This is the story of a Jew, a policeman, who learns about evil & shame. This is pre-Giuliani New York: Black men run the city; they humiliate the Jew. His Gentile partner, however, is always there, has his back. The policemen are supposed to act Irish in the way of past generations of policemen & machine politicians. They despise above all the cowardly, incompetent, ignorant FBI, who presume to do violence in their city.
This man has always proved himself by a courage other policemen call brazen. He can only confess to Jews: He says, people think Jews are weaklings, so he has to prove himself. By his wit, he has survived, earning many citations. Now, he is about to save the mayor & humiliate the FBI, but he cannot run his operation because he stops to help some policemen…
He finds a dead Jew in a poor, crime-ridden black neighborhood. Her son, a rich liberal, pulls strings & gets the Jewish detective on the case. Soon, he ends up spilling his contempt for Jews in front of the victim’s granddaughter. There we see the Jewish pride – he is defeated: So many centuries of anti-Semitism, there must be something wrong with the Jews. But she is proud: She wants respect, not pity – the Jews have survived everything, & will again.
Then he learns the victim was a heroine in Israel’s War of Independence; he learns about the Jews in the city, whose language he does not know. To them he confesses his fears & weaknesses, desperate finally to find a home. But they have no love to offer him, they always live as if tomorrow is a time of killing. He knows nothing of Israel, & they cannot forget or forgive anything. How innocent he must be to think they will respect him! Zionism is politics, but what he wants is more serious than politics – his great shame, his conversion, though blind to the one living God, is inspired by fearless family love.
He will destroy Israel’s enemies, but he will not break the laws he swore an oath to protect. The US Constitution does not require oaths by God, presumably because God does not enforce them. But the detective who insists always on his job knows enough to uphold the laws.
This man’s big case is a plan to catch a black criminal. He persuades his mother to betray him into thinking that he is escaping America. He destroys this criminal by telling him his mother betrayed him. He himself has no family. His desperate search for Zion means he cannot protect his partner, who dies talking about a woman. He loses his job. He learns evil is killing people for their own good.
The Mamet story about Zionism.