In the years immediately following 9/11, Gunter Bachmann (Hoffman) is a counter-terrorist expert based in Hamburg who operates as a rogue agent, independently of the Grenzschutzgruppe 9 DE Bundespolizei (GSG-9). He specializes in bringing down jihadists, and as the story opens, he begins to fixate on a Chechen immigrant named Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin), newly arrived in town. Issa's motivations are initially unknown, but he befriends an American social worker (Rachel McAdams) who grows convinced of his harmlessness and sets about persuading Gunter of the same. Meanwhile, Gunter becomes aware of a palpable and imminent threat to national security that involves future jihad activity, and devises an ingenious plan that he hopes will both extinguish the threat and provide amnesty for Issa. The Americans and the GSG-9, however, learn of Gunter's plot and express both impatience and a general skepticism about the scheme's effectiveness..