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Former war hero Stephen Rojack is now a successful but controversial television commentator whose specialty is criticizing the police for not curtailing the activities of Cosa Nostra gang leader Ganucci. One evening Rojack receives a phone call from his estranged wife, Deborah, a wealthy and dissipated alcoholic. He visits her in the hope of getting her to agree to a divorce, but she unmercifully goads him into a violent fight which ends when Rojack strangles her and throws her from her 30-story penthouse. When taken to police headquarters, where he insists that his wife's death was a suicide, Rojack runs into Ganucci, the gangster's nephew Nicky, and Nicky's girl friend Cherry McMahon, a nightclub singer who once had an affair with Rojack. After being reluctantly released by the police, Rojack resumes his affair with Cherry, thereby further enraging the Cosa Nostra who decide to eliminate him. Rojack is then visited by Barney Kelly, his dead wife's father, who harasses him into admitting that he killed Deborah. Instead of turning the information over to the police, however, Mr. Kelly leaves Rojack to wrestle with his tormented conscience. Events come to a violent climax when Nicky persuades Cherry to help him trap Rojack in return for a new singing contract. She lures Rojack to her apartment but then tearfully warns him of the danger. No longer able to continue running, Rojack borrows Cherry's revolver, enters the trap, and is gunned down after killing Nicky.