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Sent to Alaska to investigate the murder of a teenage girl to avoid an internal affairs investigation, respected LAPD Detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) finds himself unable to sleep due to the perpetual daylight. But things get worse for the cop when he fouls up an opportunity to catch the killer and, hidden from view, accidentally shoots his partner (Martin Donovan) instead. Dormer then tries to pin the killing on the suspect, pulp fiction novelist Walter Finch (Robin Williams); however, the villain is the one person who saw what actually happened and he begins to use this knowledge against the cop, drawing Dormer into a subtle and dangerous game in which their two fates become inextricably intertwined. Meanwhile, local rookie Ellie Burr (Hilary Swank) is also on Dormer's case as she puts together the pieces of what really happened.