One seemingly routine morning, a little boy is shot dead in the cross fire between a drug dealer and a narcotics detective in a predominantly black New York City neighborhood. John Pappas, the idealistic mayor of the city, cleverly prevents a race riot, and everything seems to be OK. However, things get complicated again when Kevin Calhoun, Pappas's loyal chief of staff, who is even more idealistic than Pappas himself, begins to wonder why the drug dealer, who just happens to be the son of the local Mafia boss, was out on the streets in the first place after receiving a sentence of five year's probation for a conviction which would normally warrant a 10 to 20-year jail term. Further complicating matters is Marybeth Cogan who represents the widow of the narcotics detective. She is trying to find out why the pension for the cop is being withheld and she brings Calhoun deeper into a scandal that makes him take a second look at what he once took for granted.