On a sunny day, Garfield goes to a closet and opens it out of boredom, only to hear saxophone music burst out of it. He shuts it quickly, then opens it again; the music starts up again, and Garfield finds a trench coat and fedora.
He then enters a fantasy world in which he is Sam Spayed, a second rate private investigator in a film noir atmosphere. He investigates the alleged murder of a university professor who fell asleep at the wheel of his car and drove over a cliff. The late man's wife, however, believes it to be murder. It is revealed that the late professor was a frequent coffee drinker, to the point that he required heavy sleeping pills to fall asleep. Some of these same sleeping pills were dissolved in his coffee on the fateful night by a colleague, and these led to him falling asleep while driving. The special ends with Garfield turning out the lights.
- Jon Arbuckle only makes a brief appearance at the end of the special when he opens the closet and finds Garfield in there (a majority of the special takes place in the fantasy world). A wanted poster showing Jon Arbuckle is seen in Sam Spayed's (Garfield) office. Odie also makes an appearance in the fantasy world playing maintenance.
- In the graphic novel "Garfield; His Nine Lives", the plot of "Babes and Bullets" was different in that the murder victim, while also a coffee drinker who took sleeping pills, was a Greek Orthodox priest who was murdered by an elderly priest due to the fact the old priest's star was being eclipsed by the young, attractive, charismatic priest. This was most likely changed to avoid religious controversies, whilst retaining the power struggle element.
- Garfield would travel into the fantasy world again in the 1990 TV special Garfield's Feline Fantasies.
- The strip released on the Sunday after the special's premiere featured Garfield in his Sam Spayed costume. (In the first panel, he walks past a poster featuring Grimm from the comic Mother Goose and Grimm.)
- 1989 Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program