The movie is based on the autobiography of Horst Fantazzini. Son of an anarchist, he was known in Northern Italy as "the gentleman bandit" because he robbed banks with no violence, using only a toy gun. After a number of trials and escapes, in the summer of 1973 he is held in the Fossano jailhouse in Piedmont when he tries to escape once again. This time things turn for worse and he has to use a real gun and take two policemen as hostages.
Rookie cop Amelia Donaghy reluctantly teams with Lincoln Rhyme -- formerly the department's top homicide detective but now paralyzed as a result of a spinal injury -- to catch a grisly serial killer dubbed The Bone Collector.
Homer is an orphan who was never adopted, becoming the favorite of orphanage director Dr. Larch. Dr. Larch imparts his full medical knowledge on Homer, who becomes a skilled, albeit unlicensed, physician.