A British plane crashes in America, sparking off a national emergency and a diplomatic crisis.
It emerges the incident was the work of a British suicide bomber. With the 'special relationship' between the UK and the US under threat, the British Ambassador, Sir Mark Brydon, manoeuvres American Secretary of Defense, Lynne Warner, into a public show of solidarity. But behind the scenes, tension mounts between the pair.
The situation worsens when the Governor of Virginia passes emergency legislation allowing the Virginia National Guard to apprehend and imprison all British Asians in the State.
The first casualties of the policy are a young British Asian couple, killed while trying to get over the state line from Virginia to Maryland. When Mark visits the scene he knows immediately his job has just become ten times harder.
Back at the embassy, the Ambassador's right hand man, Nicholas Brocklehurst, accesses surveillance material. It seems to suggest a link between the father of Mark's friend Caroline Hanley and an order for trigger switches. Surely a connection to the bomb?
Elsewhere, in the dead of night, a training exercise takes place on a secure military site in Virginia. Live ammunition is used, and one of the men is killed. Unmoved, the leader of the group ensures that the body won't be identified, before dumping it into a nearby river. The remains are discovered by a civilian the following day.
In Florida, Jane Lavery, a human rights lawyer on attachment to the Embassy meets her client Luke Gardner, a British citizen on Florida's Death Row. He maintains his innocence, but unless his appeal is upheld, he will be executed. Later, Luke sees the face of the plane bomber and has a strong emotional and physical reaction. What could be their connection?