Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette), a mother of three, has the gift of being able to talk to dead people, as well as foresee events and witness past events in her dreams. When she begins working for Phoenix District Attorney Manuel Devalos (Miguel Sandoval) as an intern, she has a dream related to a murder in Texas, the successful solving of which convinces Devalos and others working in the D.A.'s office – as well as herself and her husband Joe (Jake Weber) – that her gift is real.
One challenge is convincing Devalos — and other doubters in the criminal justice system — that her psychic abilities can give them the upper hand when it comes to solving crimes. Information comes to her in dreams or in cryptic visions that sometimes do not mean what they initially suggest. The other is convincing Joe that her nightmares are visions based in reality and that she's not simply neurotic.
In police investigations, Allison often accompanies Det. Lee Scanlon (David Cubitt), who initially did not believe in her gift. Allison sometimes bends the rules when she is determined to stop a crime about which she has had a vision. Additionally, Allison has helped and been helped by Captain Kenneth Push of the Texas Rangers (Arliss Howard), the first law-enforcement person to whom Allison revealed her gift, and Cynthia Keener (Anjelica Huston) of AmeriTips, a nationwide private detective agency. In season four, it was revealed that Cynthia had a missing daughter. Allison's dreams showed that Cynthia's daughter was dead. Cynthia made a choice to kill the murderer of her daughter and go to prison. Cynthia later appeared in season five to help Allison on a case. Also during this season, it was revealed that Lynn DiNovi (Tina DiJoseph), Lee's live-in lover and an assistant to the Mayor of Phoenix, had become pregnant with Lee's child. In the season five finale, Allison discovers that she has a tumor on her brainstem. To prevent the brutal murders of her family in the future, Allison risked her life as she postponed the critical surgery fearing it would prevent her from solving the case. During her operation the tumor was successfully removed, except for a small piece deeply embedded in her brainstem, Joe is told that Allison is in a coma and may not survive.
In the sixth season premiere episode, Allison awoke from the coma and was suffering the consequences of postponing the surgery. Allison's psychic abilities slowly begin to resurface as a form of déjà vu. At the end of the episode, Allison is also slowly recovering her physical abilities.
Since the season six premiere, eldest daughter Ariel (Sofia Vassilieva) has taken the role of nurturing her siblings Bridgette (Maria Lark) and Marie (Carabello twins). Ariel also falls victim to a body possession, from which she recovers with Allison's help. After her surgery, Allison gets back to her normal routine working alongside Devalos and Lee, with possible side effects of her surgery affecting her dreams. Also, Lee proposes to Lynn. As the season progresses, Ariel's transformation from a young girl into a mature woman was shown in the episode "Time Keeps on Slippin'", where she solves a crime in the future. In the season finale, Allison receives a letter from her neurologist that she needs to be seen about her brain tumor. Meanwhile, Ariel also receives an acceptance letter from a university away from home. The episode begins when Joe awakens to Allison dead in their bed, having died from her tumor during the night. As the family mourns her death, Allison contacts Ariel from the other side, asking her to do one last thing for her before she passes on. However, Ariel decides to follow her own path. She turns to alcohol and leaves Phoenix without telling anyone. Suddenly, Allison awakens in her bed alive, the same morning Joe found her dead. At the end of the episode, Allison, Joe, Ariel, Devalos and his wife Lily, are seen celebrating Lynn and Lee's wedding, all toasting to their bright futures.
In the seventh season, a division is created between Allison and Joe because of their desired career paths. At work, Manuel wants to run for Mayor but fears the publicity of his daughter's suicide will be used against his family; however, Lily agrees to help him campaign. Allison wishes to go back to law school because she may lose her job if Manuel is elected. Meanwhile, Joe wants to obtain an MBA, but they cannot afford for both of them to attend school. Despite Allison's wishes, Joe enrolls in school, not knowing that Allison has done the same. In the episode, "Native Tongue" Allison cannot understand any word said to her, testing Joe's patience. At the end of the episode, the two reconcile, but Joe's unhappiness is still evident. Ariel leaves for college. Scanlon's brother's ghost comes to entice him into doing wrong. Scanlon's actions nearly end his relationship with Allison. In the episode "Blood on the Tracks", Joe's mother Marjorie has been diagnosed with brain cancer. When Joe sees his mother in the hospital, she tells him she's been reassured by Allison, who had lied to her in season four's "Burn Baby Burn" about her chances of survival. That same night, Marjorie dies and Allison and the kids join Joe in Michigan, who is staying at Marjorie's home. In the middle of the night, Allison is visited by Marjorie's ghost who warns her of upcoming "darkness" in her life, but before she can elaborate, Joe enters the room and Marjorie disappears, leaving Allison in fear of the darkness to come.
In the series finale, Allison receives a phone call from Joe in the midst of a plane crash that leaves no survivors. The episode cuts to seven years later, at which time Allison is an attorney building a case against a Mexican drug dealer. Allison and Marie, now a teenager, live alone. Marie cannot forgive her father for never visiting them as a ghost, something that has plagued Allison all these years. Through her dreams, Allison sees that Joe never died, but washed up on the coast of Mexico with amnesia. A crooked cop had concealed Joe's past and was using him as an unsuspecting drug mule to transport narcotics. Against Devalos' orders, Allison strikes a deal with the drug dealer to learn Joe's location. The two are reunited, but at this point Allison wakes up in the present to see Joe's ghost. He informs her that his plane's engine failed after it departed Hawaii and that no one survived the crash. Joe sent Allison a dream of her life seven years in the future to show her that she could live an enriching, independent life. However, Allison's love for Joe overpowered the original vision and crafted an alternate reality in which she found Joe alive. Joe's ghost leaves as Allison cries, unable to accept her husband's death. The episode cuts to 41 years later, showcasing photos of the life that Allison has had. As Allison listens to a voice mail from her great-granddaughter, she slumps in her chair. In death, she is reunited with Joe, who has waited for her, and they kiss.
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Famous quotes containing the word plot:
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