Complete summary of The Naked City (1948)

When model Jean Dexter is found apparently drowned in her bathtub, NYPD's finest are assigned. Seasoned detective Dan Muldoon and his junior partner Jimmy Halloran quickly discover that Dexter was murdered and had some shady friends. They're stumped in their search for Dexter's middle-aged lover, Philip Henderson. But her friend Frank Niles arouses suspicion when they find him out as a consummate liar.

Niles tips his hand to the cops when he sells jewelry taken from Dexter's apartment. Not only that, the jewelry from her apartment was previously stolen from the residences of socialites, including that of Niles' fiancee Ruth Morrison's mother. Muldoon and Halloran break up the assault of Niles in his apartment, but his mysterious assailant gets away. Niles says Dexter gave him all the jewelry, even the engagement ring he gave Ruth, who gets hysterical at this news.

The case seems to hit a dead end. Muldoon allows Halloran to follow a hunch. Halloran's certain that the apparently unrelated case of another dead man and ex-petty thief, Bakelis, is in fact related since Bakelis died within hours following Dexter. Halloran tracks down Bakelis' former burglary partner, Willie Garzah.

Niles confesses that Dexter's secret lover "Henderson" is really her physician, Laurence Stoneman. Niles and Dexter had been blackmailing the very married Stoneman over his affair. While socialites attended Mrs. Stoneman's parties, Niles and Dexter would have two men burgle their apartments. When one of the burglars wanted a bigger cut, he killed Dexter, then Bakelis and tried to kill Niles. Confronted with Niles' confession, Stoneman tries to kill himself but fails. Niles identifies Dexter's and Bakelis' murderer as Garzah.

Garzah beats up Halloran and flees. Pursued now by Halloran and Muldoon and company, Garzah gets into a shoot-up with the cops. He loses the gunbattle.

Dark City home | film titles | directors | book titles and writers | feature | linx

(© NOIR, 2014)