The film opens with a detective bringing in a shoplifter. From there, we're introduced the the layout of the police station and the fascinating cast of characters. As the story moves along, more and more characters walk in and out of the film. There's a number of minor stories, but the main story concerns Detective McLeod and his dogged investigation of abortionist Dr. Karl Schneider (played by George Macready, who you might remember paired off against Douglas again six years later in Kubrick's masterful PATHS OF GLORY). McLeod might hate Schneider now, but that ain't nothing compared to how much he hates him by the end of the movie!
All of the "lesser" stories are interesting, but the person that really grabbed my attention was accused burglar Joseph Wiseman. He might only be suspected of robbing houses, but one thing he's definitely guilty of is stealing scenes in the movie! Holy shit, every single times he's on camera I couldn't take my eyes off of him! He was amazing. I'm not saying that to take away from the rest of the cast, cause everybody was great. Wiseman just happened to be extra great.
One of the most impressive things about DETECTIVE STORY is the amount of information that's so effortlessly given to the audience. The filmmakers did an amazing job of keeping multiple things going onscreen for the majority of the film.
By today's standards, DETECTIVE STORY is dated, but it's still a great film that deserves to be seen and admired. Highly recommended. Would make a very confusing double-feature with Takashi Miike's DETECTIVE STORY.
Very interesting attention to detail (and maybe even foreshadowing?) at 44:39, when Kirk Douglas goes to ask Joseph Wiseman about the monogrammed dish.