After surviving a plane crash with serious injuries, Uwe Barschel (Matthias Matschke) surprisingly loses ground in the Schleswig-Holstein election campaign. Shortly before the ballot, he comes under additional pressure: as a news magazine reports, he is said to have spied on his popular rival Björn Engholm and started a smear campaign against him with the support of the sleazy media officer Pfeiffer (Martin Brambach). Publicly, Barschel denies everything with his word of honour, but the aspiring reporters David Burger (Alexander Fehling) and Olaf Nissen (Fabian Hinrichs) uncover a lie. As a result, the prime minister has to resign and the newspaper celebrates wildly.
When Barschel is found dead in the bathtub of a Geneva hotel shortly afterwards, the affair takes on a new dimension: Although the investigators assume it was a suicide, his family speaks of murder. Obsessively, Burger follows every new lead for years, making the case seem ever more monstrous: illegal arms deals via the GDR, links to the submarine deal with South Africa and even a possible connection to the Iran-Contra affair. In the process, any connection to his former life as well as friends and family is increasingly lost. Instead, Burger, who begins an affair with the photographer Giselle (Antje Traue), dives deeper and deeper into a world of shady informants. He can no longer trust anyone.