The period of time subjected to this book is from 1967-1972. There is this Special investigation unit, or SIU, in the narcotics division of New York police department. It deals with the most prominent of the drug dealers, the big guys. It’s detectives operate in four man teams to catch the big bosses of the illegal drug dealing. These sophisticated detectives who go on arresting major mafia hoods together with significantly large amounts of drugs are subjected to much admiration and envy.
But Robert Leuci, one of these super hero detectives and a team leader, is not happy. He feels a great remorse because the whole system in which he belongs stinks of corruption. The detectives, the prosecutors, attorneys, and even the judges are used to take bribes from the arrested hoods. And Leuci himself is corrupted. His own brother is addicted to heroin. Some of his informants are drug addicts too, and they are given some of the arrested drugs for their information! When his guilt becomes insufferable, he decides to witness against this corruption on a committee established to investigate police corruption, which is called Knapp commission.
But it’s only for even more remorse and guilt for Leuci, because his colleagues and mafia friends who’s lives are to ruin due to his actions have always cared for him and been very good men in some sense. It is all geared towards a tragic end.
This book clearly shows how the social system itself causes some people to do things that are harmful to the society and makes one wonder what good the laws and rules can do by punishing the convicts while the shortcomings of the whole system remains unchanged. It also reminds us of how inappropriate it is to judge people good or bad.