The Kefauver Committee's ongoing investigation of organized crime spawned several "Torn from Today's Headlines!" films in the early 1950s. Republic's Hoodlum Empire concerns the efforts by gangster Joe Gray (John Russell) to get out of the rackets after WW II. Part of Gray's "reclamation" is to testify at a public hearing, prompting a series of flashbacks. Part of the fun is to guess who all the "fictional" criminals are really supposed to be: Luther Adler's character may be called "Nicky Mancini," for example, but for all intents and purposes Adler is playing Frank "Fifth Amendment" Costello. Other famous underworld personages are impersonated by Claire Trevor, Forrest Tucker and Roy Barcroft, while the steadfast Estes Kefauver counterpart is portrayed by Brian Donlevy.