Det. Halloran easily kills a fleeing robber who's about to shoot him, but Halloran's lingering feelings of guilt make getting through the aftermath with the man's family anguish. Halloran's wife and Lieutenant support him throughout his search for meaning.
Gio, who lives by fishing coins out of sidewalk grates, longs to adopt an orphaned boy who he spins yarns for, as if Gio actually was a courageous deep-sea fisherman. By working 16 hours a day, old Gio saves money to adopt the boy, but in doing so violates the territorial rights of a local gang, who try to kill Gio.
New York City detectives frantically hunt a killer who strangles married disabled women with a coat hanger, in their own homes. As the gumshoes wade through dozens of false confessions and bad leads, a young loner who made bizarre remarks at the funeral of the latest victim, comes forward. Is he just another attention seeker - or is he the real fiend ?
A naive young woman, Carol Thomas, fresh to New York, gets a mysterious phone call on her new line from a woman who sounds to be in the process of being murdered. Carol is unable to get prompt action from the police, so she ill-advisedly decides to play detective herself.