Echo is a young woman who literally embodies the Army's slogan "Be All You Can Be". She is one of a group of men and women who can be, literally, anyone or fulfill any role - by getting imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language-even muscle memory-for different assignments. The imprints can take them from role to role - from super spy to kidnap negotiator, from fun weekend fling to expert bank robber, from devoted lover to earth-mother.
When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like uncomplicated, unquestioning children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their work outside the house-or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her varying ability to recall who she was before, a problem that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.
In addition are internal problems at the Dollhouse, from security issues to the problems represented by Alpha, an unknown agent who killed almost everyone in the Dollhouse except Echo. Also complicating things is an FBI agent who is actively and with great determination, seeking to find and destroy the Dollhouse.