From the clashes in Genova in 1960 to the formal notification of investigation to Silvio Berlusconi in Naples; from Piazza Fontana to the Moro case; from the Occorsio murder to the bomb at Bologna Train Station; there is practically no episode in the last forty years of history of the State which Umberto Improta has not investigated. He was born in 1932, headed the Political Office in Rome, DIGOS and was stationed at the Prefecture in Naples. A cop that was always in the hub of the most noteworthy cases in Italy, a privileged witness to the most turbulent years in the history of Italy. Improta died following a brief illness on 28 January 2002: exactly twenty years previously, on 28 January 1982 he had made history by heading the raid that freed General Dozier, held prisoner by the Red Brigades in an apartment in Padua. In his life and with his investigations, “Lo Sbirro” – which Improta had just finished proofreading a few days before his death – is a tale of Italian society and culture in these last forty years viewed from inside a Police car.