In a society where humans and vampires co-exist, set in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse is a young woman who may have found a perfect boyfriend. Sookie is clairvoyant and constantly hears people's thoughts so it makes dating a bit difficult since she tries to keep her ability a secret. When 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton walks into the Merlotte's Bar & Grill where she works as a waitress, she realizes that she can't "hear" what he's thinking, thus giving away his origins since she can't hear the thoughts of those whom are technically dead. Vampires "came out of the coffin" two years ago when the Japanese invented Tru Blood, a synthetic blood substitute. Sookie rescues Bill when a couple of lowlife rednecks, the Rattrays, try to steal his blood to sell on the black market, but she may have a price to pay for interfering. Meanwhile, Sookie's older brother, Jason, is a smooth-talking hustler and lothario who works part-time with a construction crew, and who gets arrested after a local woman that he had a one-night stand with is found strangled. Tara Thornton is Sookie's ill-tempered best friend whom finds her bad-boy brother irresistible. Sam Merlotte is the owner of Merlotte's Bar, who keeps his romantic feelings for Sookie to himself. Lafayette Reynolds is Tara's flamboyant gay cousin and the short-order cook at Merlotte's as well as Jason's co-worker at his construction day job who has more to offer than his gourmet foods. Arlene Fowler is a middle-aged divorcée and another of Sookie's friends and co-workers at Merlotte's looking for a new husband to help raise her two children. Andy Bellefleur is the local police detective working with the collaboration of the town sheriff, Bud Dearborn, whom thinks the town may have a killer in their midst as they investigate the strangulation case.
- A teenage couple races down a deserted road, the girl driving finds something to do with her free hand.
They pass a sign that says "We Have Tru Blood."
She slams on the brakes.
On TV, a woman representing the American Vampire League defends herself to Bill Maher, saying that now that the Japanese have perfected synthetic blood, there's no reason to fear them.
The kids tumble into the store, looking for vampires. The store clerk does his best Transylvanian accent and freaks them out. But he's putting them on. The good ol' boy in camou at the cooler listens, not finding it funny. He walks up carrying a six pack.
The kid tells him to buzz off and Billy Bob makes his case: fangs grow suddenly from his teeth. The kids run off. He tells the clerk if he ever pretends to be one of them again, he'll kill him.
Sookie serves customers, walking around hearing their thoughts. She takes a deep breath and seems able to quiet them. A customer pesters a customer service woman at a Home Depot-like store. Tara gives the customer lip then quits, but not before she threatens to have her baby daddy beat up the manager for patting her ass. When the manager balks at this comment, Tara retorts that she doesn't have a baby daddy and calls the people in the store "pathetic racists."
At Merlotte's, Lafayette the sassy gay cook leads a raunchy sex talk that all the waitresses join in while Sookie looks totally freaked out.
In a house, a young man has his way with a woman, but notices bite marks on her thighs. She tells him a vampire offered her $1,000 once to let him bite her. He wants to know what it's like. She says it was way too rough. He's about to leave when she tells him she video taped it.
Back at the restaurant, Tara and Sookie talk to Sam the owner. He has a crush on Sookie. She's distracted when a mysterious man walks in and the lights dim. It's clear that he's a vampire. Sookie goes to wait on him, flirting and giggling to have her first vamp since they "came out of the coffin" two years ago. A slimy couple sitting nearby ooze over to talk to the vampire, hot for him.
Back at the house, the young man watches the vampire sex tape as the woman keeps him occupied. The vampire starts to shape shift.
At the bar, Sookie hears the thoughts of the couple planning to drain the vampire of blood. She wants to stop them, but they disappear with him. She runs out after them. She grabs a length of chain from the back of a truck, vigilante waitress.
At the house o' sex, the man is ravishing the woman, calling her dirty vampire-sex related names. He wraps his hands around her neck as a camera records everything, throttling her as he finishes.
Outside the bar, the couple has pinned the vamp to the ground and is draining him. He sees Sookie coming up. She whacks the man with the chain and it wraps around his neck. She runs the woman off with a knife as she threatens to kill Sookie.
Sookie lets the vampire up, slowly lifting the small silver chain that held him in place, burned into his flesh. A dog runs up and licks Sookie. She thinks the vampire is not happy to have been rescued by a woman. She tries to hear what he's thinking and is excited to realize she can't. He offers her his blood, to sell or drink (it makes humans feel healthier and improves their sex lives), but she declines, since she has no sex life to speak of. He's intrigued. His name is Bill. She thinks it's funny he has such a normal name. She says good-bye and goes back to work.
Sam is waiting for her, nervous. Tara wants a job, but he doesn't want her to run off his customers. She bargains with him as it being a way to watch out for Sookie. He agrees.
Sex boy walks in -- turns out he's Sookie's brother, Jason. Tara flirts hello but he's not interested. On the other hand, he's excited to see another waitress, Dawn. She turns him down but he follows her out.
Sookie goes home and tells her grandmother about the vampire that came into the bar. She goes to bed but wakes up in the middle of the night. She looks out the window and sees Bill standing on her lawn. She puts on a robe and goes out to see him, like any young girl would when finding a strange blood-sucker on her lawn. He's gone when she gets out there but then reappears behind her. She says hello and he starts undressing. She says she never thought she'd be having sex with him. "Who said anything about sex?" he says menacingly. And then she wakes up.
The next day, she's sunning on the lawn when her brother Jason walks up, having heard about what the Rattrays pulled last night. When he learns she was defending a vampire he warns her to stay away from their kind. He checks to make sure it's not the one from the sex tape, not bald, no tattoos.
Inside, Grandma gets a call that Maudette Pickens has been found strangled in her own home. Jason reacts like it might be the woman he was with last night. He calls her a "fang banger," someone who likes to have sex with vampires. They wants to know why he knows that. He fills them in on vampire hookers. And then says good-bye to his grandmother.
Sookie walks over to him and tries to listen in. She hears: "How could this be happening to me, how could I lose control?" before he realizes what she's doing and stops her.
He sits on a lawn chair later, at work supervising on a road crew. On the phone, he tries to talk Dawn into meeting up with him later when two sheriff's deputies pull up. They ask him about Maudette. He denies knowing her or knowing that she was murdered. Then he says he did know. He denies ever having been there, but then says he was there last night. They ask about the nature of the sex, but then tell him they've already seen the tape. They ask him to come with them.
At Sookie's house, her grandmother wants her to invite the vampire to come talk about the Civil War at the library. Sookie promises to ask him if he ever comes in again.
At the bar, Tara is giving a customer lip when Lafayette tells her Jason was arrested. Dawn tells Sookie, who isn't pleased to be the last to know. Dawn starts to say they figured she'd know, but stops. Sookie angrily blurts that she's not psychic and storms off.
Sookie finds two guys from the road crew in the bar and asks what happened. They tell her.
She turns around and sees Bill. In hear head she hears Tara judge her, Sam thinking that he wants to protect her and customers mock her as she floats over to say hi. He takes her hand and the voices silence. He asks her what she is. She tells him again, a waitress. But he says she's something more than human. He asks if he can call on her. She says she has a favor to ask for her grandmother. They make plans to meet after work. He scoots closer and asks if she realizes that every person in there is staring at them. She doesn't care what they think. He says he's going to make Bon Temps his home, so he cares. He walks away and the voices resume.
Sam grabs her arm and takes her to the back room, telling her not to act like a vigilante. He makes her cry, which has the added benefit of meaning he gets to comfort her. She hears his dirty thoughts and then Tara busts in, reading her the same riot act. She tells them she's a grown woman and can make her own decisions. After work at Merlotte's, she waits for Bill. She hears a noise in the woods and goes to investigate -- and it's the Rattrays. They knock her down and start kicking her, violently. As the episode ends, Sookie lays there, helpless and bloody.