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In an America where parenting is regulated by the federal government, a nineteen-year-old gifted killer must risk his freedom, his family, and his life to get the designer of the parenting law and her sixteen-year-old daughter out of America alive before what she created tears her own family apart.
We begin with nineteen-year-old gifted killer CAIN FOLEY pointing a gun at the head of an unknown victim. He is our guide through the devastating world that gave birth to the Aidan Crane Parental Morality Law, a set of criteria instilled by the government that regulates parenting written by CLAIRE CRANE, a charismatic mother whose son was killed by a young gang member. If a parent does not abide by it, their child is put on the Extraction List, and placed in a boarding school where it is believed they will be cared for properly. Though well-intended, it morphs into a witch hunt, bankrupting an already-poor America.
Cain is the head of the Guide Network: a system similar to the Underground Railroad that smuggles families out of America so they can avoid separation by men commonly known as the TASK FORCE: specialized officers charged with enforcing The Extraction List. We meet Claire’s fearless daughter, sixteen-year-old RILEY CRANE, in her living room standing over a dead Task Force Officer. BO DODSON, her mother’s political handler and best friend (perhaps only friend), shot him dead when he saw him trying to take Riley away from Claire. Bo knows exactly where they need to go to get help: Cain, and his partner JORDYN DAILEY, a seventeen-year-old girl who communicates better with a gun than with her words.
Cain almost doesn’t take the job, but after some convincing from Riley, he decides to keep his word and get them across the border. He agrees despite a previous personal relationship with Captain MARCUS KEEGAN, head of the Task Force and someone who has had a vendetta against Cain for years. During their journey, Claire sees the devastating effects of the law she designed firsthand, learning that many of the “extracted” children have been sent to other countries as workers, told they would be able to “earn their way back to their families.” She watches some of the people that help families escape die brutally. And as they reach the border, she must say goodbye to one of the people she cares for the most.
Season one chronicles the group’s journey out of America, but also shows Cain’s life before the Extraction List, and how the Guide Network came into existence. Structured like This is Us and Lost, we see Cain escape his abusive father only to fall victim to then-officer Marcus Keegan, how seeing Claire on TV gave him hope, and the events that turned him into the warrior he is throughout the rest of the series.