Ellie Burr was a police detective working in Nightmute, Alaska. When training at the police academy, her case study was the Leland Street murders.

After the murder of Kay Connell in Nightmute, the police force brought in detectives Will Dormer and Hap Eckhart from Los Angeles to assist in the investigation. Burr greeted both men off the plane, telling Dormer it was an honour to meet him. She starting driving him to the Pioneer Lodge, telling him she had followed all his cases including Theodore Dineli, Frank Prud'homme, the Ocean Park shootings and the Leland Street case, but Dormer asked to be taken straight to the police station.

After the detectives were introduced, they went to inspect Kay's body. After Dormer's analysis, Ellie realised that the murderer knew Kay personally. The police then went to Mrs Connell's house and Dormer found a picture of Tanya Francke in Kay's room, which Ellie identified for him. Dormer asked to be taken to Kay's boyfriend Randy Stetz, and she had to explain that it was 10 at night as Nightmute had perpetual sunlight in the summer. Ellie then dropped the detectives off at the Lodge.

The next morning she picked up Hap and Will, and on the way to the Randy's school Ellie explained most of the calls the police got were for drink related crimes. When they arrived at the school, Dormer questioned Stetz. Burr then received a call that Kay's bag had been found, so headed back to the station. When there, Dormer asked Ellie to call up all the news and radio stations and put out the story that the police were still looking for Kay's bag. Ellie joined Dormer, Eckhart and Farrell Brooks in the stake-out of the cabin. They saw a figure, but he ran away when alerted to the police presence, so they chased him into the valley. Brooks was shot in the leg, and Ellie found Dormer with a shot Eckhart, who was killed by his wound.

Ellie then gave Dormer the key to a car, and the next day asked Dormer to clarify where he was when he heard the second shot. She then went to the beach with Rich to take photos of the scene, with Francis and a uniformed officer standing in for the shot policemen. She stopped when Francis called to say he had found Farrell's bullet. The next day, she had finished her report and brought it to Dormer for him to sign. Dormer didn't sign it, and told her to be sure of all her facts before filing the report. That night she went over everything again, but fell asleep while inspecting photos.

The next day she attended Kay's funeral, and asked Dormer about where exactly he was when he heard the second shot. He told her it was possible he was somewhere other than where he said. Later that day she saw Dormer going through Kay's belongings, and explained she had read through Kay's journal and it was all just poetry. Dormer told her to return all the stuff into evidence, tell Fred Duggar he would see him in the morning and give the journal back to Mrs Connell.

Later Ellie told Dormer she had found that Kay had a full collection of books by local author Walter Finch, who had signed some of Kay's copies. Dormer had her look into it. She was working late at the office when she found a newspaper telling of Dormer's trouble with internal affairs. The next morning she met Dormer at the Lodge and told him Walter Finch was being brought in for questioning. She was present at his interview, where he told about his relationship with Kay. She watched as Finch told them Randy Stetz had a handgun, and Dormer got aggressive with Finch.

Randy Stetz was then arrested for Kay's murder, and Ellie drove back out to the beach where Eckhart was killed. She looked around and found a spent 9mm gun casing in the rocks. She then went back to her case study from her training and saw that Dormer's backup weapon was a Walther 9mm. She approached Dormer and the other officers at a bar and told them about it, but they wouldn't listen and Dormer told her the case was closed. She followed him outside, gave him a hug and felt the presence of his Walther in his trousers.

That night she waited at Dormer's hotel with the shell casing, wondering what to do. The next morning she drove to Finch's summer house at Lake Kgun to pick up his letters from Kay. She arrived, and as Finch went through his drawers she saw Kay's red dress. She went to draw her gun but was knocked out by Finch. She awoke to hear a scuffle between Finch and Dormer, so she climbed out of a window and into the cabin to see Finch beating Will. She drew a gun and Finch escaped, and she questioned Dormer about his shooting of Hap. Dormer explained that he wasn't sure if it was accidental or not, but at that moment Finch began firing at them with a shotgun.

She gave Dormer his weapon back, but he gave it to her telling her to give him cover fire as he crept up on Finch through the water. Dormer killed Finch, but was shot, and collapsed outside the cabin. Ellie went to help him, and offered to get rid of the evidence that he killed Hap. However, Dormer told her not to as he didn't want her to lose her way the he did. He died in her arms, asking her to "let him sleep".

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