A Nob Hill prostitute is murdered in her $300 a month apartment. Last seen leaving the apartment is Martin Landau, a politically-involved minister in the midst of an activist campaign to pass a ballot measure to reform local government. Landau is a close personal friend of Sidney Poitier, who is assigned to investigate the case.
The detective is a tough, ruthlessly efficient cop, and the portrayal, realistic as it is, might be dramatically deadly. However script switches back and forth between the case and the cop’s everyday domestic problems with wife Barbara McNair, 11-year-old son George Spell and six-year-old daughter Wanda Spell.
The father all too frequently must also be a cop to his son and it is in the relationship with the boy that Poitier’s character paradoxically is given flesh and blood.