What Wambaugh does for LA, Manfredo does for Brooklyn, a tough beat for detectives holding back the tide of neighborhood crime, with One Police Plaza monitoring activities and intervening on behalf of those who broker wealth and political connections.
Joe Rizzo is a seasoned cop, all too familiar with the politics of his job and the price extracted by years of experience: “There ain’t no wrong. And there ain’t no right. There just is.” Currently partnered with young Mike McQueen, Rizzo pontificates indulgently. Fortunately, McQueen understands the value of patience and the lessons hard learned on the job. While McQueen’s career is so far unsullied, Rizzo has an IAD investigation pending, one that is unresolved when the two begin working together.
Manfredo has a measured, informative style, drawing on one partner’s experience and the other’s street naiveté to create a moral dilemma that tests both detective’s motivation and ambitions. Eventually, a sticky case lands on their laps, one fraught with politics and the repercussions of the cop’s code of conduct that can lead to a charmed career or powerful enemies in the hierarchy of the brass and make or break a man’s rise in the ranks.
In a journey that delivers the partners to the understated power of a congressman’s long reach to a harrowing meeting with surly motorcycle gangs, a missing daughter becomes the object of their efforts, but not without specific threats when Rizzo and McQueen face the ugly truth: the girl can bring down the politicians with one act of impunity. Manfredo contrasts these two worlds, the street and the hushed offices of the sacrosanct, morality reduced to decisions without the luxury of certainty.
From the nuts and bolts of a daily caseload to an assignment fraught with political landmines, Rizzo teaches and McQueen learns, justice too frequently denied in the battle to do the right thing. The weary Rizzo has seen it all, McQueen on a career-making-or-breaking ride hinging on what kind of detective he wants to be. It’s all in the journey, the future up to McQueen, Rizzo at his back. Lots of wisdom as troubling issues trickle down from the movers and shakers at OPP to two detectives caught in the middle of power and their mission as Brooklyn’s finest.