In this vaguely allegorical science fiction-crime film, a Los Angeles cop tries to solve the murder of his best friend with the help of his new partner -- a member of a star-faring alien race. In the near-future world of Alien Nation, the "Newcomers" are a race of formerly enslaved humanoids seeking refuge and integration into Earth society. These unusual immigrants face anger and resentment from some humans, including Matthew Sykes (James Caan), a cop whose partner, Tug (Roger Aaron Brown), was killed in a shoot-out with several Newcomers. In order to get some insight into Newcomer society and track down the "slags" who killed Tug, Sykes volunteers to take on a new partner, Sam "George" Francisco (Mandy Patinkin), the first alien ever promoted to the rank of detective. As Sykes tries to overcome his bigotry against George and his kind, who eat raw beaver and get drunk on spoiled milk, the friendly, helpful George soon learns the identity of Tug's killer: William Harcort (Terence Stamp), a pillar of Newcomer society who is secretly manufacturing the same powerful narcotic that was used to enslave his race. It's up to Sykes and George to stop Harcort before he turns his fellow Newcomers into drooling addicts and pulls the skeletons out of his race's closet for all of humankind to see. Omen 3 director Graham Baker made his screenwriting debut with Alien Nation, as did co-writer Rockne S. O'Bannon. Kenneth Johnson, creator of the miniseries V, would adapt Alien Nation into a weekly television show in 1989 and several made-for-TV movies in the mid-'90s.
by Brian J. Dillard synopsis