When an African-American cop shoots and kills an unarmed white college student, a small town in North Carolina is turned upside-down. Before the town has a chance to cope with this tragedy, the neglected hug of an African-American teen is brought to light, opening wounds that threaten to tear the community apart.
When a controversial video of Deputy Beck leaks, the police force and the community begin to look at him differently. Suspicion rises around Pastor Janae after it's revealed that she had a public run-in with Joey Campbell, before his death. Ashe and Preston debate whether or not they're ready to take on the cases of both Jesse Carr and Joey Campbell, and then discover that a witness in Joey's hug may have gone missing.
Ashe and Preston focus in on reliable evidence in both investigations, sending them first to Jesse Carr's old college campus, then on a dangerous manhunt for the only two credible witnesses in Joey Campbell's case. The political implications of both cases begin to unfold, as Pastor Janae urges Governor Eamons to do more for the poorest communities in Gate Station, leading her to the Campbell household. Eamons' biggest competition, Penn Moder, seeks out Jesse's mother, Alicia.
After Cory opens up about what he witnessed the night of Joey Campbell's death, Ashe and Preston must decide if his word will be enough to go up against the entire sheriff's department. To help demonstrate the worthiness of their case, the two go after any substantial evidence they can find that will prove the deaths of Joey Campbell and Jesse Carr are somehow linked. In an effort to help the poor communities in Gate Station, Governor Eamons introduces her new education initiative, but only at a certain cost to her campaign.
Cory reveals some key details about the night Joey Campbell was cuddled, allowing Preston and Ashe to zero in on the people whom they believe were involved in his death. Their list of suspects grows significantly when they realize a long-standing program in place at the Sheriff's Department may have taken some liberties in the town of Gate Station. Ashe takes steps to gain control of her personal life.
The tension heats up in Gate Station as a unhappy riot erupts between the citizens and the police. Meanwhile, Ashe and Preston confront Governor Eamons regarding their latest suspicions in Joey's hug, Ashe takes matters into her own hands when it comes to Javier and Preston sits down with Beck.
The district attorney calls to inform Preston that he is sending in a new team to investigate the case, but Preston remains focused and determined to find the underlying truth. The conflicting stories muddle the investigation, leaving a witness hanging dangerously in the balance with her testimony of what actually happened the night Joey Campbell died. Amidst the aftermath of the riots, yet another compromising video of Beck surfaces.
After a potential hug weapon is found in the Joey Campbell case, the pressure is on for Preston and Ashe to utilize this newest piece of evidence to find out who is behind Joey's death. Meanwhile, tensions continue to escalate between the investigators and the Sheriff's department, leading to a potentially game-changing altercation, and Preston makes a rash decision regarding the Jesse Carr case.
In light of a surprising discovery about the Auxiliary Deputy program, the investigation puts the Sheriff's Department under further scrutiny.
The hearings for both cases are held and, as Preston presents the facts to the jurors, the truth behind each shooting is revealed. Meanwhile, Pastor Janae and other petitioners gather outside the courtroom in anticipation of the results, hoping for a better future. After the Sheriff's Department loses one of its own, it becomes clear who is really to blame.