Briarcliff, a former tuberculosis hospital, is now an insane asylum run by the Catholic church. The year is 1964, and the asylum houses some seriously disturbed individuals. The day to day administrator is Sister Jude Martin who works under the general supervision of the director Monsignor Timothy Howard. Her chief nemesis however is their in-house medical officer, Dr. Arthur Arden, who is frequently seeing patients in the night - patients who die and are disposed of immediately. Briarcliff's latest patient is Kit Walker, aka Bloody Face, an accused serial killer of several young women but is unable to stand trial due to insanity. Sister Jude is tough as journalist Lana Winters learns when she starts poking around the place.