Blaming the Catholic Church for the death of his wife, filmmaker Henry Hawkins is determined to make an exposé revealing the Church’s responsibility. Not divulging the true intentions of his documentary, Henry’s quest leads him to Rome where he’s promised access to the Vatican by its highest ranking cardinal, Silvio Contini, the Secretary of State of Vatican City.
After arriving in the Eternal City, Cardinal Contini reneges on his agreement to meet with Henry. Refusing to have his plan compromised, Henry devises a bold scheme to get behind the impregnable walls of the Vatican to confront Contini. However, when the pope suddenly dies a quirk of fate throws Henry into a whirlwind when he is isolated in the inner sanctum of the papal conclave where he covertly records the secret election process, and clandestinely films Contini's unscrupulous method of eliminating papal candidates for his own agenda. Henry’s obsession to avenge the loss of his wife is put in jeopardy when his tapes are stolen, and he discovers that if Contini is elected pope he would alter sacred Church doctrine, thereby destroying the meaning of his wife’s death and all that she believed in.
To prevent this Henry must reclaim his tapes while ultimately deciding whether to smuggle them out of the conclave and use the information they reveal to make his documentary, or exploit them to the voting cardinals in order to stop Contini’s election thereby upholding the dignity of his wife's beliefs.