I have recently watched the exciting crime noir film LA. Confidential. It is loosely based on James Ellroy’s 1990 novel of the same name, which is the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. It tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in 1953, involved in police corruption and Hollywood celebrities. It takes place in Los Angeles and features Sergeant Edmund “Ed” Exley, son of the legendary LAPD detective Preston Exley, Who is determined to live up to his father’s reputation. His intelligence, insistence on following regulations, and cold demeanor isolates him from other officers. He exacerbates this resentment by volunteering to testify in the Bloody Christmas case against his fellow officers in exchange for a promotion to Detective Lieutenant. This goes against the advice of Captain Dudley Smith, who states that a detective should be willing to shoot a guilty man in the back for the greater good. Exley’s ambition is fueled by the murder of his father, killed by an unknown assailant, whom Exley nicknames “Rollo Tomasi”.
Officer Wendell “Bud” White, whom Exley considers a “mindless thug”, is a plainclothes officer obsessed with violently punishing woman-beaters. One such incident leads him to confront a former cop named Leland “Buzz” Meeks, a driver for Pierce Patchett. White comes to dislike Exley after White’s partner, Dick Stensland, is fired due to Exley’s testimony in the Bloody Christmas scandal. Smith wants White to torture the out-of-town criminal element that attempt a foothold in Los Angeles when gangster Mickey Cohen is imprisoned for tax evasion. Then The Nite Owl case, a multiple homicide at a coffee shop, becomes personal after Stensland is found to be one of the victims.
Sergeant Jack Vincennes is a narcotics detective who moonlights as a technical advisor on Badge of Honor, a popular TV police drama series. He is also providing Sid Hudgens, publisher of the Hush-Hush tabloid magazine, with tips about celebrity arrests that will attract more readers to Hudgens’ magazine. When he becomes involved in Hudgens’ scheme to set up actor Matt Reynolds in a homosexual tryst with L.A. district attorney Ellis Loew, and Reynolds is killed as a result, Vincennes becomes determined to find the killer.
Murders then take place at the Nite Owl and Three African Americans are initially charged with the Nite Owl murders, and are later killed in a shootout. Although the Nite Owl crime initially looks like a botched robbery, Exley and White investigate and discover indications of corruption all around them. White recognizes Nite Owl victim Susan Lefferts as one of Meeks’ escorts which leads him back to Pierce Patchett, operator of Fleur-de-Lis, a call girl service that runs prostitutes altered by plastic surgery to resemble film stars. He begins a relationship with Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute.
White finds more bodies when he searches a storage room under Lefferts’ mother’s house, including the decomposed corpse of Meeks. When Vincennes approaches Smith with the evidence he has found with Exley, Smith realizes his scheme to take over Mickey Cohen’s heroin empire is threatened so Smith shoots Vincennes. Exley’s suspicions are aroused when Smith asks him who Rollo Tomasi is. During an interrogation of Hudgens. White is angered by photos of Bracken sleeping with Exley, Smith kills Hudgens. Exley investigates and discovers Meeks and Stensland used to work closely with Smith. Exley convinces White that Smith is corrupt and later find Patchett murdered. Exley and White realize What Smith is up to And pursue him and his hitmen in an exciting final shootout