Following a shootout that left his two partners respectively dead and paralyzed, chief detective Carl Mørck is assigned to the newly established Department Q, a department for old, terminated cases. The department consists only of himself and his new assistant Assad. Although they get explicit orders to only read and sort through the cases, only a single day passes before Carl’s stubborn nature throws them headfirst into the mystery of Merete Lynggaard’s disappearance; a well-known female politician who vanished five years ago from a passenger ferry. The only witness is her brain-damaged brother who was found on the car deck, screaming at the top of his lungs. The case was put to rest as an apparent suicide. Unconvinced by this explanation Carl and Assad venture on a journey that will take them deep into the undercurrent of abuse and malice that lurks beneath the polished surface of Scandinavia.