When Michael Mitchell's (Boris Kodjoe) seven-year-old son, Chase, (Justin Martin) is accidentally shot during an aborted drug deal, no one knows for sure which of the two gunmen, Curtis "Durty Curt From Detroit" Craig (Michael K. Williams) or Raymond "Razor" Carver (Michael Kimbrew), pulled the trigger. Because both men refuse to testify against the other, a jury finds them guilty only of drug possession, meaning they could be back on the street in two years. Having already lost Chase's mother to cancer, Michael can't live with the idea of his only child's murder going unpunished. As part of a methodical plan to exact his revenge, he commits a brutal crime to get himself sentenced to the same institution as Durty Curt and Razor. Meanwhile, Durty Curt is determined to settle the score with Razor, who has fallen in with prison kingpin Eddie Mathematic (Sticky Fingaz). As a showdown approaches, a cast of players, from prison guard Capt. Pierce (Giancarlo Esposito) to gay bookie Clever (William L. Johnson) to Michael's illiterate cellmate, Smalls (Marcelle Thedford) take sides and place bets on the outcome.