George Bynum, an executive at a New York auction house, is one of psychiatrist Sam Rice's patients. Following his murder, Brooke Reynolds, the patient's assistant and mistress, appears at his office and wants to talk. Sam finds himself interested in the case. He goes back to his notes and tries to unravel the puzzle of George's relationship with Brooke. Meanwhile, the police keep questioning him, convinced that he knows more than he's telling.

Robert (Kramer vs. Kramer) Benton, who demonstrated a light touch in the 1977 detective story The Late Show, again proves that subtlety is his strong suit. He draws out fine performances from Roy Scheider as the psychiatrist with a fascinating with puzzles and a need at this peculiar point in his life to link love with danger. Meryl Streep is exotic and chilly as the perplexing Brooke Reynolds; she is the kind of woman who draws out the savior instinct in vulnerable men.

Murder mystery buffs will find several Hitchcock motifs and references in the screenplay, but the major pleasure here is to just enjoy the performances of Scheider and Streep. It is also worth noting that the film is mercifully free of the violent gore which has become so fashionable in 1980s thrillers.