Dutch Schultz, the country's most dangerous gangster, is dead, and the New York mob is back in business. By 1935, Luciano and his crew are living the high life and making the modern equivalent of over a hundred million dollars a year.
The mob begins to expand. Meyer Lansky busies himself creating modern casinos, transforming low-rent gambling dens into high-class establishments. Vito Genovese's heroin racket is extremely successful, and he decides to diversify into poker games, the outcomes of which are fixed in his favor.
Luciano moves into the Waldorf-Astoria, the City's fanciest and most expensive hotel. He begins to settle down and build a life with his new girlfriend, a 20-year-old Broadway dancer named Galina "Gay" Orlova.
Luciano decides to expand his own criminal operations into the business of prostitution. His empire quickly grows to 200 brothels, with bookers, madams and prostitutes paying a percentage to the Mafia. Lansky advises Luciano against his new venture, but Luciano ignores the warnings and soon he's living a double life, spending days with his girlfriend and nights at his brothels. His favorite brothel is run by a madam named Cokey Flo.
Prosecutor Thomas Dewey has named Luciano his number one target and brings in an ambitious young investigator named Eunice Carter to help him dig up leads on Lucky. Carter quickly discovers that more than half the city's prostitutes are connected by the same bail bondsmen, a known criminal with ties to the mob. It's enough evidence to bring in and question a booker tied to Luciano's prostitution ring, Vincent Pastore, but the questioning goes nowhere. Pastore refuses to break the mob's code of silence.
Carter regroups and deploys the latest technology to try to trap Luciano: Wiretaps. After listening to hundreds of hours of calls, she finally hears someone call Luciano by name, giving Dewey the evidence he needs to issue a warrant. He organizes a raid on Luciano's brothels, arresting dozens of prostitutes and madams, but he fails to capture Lucky. He does however manage to capture at least one prostitute with multiple charges against her who is willing to talk to spare herself jail time.
To avoid arrest, Luciano flees with his girlfriend Gay to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where a corrupt police force has transformed the small town into a mob haven, filled with casinos and gamblers. Assuming himself safe, Luciano has the unlucky experience of bumping into a New York detective on the street, who brings Luciano into custody.
Knowing what awaits him if he goes to trial in New York, Luciano uses his mob connections to keep himself held in the Arkansas jail. The local authorities, paid off by the mob, refuse to hand Lucky over to Dewey. From a jail cell in Arkansas, Luciano and his gang continue to run their rackets full-speed ahead.
To put pressure on Arkansas officials, Dewey takes his case to the media and names Luciano public enemy number one. Luciano goes from relative obscurity to a notorious character virtually overnight. To counteract the negative attention, Luciano launches his own press campaign denying his links to prostitution.
Finally, Dewey orders a team of heavily armed state troopers to Hot Springs to force Luciano to surrender and to take him back to New York. Luciano has just days to prepare for a trial facing charges of forced prostitution.