Portland Police detective Nick Burkhardt thinks that he has his life all planned. He is a successful detective, he has a good working relationship with his boss Captain Renard, his partner Hank Griffin, and other officers in the precinct, he has just purchased an engagement ring, and he is planning to ask his girlfriend Juliette Silverton to marry him. All his plans are called into question when he sees an attractive young woman suddenly morph into a hag, a change that nobody else notices. Later that day in the precinct, a man being charged briefly changes into a lizard-like being, and again, no one but him notices. That evening, Nick's aunt, Marie Kessler, visits him and Juliette. Aunt Marie has cancer and does not have long to live, but before she dies, she has something to tell Nick.