On March 13, 1964, at 3:20 a.m., Kitty Genovese was walking a short distance to her apartment from her car when she was attacked over a period of half an hour. She was stabbed repeatedly, then raped as she lay dying in Kew Gardens, Queens.
The New York Times reported that there were 38 witnesses who heard Kitty screaming for help, but they stayed in their apartments, unwilling to get involved. The case quickly became a symbol of urban apathy. When apprehended, the killer admitted to previously having raping and murdering two other women. He was committed to hospital for psychiatric observation, where it was determined he was a necrophile.
This film follows the efforts of her brother, Bill, Kitty's closest sibling. His belief that people let his sister Kitty die affected his entire life, including his vow not to be a coward. He volunteered for Vietnam, where he lost both legs. In this film, he looks to uncover the truth buried beneath the story. In the process, he makes astonishing discoveries about the crime that transformed his life, condemned a city, and defined an era.