Guilty paranoia in a gritty 1950’s industrial town. An accountant, living a repressed life, becomes so obsessed with the person who is stealing his morning milk that he commits an act of irrational violence. His beautiful wife, meanwhile, is making plans of her own.
In Stockholm, on St. Lucy’s feast day, a bandit daringly robs a crowded post office. Within a fortnight, two witnesses are dead. Two cops from vice squad, Johansson and Jarnebring, who were the first to the crime scene, pursue all leads and identify a suspect, an arrogant member of the elite secret police, a man assigned to guard the country’s Minister of Justice. Just as the beat cops think they’ve tightened the noose around the suspect, loose ends appear, witnesses lose their certainty, alibis crop up, and even the cops doubt what they’ve seen. Who’s protecting the suspect and why?
The Man the accomplice of Marian Forbes the spurned mistress of a tycoon. She coaches The Man in impersonating the voice and appearance and habits of the intended victim and when he has been taken care of The Man begins his masquerade in a Mexican resort. Here he meets Corey Scott and moves on to contemplating the murder of his tutor. But things begin to go awry.
Phil Gaines is a bitter, cynical cop who investigates the case of a dead stripper/porno actress found on the beach. Gaines is experiencing a troubled relationship with a hooker, and things don’t get any better when the dead girl’s father launches his own investigation.
A police officer is murdered with a bayonet while staying in hospital. The investigative team, lead by Martin Beck, soon discover that the man had frequently abused suspects as well as civilians but that any complaints had been ignored owing to the misguided loyalty of his colleagues. The volatile mind of the killer means that Beck has to resolve the case quickly before more people are hurt.