Against the politically charged background of Nazi Germany's police state, Standartenfuhrer Doctor Hagen Kohl is trying to carve out a profession for himself in the SS. A middle class intellectual with a doctorate in Literature, Hagen is a an investigator who hunts criminals within the party apparatus itself. Hagen justifies everything by his personal code and patriotism, unable to see the flaws of the regime he serves. When he is ordered to investigate members of the army, he discovers patriotism is entirely a matter of perspective. His eyes are further opened by exposure to Galiena von Steinberg; an aristocrat whose own experiences bring him into the entanglements and intrigues at the highest levels of Third Reich society.