After already missing Christmas with Tess because of the job, Tracy is called away by Patton while out to eat with Tess on New Year’s Eve. The chief tells Tracy that Big Boy is back in town and he’s meeting with top gangsters from all over the country. Tracy is given the very important job of busting up the meeting and bringing them all in. Tess is frustrated by her fiance’s frequent absences and demands to know what could be so important to keep Tracy away for days at a time. Dick finally relents and gives Tess the scoop. When it comes time for the raid, Tracy and his cops hit the meeting place but find it empty, with only a mocking letter from Big Boy left behind.Tracy blames Tess for talking and causing the failure of the raid and Tess insists she did not talk. Fed up and angry she throws her engagement ring into the river and the two are broken up. Tracy sinks into a deep depression and his job performance shows it. With a useless detective, the chief ships Tracy off to Captain Robey’s uniformed unit in the 10th precinct. There Tracy walks the beat while back in the city Pat Patton tries to mend Tracy’s fence with Tess. While out for dinner with Patton, Tess overhears plans for a payroll robbery. Not wanting to talk with her ex-fiance, Tess leaves Tracy an anonymous note, telling him when and where to be. Leaving his apartment, she is then hit by a car and ends up in the hospital. Tracy mulls over the legitimacy of the note but chooses to follow its lead and catches the crooks in the act of a robbery. When the chief hears that Tracy has made a big arrest he reinstates him back to the plain clothes division. Finding out Tess is in the hospital (recovering quickly) and had been hit by a car near his apartment, Tracy realizes she must have dropped off the note and the two reconcile.
Tracy visits with Mrs. Trueheart while Tess recovers from the accident and introduces him to Heine Stueben, an old dutchman she has hired to manage her delicatessen. He observes Heine serving a woman named Belle, whom Heine seems to enjoy helping. Unbeknownst to the men, Belle is working with the criminal Broadway Bates and they have their eye on the $10,000’s in life insurance that Mrs. Trueheart collected after Emil’s death. Suspicious of Broadway Bates, Tracy learns that Belle and Bates are conspiring together and warns Mrs. Trueheart not to invest in any scam they propose.When the chief presents Tracy with a Seattle check forging warrant for Broadway Bates, Tracy goes to make an arrest but Bates’s men drop a satchel of bricks on his head and tie him up. When Tracy reveals he warned the Trueheart’s off, Broadway tortures the detective trying to force him to phone or write the Trueheart’s that Broadway’s plans are on the up and up. With police now looking for Tracy, Heine Stueben sneaks into the hideout and unties Tracy. There the two men get into a fist fight with Broadway Bates and his man Spike. Belle attempts to help from the doorway but shoots Spike dead on accident and tries to run away but is arrested by arriving police. Tracy subdues Broadway and hauls him off to jail.
John H Waldorf’s son Buddy has been kidnapped from his home. Waldorf is a very important international financier and the case is big news. Tracy brings in hoods like Ribs Mocco, Meggs and Salzis to shake them down for information but gets nothing. He then talks to Waldorf gardener Jenks who tells about a visitor a few days before. The man’s description matches Big Boy and Tracy has his first break when Patton follows one of Big Boy’s men, Nick Maxey who telegrams a coded message to Big Boy. The code leads Dick to believe Big Boy is taking a cruise ship called the Alonia out of country before demanding a ransom.Disguising himself as an old man delivering papers and then as a woman, Tracy boards the ship and shadows Big Boy. Tracy also sees a woman with a blond boy who matches Buddy’s description except his hair is the wrong color. The woman eventually gets nervous, goes to Big Boy’s room and Tracy knows the score. That evening Big Boy catches Tracy on deck in the dark, ties him up and throws him overboard. Dick latches on to a piece of debris and a passing Norwegian fishing vessel picks him up. Tracy quickly hails a nearby U.S. aircraft carrier and informs him of his mission. The captain of that vessel gives him a flight and boat ride back to the Alonia where Tracy leads a team of ship security men to Big Boy’s room. Big Boy doesn’t want to get caught red handed and throws his woman accomplice out a port hole into the Ocean and plans to do the same with Buddy when Tracy smashes into the cabin. Buddy safe, Tracy proceeds to give Big Boy a beating before hauling him off to jail.
After the rescue of Buddy Waldorf, John Waldorf tries to reward Dick Tracy with a $50,000 security bond. Tracy refuses the reward but then notices the bond is forged and an upset Mr. Waldorf tells him get got the bond in a business deal with a manufacturer named Alec Penn. Tracy is initially up front with Mr. Penn, trying to determine where Penn got the counterfeit bonds. Penn tips Tracy off to follow an associate, but the detective loses him in a music store. Growing suspicious and heading back to check up on Alec Penn, Tracy and Patton rudely discover the brake line on their car has been cut and they both bail out before the car crashes into the river.Deviating from the plan a bit, Patton disguises himself as an organ grinder and against Tracy’s better judgment goes into gangland looking for information. Patton goes missing and Tracy vows to find him against the wishes of the chief who wants him on a million dollar art heist. Officer Milligan gives Tracy a call, asking for a personal favor and Tracy meets up with Milligan on the street. Together they see the swindler Tug Knox and watch him closely. Tug has Patton prisoner and forces him to drive a van with the stolen art goods. Milligan and Tracy give the van chase and when it crashes they rescue Patton and recover the goods. Milligan later arrests Knox.Back on the Penn case, Patton and Tracy sneak into Alec Penn’s office. While searching for clues, the door is locked behind them and gas released into the room. They kick the door open and escape, now quite sure Penn is the head of the counterfeiting ring. Penn has Tracy watched and notices he takes a cab from the station now that his car is gone. Penn sends a fake cab driver named Sully and a gunman to pick up Tracy and do him in. Tracy is taken to a shack and drugged. As the pair prepare to burn down the shack with Dick inside, Patton and Milligan show up, shooting the gunman and taking Sully into custody. The two had seen the kidnapping from the police station window and followed Tracy’s abductors.Dick Tracy is in need of another lead on the case and has Professor Groff, a scientist study the ink on the counterfeit bond. The ink is rarely used and the only recent sale was to Mr. B. Bellas who’s address is a private zoo with a vicious lion in a cage. Tracy and Patton stake out the zoo and discover there is a secret counterfeiting room inside the lion cage. While investigating the room the two are locked in by Penn and a couple of his men who also loosen the door so that lion will eventually reach them. With Dick and Pat missing, Chief Brandon deputizes John Waldorf and he and Milligan check out the zoo, rescuing Tracy and Patton. Shots are then fired from a nearby home where Alec Penn and two of his men are holed up. A shootout ensues and Tracy breaks in the back, shooting Alec’s man Lefty and capturing the other two men.During the Alec Penn case three attempts were made to spring Big Boy from prison. One involving tools smuggled into the jail cell, the second with a visitor swapping places with Big Boy and the final attempt was a raid on the jail by Ribs Mocco and a partner. Each escape was foiled and Ribs ended up in prison on the last attempt.
Tracy is invited to Devil’s Island for a vacation with Tess and her friend Marge Dale. Marge and her father use a cabin owned by Kenneth Grebb. On the train ride over, Broadway Bates tries to kill Tracy unsuccessfully and Tracy leaves them in the wilderness. Tracy is introduced to Kenneth Grebb who has a relationship with Marge Dale. After taking Kenneth’s boat out on the lake, Tracy, Marge and Tress are nearly killed when their boat hits an explosive in the water. A short time later, Marge became ill after eating poisoned blackberries she found on a walk with Kenneth and Tracy begins to investigate.Hiding out in the woods, Tracy overhears Grebb telling Marge’s father that he is going to kill Marge for her $50,000 life insurance policy. Tracy confronts Mr. Dale afterwards and Dale tells him that Grebb was a former business partner but that Dale discovered Grebb was a dope smuggler 10 years ago and ever since then Grebb has been slowly taking everything from him. The entire group confronts Grebb, who pulls a gun and takes Marge hostage, escaping in a car. Tracy chases in a vehicle of his own, narrowly avoiding several dangerous situations. Grebb abandons the car and strikes out across the wilderness with Marge in tow. They come across a mother bear and two of her cubs. Kenneth shoots one of the cubs, enraging the bear and Tracy is forced to shoot the mother to save himself and Marge. Kenneth meanwhile gets caught in an avalanche and is killed. Tracy would later take the orphaned bear cub with him back to the station.
Pat Patton tells Tracy his watch was stolen by a nine year old pickpocket. The Kid’s “owner” was a big tramp of a man named Steve who beat the Kid unless he brought worthwhile stolen goods. When Tracy catches sight of the boy on the street, he follows him and is knocked out by Steve who robs him. Steve has been pressing for the Kid to rob women and homes, which the Kid refuses. Steve grabs up the kid and takes him to the train yard, threatening to throw him in front of a train. Tracy recovers and arrives to save the Kid, beating Steve up and hauling him to jail where he would serve 10 days for vagrancy.The Kid was an orphan, remembering no mother or father, only Steve so Tracy decides to take him in, giving him a bed to sleep in, cutting his hair and buying the boy new clothes. When asked about a ring in his possession, the Kid clued Tracy in to the thief Flatfoot Berny, who they quickly arrested. When asked for a name other than Kid, the boy took on the name Dick Tracy Junior.When Steve got out of jail he made repeated attempts to steal Junior back from Tracy, prowling around Tracy’s apartment and stalking the boy. Most of these attempts failed due to the kid’s quick thinking, boyish tendencies or Tracy’s fists.
With the documents from deceased dope smuggler Kenneth Grebb, Tracy begins to investigate dope dealing in the city, focusing on a man named Dan Mucelli. Dan has partnered with Big Boy’s moll Texie Garcia and a man named Jake. Dan knows he needs to recover those documents from Tracy because they could be used as evidence against him and Texie has a plan. She lures Junior in with kindness and introduces him to Mucelli who hires him on as a bread delivery boy out of his bakery. When Junior trips on delivery, he discovers a vial of drugs hidden in the loaf of bread and takes it to Tracy. Tracy and Junior sneak into the bakery after hours where they discover more drugs which Dick takes as evidence with plans to arrest Mucelli the next day.With the documents from deceased dope smuggler Kenneth Grebb, Tracy begins to investigate dope dealing in the city, focusing on a man named Dan Mucelli. Dan has partnered with Big Boy’s moll Texie Garcia and a man named Jake. Dan knows he needs to recover those documents from Tracy because they could be used as evidence against him and Texie has a plan. She lures Junior in with kindness and introduces him to Mucelli who hires him on as a bread delivery boy out of his bakery. When Junior trips on delivery, he discovers a vial of drugs hidden in the loaf of bread and takes it to Tracy. Tracy and Junior sneak into the bakery after hours where they discover more drugs which Dick takes as evidence with plans to arrest Mucelli the next day.Mucelli is observant though and notices the missing drugs and captures Junior when he comes in for work, threatening to brand his chest with a hot iron if he doesn’t fess up to working with the police. Tracy and Pat Patton arrive outside in a squad car and Tracy charges in to save Junior. Mucelli turns out the lights and two shots are fired, when the lights come back on Dan’s gang has fled, leaving a gun behind and Tracy has been hit twice and is unconscious.Chief Brandon checks the prints on the gun and finds they are Junior’s (planted by Mucelli). Although he and Patton doubt the boy was involved, there is enough suspicion that they send Junior to a boy’s detention home. Junior is devastated, fearing for Tracy’s life and knowing he didn’t do the shooting. Tracy wakes up in the hospital and is adamant that Junior didn’t shoot him and angry at the Chief. Using the bullet pulled from his body, Tracy does a ballistics test to prove the gun with Junior’s prints didn’t shoot him. Then he calls the papers, reporting that he is dying so Dan and his gang will let their guard down.Leaving the hospital, Tracy catches Mucelli and Texie now back at the bakery. Taking Dan’s gun, he fires it and verifies that it is indeed the gun that shot him. With Dan and Texie arrested, Tracy goes to spring Junior from the boy’s home but finds that he has run away. Also of note a month later Jake would attempt to spring his boss from jail and was arrested.
After being accused of shooting Dick Tracy, Junior escapes a boy’s detention home intent on proving his innocence. Little does he know Tracy has recovered and is looking for him as well. Struggling to deal with the harsh city in the winter, Junior seeks shelter in a building used by Larceny Lu’s gang to warehouse their stolen tires and automobile parts. Overhearing the criminals and running from the hideout, Junior runs into Tracy, the two are reunited and Junior tells Tracy about the building he found. Tracy recognizes Lu’s name and Patton and Chief Brandon join him on a raid of the warehouse.Larceny Lu’s gang observe the cops arriving and escape out a secret passage as the cops enter. They then swipe the squad car and race away, not realizing that Junior is riding along on the spare tire attached to the back. The police give chase in a cab, picking up Officer Milligan on the way but don’t fire for fear of hitting Junior. Tracy then has the others get out of the cab and dresses up as a cabbie, following Lu’s gang discreetly.One of Lu’s men, Buggs is left behind to shoot the chasing cops, but when he doesn’t see the chasing police he instead flags down Tracy’s cab. Tracy quickly subdues Buggs, learns Larceny Lu’s destination and kicks Buggs out of the cab. Meanwhile Lu’s gang has stopped for supplies and Junior cleverly lets the air out of the tires. The gang catches him in the act and grab him hostage and hail a cab, who happens to again be Dick Tracy. They tell him to drive to Crossville, which he does, straight to the police station where Lu and the others are taken into custody. Buggs would arrive to break the Larceny gang out of prison but ended up joining them instead.