Based on James Mills' 1972 book of the same name, Report to the Commissioner came out three years after the New York Times bestseller. The rights were snatched up pretty fast, when taking into consideration both the book’s success and the need for quality detective stories at that time. The script for the movie was written by two Oscar winners—Abby Mann and Ernest Tidyman—and later directed by Hollywood acting coach, Scientologist and Tony Award-nominee Milton Katselas.

The story follows young detective Beauregard “Bo” Lockley (played by Michael Moriarty) as he gets an assignment to follow up on a missing person report for a young woman (Susan Blakely). What Bo does not know, is that the lady in question is actually an undercover female cop trying to get close to a heroin dealer (Tony King). When Bo follows her to the dealer’s apartment, all hell breaks loose and she ends up dead. What follows is an attempt at a cover-up by the police department, somewhat similar to the Watergate scandal that was all the rage a couple of years before. Exceptional performances by the cast elevate this already exciting story, and even mark the start of Richard Gere's fantastic career, with him having his feature film debut right here.