Detective Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas) of the 21st Precinct in New York has a heart of stone. Unlike his rough but sympathetic police buddy, Detective Lou Brady (William Bendix), he can’t understand the need for humanity in dealing with criminals. And one target for his hatred of crime is Karl Schneider (George Macready), a one-time doctor who is known to be an abortionist.
McLeod despises Schneider and is doing everything in his power to build up a case against him. When a likely witness dies, McLeod loses control and hits Schneider.
Then, when it emerges that McLeod’s own wife, Mary (Eleanor Parker) was once assisted by Schneider, suspicions are aroused that the detective has been hounding the ex-doctor out of a personal vendetta.
This is not true, and McLeod has been unaware of the shadow in his wife’s past.
It would have been nice and convenient to tie up this film with a happy-ever-after ending. But life and good films don’t happen that way – and director William Wyler has avoided the obvious.
Detective Jim McLeod
Detective Lou Brody
Luis Van Rooten