In January 1987, a 22-year-old college student dies during a police interrogation. Under the orders of Director Park (Kim Yoon-seok), the police request the body to be cremated in order to destroy evidence. Public Prosecutor Choi (Ha Jung-woo), who was on duty on the day of the incident, denies the request and calls for an autopsy. The police maintain the lie that the death was a simple accident, resulting from shock. The autopsy results, however, point to torture as the cause of death. Yoon (Lee Hee-jun), a journalist following the case, reports that the death was a result of asphyxiation during torture. Director Park attempts to conceal the truth by ending the case, arresting two detectives including inspector Cho (Park Hee-soon). While in prison, inspector Cho reveals the truth to prison guard Han Byung-yong (Yoo Hai-jin), who embarks on a dangerous mission to relay the information to an opposition politician through his niece, Yeon-hee (Kim Tae-ri).