At the military reserve motor pool, the watchman Bill arrives for his shift. As he goes to take some photos, someone in a M3 tank sees him and turns the turret his way. Once Bill continues on his way, he hears the tank start up and runs back. It drives for the gate and Bill opens fire on it. He's unable to dent it and is knocked outside, and the driver easily smashes through the gate and escapes. The driver loads the tank onto a waiting flatbed truck. The thieves cover it over and drive off.
The next day at the Sentinel, Mike tells Britt that he figures Hornet stole the tank and now he's doubly dangerous. Britt tells him that they print news, not theories, just as Casey comes in and says that Britt has a call from the warden. Once Mike leaves, Britt takes the call and is informed that a prisoner, Bradford Devlin, wants to talk to Britt. Bradford has been on Death Row for three months, and Britt is sure that he's innocent because he knows him as a war hero and a businessman. Casey isn't convinced, but Britt says that his investigators have found enough reasonable doubt for him.
Later that afternoon, Britt meets with Bradford and says that he's had no luck with the appeal. Bradford has heard about the stolen tank and thinks that he knows who did it and why.
Back at his penthouse, Britt calls Scanlon in and tells him about Bradford's claim. Bradford got a visit from his old crew chief, who swore that he wouldn't let society take his commander's life. The prisoner figures that the tank crew will try to break him out, using the one weapon that they can use effectively. Bradford wants it stopped because it will ruin his chances for pardon. Britt gives the name of the three men: crew chief Earl Evans, gunner Hollis Silver, and communications officer Eddie Carter. Eddie owns a small television repair shop in town, and Britt says that Bradford believes that they'll fight their way out if cornered. He figures that Hornet will give them the chance to surrender peacefully.
That night, Hornet and Kato hit the streets and drive to Eddie's shop. He claims not to know anything about the stolen tank, and Hornet concedes that he might be wrong. Once the heroes leave, Eddie leaves in his van. Hornet and Kato are secretly watching and follow him to a farm outside of town. Hollis is standing watch and spots him, and radios Earl in the barn. He also spots Black Beauty and tells Earl, who orders him to stay put. Earl greets Eddie and tells him about his follower, and Eddie realizes that it's Hornet.
Hornet figures that the tank is in the barn and warns Kato that their missiles wouldn't do much good against a tank. Earl and Eddie drive out and advances on Black Beauty. They open fire as Hollis calls off the range, and Kato takes evasive action. He drives away until Hornet tells him to pull off the road. Earl figures that they're too close to the highway and too maneuverable. Meanwhile, Hornet turns on the loudspeakers and offers a proposition. Earl calls out that they have nothing to talk about, and Hornet threatens to make an anonymous call to bring in the authorities. Eddie and Hollis figure that they should talk, and Eddie tells them to come in on foot.
As the heroes go into the barn, Earl draws a knife and Kato knocks him out. They help Earl inside and Hornet suggests that in exchange for the tank, he'll get Bradford out. Earl insists that they have to do it, and Eddie insists that Bradford saved their lives three times. They figure that the general Bradford killed deserved to die, and Earl explains that the man cost Eddie his leg and then wrote his war memoirs full of lies while branding them cowards. Hornet suggests that one of them killed the man.
The next day, Britt tells Scanlon what happened. He figures Earl and Eddie both had motive, but can't get a read on Hollis. Britt tells Scanlon that he needs Bradford to convince his crew to give up the tent, but Scanlon warns that it's beyond his authority. The publisher asks Scanlon to arrange for him to borrow Bradford's voice.
That night, the heroes drive to a rendezvous with the tank crew. Scanlon is with Hornet and Kato, and Hornet claims that they have Bradford. Kato plays a recording of Bradford's voice telling his crew to keep their promise. Earl demands to see Bradford, and Scanlon gets out wearing a prison outfit with his cap pulled low. The crew isn't convinced, but when they tell Bradford to come over Hornet says that he's not going any further. Earl asks "Bradford" for the password they used in Inchon, and Hornet tells Scanlon to get into Black Beauty. The tank crew realizes that they've been set up and get back inside.
Hornet tells Scanlon to stay in Black Beauty as backup, and the two heroes proceed on foot with Kato carrying a gas dart. The Hornet Sting is useless against the armored tank, and Kato throws the dart in through an aperture. The tear gas causes the crew to crash the tank and get out, and Earl goes for his gun. Eddie tries to stop him and is shot in the struggle. As he lies dying, Eddie says that Bradford is innocent and he killed the general because the man cost him his leg. He tells Hornet where to find the gun that he used, and asks his crewmates to tell Bradford that he's sorry.
Later, Britt hosts a party at his penthouse for Bradford's release. Mike shows them the latest edition with the headline announcing Bradford's innocence. Britt tells Mike that he's going to collaborate with Bradford about his story concerning Death Row. Bradford says that he's taking a vacation first and excuse himself. Mike points out a page-10 story about the tank being recovered, and figures that Hornet was involved. Britt suggests that Hornet arranged Bradford's release, and Mike tells him to stay away from cocktail parties.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 13, 2017