Joe Mannix gets up in the morning, puts on his gun, leaves his apartment, drives to work, buys coffee and a newspaper outside, and enters Indertect Ltd. Detection & Security. He goes to his office but first jokes with a co-worker, Pender, about the mess on his desk. Mannix then goes into his own office, where the desk is covered with papers. He hangs up his coat, blocking the surveillance camera on the wall. Mannix's boss Lew Wickersham calls and tells him to move the coat. Once Mannix does so, Lew says that he wants to talk to him in his office immediately.
When Mannix gets there, Lew half-jokingly complains that Mannix broke the Ashland case and punched the man in the jaw despite the company's policy against brawling. Mannix insists that it got the job done, and Lew tells him that the organization has rules designed to get the most out of people. Unimpressed, Mannix advises Lew to fire him, saying that he doesn't fit into the system and Lew won't change the system. Lew admits that Mannix is his best man and says that he has a job for him. There's a girl, Angela Dubrio, missing and the family doesn't the police involve. Her father Senator Sam Dubrio is one of the richest men in the state. Mannix points out that Sam ran the rackets 20 years ago, and he asked Interdict for its best man. Lew tells him to check with operations and Mannix says that he'll see what he can do.
Mannix flies to Palm Springs and two separate men watch him. One of them, a chauffeur, approaches and says that he's with Sam and has a car waiting. When he invites Mannix to get in, Mannix says that he's going to check into his hotel first. The chauffeur draws a gun on Mannix and leads him to the other car. They arrive at Sam's estate and are greeted by Louise, Sam's wife and Angela's mother. Sam is there as well and introduces himself. and says that the chauffeur doesn't need a gun. When the chauffeur tries to manhandle Mannix, Mannix takes a swing at him and the thug knocks him into some water. Undeterred, Mannix takes him down and Sam tells his construction workers to let them go at is. Mannix holds the chauffeur's head underwater until Sam nods, and then the detective lets the chauffeur go. Sam says that he wanted to see how Mannix handles himself, and explains that Angela has been kidnapped.
Inside , Sam and Angela tell Mannix that the kidnappers wanted $500,000 on a mountain tram at 2 o'clock that day. Sam has the money and wants Mannix to make the payoff. Mannix says that it's a matter for the law, and Louise begs him to help. Sam says that he can't go to the police and the government will take the money and he'll never see it again. He figures that the people will hand over Angela if he pays because he still has an organization, but he has no one on his payroll that he can trust with $500,000. He dismisses Angela, saying that she might already be dead. When Louise begs him to pay, Sam tells her to go and almost hits her. She leaves, and Sam and Mannix stare at each other for a moment.
Mannix finds Louise outside and points out that Sam seems cold about Angela's kidnapping. Louise refers to Mannix by name, telling him that Sam isn't Angela's father. He went to the penitentiary a few months after they got married, and five years later Sam got out and Angela was three. Sam beat her bloody but didn't leave her, and has never said anything to Angela while paying all of her bills. Louise begs Mannix to do what Sam asks.
When Mannix goes back to Sam, Sam figures that Louise told him about Angela. Mannix admits that he isn't impressed, and Sam figures that Mannix is worried about Angela and he'll do it. The detective says that he's doing it for Angela and he'll make the payoff his way. Sam asks what his way is, and Mannix says that he'll follow the man getting the payoff to where they're holding Angela. He's going to make the man disobey orders and lead him to Angela, and tells Sam to sit down while he explains his plan.
Later, Sam gives Mannix a satchel and says that it's all there like he said. Together they drive to the tramway and Mannix gets onto the tram on his own while the second man from the airport, wearing sunglasses watches him. He watches from the ground as the tram goes up. Another man on the tram, Eddie Lee Prentiss, watches Mannix. Mannix sees him watching and Eddie nods at Mannix to bring the satchel over. The detective does so and says that he brought $1 million. Mannix opens the satchel to show it to Eddie, and Eddie has him stand back, leaving the satchel behind.
A helicopter flies over the tram to the station above and lands nearby. When the tram arrives, Eddie tells Mannix that Angela will be down at the lower station and he shouldn't leave the tram. Eddie then leaves with the bag and goes to a pay locker, checking his pockets. He runs over to the helicopter and says that there's only $500,000 in the bag. He gets in the helicopter and they fly off.
On the ground, the sunglasses man watches the tram as it comes down. When it arrives, Mannix gets out and the sunglasses man gets in his car and drives off. Mannix sees him and checks his watch, and smiles.
Later, Eddie takes the tram to the upper station and starts to get the extra $500,000 from the locker. He sees Mannix watching and realizes that it's a setup, and runs. Mannix chases him down the path leading away from the station, and Eddie trips and drops the locker key. The detective jumps him and they struggle, and Mannix grabs Eddie's wallet. He gets Eddie's name from h is driver's license and demands to know where Angela is. Eddie tells him that they gave him $1,000 to make the pickup, and Mannix demands to know where the helicopter took him. The pickup man says that it took him to an unfinished private airport outside of town, says that the $500,000 can change his life, and searches in the dirt for the locker key. Mannix tells him that he should have known he wasn't meant to have that kind of money, and Eddie admits that he figured it was too good to be true. The detective finds the key and says that Eddie should take him to the airport and then they'll talk about Eddie keeping the extra $500,000. Eddie stares at the key for a minute and then agrees.
Eddie drives Mannix to the airfield but says that they should just drive away and split the $500,000 between them. Mannix pushes Eddie's foot down on the accelerator and they pull up to the control tower, and hustles him to the door as gunshots ring out. The pilot runs out to the helicopter, bleeding from a shoulder wound. Eddie tries to run and gets shot, and the pilot flies away. Mannix gets Eddie to cover and tells him that he's going to be all right, and Eddie takes out the key and stares at it. He gives it to Mannix, smiles, and dies. Mannix says that he should have known and leaves.
Mannix enters the control tower and starts to go up the stairs. A corpse falls down the center and Mannix confirms that it's the sunglasses man. He goes up the stairs, gun drawn, goes out onto the outer balcony, and Angela hits him with her purse. She stares at him for a moment and then walks away, and the dazed Mannix sees the helicopter approach and hover overhead. As Mannix pulls himself up, the helicopter flies away. Mannix goes back inside and sees Angela running down the stairs, and goes after her.
Angela gets into a car outside and drives off, the helicopter flying her. Mannix gets into his own car and follows Angela as she drives down the highway. The helicopter comes at her from the front and she swerves to avoid it, and the pilot brings the helicopter around for another pass. He drives her off the highway and lands, and Angela runs off. When Mannix arrives, the pilot gets back in the helicopter and flies off.
The supposed kidnap victim runs into a dry gully and the pilot pursues her. Mannix follows Angela's footprints and comes down into the gully, and Angela draws a gun on him. He says that he's a private detective that Sam hired, and Angela asks for him to hand over his gun to prove what he says. Mannix comes over and takes the gun from her, and she admits that she's out of bullet. Angela falls into Mannix's arms, crying, and begs him to take her home. Before she can explain what happened, the helicopter comes around. Angela runs off while Mannix is distracted and he goes after her. He pushes her down and they hide as the helicopter goes over, and Angela finally says that she heard them fighting over the money and then there was shooting. The man with the money ran out to the helicopter and other man shot at him and then came back into the tower and died. Angela took his gun and the dead man fell over the railing, and then she hit Mannix because she didn't know who he was
Angela begs Mannix to take her home, and Mannix says that she almost told it well enough. He explains that the pilot didn't have the money or a gun, and wonders why the man is still chasing her. Mannix figures that he wants to kill Angela, and Angela set the whole thing up to get some of Sam's money. Angela tries to vamp him, but Mannix figures that the pilot wanted her dead because she did the shooting. He grabs the handbag away from her, figuring that it was heavy enough to knock him out because she has the $500,000 in it.
Angela yells that it's not fair and runs off. The pilot spots her and Mannix goes after her to a nearby golf course, and tries to hit her. Then Mannix runs up and he's considerably further from Angela than when the pilot saw them. The detective fires at the helicopter, which comes at him. When Mannix evades it, the pilot goes after Angela and hits her in the head with the struts. Mannix shoots the pilot and he crashes, and the detective confirms that Angela is concussed.
Later, the police arrive and the medics take Angela away. Sam demands his $1 million back, and Mannix tells Sheriff Bevan that it belongs to Sam. Bevan gives Sam a receipt for the evidence, and Mannix hands over the locker key. Once Bevan leaves, Sam tells Mannix that he would have left Angela money. Louise says that she was right, and Mannix explains that all of the kidnappers were at the tramway and no one was watching Angela so she wasn't a victim. They only went back there to split the money with her. Louise figures that there's more, asking Mannix for the information by name, and Mannix explains that Angela knew his name. Sam and the chauffeur didn't ask for Mannix's name and Mannix never gave it or checked into his hotel. Louise did call Mannix by name when they talked earlier. Sam realizes what Mannix has already worked out: Louise was in on the whole scheme. Disgusted, she tells Sam that after 22 years of being "exposed" to him, she caught his "disease".
Later, Mannix arrives back at Interdict and finds Lew in an executive meeting. He tells Lew that he found the girl and leaves, and Lew smiles and when an executive asks who Mannix was, Lew tells him Mannix's name.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 31, 2019