Brian Finch is a 28-year-old burnout and struggling musician, who is introduced to NZT-48, a miracle drug that gives him access to every neuron in his brain. For twelve hours after taking the pill, he becomes the smartest person in the world, able to perfectly recall every detail of his life and capable of prodigious leaps of intuition and reasoning. With the mysterious U.S. Senator Eddie Morra (Cooper) providing him with a second drug (booster) to counteract NZT's deadly side effects, Brian uses his enhanced abilities to help FBI agent Rebecca Harris (Carpenter).