Joe Friday has been called before a shooting board of inquiry over a series of incidents culminating in several deaths. Joe and his partner Frank Smith testify on a case seen in flashback. A meat market is held up by two thugs, Daryl and Brian Sanchez, and their pal Tommy Lee Martinez. In the chaos the Sanchez brothers shoot and kill several people and have Martinez take the store owner and his wife out back to kill them; Martinez takes them out back, but shoots into the ceiling to make it sound like he killed them. Joe, upon finding the two people alive, realizes that Martinez was overcome by fear and guilt and that the Sanchez brothers will kill him if they learn the two witnesses are still alive, so Joe arranges for the two witnesses to be hidden and their faked deaths broadcast. A member of the Sanchez family, Estella Denoen, leads Joe and Frank to a crack house where Daryl and Brian once hung out, and there Joe and Frank learn that the Sanchez brothers and Martinez hang out in Cordero, a large town well out in the sticks. Joe and Frank travel to Cordero and arrange with the local police to apprehend the Sanchez brothers, but the raid nets nothing and a still-operating TV alerts Joe that they were tipped off by someone on the Cordero force. Joe and Frank talk to two Cordero officers, Gil Thorne and Jack Quinn, and Joe soon becomes suspicious of Quinn, since Thorne and the other officers appear intimidated by him. Joe learns from Lacotti, a retired Cordero cop, that Quinn is shaking down dope dealers, and when Joe learns about a girlfriend of Martinez he finds she was taken from her house by Cordero cops and transfered out of the city's jurisdiction; at this Gil Thorne arranges to have the girl released to Joe - in the process intercepting Jack Quinn and making him return to his office. Joe later learns that a partner of Quinn's who was killed by the Sanchez brothers was set up to die by Quinn, and the two LA detectives eventually find Martinez and learn of the Sanchez brothers' hideout, but when police surround a desert garage, Quinn opens fire and a shootout leaves the Sanchez brothers dead - and Joe vowing to take down the corrupt Quinn once and for all.- Written by Michael Daly
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