One lonely night. Pete Pinel's decade-long goodbye to his murdered wife is interrupted by an escaped madman, a Nobel-prize winning psychiatrist who claims to have created a "Philosopher's Stone" - a catalyst that can "open every lock in the brain." Allegedly tortured for secrets his diseased brain has lost, he enlists Pinel's protection with hints at undiscovered motives for Veronica's death. When gunmen snatch the madman, leaving Pinel for dead, the detective is saved and befriended by a beautiful psychiatrist, the madman's legal guardian. In a mysterious ebb of his grief, Pinel's unquenched thirst for bloody justice surges, leading to a drug company's illicit experiments and an unholy alliance with a criminal kingpin. Recovering encrypted files detailing the Philosopher's Stone's sordid development, Pinel re-captures the madman in a climactic gunfight in a desert ghost-town. Driven by the guardian's dedication to saving the madman's work, Pinel puts justice on hold, racing to retrieve a forgotten password from memories inexorably deleted by the scientist's own creation. The woman's adamantine devotion, however, introduces a new catalyst into Pinel's impulse-trigger-target nature: choice. His black-and-white sense of right and wrong is mottled by an unfamiliar question: Does justice sometimes lie in mercy?