Traces of Red

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Traces of Red
Directed by Andy Wolk
Produced by Mark Gordon, David V. Picker
Written by Jim Piddock
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Tim Suhrstedt
Edited by Trudy Ship
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
  • November 13, 1992 (1992-11-13)
Running time
105 min
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,206,714

Traces of Red is a 1992 crime drama film that stars James Belushi, Lorraine Bracco and Tony Goldwyn. The film was released by The Samuel Goldwyn Company on November 13, 1992 and directed by Andy Wolk. Lorraine Bracco's performance in the film earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress.


The movie begins with Jack Dobson, a homicide detective from Palm Beach, flat on his back with a bullet in his chest. The movie is then told in flashback form, leading up to the events that led him to this fate.

Jack has been receiving threatening letters. He and his partner Steve Frayn conclude that the source must be a mob figure whom Jack is about to testify against in court. But another possibility is that someone could be causing trouble for Jack's brother, Michael, who is in an election campaign for public office.

Women begin turning up dead with lipstick traces left by the killer. A woman Jack has begun seeing, Ellen Schofield, could be involved. But when Ellen sees Jack leave a restaurant with a woman who soon becomes a victim, suspicion is cast toward Jack himself as the killer. Jack eventually reveals that he was raped as a child by his former 1st grade teacher, Gloria Wurtz. While speaking with Michael, Steve learns that it was by his own mother who raped Jack. Steve decides to go forward with his own investigation but, in the process, winds up having sex with Ellen, much to his wife's (who he earlier celebrated his seventh wedding anniversary with) and Jack's (who now sees him as a traitor) dismay. After Ellen turns up dead, Jack decides to take Beth (Steve's wife) with him to a secluded getaway home, immediately following Steve confiding in Jack that he trusted him. After finding evidence that Jack is indeed the killer, Steve and Michael rush to the getaway home where Jack and Beth are. Jack is holding Beth and is seemingly about to strangle her when Steve yells at Jack to freeze. Jack pushes Beth aside and draws his gun, but is shot by Steve before he can get off a shot. Then, Jack (in narrative form) says "I guess you probably thought that I was some kind of hero when you first saw me laying there, at the beginning. Wrong. But the story wasn't over ...... not yet." Eventually, Michael is revealed to be the real killer. Jack's murder was faked, as he wanted to give Michael a false sense of security that he was dead, and responsible for the murdered women. Michael is set up to seemingly be alone with a woman in a hotel room. After he attempts to strangle the woman, Steve bursts into the room with his gun drawn, and tells Michael to freeze. It is then revealed that Jack is not dead, much to Michael's shock. Jack tells Steven and the woman to leave the room, so that he can talk to his brother alone. As they are embracing, Michael manages to take Jack's gun. Michael then commits suicide by shooting himself in the temple. The movie concludes with Steve asking Jack if he's ready (after his brother's funeral), to which Jack replies, "I will be."