Fraser initially sets out to help a poor mother after her son comes down with food poisoning from tainted meat, especially when Child Protective Services is called in and put her children in protective custody. It turns out that the meat is not only tainted, but it is actually horse meat, rather than beef. The plot escalates from there
when it turns out even the horse meat may have been made from illegally obtained horses.
- I Ate What?: Nobody is terribly pleased to discover they have been getting tainted horse meat instead of beef from the grocery store. Lieutenant Welsh only authorizes Ray to pursue the case further after Ray asks if Mrs. Welsh shops at that grocery store.
- Cool Car: Stephanie Cabot, who buys horses at auction to save them from the slaughter houses, drives a Ford Mustang convertible.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The grocery store owner for passing off horse meat as beef to save his bottom line, and Vince Leggett, the horse meat salesman who has been stealing wild horses to turn into horse meat, introducing parasites and disease.
- Department of Child Disservices: The doctor Mrs. Gamez takes her son to calls Child Protection, who investigate and decide to put the kids in protective custody due to the food poisoning and the poor state of her apartment (evidently Mrs. Gamez's landlord refuses to fix anything). The woman from Child Protection clearly isn't happy about what is happening, but is trying to look after the children's best interest.
- Gonna Need A Bigger Warrant: At first, Fraser and Ray just think the grocery store is selling bad meat. Then they find out it's selling horse meat labeled as beef, and then they find out it's selling meat made from wild horses.
- Literary Allusion Title: The title is a pun on the book "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"
- Locked in a Freezer: Ray and Fraser end up cornered in one while trying to escape the gun-toting mooks.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Lieutenant Welsh is not supportive of Ray's investigation, because Ray is supposed to be working a different investigation entirely. He changes his mind when the possibility is raised that his own food may be tainted by the bad meat.
- Shoot Out the Lock: Ray tries, but the door is too solid.
- Shout-Out: When Fraser proposes packing horse meat on themselves to conserve body heat in the freezer, Ray laments the possibility of freezing to death inside My Friend Flicka.