Love, lust, loyalty, and betrayal are the themes of this tense adult drama. Joe (Edward James Olmos) and Betty (Maria Conchita Alonso) are a married couple living in Jersey City; Joe runs a fish market, and Betty wishes that Joe showed as much interest in her as he does in his business, since she feels the spark has died in their relationship.
They have a grown son, Danny (Steven Schub), who has moved to Los Angeles in hopes of making it big as a standup comic. One day, a guy named Nick (Arie Verveen), who is trying to avoid the police, happens into Joe's store.
Joe senses that he's not a hardened criminal, just a kid with a long history of bad luck, so he takes pity on him and gives him a square meal. He genuinely likes Nick and offers him a job in his store; the pay isn't much, but, since Danny's room is empty, he can throw in free room and board.
Nick gratefully accepts, and Joe soon discovers that he's found someone special, as Nick shows a natural talent for the fish business. Betty also thinks that Nick is someone special; while Betty loves Joe, and Nick is grateful to him, an attraction between the two leads to a passionate affair.
As Nick and Betty both find themselves betraying Joe despite their affection for him, Danny returns from California, hoping to take his room back, and immediately sensing that something is wrong.