Taglines: Murder. Corruption. Comedy.
On New Year’s Eve, Manhattan socialite Alison Hawkins returns home from the evening’s festivities. As she feeds her fish before going to bed, she is strangled to death by an undetected intruder with a blue ribbon. It is the latest murder by a serial killer who has been terrorizing New York for 11 months.
New York Mayor Flynn is frustrated with the lack of progress in tracking down the killer, and tells NYPD commissioner Frank Starkey to “get [his] brother, and get him now,” as they both know Nick is the only man brilliant enough to catch this killer. This is a controversial assignment for Frank, as two years ago, Nick was disgraced in a scandal, and expelled from the force.
Frank goes to the scene of a raging fire to find Nick, who has become a firefighter. Frank talks Nick into returning, but only on the condition that he be able to cook dinner the next night for Frank’s wife, Christine, who is Nick’s ex-girlfriend. After a press conference announcing Nick’s reinstatement, Christine and Nick have dinner. Old wounds are opened, including mention of a canceled check that had been evidence that Frank was involved in the scandal that got Nick fired.
Police Captain Alcoa is not happy with Nick’s return, having despised his attitude but respected his abilities as a detective, but has to go along with the mayor’s demand that he give Nick anything he needs to solve the case. After reporting for work, Nick takes a different office than the one he was assigned because the light was not to the liking of his painter friend, Ed.
After getting Alcoa to add Ed to the payroll as his assistant, Nick begins work on the case. His first lead is to speak to the mayor’s daughter, Bernadette, who was a friend of Alison Hawkins. After Nick and Bernadette visit Alison’s apartment, Nick decides to let Bernadette stay at his apartment, because she is too frightened to return to her own.
The January Man is a 1989 comedy / thriller film, directed by Pat O’Connor from a screenplay by John Patrick Shanley. The film stars Kevin Kline as Nick Starkey, a smart ex-New York City police detective who is lured back into service by his police commissioner brother (Harvey Keitel) when a serial killer terrorizes the city. Nick becomes involved with the mayor’s daughter (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and is aided in his investigation by his neighbor, an artist played by Alan Rickman.
The January Man (1989)
Directed by: Pat O’Connor
Starring: Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Harvey Keitel, Danny Aiello, Rod Steiger, Alan Rickman, Faye Grant, Jayne Haynes, Tandy Cronyn
Screenplay by: John Patrick Shanley
Production Design by: Philip Rosenberg
Cinematography by: Jerzy Zielinski
Film Editing by: Lou Lombardo
Costume Design by: Ann Roth, Neil Spisak
Art Direction by: Dan Davis
Music by: Marvin Hamlisch
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: January 13, 1989