An Italian engineer who has been working in Sweden returns with his wife to his homeland for a short visit, and he is swiftly detained for some unspecified crime. He moves from horrid prison to even more horrid prison as he awaits trial. His sanity grows ever more shaky in the process, and he still has not learned what the charge is. After even more suffering, he eventually learns the charge against him, just as it is being dropped. This relentless indictment of the Italian prison system is leavened with some humorous moments.