A rusted, dented, dirty-white Toyota passes under a streetlight in a small town in Southern Oregon. A hulk of a man exits, leans on a cane, and walks crab-like down the sidewalk toward Ted Whitaker. It's Harry, Ted's best friend from the 60s, a man he hasn't seen in thirty years. Surely this meeting isn't mere coincidence, so what does Harry want with Ted? Ted soon discovers that Harry, once an extreme radical, has become an eco-anarchist and terrorist. He has come to recruit Ted to join his plot to release a virulent form of smallpox with no known antidote.
Crip and Henrietta aren't your typical California private eyes. For one thing, Crip's real name is Tom Bateman. His sometime sidekick with body piercings and spiked green hair, Henrietta, calls him "Crip" because he's in a wheelchair. When she isn't mocking him, Henrietta grows marijuana, hangs with jailbirds, and brings in cases that reek of trouble - and weed - at first sniff. In these episodes, we watch Crip and Henrietta's relationship grow as both characters struggle to bridge chasms of bitterness and mistrust.
While at a reading of a Kurt Vonnegut biography, private investigator Jim Wolf senses someone watching him. He catches sight of a young woman, maybe mid-twenties, who is short and has straight, straw-colored blond hair, granny glasses, and freckles. Her figure is more boyish than that of a grown woman. She wears jeans and a man's white dress shirt, and a cheap necklace of amber-colored beads with silver disks circles her neck. Her name is Emily.
A shape bends over a drink at the end of the bar in Big Emma's on Oakland's Jack London Square, looking like a bundle of black clothes someone has left on the barstool. Full red lips that match brightly dyed hair are the only source of color, as if an artist had begun to colorize her just before she walked out of frame in a '40s noir movie. Her name is Susan, and she is there to hire PI Jim Wolf to find her husband's killer - and to protect her from a man called Red. Wolf takes her case, but Susan is soon murdered. Then an attempt is made on Wolf's life … and the hunter becomes the hunted.