"A case to end all cases."

A Detective Story is an episode of The Animatrix written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe.


Agents firing at Ash and Trinity.

The aesthetic of the piece is highly Art Deco and thirties-retro, with the computers blended with typewriters to give it an old-fashioned yet modern feel (with comparisons to Terry Gilliam's Brazil), and the phones using a rotary-dial system.

It follows the story of a down-on-his-luck private detective, Ash (James Arnold Taylor), on what he calls the "case to end all cases". Ash receives an anonymous phone call to search for a hacker that goes by the alias "Trinity" (Carrie-Anne Moss). Ash traces Trinity learning that other detectives have failed in the same task before him, one had committed suicide, one had gone missing, and one has gone insane.


"The Red Queen" aka Trinity.

Eventually Ash finds Trinity after deducing that he should communicate using phrases and facts from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She proposes a meeting, and he successfully finds the location. At the meeting she removes a "bug" from his eye, planted by agents earlier in one of his "eye exam dreams". Agents appear and attempt to apprehend Trinity, which leads to a shootout between the Agents and Ash and Trinity.

While trying to escape the train, an Agent attempts to take Ash's body, forcing Trinity to shoot him in order to prevent the Agent from appearing and taking over his body. While Ash is wounded, he and Trinity bid their farewells with no hard feelings. Trinity escapes, telling Ash that she thinks he could have handled the truth.

Agents enter the car to find Ash, who points his gun at them while looking in the other direction and lighting a cigarette. The Agents turn to Ash who, even though he is armed, will likely die. With this apparent no-win situation, the film ends with Ash's line ("A case to end all cases") as his lighter flame going out.


  • The chronological placement of this story is unclear from the story itself, but it is placed before the events of The Matrix in the Matrix Universe poster included in the Enter the Matrix: Official Strategy Guide.

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