RTE Television

Underground

With the country on the brink of Civil War, the struggle for freedom is more dangerous than ever. Underground tells the story of American heroes and their harrowing journey to freedom, with legendary Harriet Tubman blazing the trail.

While an escaped slave named Noah is caught by the bounty-hunting McNulty brothers, his partner Annie is saved when passerby August Pullman offers to hide her in his wagon and face down the McNultys. Though Noah insists he was picked up by mistake, when an elderly dying runaway shows him a drawing on the wall that he says is a map to freedom, Noah uses his own blood to copy it onto his shirtsleeve. As the McNultys return Noah to the Georgia plantation of Tom Macon, the head house slave Ernestine and her daughter Rosalee help prepare a birthday party for their master's teenage daughter. Meanwhile, on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., abolitionist lawyer John Hawkes is approached by freed slave William Still about using his house in the Underground Railroad to ferry escaped slaves to freedom.

When Noah convinces Tom that he wasn't running away, he's spared being branded, but gets five lashes for his mistake and a warning from the plantation's black slave driver, Cato. However, as Rosalee is tending to his wounds, she discovers that Noah is faking his injuries to cover up his escape plan. So as he's recruiting some fellow slaves to join him, Noah turns to a slave preacher named Moses to help read the words copied from the cabin wall. Meanwhile, as Elizabeth Hawkes balks when her husband John wants to hear Still's proposal to join the Underground Railroad, August gains Annie's confidence by continuing to help her flee.

As a funeral gets underway for a baby whose mother killed him so he wouldn't grow up a slave, Tom throws a lavish birthday party for his daughter Mary that he hopes will bolster his campaign to be elected Georgia's new U.S. Senator. As Rosalee intervenes to keep her little brother James from being punished for an accident caused while playing with the Macons' son, the Hawkeses arrive for the party where they are greeted warmly by John's brother - Tom. As Tom's wife Suzanna makes clear her disdain for their anti-slavery views, Tom asks John to stay and manage his campaign. But when Tom brings up the issue, Elizabeth says she has no intention of raising a child in a world where slavery is the norm. Finally, as Cato threatens to expose Noah's plans unless he's allowed to go, too, Annie discovers that she's fallen into a trap set for her by the bounty hunter August.