German Areta (Alfredo Landa) "The Louse", is an ex-cop detective with a tiny office in a part of Madrid going to seed - a scenario inspired by Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), to whom Crack is dedicated. Areta is trying to track down a young woman who has basically disappeared into the world of high-class courtesans in the city, and he is told to lay off the search by some powerful types who do not want any negative publicity. Unwilling to leave it at that, Areta' s enemies decide to bring home the message in an unsavory manner, through some nasty business with his girlfriend's daughter. Enraged at their tactics, Areta puts his manhunt into high gear and heads off to New York City to track down the bad guys. In another tip of the hat to Dashiell Hammett the "look and feel" of the film evokes the 1930s mystery movies.