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National Security Story

Two LAPD policemen, Hank Rafferty (Zahn) and his partner Charlie Reed (Timothy Busfield), investigate a warehouse break-in and discover a gang of thieves, one of which shoots Charlie dead before they escape. Meanwhile, Earl Montgomery’s (Lawrence) lifelong dream to become a police officer is thwarted when he is expelled from the police academy. Hank crosses paths with Earl when Hank notices Earl trying to get into his car when he finds his keys locked inside. Hank starts to question Earl, who race-baits Hank to the point of getting himself arrested. A bumblebee comes along, to which Earl is virulently allergic. Earl panics and Hank tries to swat the bee away with his nightstick. From afar, it appears as if Hank, a white policeman, is brutalizing a black suspect while at the same time a Latino man catches the incident on videotape. Disgraced, Hank is dismissed from the police force and convicted of aggravated assault. He spends six months in prison. After being released from prison, Hank takes a job as a security guard and continues to investigate Charlie’s death. Noticing an alarm being tripped at a soda warehouse, Hank goes to investigate. Meanwhile, Earl, who happens to be working for the same security company, is on duty at the warehouse, but is slacking off. When Hank arrives, he interrupts a burglary, and a gunfight erupts with the thugs, during which Hank and Earl cross paths again. Though the thugs get away, Hank recognizes the tattoo of the man who shot Charlie, whose name he learns is Nash (Eric Roberts). One of the thieves drop a cellular phone, which leads them to a semi truck rented by the killers. Inside, Hank and Earl find a van. They drive the van out of the truck but the van falls off the bridge onto a garbage barge. Inside the van are what look like ordinary beer kegs, but Hank has them examined by a friend who works at a foundry, who informs them that the kegs are actually made of an aerospace alloy which is worth millions. Hank takes the van and the kegs to the house of his ex-girlfriend, Denise (Robinne Lee). They broke up after Hank was arrested, and Hank orders Earl to tell Denise the truth about the “assault.” Earl had previously said “I know baby. But I promise you. My life is pretty much figured out.” However, when Earl sees that Denise is an attractive black woman, he forgets his promise and starts hitting on her, playing the victim again. She throws both of them out of the house, and when Hank asks for an explanation, Earl reveals that he disapproves of interracial dating. Hank is infuriated and points out that for all his talk about racism, it is actually Earl himself who is the racist. During the argument, Hank punches Earl and storms off. Earl runs back to Hank, just as they are both cornered by police, learning that they are wanted as suspects in the bridge shootout. After they manage to escape, Hank realizes that the thieves must have an inside man in the police department. Tracing the van’s owner to an address Hank and Earl stake out the place, but Earl foolishly rushes inside on his own, where he is confronted by Nash. Hank manages to get Earl to safety, but Earl takes a bullet in the leg. At Denise’s house, they discover that Earl’s wound is a graze. Fortunately for Hank, a bee flies into the house, and Earl runs for cover, making Denise realize that Hank’s outlandish story about the “assault” on Earl was actually true. She slaps Earl for lying and putting Hank in Jail. She throws Earl out of the house and reconciles with Hank. Based on something overheard from Nash, they follow him to a meeting at a Yacht Club and witness him talking to McDuff, who is revealed to be the mole in the police force. Hank and Earl share everything they know with Washington (Bill Duke), and then pretend to approach McDuff, offering to sell him back the “beer kegs” for a large sum of money. However, Nash gets wind of their plans and takes Washington hostage first. During the confrontation, Earl and Hank meet with McDuff, Nash and his men near the coast, rescuing Washington and killing or apprehending most of the thugs, including McDuff. During the shootout, Hank saves Earl’s life by warning him about a gunman taking aim at him, getting shot himself in the process. Earl engages in a fight with Nash on an unstable slab while Hank is wounded and slow to get up. Though wounded, Hank takes off after Nash alone and kills him by dropping a crane load onto an unstable slab Nash is standing on, flipping him over, causing him to fall into the ocean. In honor of their heroic actions, Hank is reinstated in the LAPD and Earl is admitted to the force, and they are made partners a short time later.

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