The setting for the series is Briarcliff Manor - a former tuberculosis hospital located in Massachusetts in the year 1964. A young man named Kit Walker bears witness to the horrific murder of his black wife, and is arrested for killing her. Accused of being a serial killer known as Bloody Face, he is sent to Briarcliff, where he falls under the watchful eye of no-nonsense nun Sister Jude Martin. Actress Sarah Paulson plays Lana Winters - a reporter who attempts to write an exposé on the asylum, but is committed herself after Sister Jude learns that she is a lesbian. Sister Jude has several adversaries at the asylum including Doctor Arden as well as a state-appointed psychiatrist named DoctorOliver Thredson.