New York detectives Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider pursue drug pushers and users, employing strong-arm tactics. Hackman becomes suspicious when Tony LoBianco and wife Arlene Farber, who run a candy store, are able to enjoy expensive pleasures. Capt. Eddie Egan is persuaded to assign the detectives to a special detail. Harold Gary, LoBianco's chief, is head of a narcotics ring negotiating to buy $32 million worth of heroin from Fernando Rey. French TV star Frederic De Pasquale smuggles it in a hidden car. Rey and assassin Marcel Bozzuffi arrive to consummate the deal and are followed by Hackman and Scheider. Bozzuffi tries to kill Hackman, who pursues in a car as an elevated train which Bozzuffi has boarded goes out of control. Hackman shoots Bozzuffi, then orders De Pasquale's car to be stripped. The payoff is interrupted by police; LoBianco dies and Hackman accidentally kills officer Bill Hickman. Rey escapes and the others receive light sentences.
Tie in with recent news headlines about crackdowns on drug rings. Bantam Books has a paperback version of the novel in print. Invite police personnel to screenings.
The time is just right for an out and out thriller like this... Doyle is bad news but a cop... A gut crunching thriller. 20th-Fox 104 mins.