Two beat cops in the Upper West Side bicker about sodas when a gunshot goes off. They rush to the scene, where a victim was shot. A witness, Jose Montoya, describes the shooter as a white guy with a gym bag. One officer pursues the shooter into a parking garage but can't find him, even though there appear to be no open exits. Detectives Briscoe and Logan check out the scene; the victim is a 32-year old Indian woman, and she was killed with a shotgun blast to the chest. Briscoe brings up that a grocery clerk, Hector Duval, at a market was killed in the same way a few weeks ago; as it turns out, the victim here has a bag from that market. Another policeman brings over two women who saw the man; the shooter said hello to them before opening fire. One of the women says that she called 911; she knew that Satan was in the area. Briscoe and Logan are unimpressed.
"Great. Let's book [Satan.]"
"I don't think so. This guy knows the neighborhood. Satan's not a local."
—Mike Logan and Lennie Briscoe
At the precinct, Van Buren says the victim from a few weeks ago was Haitian. Shotguns are possibly the most common gun in the country, says Van Buren, and ballistics are useless. Logan says that the lack of shells indicates that the gun was a breech-loader. They talk to the husband of the latest victim; he can't think of anyone who would have wanted to hurt her or the clerk. He bemoans the decay of the neighborhood, and mentions that his wife was pregnant. Ballistics says they determined that the gun was a sawed off shotgun and was probably used for both the latest victim and the clerk, and brings up a third victim who was killed with a similar gun — Ruben Calzata, of Dominican descent, from Harlem.
Logan says that Calzata was a crack house lookout; the local police had bumped his case to the bottom of their pile. They decide to check out the market to see if Ruben shopped there, and to see if Hector and the latest victim are connected. After investigating the market, they learn that all the victims were completely unconnected, which scares Van Buren. She calls Olivet and has the detectives get the victims to make a sketch.
Briscoe reports on the results of the sketch; the old lady thinks that the guy looked like Liberache, and the only thing the witnesses agree on was that the guy was white wearing a cap of some kind. Olivet says she'll get the FBI's Behavioral Analysis unit involved; they helped catch famous serial killers and might be able to help here. In the meantime, the police will put out the sketch and look for white guys with caps in the area. Briscoe brings up a secret way out of the garage which the killer must have used to flee the police; that the killer used it indicates that the shooter grew up in the neighborhood. He says the demographics of the area have changed since his youth.
"This is New York City. You don't like the neighborhood? Wait ten minutes."
The detective go talk to the shop owners. A white wine store owner bemoans how no one buys Bourdeaux in the neighborhood anymore and says he wonders if one of the people there will shoot him. A black record store owner says that his customers are generally white teenagers from Central Park buying violent rap albums. A white check cashing guy says no white people come to his store; he says they have banks. No one recognizes the sketch.
The FBI unit says that the killer is speeding up; two weeks passed between the shootings of Hector and Ruben, two days between Ruben and the latest victim. The spokesperson for the unit says that the shooter will look normal, have trouble with personal relations, and get an ego boost from killing during the police search. They deduced that the shotgun was an old gun (they say if he had bought a new weapon, it wouldn't be a breech-loading twelve-gauge), so either he or his father's a hunter. They estimate his age to be between 35 and 40, contrary to the old woman's (Ms. Whitney) guess of 30. He probably has a grudge against the victims. The FBI is investigating the market, but Van Buren points out that all the victims are minorities, so it could be a white supremicist. On the way out, Van Buren says they're putting together a large force to patrol the neighborhood. Logan says to make sure they look like locals.
Dressed as a homeless man, Logan reports to Briscoe and Van Buren in their car. They get a message that shots were fired and speed to the scene. The victim, Lionel Jackson, is a black man who survived the attack. Jackson, just out of surgery, says that the killer asked him how he liked the neighborhood, then took out a shotgun. Jackson took off upon seeing the gun; he landed on D-Day and learned what happened to people who didn't get under cover when shooting began. He remembers the voice of the killer.
They confirm Jackson never shopped at the market, so the killer is definitely aiming at minorities. Furthermore, Briscoe says that the crack house where Calzata got shot used to be part of the neighborhood. The FBI man and Olivet say that the shooter is paranoic and obsessed with the neighborhood, and considers it his. He was probably victimized in some way by a minority at some point and now blames all minorities. They think he talked to someone, maybe at a bar. Briscoe doesn't think the bar theory is going to be easy to follow up on.
"Ooh. A bar where white guys make racist remarks? Can't be too many of those."
They decide to check mailing lists for white supremacist groups. The FBI man says that it's certain that the killer will keep going until he's caught.
They cross-reference the mailing lists with people that lived in the neighborhood, black-on-white crime incidents and have hunting licenses, and begin checking out the names. Kevin Jones and his mother are openly racist and are indifferent to the deaths, but his alibi of being at church choir practice checks out. George Ferguson is black, and so doesn't match the witness descriptions. Robert Nullthrups is in North Dakota. Arthur Tunney, who was seen during patrols in a Giant's cap, is next. At Arthur's address, the landlord says Arthur moved out, but came there originally from the same neighborhood, the Upper West Side, as all the shootings. The landlord of the old address says that Arthur's mother was mugged, knocked down, and killed by minorities. That landlord gives them Arthur's sister's name.
The sister, Mary Bradley, says she wanted her mother to move but her mother wouldn't. The detectives, pretending they're investigating the mugging, get Allen Bradley (Mary's husband) to give them Arthur's address. Mary is upset at this. The detectives arrest Tunney, who has a gym bag with a sawed-off shotgun in it.
"Wheelin' out the welcome wagon again, eh, Arty?"
At the lineup, Mrs. Whitney and Jose Montoya fail to identify Arthur. Mr. Jackson, however, ID's the voice.
During interrogation, Tunney says that the 2nd Amendment allows him the right to have the shotgun. Logan asks him if it lets him shoot people; Tunney brings up that the Constitution only counted black people as 3/5 of a person. His lawyer, a white woman named Marya Levenson, tries to shut him up, but fails, and Tunney mocks the detectives and Lieutenant Van Buren.
"That Article's been amended."
"Progress. It's not always a good thing."
—Anita Van Buren and Arthur Tunney
Tunney calls the policemen the "white lackey power structure" and says they didn't stop the neighborhood from what he sees as it decaying. He continues to make racist remarks at Van Buren, and snaps at his lawyer when she tries to stop him. He says he's getting a new lawyer.
"This isn't doin' ya any good."
"You are, Mrs. Levenson? Your public defender advice is worth everything I'm paying for it."
—Marya Levenson and Arthur Tunney
In court, Arthur's new lawyer is Horus McCoy, whom the judge recognizes. McCoy is black, and Tunney looks uncomfortable, but pleads not guilty. He's held without bail, despite McCoy's protests.
McCoy yells at Stone — Tunney was attacked at Rikers. He wants Stone to allow bail to be posted so that Tunney will be safe from prison inmates; Stone refuses. McCoy calls Stone's case weak. Stone says that Tunney is guilty, McCoy objects.
"In the eyes of the law, I believe Mr. Tunney is an innocent person. Unless you've had a trial and convicted him without inviting me."
"No, Horus, we wouldn't think of having a trial without inviting you."
—Horus McCoy and Ben Stone
Later, Kincaid wonders why a member of the Harlem Defense League is defending a white supremacist murder, but Schiff says to worry about winning the case. They have an earwitness and a gun they can't match to the crimes, and not much else. Schiff thinks the motive, that his mother was killed by minorities, will just get him sympathy with the jury. But when Stone asks if he should make a deal, Schiff says they have to convict or else vigilantism will become popular in New York. Since Tunney has a big mouth, decide to try to get Tunney to take the stand and brag about his crimes.
At a jailhouse interview, McCoy again mocks Stone's case, but Stone gets Tunney to talk by bringing up his mother. McCoy says Stone can't make Tunney testify, and Stone says McCoy can't stop him either. Tunney insults McCoy and black people and continues mouthing off before McCoy shuts him up by threatening to walk. After the meeting, Stone asks McCoy why he's defending Tunney, but McCoy points out that Stone doesn't ask white lawyers why they defend black people accused of killing white people. McCoy says that he wants the whole city to see how great a lawyer he is by winning a prominent case with an apparently-doomed defendant. He says other defense lawyers have done this, and he wants to as well. He asks Stone if Stone ever asked other famous defense attorneys why they defended killers, then walks out. Kincaid returns from a phone call; a black person was killed with a shotgun in the same neighborhood while Tunney was in jail. The police think they know who did it (the victim was having relations with the probable killer's cousin), but the police can't find the killer and this is going to raise doubt in the judge's mind during the bail hearing. Stone sends Kincaid to talk to Mary Bradley.
Kincaid asks Mary to testify to Tunney's racist remarks. Mary says she'll testify if Tunney can take an insanity plea. The lawyers refuse, and Stone sounds off to Schiff about Mary's refusal to testify.
"If my brother were spraying pedestrians with a shotgun, I'd turn him in."
"Yes, sir, I would."
—Ben Stone and Adam Schiff
Kincaid wonders why the sister didn't call to warn Tunney, but Kincaid points out that the gun was unloaded — Tunney was probably taking it to be dumped. From the phone records, they learn that Mary did call Tunney — twenty minutes later. They theorize that Allen Bradley delayed Mary somehow.
Mary refuses to talk, even when Stone threatens to charge her. McCoy says he'll file a suit against Stone if Stone charges Mary, and Stone threatens to throw McCoy out of his office. Allen Bradley says nothing until Stone threatens to charge him too, but when he begins to talk, Mary insists he go outside with her. Kincaid says that they can still prove that Tunney's a racist, but Schiff doubts a jury will care — he says racism is in vogue.
In court, McCoy tries and fails to have Tunney's hate literature excluded on 1st Amendment grounds. The literature that Briscoe reads advocates hunting black people. McCoy first gets Briscoe to admit that they learned of Tunney from his hate magazine mailing list, then that about 700 people were on the mailing lists they looked at. Briscoe can't rule out every single one of them for all the crimes. Briscoe brings up the gun and the motive, and McCoy names another person on the lists whose relative was killed by a black mugger. The judge asks McCoy how many names he has, and when McCoy says he has fifty or sixty people on the list with similar motives, tells him to just ask a question. McCoy asks if all fifty or sixty people were investigated, and Briscoe has to admit they didn't. He says they didn't need to since they had the killer, McCoy says that was just an assumption and they stopped investigating there.
Lionel Jackson ID's Tunney on the stand. Despite McCoy's challenges, Jackson is adamant that it was Tunney.
"I remember the voice of the first white man that told me not to come in his store. I remember the voice of the doctor who told me I had a healthy son. And I remember the voice of the man who took out a gun and shot me!"
Later, Kincaid says that McCoy is calling Olivet and has subpoenaed all records relating to the profile the FBI drew up. Stone is horrified and says that this destroys their case. Sure enough, in court, McCoy first gets Olivet to say that it is authoritative and was written by knowledgeable experts, then brings up several discrepancies between it and Tunney. For instance, the report says that the killer has a history of feuding with neighbors, Tunney has no such history, nor has he worked at a succession of menial jobs. Olivet has to admit that other people may match the profile more closely than Tunney does.
Schiff complains about McCoy's brilliance. Stone says that McCoy is calling his own ballistics experts next, Schiff worries that this will destroy the last evidence they have against Tunney. He orders Stone to call McCoy to make a deal. Stone does so, and learns that Tunney was released on bail hours ago. Stone snaps at McCoy, complains that he wasn't notified, and tells McCoy to warn his neighbors. He goes to yell at the judge.
Judge Lisa Pongrecic tells Stone that the lack of notification wasn't her fault. Stone says they can't go through normal channels and need Tunney rearrested immediately; Pongrecic says that one of the murders was made while Tunney was in jail (the copycat cousin); ergo, he may not be the killer, so bail should be allowed. Stone snaps at the judge that she won't admit to making a mistake, and only when Kincaid says she can get an order from an appellate judge in half an hour does he stop. Pongrecic gives Stone some advice before he leaves.
"Give her a raise, Ben. You were about to walk out of here in cuffs."
—Judge Lisa Pongrecic
The cops can't find Tunney at any of his usual locations, and Logan doesn't know what they can do once they find him. Van Buren says they should just watch him, and let him know he's being watched. They decide to press Allen Bradley. They finally get him to tell him where Tunney's other place is. In the hideout's building, Allen says that Mary blames herself for her mother's death; she didn't want her mother to live with her and Allen, so her mother stayed in the neighborhood and was killed. In the hideout itself, they find a shrine to Tunney's mother and a sawed off barrel from a different shotgun.
In the neighborhood, Van Buren says they have 18 cars patroling, and then someone screams. Logan drives after someone running away from the victim and almost runs him down, driving him up against a wall — he was a mugger. Then Van Buren catches up to them — someone was shot elsewhere in the neighborhood.
The police swarm the scene. A black man's been wounded and Tunney's been shot and killed. Tunney was killed by the victim's daughter. She bemoans the state of the neighborhood as the episode ends.