1975: Six young people take the entire staff of the West German embassy hostage, demanding that the Baader-Meinhof members being held as prisoners in West Germany be released immediately. The long siege ends with the deaths of two hostages and the wounding of several others, including the captors.
1989: When a Swedish civil servant is murdered, the two leading detectives on the case, Anna Holt and Bo Jarnebring, find their investigation hastily shelved by an incompetent and corrupt senior investigator.
1999. Lars Johansson, having just joined the Swedish Security Police, decides to tie up a few loose ends left behind by his predecessor: specifically, two files on Swedes who had allegedly collaborated on the 1975 takeover of the West German embassy, one of whom turned out to be the murder victim in 1989. Johansson reopens the investigation and, with help from detectives Jarnebring and Holt, follows the leads-right up to the doorstep of Sweden's newly minted minister of justice.