Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is only a week away from retiring from his job at a New York City precinct. Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) recently transferred to the city and is anxious to pick up where Somerset leaves off. Both detectives soon find themselves on the trail of a vicious serial killer that chooses his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Methodical, exacting and grotesquely creative, the killer, "John Doe", has planned each murder down to the finest detail. As Somerset and Mills close in, John Doe patiently awaits the final confrontation, determined to complete his bloody masterpiece of terror.