Sidney Poitier reprises his role as Virgil Tibbs in this crime drama, a story unrelated to that of the earlier film In the Heat of the Night. Once again, he is a veteran homicide detective and is currently investigating the murder of a prostitute. The primary suspect is San Francisco political activist Reverend Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau), the last person seen with the victim. Tibbs and Sharpe are friends, and Tibbs would like to believe the priest is not guilty. Sharpe admits to Tibbs he has slept with the late hooker, and the detective intensifies his focus on his friend, and in one climactic scene, Virgil interrupts a city-council meeting where the priest is campaigning for political reform. On the home front, after dealing with dope peddlers, pimps, murderers and other crooks all day, Virgil returns home to his wife Valeri (Barbara McNair) and his two children, only to be firmly chided for being late for dinner and spending too much time on the job.