Police detectives investigate the murder of a model and gradually discover that jewelry thieves were involved.
Early one summer morning in New York a drunk is knocked out and thrown into a river, and a maid finds Jean Dexter dead in a bathtub. Lt. Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) investigates the drowning, and a doctor says she was anesthetized with chloroform. Her ring is removed, but her other jewelry is missing. Detective Jimmy Halloran (Don Taylor) goes to the pharmacy and Dr. Stoneman (House Jameson), who says Dexter took stimulants and sleeping pills. Halloran learns she lost her job as a model for making wives jealous. Muldoon questions Frank Niles (Howard Duff), who is engaged to the model Ruth Morrison (Dorothy Hart). Muldoon learns that Niles told him lies, but his alibi checks out. Muldoon has Niles followed. Muldoon deduces that two men applied the chloroform.
Halloran's wife wants him to whip their son for crossing a street. The victim's mother Mrs. Paula Batory (Adelaide Klein) says she hated her; but when she sees the body, she cries. Detective Perelli (Tom Pedi) learns that Niles sold a stolen cigarette case. Muldoon returns a ring to Morrison's mother and asks how Dexter got it. Morrison says that Niles gave it to her, and Halloran says it was stolen. They go to Niles. He is chloroformed, and a man flees, shooting at them. Niles claims he got the jewelry from Dexter. Morrison calls him a liar and slaps him.
Halloran tells Muldoon that the drunk drowned in the river on the same morning as the murder, and he was also a jewelry thief. Halloran investigates and learns that Willie got away. Halloran finds Willie's brother. Muldoon lets in McCormick, who hits Niles. McCormick says he paid Niles $3,000 for jewelry. Muldoon warns Niles he could get twenty years for the robberies and asks him who Dexter's friend Henderson is. Niles admits that Dr. Stoneman is Henderson.
Halloran learns where Willie is and calls in. Muldoon, Niles, and two cops go to see Dr. Stoneman, who confesses he loved Dexter and helped her with the robberies. He tries to jump out the window, but they stop him. Niles says Willie and the murdered drunk killed Dexter, and Willie killed the drunk. Halloran finds the wrestler Willie, but Willie knocks him down and gets his gun. Meanwhile Muldoon sends in the police to back up Halloran. Willie knocks out Halloran and leaves, avoiding the police. Halloran wakes up and goes after him. Willie is bitten by a dog and shoots it. He runs from police and goes up stairs. Police shoot at him, and he falls from the bridge tower.
Filmed on location in New York City, this realistic
crime drama portrays sophisticated police methods in a big city.