Denzel Washington stars as John Q. Archibald, an ordinary man who works at a factory and takes care of his family. But when John Q.'s young son needs an emergency heart transplant -- an operation that he can't afford and his health insurance won't cover -- John Q. will do anything to keep his son alive. As time and options run out, a desperate gamble becomes the only hope for John Q, as he takes an unwitting group of people hostage in the hospital emergency room. Now as many in the ER need medical care themselves and John Q. faces off with veteran police hostage negotiator and quick-tempered police chief, can a nonviolent end be found to a desperate situation?