Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) is an accomplished criminologist whose book is used as a text for New York City Police Department trainees. Paralyzed from the shoulders down after debris fell on him while he was trying to retrieve the body of a slain cop in a subway tunnel, this courageous man has continued to work on difficult cases out of his loft.

When Lincoln's former partner (Ed O'Neill) is stumped by a case involving the disappearance of a multimillionaire and his wife, he calls his friend. Then patrol cop Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) discovers the man's corpse along with some mysterious objects. Impressed with her surveillance of the crime scene, Lincoln pulls some strings to get her to work the case with him.

Phillip Noyce directs this thriller based on a novel by Jeffrey Deaver. The drama revolves around a serial killer's cat-and-mouse game with the police and his re-creation of crimes from the turn of the century. But the real marvel of The Bone Collector is its presentation of Lincoln's mentoring of Amelia. He raises her self-esteem with an unending stream of praise for her natural ability in forensics. Taking her under his wing, he shows her all the tricks of the trade.