Angela Quinn is a mother of three trapped in a stale marriage to the dull Arthur. To add a bit of spice to her dreary life, she has a fling with a neighbour based on a shared love of sex and Mars bars. But, in a dramatic shift in tone, a tragedy forces everyone to look closely at their lives and to come to terms with guilt and remorse.
Stanley McDermott, a man you could set your clock by, finds himself locked out of his work three weeks short of his 65th birthday. To the despair of his wife Brenda, he starts to contemplate the meaning of life until a bittersweet twist of tragedy next door offers him a glimmer of hope.
Brian Peterson, a respected teacher and family man, is caught short whilst walking in the park and relieves himself behind a tree. A little girl sees him and her father has Brian arrested for indecent exposure. He is temporarily suspended from his job at the school and reviled by neighbours. Even his wife is not sure what to think, and it is only by happy chance that he is exonerated.
Billy Roberts is an immensely talented young footballer and the hope for the local team. However, he is suspended after he has been caught stealing for a friend and becomes resentful, turning to crime as a consequence.
Working an extra night shift because he needs the money, kindly taxi driver Eddie picks up Ojo, an African asylum seeker. Ojo's accommodation is closed for the night and so Eddie takes him home with him. Despite the language barrier the two men form a friendship but less liberal neighbours are not so pleased and Eddie's wife Margie, having given him an ultimatum, leaves him.
Sean O'Neill lives unhappily with his wife, Yvonne, and their three young children. Sean struggles to conceal his temper and regularly beats up Yvonne as she tries to conceal the marital abuse from her family and finds it difficult to walk away from him. Yvonne's Irish mum, Mary and sister, Kerry aren't so easily deceived. Kerry arrives offering support much to the annoyance of Sean. Finally plucking up the courage to end her marriage, Yvonne gets Kerry's partner Alex to change the locks so Sean can't get into the house. But getting Sean out of her life proves impossible with him demanding access to the kids. As events spiral out of control Sean beats up Alex. It's all too much for Mary who dies suddenly after watching Alex being beat up. Recalling Mary's jibe to Sean that he'd be 'in the ground' before she was, Yvonne and Kerry ensure the prophecy comes true. They corner a drunken Sean and beat him to death with baseball bats, and dispose of the body in the plot that shortly afterwards sees Mary's coffin lowered into it.