Don’t miss this one. Richard Widmark is excellent as the leader of a gang the FBI wants to bring down. Lloyd Nolan reprises his role as Inspector Briggs from 1945’s “The House On 92nd Street.” This is loaded with suspense as an undercover agent played by Mark Stevens is sent to infiltrate the gang. John McIntire is his back up. Ed Begley has a small part as a police chief.
A town referred to as Center City is in the midst of a crime wave. A woman is shot dead during a nightclub holdup and later a bank guard is killed during a robbery. The FBI’s Inspector Briggs (Lloyd Nolan) meets with local police officials including chief Bernard Harmatz (Ed Begley). They nab Robert Denker as a suspect and he’s identified by two witnesses. He has a shaky alibi but it’s proved to be for real. When they come back to let him go he’s already been bailed out by a man named John Smith. That night his body is found by the roadside. That’s three murders to solve.
Briggs brings in agent Gene Cordell (Mark Stevens) to make his way into the gang. He gets a skid row room. Across the street over a penny arcade is his deep in the background back up Cy Gordon (John McIntire). Gene calls himself George Manly and has the fake ID to confirm it. He goes to a local gym owned by Alec Stiles (Richard Widmark). He’s the gang leader. Stiles offers him cash to stay in the ring with one of the boxers.
While Cordell is occupied one of Stiles’ men steals the social security card with the Manly name. That lets him leave it at the scene of a jewelry robbery and Gene ends up in jail while Stiles checks him out. He has a mole in the local police department that gets him FBI records of anyone he’s looking into as a potential gang member. Gene passes the test.
Stiles plans a robbery at a mansion. Everyone gathers at his place. After they leave, Stiles’ wife Judy (Barbara Lawrence) complains about what slobs the gang members are. That causes a violent argument. She says she hopes they get him. Gene manages to get word to Gordon who passes it along to Briggs. They all wait near the mansion to bust the gang. Not so fast. Stiles’ mole gets the word back to him that the heist has been made. It’s called off. Stiles suspects Judy of calling the cops and slaps her around some more.
The suspense goes into high gear as the cops start closing in. Stiles comes up with a plan the use them to take care of his problem.