As you might guess, the plot of “The Plot” is about a plot. It’s not a physical plot, like a plot of land, or a figurative plot, like a plan — but an honest to goodness story. It’s a tale about what it’s like to write stories, and where one must draw the line between inspiration and plagiarism. “The Plot,” the book that the show is based on, focuses on the aforementioned Jacob Finch Bonner, who at the beginning of the story is a washed-up novelist (via Goodreads). He works as a college professor and has met a creative dead end in his writing.
The plot of “The Plot” picks up, however, when one of Jacob’s students reveals that he has a killer idea for a story, one that is guaranteed to make him famous. Jacob is skeptical at first, but changes his opinion once his student reveals the basics of the plot. Years later, Jacob’s student is even less than famous — he’s dead — and so Jacob takes it upon himself to write the story instead. Although he never directly plagiarizes his student, he still takes the premise for himself and becomes a star from it.
While Jacob is enjoying his successful life, he suddenly receives a mysterious email revealing that somebody knows his dirty little secret. “You are a thief,” the first email reads, and so begins Jacob’s life of guilt as he learns more and more about his student, and how exactly his story idea came to fruition.