The police receive an emergency call in the middle of the night from a young woman reporting a burglary. But suddenly the connection goes dead. A few minutes later, when a police car reaches the suburban villa where the call was made, the officers establish that Dieter Ebert, his wife Uta and their 17-year-old daughter Jessica have vanished without a trace. Chief Inspector Schumann and his colleagues from the Berlin CID think it unlikely that the intruder failed to remove any valuables from the home of the well-known music producer merely because he was in a hurry to escape. And sure enough, soon their suspicions are confirmed: it looks like a kidnapping.
The two men who abducted the family soon release Dieter Ebert and his daughter Jessica, but Uta Ebert remains in their hands. However, Schumann quickly discovers some inconsistencies which puzzle him. For instance, why was the alarm system switched off on this night in particular? On top of this, Dieter Ebert openly admits that his marriage was in tatters, due to his wife’s infidelity. It doesn't take long to establish that Uta wanted to files for divorce. Now the kidnappers contact Dieter Ebert, who proceeds to argue with them about their ransom demand, which puts his wife's life in danger. So now Schumann begins to suspect that Ebert might have arranged for his wife to be kidnapped in order to avoid the financial burden of divorce after 20 years of marriage. Was the fake burglary simply intended to divert suspicion away from him? When the handover of the ransom money goes drastically wrong, the police begin to fear that the hostage has been killed. But then evidence comes to light which suggests that Uta’s lover, the dubious car dealer Jimmy, is involved with some unscrupulous gangsters. Schumann and his colleagues embark upon a race against time to explore this line of enquiry.