Cousin Joseph introduces Detective Sam Hannigan, head of the Bay City's Red Squad and patriarch of the Hannigan family featured in Kill My Mother. Our story opens in the Great Depression when Big Sam sees himself as a truth-seeking patriot defending the American way against left-wing unionism. At the same time, he makes secret trips on behalf of Cousin Joseph, a man he has never laid eyes on, to pay off Hollywood producers to ensure that they make only upbeat films. Step by step, the secret of his unseen mentor's duplicity is revealed to him. Feiffer builds on his conversion to cinematic noir, bowing to heroes Will Eisner and Milton Caniff but creating a masterpiece that illuminates Hollywood and its role in producing the bipolar nation America has become.