The series takes place over 350 years in the future, in the year 2384. In the future, a person's memories have been decanted into "cortical stacks," storage devices of alien design which have been reverse engineered, duplicated en masse, and surgically inserted into the vertebrae at the back of the neck. Physical bodies are called "sleeves," disposable vessels that can accept any "stack." Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), a political operative with mercenary skills, wakes up 250 years after his sleeve is terminated, and he is given the choice to either spend the rest of time in prison for his crimes, or to help solve the murder of one of the wealthiest men in the settled worlds (James Purefoy). Takeshi was the sole surviving soldier of those defeated in an uprising against the new world order 250 years prior.