Police detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) returns to finds himself in hot water with the police over his acceptance of help from a neighborhood anti-drug group. The group has done some things which are far from textbook legal, such as stealing and destroying a large shipment of drugs. Though they pulled off their robbery without loss of life, a corpse is found at the scene of the heist. Tibbs, now suspended from the force, uses their help to string together clues which enable him to break up a large drug ring. This is the third movie made starring Poitier and based on John Bail's novels In The Heat of the Night and They Call Me Mister Tibbs.