Edison, directed by David J. Burke, at first appears to be based on the Ramparts Scandal that rocked Los Angeles at the turn of the 21st century, but the scale of corruption and scope of violence is much greater in the film than in LA. The corrupt unit is FRAT, an acronym for the First Response Assault & Tactical team, which has allegedly been responsible for reducing crime in a city that was once the murder capital of the United States (though the filming is in Vancouver). Former Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Moses Ashford (played by Morgan Freeman) edits a Jewish community weekly that mostly contains ads and light news. One of his reporters, Pollack (played by Justin Timberlake), has ambitions to become an investigative reporter despite his assignment at the weekly to record verdicts in court cases without comment. One day Pollack attends a trial (as if attending the arraignment of the Watergate burglars). After testimony by FRAT police officer Deed (played by J J Cool), Pollack is surprised on hearing that the defendant thanks Deed despite being found guilty and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Puzzled, Pollack tries to make a story out of the scrap of information. When Ashford tells him to restrict his writing to the verdict, Pollack insists that he wants to write a real story, so he is fired on the spot. Later that evening, Pollack shows up at Ashford’s residence, pleading for help to write the story. Ashford decides that Pollack eagerness is the sign of a burning ambition that needs tutoring, so he gives him some hints and eventually accompanies him during a visit to District Attorney Tilman (played by John Heard). Also present at the meeting is the DA’s top investigator, Wallace (played by Kevin Spacey). Although the DA dismisses the possibility that FAT has engaged in foul play, Wallace decides independently to pursue the matter. Meanwhile, Pollack and his girlfriend Willow (played by Piper Perabo), who is not very supportive of his journalistic ambition, attend a posh disco into which Deed later arrives with his girlfriend María (Roselyn Sanchez). While on the dance floor, Pollack observes Deed present an engagement ring to his girlfriend. Believing that there is danger in being seen by Deed at the disco, Pollack and Willow sneak out, only to be confronted by Deed’s amoral partner, Lazerov (played by Dylan McDermott), who proceeds to beat them both up as a warning to lay off FRATR. Hearing the fracas, Deed leaves the disco and summons an ambulance for the two victims. While still in the hospital, Deed drops by soon afterward to say that he had nothing to do with the beating. Meanwhile, Ashford notes that all members of FRAT are single, so any romantic involvement means that Deed is a likely source of further information. The plot thickens when it becomes clear that FRAT has been pocketing stolen funds and goods, while the DA and even judges are on the take. Rather than a legal solution, as in the case of the Ramparts Scandal, Edison (the name of the mythical town) is eventually cleaned up in a blaze of gunfire, including a flamethrower operated by Deed. MH

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