Starring: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone
When a wealthy former rock star, Johnny Boz (Bill Cable), is brutally stabbed to death with an ice pick during sexual intercourse, homicide detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is sent to investigate. The only suspect is Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), a crime novelist who was the last person to be seen with Boz on the night he died. Nick and his partner, Gus Moran (George Dzunza), visit her Pacific Heights mansion; but they find only Catherine's lesbian lover, Roxy (Leilanie Sareille), who sends them to Catherine's Stinson Beach house, where they find her sitting in a deckchair by the ocean. When they ask about her relationship with Boz, she shows little remorse at hearing he is dead. Nick and Gus, along with their superiors, discover that Catherine has written a novel about a former rock star who was killed in the same way as Boz. During questioning at police headquarters, Catherine engages in provocative behavior, refusing to extinguish her cigarette and uncrossing her legs under her short skirt, revealing she isn't wearing underwear.
Sharon Stone during police interview
Because he accidentally shot a pair of tourists in an earlier case (while high on cocaine), Nick attends counseling sessions with police psychologist Dr. Beth Garner (Jeanne Tripplehorn), with whom he has had an affair. After the interrogation, Nick goes to a bar with co-workers and is taunted by Lt. Marty Nilsen (Daniel von Barghen), an internal affairs investigator bent on making life difficult for Nick. When Beth Garner arrives, Nick leaves with her and at her apartment they engage in rough sex. Nick learns that Catherine's parents were killed when she was an adolescent, leaving her a fortune, that when she was majoring in psychology, her counselor at college was also murdered with an ice pick, and that Catherine's fiancé, a boxer, was killed in the ring. He also discovers that Catherine makes a habit of befriending murderers, including a woman who stabbed her husband and children for no apparent reason.
During a visit to her house, Catherine taunts Nick with information that should be confidential. As police psychologist, Beth is the only person with access to that information. When Nick confronts Beth, she admits that she handed his file to Nilsen, who threatened to discharge Nick if he couldn't evaluate Nick directly. An enraged Nick storms into Nilsen's office, assaults him, and accuses him of having sold Nick's file to Catherine. Nilsen then suspends Nick, who goes home, spending the evening drinking. Beth visits him, but after a heated argument, he throws her out. Later that night, Nilsen is found in his car, dead from a single gunshot to the head. Because of their recent altercation, Nick is the prime suspect.
A torrid affair between Nick and Catherine begins with the air of a cat-and-mouse game. Catherine explains that she will base her next novel's character - a cop falling for the wrong woman only to be killed by her - on Nick, while at the same time he declares his love for her and his unchanged intention to nail her for Boz's murder. A jealous Roxy tries to run Nick over with Catherine's car, but after a car chase she is killed in a crash. Her death reveals that she too had a murderous past. After Roxy's death, Catherine seems genuinely shocked, which makes Nick doubt her guilt.
Jeanne Tripplehorn as Dr. Beth Garner
Catherine later reveals that a previous lesbian encounter at college went amiss when the girl became obsessed with her. Nick identifies the girl as Beth Garner who acknowledges the encounter, but claims it was Catherine that became obsessed. When he visits Catherine, she explains that she has finished her book, and coldly ends the affair. Upset, Nick meets Gus, who has arranged to meet with Catherine's college roommate at a hotel. As the suspended Nick waits in the car, Gus enters the hotel and is stabbed in the elevator by a hooded figure, in the way described in Catherine's new book. Nick figures out there is trouble brewing and runs into the building, but he arrives too late to save Gus from bleeding to death. Hearing the floor creak, Nick grabs Gus's gun and turns to find Beth standing in the hallway, explaining she received a message to meet Gus there. However, Nick suspects that she murdered Gus, and as Beth moves her hand in her pocket, he shoots her. With her final breath, Beth tells Nick that she loved him. A dejected Nick checks her pocket, only to find her keys. The police arrive, and in a staircase discover a blond wig, a SFPD raincoat, and an ice pick, the weapon used to murder Gus, concluding that Beth ditched the items when she heard Nick coming up. A search of Beth's apartment turns up the evidence needed to brand her as the killer of Boz, Gus, Nilsen, and presumably her own husband - the matching revolver, Catherine's novels, and photos chronicling the writer's life.
Nick returns to his apartment, where he is met by Catherine. She explains her reluctance to commit to him, but then the two make love. Afterward, the conversation turns toward their possible future as a couple. While talking, Nick turns his back on Catherine as she slowly reaches for something underneath the bed. She stops when Nick senses her stillness; he looks around with distrust in his eyes, and she throws her arms around him and the two resume making love as the camera slowly pans down to show what she was reaching for under the bed: an ice pick.