As befits the man behind Baldrick, Tony Robinson has uncovered life in the underbelly of history. Whether it's swilling out the crotch of a knight's soiled armour after the battle of Agincourt, risking his neck in the rigging of HMS Victory, or as 'Groomer of the Stool' going to places where none of Henry VIII's six wives would venture, Tony endures the worst jobs imaginable to get to the bottom (sometimes literally) of the story. From the Roman invasion to the reign of Queen Victoria, Tony has met the challenge of seeking out the worst jobs of each era. The Gunpowder Plot drew Tony to the role of the Saltpetre Man who collected human waste because its nitrate content could be turned into gunpowder. In the same vein, he has revealed some of the worst jobs behind the building of the great medieval cathedrals. With Tony we discover the dire conditions of Nelson's Victory, where the most common form of retirement was being sewn into a hammock with a couple of cannon balls and dropped over the side. Then there's the impact of the Industrial Revolution, a source of wealth and power for the few, but a cornucopia of lousy jobs for the many.
Detective Virgil Tibbs is caught up in the racial tension of the US South when he is arrested after the murder of a prominent businessman. Tibbs was simply waiting for his next train at the station in Sparta, Mississippi and the confusion is soon resolved but when local police chief Gillespie learns that Tibbs is the Philadelphia PD's number one homicide expert, he reluctantly asks for his assistance. The murdered man, Mr. Colbert, had come to Sparta from the North to build a new factory and his wife and business associates immediately point the finger at Endicott, the most powerful man in the county and the one who had the most to lose if a major new employer comes to the area.