Chicago reporter Sabrina Peterson (Roberts) is an ambitious, gifted reporter willing to do whatever it takes to learn the truth. Fellow reporter Peter Brackett (Nolte) is a fading star in the medium who works for a rival paper. He chases women, smokes cigars, and has just published his first novel. They reluctantly join forces to uncover a train wreck that leads to the discovery of a conspiracy involving genetically altered milk. While they seem to enter into conflict over everything at first, some sparks also seem to fly off.
This film contains examples of:
- Chekhov's Skill: Sabrina can palm small objects like coins. This comes in handy at the end of the movie.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: At one point Sabrina is exiting a lake when a group of boy scouts happen upon her and Peter. No clothes are stolen, but the only Modesty Towel she can get her hands on happens to be hiding behind Peter. Still a little miffed from a previous argument the pair had had, Peter proceeds to walk towards the boy scouts while ignoring Sabrina's surprised protests. Peter gets her to admit to secretly reading his novel, despite her professed uninterest in his writing, but Sabrina makes the mistake of mumbling how she'd expected more from the writing. As one might expect, the scene closes with an embarrassed Sabrina squeeling in alarm as the boy scouts' cameras are going off.
- Intrepid Reporter: Peter and Sabrina are two very competitive reporters, especially against each other (at first, at least).
- Naked Freak-Out: Sabrina has a bit of this when she's caught skinny dipping by Peter and some Boy Scouts.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: Sabrina goes skinny dipping at one point and is then photographed by a group of boy scouts after she emerges nude from the lake.
- Self-Plagiarism: In-universe as Peter is behind on a deadline due to being hungover and racing to get to a party. He takes an old story from over a decade ago, changes a few names and lines, and submits it for his daily column, figuring no one will notice. Instead, his experienced editor, who's known Peter for years, instantly spots it and starts threatening to go through every past article to find the original and fire Peter unless he reports on the train crash.
- Skinny Dipping: Sabrina goes skinny dipping at one point, allowing Peter to pull a Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen prank on her (although with a towel in this case).
- Spotting the Thread: Sabrina's first clue something was off about Sam was him brushing off graduating college in "I think it was '64 or maybe '66" to avoid detailing how he's really Vargas. After all, who forgets what year they graduated from college?