The episode (and series) kicks off with music reminiscent of the old Film Noir detective/crime movies and tv shows. Raines is heard in a voiceover explaining how all these stories start with a body.
A body is found in a parking lot. A poor young woman in cargo pants and sneakers with a bullet hole in her back lying face down on the pavement. Raines finds the registration for the victim in her car and they go to her apartment to check it out.
He enters the apartment alone, sending a fellow officer to knock on doors and get an idea of how Sandy Boudreau lived her life. He goes through things on Sandy's desk, around her living room when he is startled.... by Sandy herself. He seems to have more of a "oh crap" look to his face than one of fear at seeing a "ghost" talking to him. He exits the apartment, running from Sandy.
He is talking with a man, later revealed to be his old partner Charlie, about seeing Sandy. Charlie encourages Raines to go back to the apartment and see what she wants. He reminds Raines that he has always been about the victim. He mentions that Raines used to talk to the victim when they were driving around. Raines replies that was when the victim was behind his eyes and he didn't see them. Charlie simply states that maybe this will make him a better detective. He returns to the apartment.
Sandy is out on the balcony. Raines asks what she wants. She tells him, "It's your imagination detective I'm just the figment." She wants him to find her killer. He sarcastically asks, "Then you'll go? Back to whatever dark twisted malfunctioning part of my brain that you come from." Going in the apartment Raines jots down notes. Sandy appears again asking what he is writing. He tells her, "A note instructing whoever finds my body after I blow my brains out to scatter the ashes over Disneyland because it's the happiest place on earth."
Searching Sandy's closet he finds a variety of costumes. Questioning the ghost about the reason for them she suggest maybe for Halloween. His search reveals a box full of cash in the closet. A phone call from the office interrupts the search. It seems a homeless man was found with cash and Sandy's purse. The man is called "Skunk." Unfortunately for Raines, it is NOT due to having a white stripe down his back.
Interrogating "Skunk" results with Raines trying to hasten Sandy's departure from his subconscious so he wants the man booked for the murder. When his assistant, Carolyn, asks "What about that shoebox of cash" referring to the money he found in the closet. He sarcastically asks her, "What about it Nancy Drew?"
He happily visits Charlie again on the beach and joyfully tells Charlie that Sandy is gone. Mid-celebration he sees Sandy rollerskating around the boardwalk. Charlie is unable to see her. He tells Raines that the case has not been solved to his satisfaction, which is why she is still there. In the apartment Raines had found a check to Sandy from a catering company. He calls Carolyn to halt the processing of the homeless man.
Carolyn tells Raines the catering company is really an escort service. Processing the facts of the case, the figment of Sandy changes as he determines the truth. A noise in the other room draws his attention. Raines finds Sandy's parents entering the apartment. Questioning them he blatantly calls her father a molester and receives a punch for his insinuation.
Sandy asks why he implied her father had done that. He tells her, "Very few people get into your line of work because having sex with strangers for money was their favorite booth on career day. Nine times out of ten they were molested." Raines has to find another angle for Sandy's distance from her father. He concludes that her father beats her mother. Sandy makes small talk, asking about Raines partner Charlie. She wants to know why Charlie has a cane. He tells her Charlie took a bullet a few months back in the middle of the case.
Raines goes to see Sandy's pimp. The man tells Raines that Sandy only had one customer the past month, that she was trying to get out of the life. Raines goes to the hotel where Sandy was sent and catches the clerk in a lie, trying to get money out of Raines. Fortunately there is a security camera watching the parking lot. Raines collects the tapes.
Captain Lewis, Raines boss, pulls him aside to ask about the case. He tells him that he has been seen talking to himself and offers to be more interesting for Raines to speak with. Raines goes to ask Mr and Mrs. Harry and Wendy Tucker, a couple about Sandy. Harry's cell phone was listed on Sandy's records. They both deny knowledge of Sandy.
He decides to follow the lead to Sandy's boyfriend Marco. Marco tells Raines that he cared for Sandy, he even offered her money to stop being a prostitute. She just tells him, "How is that any different than what I'm doing now." He tells Raines he thought Sandy wasn't into guys.
Raines and Charlie talk about the case, this time on the pier. Charlie asks if he thinks the boyfriend did it. Raines reminds him, "You know I work Charlie. I think everybody did it, then I slowly whittle away the ones who couldn't have." He feels like he is missing something. Carolyn calls with information about a private detective called Laird McSweeney. McSweeney took pictures of Sandy with Harry. Harry says he simply helped Sandy clean up coffee, Wendy was just always suspicious of him after a prior indiscretion so he denied knowing Sandy.
Marco is seen at the hotel on the surveillance footage so the LAPD move to arrest him. They find him with drugs and Marco runs to escape. Carolyn gets through to McSweeney's office only to find him dead. The computer is gone but there is a back up hard drive. The hard drive proves that Sandy knew the pictures of her and Harry were being taken.
Raines has to take a moment to deliberate the facts of the case. Not wanting anyone seeing him talk to "Sandy" he goes to the roof. Raines goes through typical motives for murder: greed, ambition, anger fear. Sandy adds love to the list. Carolyn yells up that Marco has been found at a bus station. Marco makes a break for it and is clipped by a police car, but he is still breathing. Raines tells the officer who struck Marco, "I was hoping you'd put him in handcuffs not traction." Looking around Sandy is still there so Raines realizes that Marco couldn't be the killer.
Needing privacy to chat with Sandy Raines kicks a man out of the mens room. He goes over motives and replays the conversation with Marco in his mind. Love, the motive Sandy offered, stays in his subconscious. Put together with Marcos remark about thinking Sandy didn't like guys, Raines thinks he knows who killed her.
Harry is back at the police station, this time Wendy is with him. Surveillance footage shows Wendy arriving at the hotel. It seems that she was so obsessed with thinking Harry would leave her that she had him followed and used Sandy to set a trap for him. Harry doesn't take the bait, but Wendy couldn't let it go. She wanted Sandy to keep trying. Sandy threatens to give Harry Wendy's money and tell him everything. In a fit of anger Wendy kills her.
Raines tells Wendy, "You might only get manslaughter for killing Sandy Boudreau but McSweeney, the private eye, that was premeditated. You might just get the needle for that." The murder is solved, yet Sandy still stays. Raines asks if there is anything else he can do for her.
Sandy's parents are packing up her apartment when Raines finds her mom in the parking lot. Raines tells her Sandy's money is missing from the evidence locker. He then hands her an envelope full of the "missing" money. He tells her that Sandy would have wanted her to have it, to have a better life.
Raines walks away, looking back he sees Sandy's mom hide the money away from her father. Looking to the passenger seat the ghost of Sandy has faded away.
Raines and Charlie are chatting again, this time in a cemetery. Raines is worried that he will start seeing all the victims of his cases, which Charlie thinks would be cool. Further conversation reveals that Charlie himself is dead, and only Raines can see him.