Frankie J. Parker is a Los Angeles radio disc jockey. In his spare time, Frankie takes karate lessons at a school run by his friend Charles Atkins. A woman in a rental car, newly arrived from Chicago, listens to Frankie's radio program. They meet at a nightclub owned by another of Frankie's friends, former football player Tank Robertson, where she introduces herself as Melinda. He invites her to a party on Tank's yacht, making girlfriend Terry Davis jealous. Frankie takes Melinda to his apartment, unaware that they are being followed by a thug. They make love and, the next morning, Melinda tells the womanizing, easy-going Frankie that he has the makings of a more serious, substantial man. After she leaves, Frankie realizes he has is developing feelings for Melinda, but when he returns home, he finds the apartment ransacked and Melinda murdered.
It turns out her real name is Audrey Miller and she is the former mistress of a Chicago gangster named Mitch, who is trying to recover a mysterious item Melinda took with her to LA. A junkie, Marcia, tries to take Frankie at gunpoint, but he overpowers her. Frankie is attacked by two men, but manages to fight them off, helped by his karate training, although Marcia ends up dead. Frankie finds out that his friend Tank is a business associate of Mitch and owes him money. The item Melinda took is in a safe-deposit box at the bank, the key to which Melinda mailed to Frankie before she died. Unable to gain entry himself, Frankie permits girlfriend Terry to impersonate Melinda and retrieve the item, which turns out to be a gold cigarette case.
Inside the case is a tape recording that incriminates Mitch in a crime. Terry is taken prisoner, forcing Frankie to agree to come to Mitch's mansion to work out a trade. He takes the precaution of asking Atkins and his karate students to come along. When they find Terry is being held in a snake-filled cage, Frankie, Atkins and the others come to her rescue.
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