One of Michael Murray's first acts as newly elected council leader is to terrorize his former teacher, Mr. Weller. Then he stages a "Day of Action" against the Conservative government but clashes with Jim Nelson, the headmaster of a school for children with special needs.
When Jim becomes a local hero in a tragic accident, Michael has his thugs back off. He's appalled when his political "friends," Lou and Peter, next suggest provoking racial violence in the city, but two words--Eileen Critchley--bring him around. Michael also falls for a mysterious stranger, while Jim develops a fear of bridges.
Jim plans a summer holiday that avoids bridges. Meanwhile, the beautiful Barbara Douglas seems more interested in Michael's past than in his advances, even visiting his mother. To make matters worse, Jim and Michael have a violent confrontation.
Thanks to Mr. Weller, Jim finally has something he can use against Michael: his enemy's old school records. But Barbara would like to get her hands on them as well. Tormented by messages purportedly from Eileen Critchley, Michael is a nervous wreck. Barbara offers to calm him down--in her hotel room.
Feeling like a new man after his night with Barbara, Michael attempts to regain control of his city and put a stop to the incipient racial violence. Believing they have eluded their tormenters, Jim and his family arrive in North Wales. And Lou and Peter reveal their mission to a reporter.
When the plotters raid the Nelsons' holiday home and steal Michael's school records, both men start to realize that they are pawns in someone else's game. Even scheming Barbara begins to sympathize with Michael and wonders who her real friends are.
As the city erupts into flames, Jim confronts Michael, Michael faces those who plotted his downfall, and Barbara sees the light. When an old conspiracy is revealed, everything Michael ever believed is turned upside down, and the Nelsons look to the future.