A van makes its way through the streets of Los Angeles. Inside, men prepare a small bomb. The vehicle pulls up behind the National Health Services facility. With gloved hands, the men unravel a dead body onto the ground and attach the bomb to the door of the building. They speed away and detonate the explosion. A security guard comes to the blown off door and sees the decomposed body.
Jack enters a federal holding facility in Downey. He is accompanied by his young Field Ops partner, Agent Chase Edmunds. They approach an interrogation room where prisoner Ramon Salazar is seated. District Attorney Luis Annicon tells Jack that Salazar plans to give up the terrorist cells he deals with in return for a reduced prison sentence. Jack is worried that this deal-making will hinder the unstable Salazar from revealing anything. Jack had spent the last year infiltrating Salazar's drug ring in order to bring down the terrorists associated with it. Annicon is insistent that they not sweeten the deal. Salazar calls out to Jack from the two-way mirror. "The things you did to get me here, I wouldn't wish on anyone," he says. Salazar's lawyer Shaye hands him a pen to sign the deal. Salazar takes the pen and stabs Shaye in the throat. As the guards pull him off, Salazar tells Jack, "This is your fault. What happens next is on you too." Chase lunges at Salazar, but Jack restrains him.
A Hazmat team encases the body at the National Health Services complex. Dr. Sunny Macer from the facility is informed that her name was written on duct tape attached to the chest of the body. Dr. Macer recognizes the virus on the body. It is a strain her group at Health Services has been simulating. She orders that they notify Director Tony Almeida at CTU.
At CTU, analyst Adam Kaufman complains to his boss Tony about another co-worker. Tony tells Adam to lighten up. Tony's wife Michelle lets him know that Dr. Macer is on the line for him. Michelle is antsy about a job offer that will allow her to follow Tony. Dr. Macer warns Tony that someone dropped off a body carrying a strain of a pneumatic virus. It is a strong possibility that this was a message from someone who is willing to unleash it on the public. Tony asks her for the body's blood work so that CTU can make an identification. Tony then gives Michelle the task of setting a level one protocol search.
Jack, Chase and Annicon analyze the security footage from the interrogation room. Jack questions why Salazar chose today to kill his lawyer. Jack phones Tony and asks if anything unusual is going on. Tony gives him the news about a possible bio-threat from the body at Health Services. Tony wonders if it might be connected to Salazar.
Palmer's limousine arrives at the University of Southern California to a throng of reporters and a cheering crowd. This is the first time that the President has been in Los Angeles since the attempt on his life. Palmer is met by Wayne, his brother and Chief of Staff. They enter the auditorium to rehearse for Palmer's debate with his campaign opponent, Senator John Keeler. Wayne notices his brother's shortness of breath. Palmer assures him that he is fine and he will wait for his personal physician, Anne, to arrive.
As Jack and Chase leave the holding facility, Annicon chases after them. Jack knows that Salazar won't give up any more information. The prisoner chose this day for a reason, and Jack needs to return to CTU to find out why. In the car, Chase asks Jack how he is doing. Jack feigns ignorance. "You know what I'm talking about," Chase says pointedly. They hold a look, but are interrupted by the ringing of a cell phone. Jack takes a call from Kate Warner. He is uncomfortable when she tells him that she found his jacket. They have not spoken in some time. Kate says that she misses him. Jack awkwardly apologizes and hangs up. Chase inquires about Kate, but Jack brushes this off. Jack seems restless and says that he needs water.
Michelle listens as Tony receives a call from Larry Hertzog at Langley. Although he does not have a position for Michelle, Hertzog needs an answer from Tony by the end of the day about whether he will accept the job offered to him. Michelle encourages Tony to accept because it is a good career move for him. She will follow him as his wife even though she won't be employed. "If they don't have a job for you, I'm not interested," Tony says. Michelle goes down to speak with Kimberly, who is now working as a low-level analyst at CTU. Michelle instructs Kim to do a global capability search for terrorist cells. Kim begins her task with competence and self-assuredness.
At the Salazar Ranch in Las Nieves, Northern Mexico, Ramon Salazar's brother Hector watches a trainer break in a horse. Hector kisses his girlfriend Claudia and his cell phone rings. A technician named Gael stands in front of a monitor that has surveillance from the Health Services building. Gael informs Hector that "they have the body." Hector orders Gael to wait ten minutes for it to enter the system and then make his call.
Michelle gives Adam the stats on the body and requests an ID analysis. She then asks Kim to assist him, much to the consternation of Adam. Yet Adam won't give Kim the information even though his superior told him to do so. Adam tells Kim that he is bothered because she only got her job based on nepotism. Kim doesn't answer him. Instead, she calmly freezes his computer. Adam gets flustered, and Kim mentions that it couldn't have been her fault because she is the incompetent who is there because of her father. Adam demands that she unlock him, but Kim defiantly requests the data fork for Michelle's search. Adam gives in.
Jack and Chase enter CTU. Jack goes upstairs to the Field Operations office. Chloe O'Brian, his coordinator, tells Jack that she is in sync with all the data from Health Services and the Salazar file, but that she couldn't get the date keys because Adam is blocking her. Flustered and sweating, Jack orders Chloe to do what she has to do. She leaves and closes the door to Jack's office. With shaking hands, Jack loosens his tie and bends over in agony. Michelle calls to notify him of a conference call with Health Services. In his anxious state, Jack will not go downstairs with the other agents. He asks to be patched through from his desk.
Kim goes into the ITS room to look for a piece of hardware. Chase comes up from behind and nuzzles her neck playfully. Kim giggles. She inquires about her dad and the Salazar case. Chase answers that Jack is doing fine. Kim thinks it's time to admit to her father that they have been dating, but Chase disagrees. He relents, but wants to do it himself. They share a kiss, but cover when another worker enters.
Dr. Macer briefs Tony and Michelle on test results from the decomposed body. Jack listens in on the teleconference from his office. The virus has been engineered to kill more rapidly. She predicts that, with one initial location of this weaponized strain, thousands of people could be infected within two days. Over a million people will die in the first week. Health Services has no idea who has the virus or what form it's in.
A teenager named Kyle in Canoga Park hides a bag of drugs in his bedroom.
Palmer is quizzed during a debate run-through. He addresses his health, explaining that he exercises every morning for a sixteen-hour work day. Wayne urges him to avoid those defensive responses by stating that his Administration arrested and exposed those behind the assassination attempt. The President takes a break when his private physician, Dr. Anne Packard, arrives. Anne puts the blood pressure cuff onto Palmer's arm over the skin that was affected by the deadly attack three years ago. After learning that Palmer's blood pressure is normal, Anne prescribes that he be given a full workup when he returns to Washington. Wayne dismisses Anne to inform the President that a contagious virus was found on a body in Los Angeles. CTU is investigating whether this is a criminal action.
Jack impatiently questions Chloe about Salazar transcripts. He yells at her, even though she followed proper procedure. Chase notices Jack's erratic behavior and confronts him about it. Chase notes that Jack looks unwell, and Jack takes offense. Jack calls Chloe and apologizes. Chase is ready to come clean about his relationship with Kim when the intercom buzzes. Tony has new information on Salazar. Chase says they can talk later.
Chase tells Kim that he was not able to admit the truth to Jack just yet. He goes into the conference room with Tony and Jack. Tony plays back an anonymous tip phoned to the FBI. The caller identifies his group as being in possession of a type three pulmonary immuno virus. They demand the liberation of Ramon Salazar in the next six hours. If the government refuses to comply, the group will release the virus to the public. Since Jack has tracked Salazar for the last year, he suspects that Salazar's brother Hector is behind this. The Salazars own property in Mexico and South America under fake corporations, and the Mexican government can not find them. Jack knows that questioning Salazar won't work either. Michelle interrupts with an ID on the body. The man was David Goss, a street drug dealer in East L.A. who also once worked as an informant. Jack directs them to find out who Goss was in contact with, including his drug supplier. He and Chase go looking for something on Hector.
At the Salazar ranch, Hector drives up to an area where workers have dug a large pit. A foreman warily instructs a truck to dump a mound of decomposed dead bodies into the hole. Hector is unmoved, but his girlfriend Claudia is shaken. Her father is the foremen. The men set fire to the bodies and cover the hole.
Annicon goes to Salazar's cell to find out why he killed Shaye. Salazar says he didn't want his attorney talking to Annicon. Salazar tries to goad Annicon into beating him up to get the truth. Annicon doesn't take the bait and walks away.
When they arrive back at the house, Claudia is angry. Hector had promised that her father would not be involved in his illegal business. She is hurt that he broke his word. Hector feels bad and tries to make it up to her, but she won't have any of it. Hector phones Gael and asks if he made the call to the FBI. Gael confirms this and says he is keeping an eye on "their boy."
What Gael sees on his monitor is Kyle at the pool outside his apartment. Kyle reluctantly confesses to his friend Tim that he was paid to go down to Tijuana in order to transport cocaine across the border. Kyle is not selling the drugs, but is only trying to make money because his mother is on dialysis and his father is unemployed. He offers Tim payment to accompany him to the drop off.
Palmer enters the makeshift war room set up at the USC campus. Wayne informs him of the Salazar release demands. There is no sign that they should cancel the debate, but there is discussion among the agencies and bureaus as to whether the President should remain in Los Angeles. Secret Service Agent Pierce tells Palmer that Anne wants to see him. Palmer meets her in an adjoining area, and Anne gives him some pills to increase his energy. She notices that he seems upset. "It's just going to be another one of those days," Palmer sighs without revealing anything. He kisses her tenderly on the lips and returns to the war room.
Jack impatiently tries to pull up a map on the computer in the Field Ops office, and Chase points out Jack's errors. Frustrated, Jack goes back into his office. Chase follows him. Although Chase looks up to Jack and would take a bullet on his behalf, he knows about what happened to Jack while he was undercover on Salazar. Jack tells Chase to mind his own business. Chase asks that Jack not try to prove that everything is okay because it's going to be a rough day. "Get your head straight, so we can do our work," Chase says as he walks out the door. Shaken, Jack clicks a remote control. The windows of the office electronically tint to give him privacy. Jack opens his office locker and pulls out a medical kit. He rolls up his sleeve and ties a tourniquet around his arm. Jack prepares a syringe full of heroin. As he's about to inject his own arm, Kim buzzes on the intercom. She asks if she can come up to speak with him. Jack says that he is busy. Kim wants him to call her when he has a few extra minutes. After hearing his daughter's voice, Jack stops before the needle penetrates his skin. He throws the syringe across the room in anger.