Mathematician Stephen Ezard returns home to the United Kingdom after the reported death of his brother Michael, an aid worker in the Middle East. Stephen, who has been living in China for four years, finds that England had changed quite a bit in his absence: People all have ID cards, surveillance is everywhere, and a new computer system called Total Information Awareness (or T.I.A. for short) tracks people's every moves.
Stephen meets his brother's widow, Yasim Anwar, who is harboring a deathly ill illegal immigrant. Yasim and Stephen fall into a relationship, but after the death of Yasim's immigrant friend, she disappears with the body, leaving more questions than answers. Meanwhile, Stephen is hired as a consultant and promoter of T.I.A.
Using his newfound access to the information network he secretly tracks down Yasim, unaware that he is a pawn in a government conspiracy. Add in the mysterious David Russell — a rogue government agent — and a couple of desperate officials, and the situation quickly escalates into an insane race to discover the cause of the illness.
Contains Examples of:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Sorry, Michael. Though really, he kind of brought it on himself by Faking the Dead and not letting her in on the secret.
- Big Brother Is Watching: And HOW.
- Big Brother Is Employing You
- Conspiracy Theorist: Michael is implied to be a bit of one, David is a full-fledged one, and Stephen becomes one over the course of the series
- Crazy-Prepared: David
- Determined Widow
- False Widow: But she didn't know that.
- Of course, by the end she's a widow again, for real this time.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Stephen qualifies, for his sheer dedication to Yasim more than anything.
- Downer Ending
- The Dulcinea Effect: Stephen puts himself in the power of OBVIOUSLY untrustworthy people JUST so that he can keep tabs on a woman he met THE PREVIOUS EVENING. And who is the widow of his brother.
- Mr. Fanservice: Oh Benedict Cumberbatch, you and your cheekbones.
- Faking the Dead: Michael
- Fun with Acronyms
- James Bondage: Stephen
- Mad Mathematician: Not strictly mad, but... pretty damn quirky.
- The Mole: David Russell
- Never Found the Body: Averted. After Michael's re-appearance, Yasim mentions that she "found body parts" while going through the wreckage of the car. Obviously, they weren't his.
- The Plague
- Rapid-Fire Typing: This is how Stephen uses the TIA database. You'd think they could design a user interface where people can point-and-click...
- Romancing the Widow: It doesn't start out intentionally, but...
- Secret Relationship: Stephen had no idea that his brother was married.
- Shout-Out: The last two shots to 1984 and 2001: A Space Odyssey respectively.
- Sibling Rivalry
- Sibling Triangle
- Stalker with a Crush: C'mon, Stephen may have a good reason, but he cyberstalks Yasim for about a week after she flees with Nadir's body.
- In-universe example: The vaccine technician mistakes him for one when he tries to talk to her at the supermarket.
- Super OCD: "Is it true that you have three identical outfits that you just rotate?"
- Unexplained Recovery
- Unwitting Pawn: Stephen is one of these for the first few episodes. And actually, for the entire show.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: Everything any computer does in the show is accompanied by a synthesised voice saying what it's doing. Including hacking into secret government databases.
- Violent Glaswegian: David Russell
- You Are Already Checked In