The story isn't the real problem with the film. Virgil Tibbs is called upon to investigate the murder of a street prostitute in San Francisco, an investigation that is quickly centred on the liberal political candidate and preacher Reverend Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau). Sharpe is a good friend of Tibbs, and Tibbs must struggle with his personal loyalties to solve the crime.
Director Gordon Douglas was handed a brilliant lead character, but a lacklustre script. None of the chaotic energy of 1960s San Francisco was captured by the film, apart from the tremendously funky soundtrack provided by Quincy Jones. The title theme is a glorious organ-driven funk jam backed by a massive brass section - the film is almost worth tracking down for the blaxploitation era soundtrack alone.