The detectives try to figure out a mystery after an old woman dies in a fire. The mystery gets deeper when a young woman who is left some of the old woman estate is killed. The case takes them to a state public administrator who has invented a form of grave-robbing. The detective suspects the administrator has a weakness for valuable cars, but to make his case work, he has to exploit his quarry's personal relationships.
Det. Robert Goren is an exceptionally bright homicide investigator with well-honed instincts that match up favorably with his criminal quarry. Likewise, his partner, Det. Alexandra Eames, brings an independence and stylish edge to her work that meshes well in tandem with Goren. They were joined by Mike Logan, who has finally worked his way back from a ten-year exile to Staten Island, and Carolyn Barek as a devoted Catholic detective whose religion plays a part in everything she does.
Their commanding officer, Capt. James Deakins, is a competent but ambitious political character who knows how to survive and thrive behind the scenes. All of them often butt heads with the no-nonsense Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver, a stickler for the crucial legal details.