Goren and Eames investigate the death of a well-known and well-liked historian, Dr. Adlai Copeland, and their investigation leads them to suspect the victim's brother Ted, who was perpetually short of money and had recently been cut off by his brother. Ted is the prime suspect in the investigation until he, too, turns up dead, and detectives then turn their eye to the victims' wives, both of whom had something to gain from the two mens' deaths.
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.