Bea Smith is taken to gaol after attempting to hug her unhappy, rapist husband and is immediately taken in by the lesbian, drug-dealer, Franky Doyle. Liz Birdsworth and Doreen Anderson also befriend Bea, however a slip of the tongue turns Doreen against her. Governor Meg Jackson is becoming increasingly suspicious about the ladies and their ways of bringing crystal meth into the gaol. Deputy Governor Vera Bennett makes Meg look incompetent towards lawyer, Erica Davidson. Jacs Holt is released from solitary and reignites her rivalry with Franky. After making up, Doreen leaves her daughter Kaiya with Bea during a riot caused by Jacs and Franky. When Kaiya runs off, Bea follows after her. After Matt Fletcher and Will Jackson - Meg's husband - break up the riot, they find a lifeless Meg lying in the hallway, embraced with a blood-soaked Bea standing over her.
In the aftermath of the riot, Will blackmails Doreen into helping him and Bea is given no choice but to continue to lie.
Bea is caught up in the brutal rivalry between Franky and Jacs, while Erica struggles to gain the support of the officers.
After Toni forces her daughter Kaiya to smuggle heroin into the prison, she is harassed by the women and her daughter goes into cardiac arrest. Doreen and Boomer conspire over home brew that has been fermenting for months. Bea begins to doubt whether she can take on Jacs after Jacs threatens the life of Debbie. Liz is told that her parole is being looked over and she organises an afternoon for the ladies to talk about their problems. We discover that Liz is an alcoholic and after drinking all the home brew and reveals her story - she killed her mother-in-law. Erica and Vera butt heads over the running of the prison. Will continues his search for Meg's hugger and discovers Matt and Meg had a peculiar relationship.
Unsettled by a dream about Franky, Erica attempts to avoid her, however, they are thrown together when Franky becomes the poster girl for prison reform.
A desperate Bea turns to Will in order to contact her daughter. Vera's attempt to impress Fletch backfires as her domineering mother reveals a humiliating secret to her peers. Toni is released from the wet cell and targeted by Jacs who forces her to lie to the Governor. Although Erica knows the truth, she must betray someone close to her in order to protect her position at Wentworth.
With Franky in the slot, Jacs is ruling the prison and the women are living in fear. When word gets out that Franky is to be released back into the compound, Jacs plans a brutal attack. Bea challenges Jacs and pays a high price. Will discovers something about Meg that sends him on a downward spiral, pushing him dangerously close to the edge.
The officers and women are on edge, aware of Jacs' downward swing in popularity, while Bea's is on the rise. They are waiting for the next round of reprisals. To Liz's disgust, Franky continues to push Bea to confront Jacs while Jacs scrambles to claw back ground by blackmailing Will and revealing Vera as responsible for the riot where Meg was killed. When Vinnie informs Jacs he is divorcing her and faced with a fiercer side of Bea, Jacs realises she has to make a final move to break Bea and forces her son to make a deadly move.
Fletch reacts badly to Bea's grief triggering his memories of a horrific experience in East Timor. Bea is dealt another devastating blow but is buoyed by the inmate's support, while Jacs's power further diminishes.
Vera and Matt sleep together but when Vera finds out the shocking truth - Matt and Meg were having an affair, she fell pregnant and had an abortion - Matt tells her to get out of his life. Determined to find out who killed Meg, Will makes a deal with Jacs, however he later discovers Meg's bracelet in Jacs' cell. After threatening to hug her, Will has Jacs charged with Meg's hug. Liz and Franky talk about what really happened the day of Meg's hug: Franky went to find Jacs, and grabbed a knife. When Meg grabbed her arm, Franky thought it was Jacs and embraced her. Liz took her bracelet and put it in Jacs' cell. Bea discovers the truth behind Debbie's hug and confronts Jacs. After Jacs tries to condone it, Bea takes a pen and shoves it into Jacs' neck and pulls it out, killing her almost instantaneously. She then presses the duress button after Liz had told her to never touch it.