Film: Blood Work

Blood Work is a 2002 crime drama, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, based on the 1998 novel by Michael Connelly. Eastwood plays Terry McCaleb, an FBI criminal profiler. At the scene of a serial killer's crime scene, McCaleb spots a figure with blood on his shoes and gives chase. McCaleb has a heart attack. A two-year Time Skip reveals that McCaleb has had a heart transplant and is retired from the FBI, living on his boat. He is approached by a nurse, Graciela Torres, who asks him to investigate the unsolved murder of her sister. She tells McCaleb that her sister was the donor of McCaleb's heart. McCaleb takes the case, and finds even darker connections between himself and the crime.

Tropes found in the film and/or the novel:

  • AB Negative: Drives the plot. McCaleb has a rare blood type, which made a heart transplant even more difficult than usual. It turns out that the killer, who wished to continue the cat-and-mouse game with McCaleb, sought out and killed a person with the same blood type so a donor heart would be available.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The film takes Buddy, McCaleb's neighbor at the marina (played by Jeff Daniels), and makes him the Code Killer. In the novel they were different characters.
  • Death by Adaptation: Buddy, McCaleb's neighbor (see Adaptational Villainy above).
  • Double Meaning Title: Blood Work refers both to Terry McCaleb's medical issues and his old job hunting serial killers for the FBI.
  • Enhance Button: Used to examine the footage from an ATM security camera.
  • May-December Romance: When this movie was made Eastwood was 72 and Wanda DeJesus, who played Graciela, was 45. Reviewers singled out the romance plot thread as one of the weaker points in the film. (In the novel, McCaleb is nearly 20 years younger than he is in the film.)
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: A variant of this trope. The Code Killer doesn't want McCaleb's heart failure to take him out of the game, so he gets McCaleb a heart.
  • Serial Killer: The Code Killer, whom McCaleb was chasing but never caught, turns out to be the man who murdered Graciela's sister.
  • Time Skip: See above.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Code Killer towards McCaleb (McCaleb does not reciprocate).