Patricia is nowhere to be seen.
The Millennium Group, a private investigative group, dispatches profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) to the scene, where he meets Seattle detective Bob Bletcher (Bill Smitrovich). Black finds the house's alarm system, noticing that it did not go off until the killer left the house. He deduces that the killer stayed hidden in the house during the viewing, emerging that evening to kill the family. However, Black also notices something near an air vent; pulling it from the wall, he finds Patricia, alive but greatly disturbed.
Black's wife Catherine (Megan Gallagher), a clinical social worker, warns against questioning Patricia — although she is an important witness, she is only a child and is in a fragile mental state. Black and Bletcher visit James Glen (Glynn Turman) a graphology expert, having found the killer's signature in the viewing's guestbook. Analysis of the killer's handwriting links him to almost forty open house viewings over the previous six months.
An estate agent receives a video recording of the murders in the post, leaving Black puzzled. That same day, the killer hides in another open house, later murdering a woman with a shotgun before calling the police to the scene. Black finds an X drawn in blood under the house's welcome mat; Patricia has begun drawing red Xs in her crayon pictures, which Catherine takes notice of. Black reviews the videotape, finding a reflection of the killer in a glass pane. Extracting a picture from this, he requests to show it to Patricia, but stops himself, realizing that the killer let Patricia live so that she could relive the events when questioned.
Cutter, a crossing guard, hides the shotgun in a dumpster, calling the police to report finding it. The police officer who takes his statement later recognizes him on seeing the video. Black has deduced the killer's motives—he is trying to undermine society's notion of safety. Black and Bletcher organize a stakeout at another open house, identifying Cutter when he arrives; however, Cutter escapes into the neighborhood. Black realizes that he has hidden in a nearby house, where he and Bletcher find the occupants tied up. Cutter ambushes Black, knocking him down, but before Cutter can escape, the family's dog lunges at him, sending him falling over a mezzanine to his death. Bletcher later tells Black that Cutter's aunt and uncle were tortured to death in front of him when he was a child, which led him to recreate the torment for other families.
Cast and Characters
- Roger R. Cross (Shaw) previously played Private Kittell in The X-Files episode "Fresh Bones" and S.W.A.T. Lieutenant Brophy in "Pusher".
- Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
- Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
- Brittany Tiplady as Jordan Black
- Bill Smitrovich as Lieutenant Bob Bletcher
- Nevada Ash as Patricia Highsmith
- Eileen Kenney as Beverly Bunn
- Sandra Ferens as Mary Kay Highsmith
- David Neale as John Highsmith
- Roger R. Cross as Shaw
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