The movie begins with Counselor (Michael Fassbender
) and his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz
) in bed engaging in sexual activity and then switches back and forth to another scene where Mexicans are concealing cocaine in a sewerage truck.
Counselor then goes to Amsterdam for "business", but he is really going there to buy Laura a diamond ring because he intends proposing to her.
Later, Counselor meets with Reiner (Javier Bardem
) who influences the Counselor to get involved in drug trafficking to make a substantial amount of money. Counselor agrees with Reiner and a meeting is organised with Westray (Brad Pitt
), a business associate of Reiner, to get the ball rolling.
Westray explains to the Counselor the severe consequences that could ensue as a result of getting into bed with the Mexican cartel. However, Counselor is keen to continue on with the drug deal.
The Counselor then visits Ruth (Rosie Perez
), a client in prison, at her request. At the meeting, Ruth notifies the Counselor of her son (Richard Cabral
) who has been imprisoned for speeding on his motorbike. Ruth also outlines to the Counselor that Richard was caught with $12,000, but she does not know where the money came from and what further charges were laid against Richard. Counselor assures Ruth that he will get Richard out of prison as a favour for her.
However, little does Counselor know that Richard possesses an engine component, held inside his bike helmet, which operates the sewerage truck holding the cocaine.
In the next scene, Reiner and Counselor have a lengthy conversation regarding Reiner's girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz
). Reiner explains to Counselor that although he loves Malkina, he is also afraid of her because of her unpredictable and questionable behaviour.
Unsurprisingly to the viewer, we see Malkina chatting with "the Wireman" (Sam Spruell
) whereby her intentions are revealed - to follow Richard (who holds the component to the truck containing the cocaine) and obtain the component.
In a brutal killing scene, Wireman beheads Richard and obtains the component and the truck containing the cocaine. Later on, Wireman is stopped by some men in a police car, however, Wireman is cautious and suspects the 'police' to really be the Mexican drug cartel wanting their cocaine back. Wireman's suspicions lead his partner to initiate a shootout: one member of the cartel is killed and his partner manages to kill both Wireman and his partner thereby re-securing the drugs stolen from the cartel.
Nevertheless, the cartel is out for blood because somebody stole their cocaine. Unfortunately for the Counselor, all clues lead to him given that he was the lawyer who 'represented' and got Richard out of jail. The Westray opines that the cartel view this as no coincidence and that Counselor had a part to play in the attempted robbery of the cartel's cocaine.
Subsequently, the cartel initiates a mental breakdown of the Counselor and kidnap his girlfriend Laura. Meanwhile, Reiner is killed in a gunfight with the cartel because his girlfriend, Malkina, who was really the person behind the attempted robbery of the cocaine, is short of money.
Malkina decides to escape the cartel and go after Westray, who, after discovering the messy situation, fled to London. Malkina tracks down Westray and hires an American girl to seduce him and acquire his computer password, bank account details etc which she does successfully.
Malkina hires more men to kill Westray using a self-tightening 'suicide collar' and acquire his computer in one of the most brutal killings in a movie. Malkina then expresses to her banker her intentions to move to Hong Kong.
As for Counselor, he contacts a man by the name of "Jefe" (Rubén Blades
), a high ranking cartel member, to try and track down Laura. However, Jefe refuses, and merely explains to the Counselor that his fate was sealed as soon as he made the decision to initiate the drug trafficking and implies to Counselor that instead of trying to fix his mistakes, he should rather accept his fate.
Counselor has a breakdown and in the next scene we see the Counselor take delivery of a DVD with the word "Hola!" which implies it is a "snuff film" of his girlfriend Laura being brutally murdered by the cartel.