The police try to arrest expert hostage negotiator Danny Roman, who insists he's being framed for his partner's murder in what he believes is an elaborate conspiracy. Thinking there's evidence in the Internal Affairs offices that might clear him, he takes everyone in the office hostage and demands that another well-known negotiator be brought in to handle the situation and secretly investigate the conspiracy.
Samuel L. Jackson is renowned hostage negotiator "Roman" who is shocked to learn of the murder of his partner. A little further investigation reveals that he had been looking into a multi-million dollar pension fraud. Next thing he knows, "Roman" is being charged with his friend's killing and decides to turn the tables. He goes to the office of the Internal Affairs department, seizes some hostages, barricades himself into the locked office and summons another negotiator "Sabian" (Kevin Spacey) to the scene. What now unfolds is a cleverly crafted detective mystery as the two must overcome their initial professional suspicions of the other, and gradually try to piece together what actually did happen to his pal and to ascertain just who did steal all the cash! It's a good, solid, story this and it's well told with Jackson and Spacey delivering a tale of corruption and mistrust that illustrates just how tough it is to fight back when the very people there to enforce the law are those abusing it. The supporting cast are a bit lacklustre - maybe a bit like an episode of "Hill Street Blues" but it flows well with a tricky denouement that though predictable enough, is quite well executed. It's maybe a bit on the long side, it does take a while to get up an head of steam - but once we get going, it is at the better end of the genre.