Uniformed police officers are dispatched to respond, as captain Canelli offers the narration of the logistical operations pertaining to the surprise visit of the chief inspector. The captain talks with another officer about family matters, and Maine lobsters. Hey, cops are people too.
A man comes in to talk with Captain Canelli about his apartment that burned down, and his missing wife and kid. He’s a sailor who had been out at sea, and just learned of the people who were killed in the fire. Was any of them his family? After checking the reports, the good news is they weren’t among the dead. The question remains, what happened to them? The sailor tells about his wife’s family, and the options of where she might have gone are eliminated. There had been two unidentified bodies in the fire, burned too badly to be recognized, but not matching a general description of the missing woman.
Captain Canelli works with the Missing Persons bureau to learn what they can. There’s a break in the search when a woman reports her car missing. Captain Canelli is back on the phone to check with more departments, but is this all just a waste of time? The missing woman was seen the day before the fire, but at the day of the fire and later she is just nowhere to be found.
Dental records are pending, but the sailor becomes impatient, doesn’t want to wait until later in the week for the records, and demands to see the burned bodies, in an attempt to identify them. Though reluctant to take the sailor to the grusome sight, Canelli finally takes him to the morgue. In somber mood, they return to the police station.
Though still unconfirmed, Joe the sailor is certain the bodies are his family and he calls St Louis to report the bad news to his wife’s family. The sailor’s emotions explode when he is greeted by his wife’s voice, and there’s good news about the baby. Joe has his problem solved, but who were those bodies in the morgue? That remains a problem for the cops. The work is never finished when another call comes into the front desk.