Cousins Shorty Davis and Booker T Brooks grew up in pretty much the same circumstances: single mother, too many siblings crowded into a small ghetto apartment. So what makes one kid choose violence as his method to survive living on the streets and the other choose education? Chicago reporter Jo Sullivan doesn't know or have time to worry about it. She's dealing with her own issues when her estranged father comes to Chicago to participate in a cancer clinical trial. When a severed head turns up in an alley dumpster, however, she's thankful for an excuse to shift priorities and find out why all the evidence seems to point to the one kid least likely to have committed the crime.