Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington play good cops in the 1999 crime thriller The Bone Collector, which is more of a comedy when revisited 15 years later. The stock plot search for the serial killer is subpar, especially compared with Jolie and Washington’s acting dexterity. Jolie is a patrol cop. When she’s hanging out at a corner hotdog stand the patrolmen get a call that a little homeless boy found something suspicious near the tracks. He leads them to fingers that stick straight out of gravel. The staged crime scene, we later find out, is inspired by a rare, old murder novel.
Denzel Washington, a former cop who is now paralyzed from the neck down after a beam fell on his back while on-duty, takes an interest in the case and a likening in Jolie. He transforms his spacious uptown apartment into a crime investigation task force office, fit with desks and scientific equipment, while he works with the crew, analyzing data and solving mysteries from his bed. Queen Latifah is Washington’s nurse and she slaps his oxygen mask on him when he’s too worked up while crying “now breath with me!”
Although Washington is no longer a cop, he promotes Jolie to crime scene investigator, and directs her go into the murder scenes without backup and snoop out clues, describing the scene to him via her head set. She hasn’t had training, but he trusts her intuition. After the murderer has taken a few more victims, in the same fashion as the plot of the aged murder story, we find out the murders were an inside job. Sadly, Queen Latifah was his last victim, but Washington and Jolie make it out alive. Jolie runs her hands over his, and in the final scene she swaps her bullet proof vest and blue crime-scene jumpsuit for a sexy black dress, there’s a Christmas tree in the living room and with the murderer caught and killed, we know that they all will live happily ever after.