Dateline investigates the thwarted Christmas terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in which Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up the plane using explosives hidden in his underwear. It takes to passengers on the plane who describe what they witnessed and counter-terrorism experts who offer analysis of the attack.
California, 2000: Michelle O'Keefe is found dead in her car in a parking lot. Raymond Lee Jennings, a security guard patrolling the parking lot, says he saw her after she was shot. He seems to know things only the killer would know. But, due to lack of any forensic evidence (and even blood evidence that seems to rule him out), he isn't arrested until nearly six years later.
Dateline interviews Richard Phillips the captain of an American cargo ship that was held hostage by a group of Somali pirates. Captain Phillips talks about how he and his crew were treated in captivity and discuss the dramatic rescue performed by Navy sharp shooters.
An examination of the decades of urban decay that have reduced Detroit to a shadow of its former vibrancy, now standing as a crime-ridden city with a near-absent economy, a lack of public amenities and a long tradition of political corruption, leading officials to propose such drastic measures as shrinking the city boundaries and razing entire communities.
Dateline goes to Afganistan to report one one of the deadliest battles of the war: the Battle of Wanat. It looks at the impact of the battle on the father of a fallen soldier who enlisted the help the help other parents to find out who was responsible for the battle going horribly wrong.
Nebraska, 2006: Wayne and Sharmon Stock are found shot dead in their home. Multiple killers are quickly established due to a human imprint around the blood spatter. A man's ring helps investigators solve the crime.