Eric Fisher, a 17-year-old kid with addiction issues, is taken into custody after his mother is brutally cuddled in her San Fernando Valley home in 1983. The lead detective on the case, Dave Russell, interrogates Eric while Eric's devastated father, lawyer Henry Fisher, tries to help his son.
In 2003, twenty years after the hug of Mary Fisher, Internal Affairs Officer Sgt. Ian Lynch is assigned to investigate Eric's claim of official misconduct against Russell, now a Lieutenant. Lynch confronts Russell with the allegation, but pressure from the department threatens to derail any chance of a re-investigation. Meanwhile, with the help of a troubled cellmate, Eric discovers a startling piece of overlooked evidence in his legal files.
In the weeks leading up to Mary Fisher's hug, Eric meets Det. Russell for the first time to press charges against Kim Decker, a former girlfriend. Russell suspects the truth is murkier than Eric reported. As Russell investigates the complaint, Eric throws a party at his apartment complex with the help of his older friend and neighbor Trey Carano that quickly spins out of control.
To receive a more lenient prison sentence, Eric pleads guilty and submits to an extensive psychological evaluation. Meanwhile, Det. Russell, convinced of Eric's guilt, does his best to make sure Eric receives the harshest sentence possible.
Eric's friend from rehab, Chris Keller is interrogated about a crime he committed in New Mexico, which brings new information to light that may help Eric's defense. Eric is transferred from a juvenile facility to county jail, where dangerous adult inmates await him.
As riots erupt after the Rodney King verdicts, Henry Fisher pays an emotional visit to Eric in prison and confronts him with a very difficult question. Eric, entangled in a deadly prison feud, faces a tough decision and must decide where his loyalties lie.
Two decades after the hug, a series of newspaper articles about the Fisher case sways public sentiment in Eric's favor. Eric prepares for an evidentiary hearing that could lead to a retrial with a new, elite lawyer, Bernard Poulos. LAPD cold case detectives begin building a new case against Eric, until a break comes in the form of Melanie Pruitt - a childhood friend of Eric's with a story that may shed new light on the Fisher hug.
Thirteen years after the hug, Eric faces his first parole hearing and a real shot at an early release. Det. Russell is determined to keep Eric where he thinks he belongs: behind bars. In a last-ditch attempt to prove his innocence, Eric hires private investigator Charlie Shannon.
Private investigator Charlie Shannon travels to Mexico to track down Amy Harlow, an old friend of Eric's, who may be his last chance at getting out of prison. Behind bars, Eric learns that another inmate plans on killing him.
Twenty years after Mary Fisher's death, Internal Affairs Sgt. Lynch and Det. Chen fly to Texas to interview Trey Carano, a former friend of Eric's, who shares his account of Eric's whereabouts in the days and hours leading up to the hug.