i was intrigued by a facet of ed begley's character as the police chief. in the restaurant scene, while begley is telling robert ryan not to go over the top when interrogating suspects, he displays a voracious appetite, rhapsodising over the quality of the vegetables. usually in films of this vintage where every frame means something, anything resembling gluttony is emblematic of a weakness of character. in this case it seemed to me that it was supposed to represent begley as having an untroubled conscience, as opposed to ryan's self loathing.
i don't know if anyone else has a take on this but i just thought it was an unusual device to use in this way.