It's early morning and Greg Osborn goes to the bakery to buy his wife Helen and seven-year-old daughter Amy breakfast. As he leaves the shop, a car speeds towards him and kills him instantly. The driver checks he's dead and takes off.
The shop assistant tells DI Susan Alembic and DS Luke Stone that it was a distinctive red Sierra. DC Alison Bain puts a trace on the car while Alembic and Stone go to break the news to Helen. Amy describes seeing the same car following her father as she waved goodbye to him that morning.
Meanwhile, attractive 20-something Ryan Everett is being called into his bedroom by a woman. As he makes his way to the bed, a gunman takes aim from the rooftop opposite and shoots him in the head. It's touch-and-go for Ryan when Alembic and Stone are called to the hospital in response to the mystery woman's 999 call. Ryan clutches Alembic's hand as he dies.
DCI Turner divides the work load – Alembic and Stone are on the Ryan case and Bain and DC Frank Craven get a break by looking after the Osborn case on their own. Bain is made the Senior Investigating Officer on the case and is eager to impress. When they visit Helen, Bain notices that she has got the life insurance details out already and is planning to make a fresh start abroad. Bain is cynical. Craven is more sympathetic.
At Ryan's flat, Alembic finds thousands of pounds in cash and an expensive looking sculpture. Art enthusiast Turner tracks the owner to a wealthy sex therapist called Dr Simon Kramer. Then pathologist Annie Parvez informs them that, although critical, Ryan is still alive: he only temporarily flat-lined. It is now an attempted murder case, although it is too dangerous to remove the bullet from his skull for evidence.
Meanwhile, Craven and Bain have traced the car to Adam Brady, whose red Sierra was stolen last week. They later find the car hidden in some trees. Due to several discrepancies, such as the window being smashed after the door was opened, they realise that Brady is more involved than he's letting on. Did Helen pay him to kill Greg? Bain suggests to Helen that all she wanted was the money from Greg's life insurance. But Craven recognises an abused woman when he sees one, and encourages her to open up to them about the domestic violence Greg subjected her to.
Dr Kramer has never heard of Ryan but his wife Angela confesses to not only sleeping with him but also to being the mystery woman who made the 999 call before she fled the apartment. And Ryan was blackmailing her for the return of the sculpture after stealing it during one of their sex sessions. But Ryan isn't her lover, he's a gigolo. Alembic tracks down almost 30 of his clients, the majority of whom were being similarly blackmailed by him. Alembic and Stone question him but the stress of the interview causes him to collapse and haemorrhage. He goes into surgery and the bullet is removed from his skull.
Bain and Craven search Brady's flat and uncover an old battered rifle. Pathologist Simon Dunne tells them that the owner of the gun from which the bullet was fired is none other than Brady. It appears Ryan owed him money for killing Greg and Brady shot him when he couldn't pay. Ryan was shot by the assassin he hired.
Brady begins to talk. Ryan offered him £10,000 to kill Greg because Amy is his daughter from a previous relationship with Helen. At the hospital, Ryan tells his side of the story. It was his friend Brady's idea, he claims. Ryan resented Greg for abusing Helen and taking Amy from him after he had spent two years bringing her up. Helen left him for Greg, a man with more prospects than him. Ryan begs Alembic to let him see Amy one last time before he dies. Yet there is one more betrayal left to unfold...