Minority Report commences by showing a crime occurring in reverse. The crime consists of a man walking in on his wife cheating on him with another man. The movie then flashes to a glass ball with the involved parties’ names engraved on it rolling down a clear tunnel. The ball is red which signifies that a crime of passion is about to occur. The film then cuts to PreCrime Captain John Anderton (Tom Hanks) inside the PreCrime facility. Inside the facility there is a controlled room called “The Temple” where three bodies are floating in a substance. Through the discussion of others in the facility, the audience can deduce that the three floating bodies, known as Precogs, are able to predict future murders. The Precogs, Agatha, Arthur and Dashiell, are considered “divine” and supposedly cannot feel pain. The unit utilizes pattern recognition filters and optical tomography to see what the Precogs are seeing. Therefore, the PreCrime unit can send police to stop the crime right before it occurs and arrest the would-be perpetrator. The images that the Precogs conjure up help the unit determine where the location of the crime will be occurring. PreCrime is only utilized in Washington D.C., but there will be a vote soon regarding implementing the system nationally. The city’s murder rate has been reduced by nearly 90% and the unit is very motivated to make the program a national initiative.
The movie then cuts back to the original crime shown at the beginning, in which the PreCrime unit intercepts the crime right before it happens. They arrest the man for a future double murder at the specified time and date to which the man exclaims that he wasn’t actually going to murder them. However, the unit puts a halo, a brain controlling piece of headwear, on the man’s head and takes him to prison. The movie then shows Anderton buying illegal drugs from a drug dealer to help cope with life. Anderton returns home in a self-driving car to his very futuristic home to watch home videos of his son Sean. The audience then realizes that he took the drugs to cope with the loss of his son and the divorce of his wife.
The following day at work the system is being audited by Danny Witwer, a member of the United States Department of Justice. Witwer takes a look around, and then states that the major flaw in the system is that “it’s human.” After Witwer leaves, Anderton is still in the room with the Precogs when Agatha jumps out of the water and grabs him showing him a past murder. He realizes that the murder was of a woman named Anne Lively, and the murderer was never found. Out pops a brown glass ball then, signifying a premeditated murder. To Anderton’s disbelief, he sees himself killing a man named Leo Crow in 36 hours, who he has never seen before. Anderton tries to run and his coworkers are obligated to arrest him. The Department of Justice also found his illegal drugs, making him even more wanted by the law. An epic man hunt ensues, but Anderton is able to escape. He goes to find the woman who invented PreCrime, Dr. Iris Hineman. She tells him that the creation was a science invention gone wrong, and that she didn’t mean to invent PreCrime. She wanted to help abused children who dreamt only of murder, but soon realized the dreams were all future murders. She then tells Anderton that “Precogs are never wrong but occasionally do disagree.” This results in a minority report, meaning every so often someone has two alternate futures. Anderton is shocked by this and instantly feels remorse for any falsely accused people he has sent away to jail. She tells Anderton that he must go retrieve the minority report which is stored inside Agatha, the strongest Precog, to prove his innocence.
Anderton then goes to the black market to get an eye transplant so sensors will not recognize his presence inside the city. He breaks into the Temple, where the Precogs are held, and kidnaps Agatha. He brings her to a man who can download her minority reports, but she does not have a report for him. Anderton then realizes that Leo Crow is the man who took his son, and therefore he was not set up, as Anderton knew he would kill the man who took his son. After going face-to-face with the Crow, Anderton chooses not to kill him, which leads to Anderton’s discovery that Crow was planted, and did not really take his son.
While trying to understand the case, Witwer realizes by looking at the wave patterns in the lake that the murder that took place was 2 separate instances. Someone faked the murder so the unit intercepted it, then right after that, the murderer actually killed Lively, and the Precogs assumed it was just a duplicate vision. Witwer tells Lamar Burgess, head of the system as well as Anderton’s good friend, who shoots and kills Witwer. Burgess was the one who planted Crow, but because Agatha was kidnapped, the Precogs cannot see visions so no one stopped the murder of Witwer. Anderton recognizes that he was set up using the memory of his dead son. While at his ex-wife Lara’s house Anderton is apprehended and arrested. Anderton had mentioned Anne Lively to Lara before being imprisoned, so Lara mentions the name to Burgess, who nonchalantly acts like he’s never heard of her. Right before Lara leaves, Burgess slips that he knows she drowned, which Lara never mentioned to him. Lara springs Anderton out of jail and they find out that Lively was Agatha’s mom and Lively wanted her daughter back. Lamar needed to kill Lively without the Precogs seeing so he promised he’d reunite her with her daughter, but actually killed her, making the murder vision an echo. During the PreCrime press conference where Lamar is being honored, a red ball then pops out with Anderton’s and Burgess’ name on it. It shows that Burgess will kill Anderton which puts Burgess in a difficult situation. If Burgess kills Anderton, it proves the validity of the system, but Burgess will go to jail forever. If he doesn’t kill Anderton, it proves that the system is flawed and unreliable. Anderton tells Burgess that he has a choice what happens, and Burgess ends up shooting himself. The PreCrime experiment is then abandoned, with all prisoners pardoned. Lara becomes pregnant again, and Agatha and the twins are set free where they can live in peace.