E.L. is at the office dickering over wristwatches with Racetrack Richard Rollin, a street fence. The conman finally picks one, and then has Racetrack wrap it in newspaper and provide a phony sales receipt. As Racetrack leaves, E.L. puts up a banner and balloons. Lionel returns from his karate class and E.L. throws him a one-man surprise party. E.L. gives him the wristwatch as a present, and Lionel immediately suspects that it's hot property. E.L. shows him the phony sales slip, convincing him otherwise.
E.L.'s new parole office, Jonathan Dalem, calls and tells E.L. that Larry Craig, his former pal and parole officer, has been transferred. Dalem notes that E.L. has never been at the office for any of his scheduled meetings in the last year, and tells him to get there in ten minutes. E.L. panics and takes Lionel's car, and Lionel gets in with hi. They tear through the streets and arrive, only for E.L. to admit that he doesn't know where the current office is because he hasn't been there in a year. Lionel manages to locate the building from E.L.'s description.
E.L. gets into the office six minutes late, and sets the wall clock back. He then introduces himself to Bernice, the secretary, who has never seen him but is glad to know he's there since he's always sent gifts for the staff birthdays. E.L. cons her into pretending to be the telephone time number and then goes in to see Dalem. When Dalem insists that E.L. is late, E.L. calls to Bernice and pretends he's calling the telephone time number, and Bernice plays her part to perfection. Despite that, Dalem is unimpressed and notes that he's been reviewing Larry Craig's last of parolees, and none of them have ever shown up at the office for interviews. E.L. tries to get Dalem to warm to him without success, and the parole officer tells him that he's going to tell the board to send E.L. back to prison. Dalem leaves for his next appointment and E.L. follows him out into the streets. Someone in a blue Chevy tries to run Dalem down and E.L. pulls him out of the way just in time. Lionel, waiting nearby, chases after the car but goes out of control, knocks over a patrolman's motorcycle, and is arrested. Meanwhile, Dalem still isn't impressed and tells E.L. to be at the board meeting on time, or else.
E.L. has to bail Lionel out of jail when the police realize that he's wearing a stolen wristwatch that was part of a $100,000 robbery. E.L. volunteers to take the rap despite the fact he'll go back to prison, and Lionel suggests that they have to find out who attempted to run over Dalem so the parole officer will give E.L. a break. He figures that one of the parolees on Larry's list tried to get revenge on Dalem.
First, the partners have to see the list. They take Bernice out to a bar and explain they need her help. She's awed by their glamorous lifestyle and agrees to help once she realizes they're trying to help Dalem. Bernice gets the list and meets the partners downstairs from the office. She asks if they need a secretary and Lionel assures her that her application will be on the top of their pile.
Once of the names on the list, Mason Eddie, has a check next to it. The partners figure that Dalem was investigating Eddie and go to see the ex-con. As they drive, Lionel admits that he knew the wristwatch was hot, but he accepted it so he has to accept the blame. He figures that since it's his first crime, they'll go easier on him than E.L. They arrive at Eddie's house and spot his blue Chevy parked outside. However, when they go inside, they find Eddie… shot dead. The police arrive and E.L. throws them off the track by pretending to be an old woman and saying the reported shot came from down the street. When the partners drive away, the police spot them and give chase. E.L. gets Lionel into a hospital and then disguises him as a corpse so they can escape in an ambulance.
Once they're safe for the moment, Lionel wonders how things could go so wrong on his birthday. E.L. suggests they escape to the Bahamas, but Lionel insists that Mark Savage wouldn't drop the case. E.L. gets Lionel to agree that they'll leave town once they check out the rest of Larry's list. They visit Bernice at her home and review the list of parolees. She reveals that Eddie was an explosives expert and wheelman, and two others on the list were bank robbers. They figure that the three ex-cons were planning a heist, and they schemed to kill Dalem when he got too close. However, Eddie's death doesn't fit because his partners would have no reason to kill him. Bernice loans them her car and again offers to work with them full-time. Lionel starts to consider it while E.L. pulls him away.
The partners watch one of the ex-cons and follow him to a warehouse. E.L. goes in to investigate but an armored car cuts him off and the guards order him into the back. Waiting in the back is... Dalem, armed with a shotgun and wearing a guard's uniform. The other ex-cons suggest that they have E.L. join them on the heist of the city payroll from the city's Hall of Justice. E.L. figures that Dalem masterminded the theft and recruited the parolees from Larry's list. Once they have the money, Dalem will move to the Bahamas to avoid extradition. The crooked parole officer forces E.L. to join, since the alternative is death.
E.L. and the robbers enter the Hall of Justice, while Lionel follows them in his car and tries to warn the clerk. No one believes him and he can only circle back around to the back where the armored car is parked. When Dalem and the others pull off the transfer and leave in the armored car, Lionel hitches a ride on the back. E.L. realizes that he's there, kicks open the door, and the two partners make quick work of the thieves.
Later, E.L. has Bernice come by the office to throw Lionel another surprise birthday party. She's wearing a trenchcoat, and has a present for him. Lionel explains that the agency is an owner-operated business and they don't have an opening for a secretary, and that the private detective business isn't as glamorous as he makes it seem. Bernice isn't convinced. Lionel opens his present, and discovers it's a wristwatch. Bernice explains that she bought it from Racetrack, a guy who hangs around the office and sells wristwatches at remarkably low prices. E.L. gets a call: it's his new parole officer, Jack Spardlyn. He wants E.L. in his office in ten minutes or else, and E.L. starts to panic…