This was the pilot for the hit series. Ken Wahl stars as Vinnie Terranova, a Justice Department agent reassigned to the Organized Crime Bureau (OCB) as a "wiseguy", a specially trained deep undercover agent. To help support his cover, Vinnie has just finished serving 18 months in a New Jersey prison. Vinnie is frustrated that he can't tell his mother that he is a government agent and not the criminal that he is now perceived to be. He wants out of the assignment, but after a friend is killed while investigating the Steelgrave crime family, Vinnie decides to go after ...
When Vinnie's young cousin, a boxer, is found dead of an apparent drug overdose, Vinnie jeopardizes his cover by going to "legals" -- the coroner, the homicide cops -- to get them moving on what he knows was a murder.
After his mother is mugged in Brooklyn, an enraged Vinnie sets out to find the punk who did it, but when he visits his mother in the hospital, it breaks his heart that she still won't forgive him for his life of "crime."
Sonny's cruel punishment of a lounge singer who wants out of his contract triggers a cascade of events that leads to Vinnie's being photographed with McPike -- a photo that is to be delivered to Sonny.
In the aftermath of the Steelgrave case, Vinnie tries to vindicate himself of his lingering feelings of betrayal and disloyalty by risking his life to save an old friend from the Brooklyn neighborhood who has a contract out on him.
Vinnie's assignment to check out a contract killer leads him into a huge global contraband syndicate -- an operation that far exceeds the scope of the Steelgrave family -- overlorded by brother and sister Mel and Susan Profitt.
Vinnie, now a bodyguard for the Profitts, gets his first trial by fire when Mel Profitt, the brilliant but paranoid overlord of an international crime empire, disrupts the wedding of an associate, who retaliates by kidnapping Susan.
Vinnie tells Mel Profitt he is leaving to go home to New Jersey, but Mel offers him the biggest cocaine distribution network in the country -- a plum that Vinnie feels is too juicy for any undercover cop to turn down.
When Mel's former girlfriend shows up, begging for readmission to the Inner circle, he humiliates her, using her as a sexual pawn in a power game with a rival, but for Vinnie, forced to watch it happen, the worst is yet to come.
After rejecting an offer to finance a coup d'etat in the Caribbean, Mel Profitt becomes obsessed with a supposed voodoo death curse, and Vinnie, horrified, can only watch as Mel's personality begins to disintegrate.
After Susan is arrested for Mel's murder, Vinnie refuses McPike's order to pull out of the Profitt case, because Susan, who has seemingly lost her grip on reality, has told him she is pregnant with his child.
With Mel and Susan Profitt undone, McPike begins dismantling their empire, but Vinnie demands to stay on the case to get to the bottom of Roger Lococco's ties to a rogue CIA operation to stage a Caribbean coup d'etat.
Roger Loccoco in effect signs his own death warrant by testifying to a Senate comnittee about a cabal within the U.S. intelligence community, but to back him up he needs Vinnie to testify as an O.C.B. operative -- testimony that would end Vinnie's career as an uncercover agent.