Mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher Walter White thinks his life can't get much worse. His salary barely makes ends meet, a situation not likely to improve once his pregnant wife gives birth, and their teenage son is battling cerebral palsy. But Walter is dumbstruck when he learns he has terminal cancer. Realizing that his illness probably will ruin his family financially, Walter makes a desperate bid to earn as much money as he can in the time he has left by turning an old RV into a meth lab on wheels.
The third time turns out to be the charm for criminal Neal Caffrey. He has been eluding FBI agent Peter Burke for years, a run that finally comes to an end with his capture. But after the resourceful prisoner escapes from a maximum-security facility, then is nabbed once again by Burke, Caffrey suggests a different end-game: In return for freedom, he'll help the Feds catch long-sought criminals. Though skeptical, Burke soon realizes that Caffrey's instincts and insight are a rare commodity. Caffrey's trusted friend and co-conspirator with ties to the criminal underworld, Mozzie, also becomes a useful source for Burke and the FBI.
The Caffee brothers live in an Irish-American neighborhood in Providence, R.I., known as "the Hill." Tommy Caffee is a family man whose ambition and street smarts help him navigate the world of Providence politics, protecting the Hill at all costs. Unfortunately, his gangster brother Mike returns to town, hoping to take over the city's underworld activities. Complicating matters further are Tommy and Mike's proud mother Rose, Tommy's wife Eileen, gang boss Freddie Cork and local detective Declan Giggs.
Michael Westen is steamed -- or, more precisely, burned. His career as a spy ends when he gets a "burn notice," the covert equivalent of a pink slip. Stuck in his hometown of Miami, he intends to find out who did this to him and why, although that's not easy to do: With the burn notice attached to his name, he is cut off from his usual contacts and has to fly under the radar of the intelligence network lest he tip off his secret enemy. So it's a good thing he can rely on help from Fiona, his ex-girlfriend and IRA spy, and his friend Sam, also a former spy. Then there's Madeline, Michael's mother, a hypochondriac but probably not a spy.
New York detective and single mom Harlee Santos must walk the thin line between loyalty and betrayal. She's forever dedicated to her team -- especially to her boss and mentor Lt. Matt Wozniak, a dirty cop who's always kept her family safe. But when ruthless FBI agent Robert Stahl catches her on the take, he leaves her no choice but to turn on her own. Though the mounting pressure on both sides is constant and influences her every move, Harlee stops at nothing to protect herself -- and those she loves.
Dexter Morgan is a Miami-based blood splatter expert who doesn't just solve murders; he commits them too. In fact, he's a serial killer -- but he only murders the guilty, so he feels justified with his lifestyle choices. His policewoman sister and his cop co-workers have no idea Dexter lives a double life; however, adoptive father Harry knows his secret, and does, in fact, help Dexter hone his "skills." It's a unique brand of justice for which charming Dexter feels a psychological hunger.