When the body of a young, black Navy lieutenant is found chained inside the boiler of a mothballed battleship in a Philadelphia shipyard, there is no question that it's murder. Stung by past scandals, the Navy moves to control the investigation by appointing one of their own, Commander Dan Collins, in charge of it. Dan's deputy investigator will be civilian Grace Ellen Snow from the NIS (Naval Investigative Service), the organization that should have been in control of the investigation.
Dan and Grace make a connection between this murder, the death of the man's sister (also a Navy lieutenant), and a top Naval officer only to have the chain-of-command curtain come down around their investigation. Convinced they can uncover those responsible for the murders, they secretly continue their investigation - a search that brings them to the attention of a cunning, remorseless, and relentless man.