In an unusual twist to set up the story Harry and Lucy get a 10 year old case with a just deceased body. Orlando Merced was shot in the spine while sitting on a bench in Mariachi Plaza. The bullet, lodged in his vertebrae, could not be removed. A decade after the shooting he has died from blood poisoning brought about by the deteriorating bullet. With the cause of death linked to the shooting it is now a homicide case.
When the bullet is extracted during a rather gruesome autopsy the police are startled to learn it is a rifle bullet. It is confounding information. The whole original investigation had been based on the assumption that Merced, a musician in a mariachi band, had been shot by a member of the local Latino street gang known as the White Fence. While never confirmed it was thought the shooting was a form of gang intimidation.