Drama directed by Richard Fleischer based on the novel by Joseph Wambaugh. Young Roy Fehler (Stacy Keach) joins the Los Angeles Police Department to see him through until he completes his degree in law. He has the good fortune to be partnered with venerable and respected officer Kilvinski (George C. Scott) and they quickly establish a good working relationship thanks to Roy's willingness to learn and Kilvinski's ability to teach him. Roy becomes so involved in his work in fact that his studies as well as his family begin to drift away from him. With his life hanging by a thread, his mentor retires from the force and Fehler is left with nothing but the drink he turns to. Eventually Roy starts to take control of his life again, but as he knows all too well it's not always so easy.