The film takes place in New York City in the early 1960's. It is centered around Taggart, a street smart private detective who lives in a small apartment in the bad part of town. Taggart lives in a squalid office, and we are introduced to his unsanitary habits when he drops the contents of his sandwich onto his messy floor and reassembles the sandwich and eats it. Taggart is then visited by a suspicious looking man in a disguise who enlists Taggart to follow his business partner to discover if the partner is cheating him. Taggart accepts and begins working.