Daniel McLeish is a police officer from Manchester who has worked in an international violent crimes unit for many years, but when a case goes south and McLeish’s wife, Tina, ends up in the line of fire, she leaves him and takes their daughter Wilma with her to Sweden.
In an attempt to win his family back, McLeish leaves England and his police career behind and follows Tina and Wilma to Skellefteå, where Tina has recently been employed as a city planner. But preparing his relationships after all that has happened proves difficult and McLeish soon finds himself in limbo. He is a stranger in a strange land; no job and haunted by the memories that put him here.
A silver lining appears in the form of a man he meets in his temporary housing complex, who tells him about the battery factory and says that they are mass hiring people. Soon McLeish begins working as a woodworker, and using that as a base, he is able to begin reestablish his daughter Wilma’s trust in him.
But things take a brutal turn for the worse as the new battery factory’s CEO Christoffer Bladh is found dead on a hill overlooking the city. McLeish and the rest of the builders are called in for interrogation, which is where officer Maja Lindström begins to harbouring real suspicions that McLeish is the murderer she’s looking for given his clear reluctance to go into detail about his past and how he ended up at the battery factory.
Lindström, who up until the events at the battery factory had began doubting her prospects in the force and was considering having a second child and changing careers entirely, is suddenly reinvigorated by the case and the responsibility she is given. The murder and questions surrounding McLeish takes up her every waking minute and when Lindström finally confronts McLeish about his background, he admits who he is so that he can stay in Skellefteå and continue healing the rift with his daughter Wilma. Lindström, who realises that she has happened upon a detective of world renown wants him to join her on task force. Up until now, McLeish has officially been on sick leave in England, and so Maja suggests that he requests an exchange from the head office. McLeish is hesitant, but he soon begins to feel drawn to the work which got him in this situation in the first place – an itch to do what he was made to do. Finally, he allows himself to be persuaded, and Lindström and McLeish team up on the case.
McLeish’s experiences working in and around the battery factory become are made worthwhile and it comes to light that the CEO has had a toxic back-and-forth with the head of construction regarding when exactly the factory was meant to be up and running, as well as being the target of threats from a local group who opposed the factory from the get-go. Maja also comes to find out that Bladh’s maid has been missing since his murder, and when she is discovered to have had a fake identity with connections to Russia, the mystery thickens further. So has Bladh been the victim of a vengeful foreman? Did he perhaps owe money to the Russians? Or is it the local activists who have taken their opposition to the factory one step too far?
McLeish and Lindström are soon completed absorbed by the case and their bond grows stronger – from acquaintances to trusted partners. But at the same time, it becomes difficult for them both to maintain a hold on life beyond the case. Lindström is no longer interested in talking about children with her husband, which leads to conflicts, and McLeish’s ex-wife Tina is worried about Wilma who is more than willing to be around her dad even though he seems to be living the same life he left behind in Manchester. Seeing no other way to protect Wilma, she reveals to her the reasons behind their separation. Following that, Wilma confronts Daniel and he has to decide what is most important, once and for all.
McLeish leaves the investigation, but when Wilma is the victim of sexual assault at a party and McLeish goes too far by assaulting the guy, a pupil at the school where Lindström’s husband is the principal, Lindström is the only one who can save his skin. And she will do so – if he rejoins the investigation which has taken an unexpected turn: The man that McLeish met in his housing complex, who helped McLeish get a job at the battery factory and has come to be a friend, turns out to be the person that Bladh’s maid was reporting to. The woman is a Ukranian refugee who was kidnapped by the Russians to be used to conduct industry espionage. The international conspiracy heats up when yet another body is found, this time a young woman who crossed paths with Bladh at a confirmation camp almost twenty years ago. Soon McLeish and Lindström uncover a dark secret buried beneath the city’s niceties what makes them rethink the entire investigation and the clues that led them to this point. What comes to light is something much more painful than either McLeish or Lindström could ever imagine as one of them realises their role as the instigator of the entire crime, and the other must relive the trauma which is the catalyst of the story.
But most importantly, in confronting the murderer, they are faced with a choice which will forever remain a part of them and unite them once more.