Police Chief Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) accepts a position as an unpaid consultant with the Massachusetts State Police Homicide Unit, working for Lt. Sydney Greenstreet (Leslie Hope) who gives him case files on several murders. He accepts the job to relieve the boredom he has been feeling due to the lack of any significant crime transpiring lately in the town of Paradise. Jesse has also been lonely because his dog recently died. After reviewing the files, Stone takes special interest in one case that involves the fourth victim of a brutal serial killer who slashed and disemboweled his victims while they were still alive. The jailed killer, a man named Richard and known as the "Boston Ripper" (Luke Perry), admits to the first three murders with pride, but maintains he did not commit the fourth murder. After interviewing the killer, Stone concludes that he's a "sick son of a bitch", but does not believe he killed the fourth victim, Mavis Davies.