In an auto junkyard as a car is being lifted out of the scrapheap with a crane, the front door opens and a girl's body hangs out. Burke's girfriend Liz arrives at his home, loaded down with accessories for a full day alone with Burke, who's officially off-duty. Burke assures her that the bear rug has been cleaned and given a pedicure and that wild mice couldn't keep them apart. Henry arrives and tells Burke that wild mice are on the phone. Liz is disappointed and, as Burke leaves for the crime scene, she kisses him and wonders why he can't leave just one case for the "underlings".
There is no identification on the body, who was shot twice the night before in another locale and moved to the wrecking lot. Tim has interviewed the workmen and, as usual, taken care of everything else, so Burke decides to go enjoy his day off. Tim reminds him that he's due to meet Tim's mother, who's in town on a visit and anxiously looking forward to meeting Burke. Les teases them, saying every boy wants his mother to meet his hero. Burke's reply:
OLD POLICE SERGEANTS SHOULD BE SEEN BUT NOT HEARD - BURKE'S LAW
At the station, Mrs. Tilson tells Burke that Tim has told her so much about him and wants to know why Burke drives a Rolls, since everything we do is so important. She tells Burke (shades of Tim) that she has a theory - he's not a sheep but an individual. She asks Burke how Tim is doing, not that she's worried, "danger is good" - otherwise what's to remember when we're old? It's clear where Tim gets his go-get-em attitude from. Mrs. Tilson then overwhelms Les with similar greetings. The ME report arrives, indicating calluses on the dead girl's feet and mustard under her fingernails. Mrs. Tilson insists on examining the morgue photos and lab reports and tells Burke it's obvious the girl was a waitress. Tim tries to quiet her. Just then, Henry arrives with a change of clothes for Burke and notices the dead girls picture. He confirms Mrs. Tilson's theory - the girl is a carhop at Kelly's drive-in, where Henry's friend Pete works as a dishwasher.
At Kelly's, Burke is greeted by a roller-skating waitress, who directs them to the cashier, whose name tag reads Clarissa. Burke comments that Clarissa means "grace" and she tells Burke that the manager is in the back. Just then a man drives up: Clarissa looks concerned and goes over to his car. When he opens his car door, it bangs the Rolls and Henry jumps out of the car and has a fit. Clarissa calls him "Richard" and asks him if he's "registered" yet. He says no, and asks where "sis" is. Clarissa says she's not there, and begs him not to drop out of school. Richard tells her to call him when sis comes in and drives off, as Henry assures Burke that there was no damage to the car. The cashier looks worried, but directs Burke to her boss, Mr. Hatton. Inside, another waitress shows them where the office is, and Henry goes to visit with Pete.
The restaurant manager, Hatton, is frantically on the phone, explaining that he's understaffed, under quota, and all sorts of other excuses, including rain - it appears that the home office is complaining. When Burke asks about the one of his waitresses, Hatton says he doesn't give out the girls' phone numbers and Burke should go away, because he's busy. Burke identifies himself and shows Hatton the photo. Hatton is shocked and ID's the girl as April Adams. She had worked Sunday but was off-duty Monday. He gives Burke her address, still shocked, but says it figures - all the girls talk to any man that came in, and made plenty of dates (even though that was against policy). And plenty of men came in for the waitresses, not to eat. Hatton says April was no angel. Hatton says he went to the movies alone on Monday night. He needs to get back to work, but tells Burke that April lived with a bunch of girls; he also says that the cashier is April's cousin, Clarissa Montgomery. He calls Clarissa in to talk to Burke, but the waitress says she's gone home. As he's giving Burke her address, the waitress (who calls Hatton "Evil Eye") tells him that a customer is complaining about green shrimp. Hatton rushes out of the office in a panic.
At April's home, a very fancy house, the other girls are lolling around a posh pool. They tell Burke they didn't know April very well - she stayed to herself in her room. In her rooma, Burke finds a stash of diner sugar sacks, along with finds 3 bank books with balances totalling $30,000, plus $10,000 in her checking account. Tim wonders if she was blackmailing some of her dates, who might have been married. Burke sends Sgt. Ames to work undercover at the restaurant, ordering her to get the license number of anyone who asks for April. He sends a surprised Tim and Les poolside to find out more about April's gentlemen friends.
Burke interviews Clarissa, who lives in a very exclusive district, complete with French maid. Clarissa is sculpting. She comments on Burke's car and he comments on her maid. She tells him that she doesn't need the money but works at the drive-in for a reason - so she could be with April; April got her the cashier's job. She asks Burke who murdered her and Burke asks how she knew April was murdered. Clarissa says Hatton told her when she phoned to tell him she wasn't returning to work that day. Burke admires her sculpture; Clarissa is taking "creative" therapy treatment and hates it and hates Dr. Bing, her therapist. She says therapy is painful, but she wants to be well. Working at the drive-in, having contact with people and learning to take rejection are all good for her. She asks if Burke thinks she's "inward". Burke asks who the young man at the drive-in was and Clarissa tells him that he's April's brother Richard Adams, a brilliant pianist. She's worried because Richard won't go to college and won't practice seriously. He sometimes comes to her home and plays her piano for hours and then leaves without a word. Burke gets his address. Clarissa says she was spent the weekend in San Francisco at a concert (she couldn't persuade Richard to go with her - she drove there and back, getting back late last night. Burke comments that 400 miles each way is quite a drive, but Clarissa says she drove all night long - doesn't everyone - it's also good therapy. Burke asks where she stayed (the Biltmore). Burke says good, because he likes her and he'd hate for her to be the murderer. She asks how he could know she isn't and he tells her it would be very easy to check with the hotel. Clarissa wants to know why Burke likes her - he can't say - and tries to kiss him, which he narrowly avoids.
Sgt. Ames tells Burke that her very first customer asked for April - Dr. Bing, Clarissa's psychiatrist. Burke tells Les to pick up Richard Adams.
Dr. Bing keeps them waiting as he writes up his notes from his last two clients - a schizoid and a hysteric, back to back. He says if he doesn't write things down right away, he gets them mixed up, especially since he has a mild case of both himself. Finishes notes on man who hit mother with eggbeater, then she hit him with a skillet. Bing is shocked at the murder. He treated both Clarissa and Richard. Clarissa had asked him to see Richard, but after a couple of visits
April found out and made Richard stop. He went to the drive-in to see if he could get her to change her mind. Bing says Richard is clearly in rebellion, but he can't say rebellion against what after only two sessions. He's seen Clarissa only a few months - it takes lots of time for treatment, and Clarissa doesn't trust him yet. He mentions prescribing her therapy, including sculpture and driving (cars give one a sense of power). As soon as he finds that Burke owns a Rolls, Bing starts to analyze Burke (his Rolls is a sign of insecurity, a status symbol) and buying the car "on impulse". This probing flusters Burke, especially when Tim eggs Bing on. Burke refuses to start seeing Bing three times a week and walks out; Tim take's Bing's card and says he'll work on Burke.
Sgt. Ames calls from a pay phone to say that hockey player Red Dekker has come by asking for April, and had a major fit when he was told she wasn't there. Ames also complains to Burke that her feet are killing her.
Tim and Les attend a game where Dekker is playing. Later, in the locker room during halftime, they see him being checked out for a cut over his eye by the team doctor. Dekker at first denies knowing April at all. When they threaten to take him to the station, he admits to knowing her a little but says he didn't know she had been murdered - he's upset. When they ask if he's married, Dekker admits he met April in Montreal when he played; they went around together for a while, then split. April saw his picture in the local paper when the team came to town and called him. They got back together and... but there was no threat to tell his wife. Dekker says he was playing in Seattle at the time of the murder, and is only in town for four days before going on to another city. He asks them not to mention anything to his wife. The doctor comes back to treat the eye and Tim and Les leave. When the doctor's back is turned, Dekker rifles through the doctor's bag. Tim and Les go to dinner, rather than take in the second half of the game. Burke calls them on the carpet because, during the second half, Dekker walked off the ice and was caught by the team trainer stealing drugs out of the doctor's bag. He's out on bail and it's clear he's not an addict. Burke has an idea, and orders an APB on Richard.
At Dekker's home, Helen Dekker is wrapped in a blanket, shivering, rocking and pacing frantically. When the doorbell rings, she runs to it and flings it open. Helen thinks Burke and Tim have been sent by her husband , tells them it's hell and wants to know how much they want. She thrusts money on them and begs them to give her the drugs. When she realizes they don't have the drugs she wants to know who they are and fights Burke when he tries to check her arms. She's covered in track marks; she's an addict, but vehemently denies it. She denies April or anyone was her supplier. She begs them not to hurt Red; she says it's all her problem. Helen says he stole from the doctor's bag for her; please help him, but can't say why. Helen borders on hysterical. Burke tells her it's too bad what's going to happen to Red. Helen breaks down and tells them she used to work at the drive-in with April. April wanted to be a dancer and Helen was training to be an opera singer. April introduced her to Red and she fell in love. She couldn't figure out how she could marry a hockey player and keep up her opera career. Helen keeps repeating "I'm a coloratura" over and over. Helen was crazy for Red and missed him when he was away for just a week. April took her to a party where everyone was doing drugs. It only took 3 fixes and Helen was hooked. When Red returned, Helen figured she could kick the habit; instead, they had to return from their honeymoon, had to return from Yosemite. They always had to return to April. She could have killed April but swears she didn't. April was her only contact and now she's dead, that's why Red stole the doctor's bag. He's out now trying to make a new contact. Dekker returns home and Helen rushes over to him, rifling through his pockets. When he tells her he wasn't able to score, Helen freaks and begins beating him viciously. Burke tells Tim to call the ambulance and tells Dekker to give Helen a candy bar to help while they wait. Red says he spent $100 at a time for one of those sugar sacks full of heroin from April. He doesn't know who supplied April; he says he didn't kill April but thought about it often. He doesn't know anyone else she sold drugs to. Red reassures Helen as the ambulance arrives.
At April's place, the whole house is dark and empty (all the girls are either at work or out). A man breaks in and starts to search April's drawers. Burke and Tim arrive, the man attacks Tim with a crowbar, Tim knocks him out, and they find that it's Hatton. They cuff him. At the station, Hatton denies everything and says he knows nothing about any heroin. Burke says Hatton was looking through the drawers and now the sugar sacks are missing. Hatton insists they were gone when he got there. Burke accuses him of being April's supplier and killer. Hatton finally admits he was in on the drug deals, but that April was the boss. Hatton wanted to buy a restaurant of his own and April convinced him that this was the way for them to get enough to buy one together. Every two weeks they drove to Tiajuana and pick up the stuff. Monday night, Hatton went by himself because April said she had something to do. His alibi that he was nowhere near the crime scene is the mule, one Sleepy Herman in Tiajuana. Hatton is booked. Burke tells Tim to check with the Mexico police; Tim begs off, since it's the last night his mother will be in town. Burke suggests that Tim take her to dinner; then maybe she will solve the murder and find Richard for them. Tim doesn't rise to the bait and says maybe his mother will back Burke up when he discusses his Rolls with Dr. Bing.
Aurke dines with Clarissa; there is still no word about Richard. She tells him all about April's career ending because of a ski accident. Clarissa says she was responsible for the accident. She and April and Richard all went skiing one weekend years ago; they were caught in a snow storm and April broke her ankle, a mile away from any shelter. Clarissa took Richard to the shelter first (he was very young) and then went for help. When she got back, April's feet had frozen. She tells Burke that Dr. Bing spent their entire last session together discussing Burke's car/status symbol. Clariss tells him she adores the car. Tim and his mother enter the restaurant just then and sit at a nearby table. Mrs. Tilson tells Tim how much she likes Burke, sees him as he and Clarissa leave, and says there's something familiar to her about Clarissa, such a striking girl. On the way home, Burke and Clarissa are gettingt cozy; Burke gets a call from Tim telling him about what his mother has said about Clarissa. Burke tells Tim to give his mother a kiss. Clarissa kisses Burke, but he looks puzzled.
At the house, they hear someone playing her piano. It's Richard; Clarissa admits she told a "white lie" and has been hiding him from the police. She tells Burke she wanted to protect him. Burke goes to Richard and Clarissa calls to him, but he ignores them and keeps playing. Burke finally closes the keyboard. Richard tells Burke he has no idea why April didn't want him to see Dr. Bing. Burke notices one of the sugar packs in the ashtray and picks it up. Richard denies he has anything to do with it and Burke says April was afraid that Bing would see the track marks on Richard's arms. Richard denies being an addict; Clarissa backs him up. Burke accuses him of April's murder, because she wouldn't give him a fix, and of the theft of the drugs. Richard snaps; he admits stealing the sugar sacks but insists he didn't kill April. Clarissa says that Richard couldn't have been Richard. Burke asks how she knows so much; and confronts her with the information that Mrs. Tilson saw her on the flight from San Francisco when she came to visit. She never drove at all, but flew to San Francisco, registered in the hotel to establish her alibi, and flew back. Clarissa says she killed April because April was sick with evil as twisted as her ankle. She made her own brother an addict. April destroyed Richard and Helen. It was always the same pattern - she couldn't have a career, so she destroyed anyone else who tried to have one. Clarissa had told April she was going to go to the police and April said that would mean Richard would get arrested as well. So Clarissa had to kill her. As both Clarissa and Richard are led off to jail, she asks Burke to please take care of Richard.
At home, Burke has finally decided the Rolls has to go (thanks to Dr. Bing's analysis). Henry vehemently objects and says he'll looking silly chauffeuring Burke in a compact. Burke says that's true - now he has no need for a chauffeur. Henry blows up when Burke asks him how he is at gardening. Liz arrives again for a day's date, loaded down with the same stuff as before. She's appalled when Henry tells her about Burke getting rid of the car. Dr. Bing arrives just then and Burke sends Liz off to the pool. Bing, having consulted another psychiatrist, has come to talk to Burke about the car. He has decided that it's too late for Burke to try to change his lifestyle. Bing tells Burke he should enjoy his status symbol and keep the Rolls. Dr. Bing intends to keep his.