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Writing a book about it gives you an alibi for not killing him.
~ Nick Curran in Basic Instinct

Detective Nick Curran is the main protagonist of Paul Verhoeven's 1992 movie, Basic Instinct.

He was portrayed by Michael Douglas, who also played Hank Pym in the 2015 superhero film Ant-Man and its 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Biography

In Basic Instinct, Nick's backstory shows a tragic past drowned in alcohol, which led him to take his wife to suicide and killed innocent people. He uses drugs while on the job.

Basic Instinct

Fuck like minxs, raise rugrats, live happily ever after.
~ Nick Curran to Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
When rock star Johnny Boz is brutally stabbed to death with an ice pick during sex, homicide detective Nick Curran is sent to investigate. The only suspect is Catherine Tramell , a crime novelist who was the last person to be seen with Boz on the night he died. Nick and his partner, Gus Moran visit her Pacific Heights mansion, but they find only Catherine's lesbian lover, Roxy, who sends them to Catherine's Stinson Beach house. When they ask Catherine about her relationship with Boz, she shows little emotion at hearing he is dead. Nick and Gus, along with their superiors, discover that Catherine has written a novel about a former rock star who was killed in the same way as Boz. During questioning by detectives, including Nick, at police headquarters, Catherine engages in provocative behavior, refuses to extinguish her cigarette and repeatedly uncrosses her legs under her short skirt which reveals she is not wearing underwear.

Nick, who accidentally shot two people while high on cocaine, attends counseling sessions with police psychologist Dr. Beth Garner, with whom he has had an affair. After the interrogation, Nick goes to a bar with co-workers and is taunted by Lieutenant Marty Nilsen, an internal affairs investigator bent on making life difficult for Nick. When Beth arrives, Nick leaves with her, and they have rough sex in her apartment. Nick learns that Catherine has a troubled history: Her parents were killed when she was an adolescent, leaving her a fortune; one of her college counselors was also murdered with an ice pick, and that her fiancé, a boxer, was killed in the ring. He also discovers that Catherine makes a habit of befriending murderers, including Hazel Dobkins, an elderly woman who stabbed her husband and children for no apparent reason.

During a visit to her house, Catherine taunts Nick with information that should be confidential. As a police psychologist, Beth is the only person with access to that information. When Nick confronts Beth, she admits that she handed his file to Nilsen, who threatened to discharge Nick if he could not evaluate him directly. An enraged Nick storms into Nilsen's office, assaults him, and accuses him of having sold Nick's file to Catherine. Nilsen then suspends Nick, who goes home and spends the evening drinking. Beth visits him, but after a heated argument, he throws her out. Later that night, Nilsen is found in his car, dead from a single gunshot to the head. Because of their recent altercation, Nick is the prime suspect.

A torrid affair between Nick and Catherine begins with the air of a cat-and-mouse game. Catherine explains that she will base her next novel's character—a cop falling for the wrong woman only to be killed by her—on Nick, while at the same time he declares his love for her and his unchanged intention to nail her for Boz's murder.

A jealous Roxy tries to run Nick over with Catherine's car, but after a car chase she is killed in a crash. Her death reveals that she too has a murderous past. After Roxy's death, Catherine seems genuinely saddened, and Nick begins to doubt her guilt. Catherine later reveals that a previous lesbian encounter at college went awry when the girl became obsessed with her. Nick identifies the girl as Beth Garner, who acknowledges the encounter but claims it was Catherine who became obsessed.

When Nick visits Catherine, she explains that she has finished her book, and coldly ends the affair. Upset, Nick meets Gus, who has arranged to meet with Catherine's college roommate at a hotel. As Nick waits in the car, Gus enters the hotel and is stabbed in the elevator by a hooded figure, in the way described in Catherine's new book. Nick figures out there is trouble brewing and runs into the building, but he arrives too late to save Gus. Hearing the floor creak, Nick grabs Gus' gun and turns to find Beth standing in the hallway, explaining she received a message to meet Gus there. However, Nick suspects that she murdered Gus, and as Beth moves her hand in her pocket, he shoots her. With her final breath, Beth tells Nick that she loved him. A dejected Nick checks her pocket, only to find her keys. The police arrive, and in a staircase discover a blond wig, a SFPD raincoat, and an ice pick, the weapon used to murder Gus, concluding that Beth ditched the items when she heard Nick coming up. A search of Beth's apartment turns up the evidence needed to brand her as the killer of Boz, Gus, Nilsen, and presumably her own husband—the matching revolver, Catherine's novels, and photos chronicling the writer's life.

Nick returns to his apartment where he is met by Catherine. She explains her reluctance to commit to him, but then the two make love. Afterward, the conversation turns toward their possible future as a couple. While talking, Nick turns his back on Catherine as she slowly reaches for something underneath the bed. She stops when Nick senses her stillness; he looks around with distrust in his eyes, and she throws her arms around him and the two resume making love as the camera slowly pans down to show what she was reaching for under the bed: an ice pick.

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