The Pledge is a 2001 mystery film directed by Sean Penn and based upon the 1958 Swiss novella Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman. On the night detective Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) is to retire from the Nevada police department, he pledges to the distraught mother of a murdered girl (Patricia Clarkson) that he will find the killer. When a suspect is found who later goes to commit suicide the department considers the case closed; however, Jerry is uncertain the man they discover is the actual killer and begins a side investigation to uncover the truth. As Jerry investigates, he discovers a disturbing series of similar crimes that could not possibly be work of the man suspected. Cut off from departmental support, Jerry spends his remaining time and resources slowly piecing together the threads and uncovering the trail of a real serial murderer who may have already targeted a new victim close to Jerry's home and heart.