liberated from her strict Spanish convent upbringing, Angelica goes wild in the northern Argentinean city of San Miguel de Tucumán. Fernando rescues her from her youthful promiscuity and they settle happily into marriage within his conservative family and have a son. She is pregnant again, when soldiers of the military Junta abduct Fernando and make him vanish.
In her struggle to find him, she learns enough about their atrocious torture methods to become a target. She escapes to Montevideo with a vow to avenge the loss of her husband. On the ferry, crossing the Rio de la Plata, she encounters expatriate, Kevin, with a similar objective. To elude the hotbed of Junta agents in Uruguay, Kevin persuades her to change her appearance and personality to that of flamboyant fashion plate, Alicia de la Rosa. Her disguise gives them mobility to form the Spanish Club, designed to collect first-hand documentation from fleeing Spaniards, of their torture by the Argentinean security forces.
She shoots an agent pursuing her and Kevin, forcing them to seek refuge in Santiago de Chile. Their protector in the Uruguay security police gives them away and they come under attack in Patagonia. Kevin brings down their assailants and while reporting the incident, charms the Chilean Army officer into providing reasonable protection for them in Santiago. Alicia enters the university to complete her psychoanalyst training and gives birth to her daughter. An Argentinean agent catches up with Alicia on campus. Even though Kevin neutralizes the attacker, they decide to move to the safety of California. There Alicia completes her advanced degree to practice post-traumatic stress disorder therapy and marries Kevin.
As a ruse to obtain proof of specific atrocities with which to prosecute the Argentinean officers, Alicia sets up a partnership with an associate to practice psychotherapy in Fernando´s hometown. The constant risk of detection by the military authorities, added to the trauma of listening to detailed accounts of the disgusting torture experiences of her patients, puts tremendous pressure on Alicia, which she sporadically escapes by reverting to Angelica´s personality. This leads to sexually errant behavior, engendering a dreadful sense of guilt in her and strains her relationship with Kevin.
They hang on until he re-establishes a Santiago home for them. Her therapy partner, Elena, joins them on their Estancia outside the bustling Chilean capitol, enabling them to relieve each other on alternate weeks, without neglecting their collective children. With the outpour of information from the practice and the growing archives of the Spanish Club, they collect ample evidence to prosecute key Argentinean officials.
In the wake of the disastrous defeat of Argentina by the British in the Falkland Islands, the Junta collapses in 1983. This leads to the return of representative government under President Alfonsin who immediately orders the military to court marshal the Junta leaders and provides for their prosecution in civil courts, should the military fail to act. Working with her advocate father-in-law, Alicia with Elena, narrow down their campaign to two cases for which they have incontrovertible proof. Their targets are top generals with clear culpability, including the former military commander of Tucumán and two senior officers in Buenos Aires.
Alicia becomes obsessive in her pursuit to get key witnesses to testify, including a handsome soldier whom she and her partner treated for depression after he had to shoot detainees as a member of a firing squad. Alicia tracks him down. He comes on to her, insinuating that he knows all about her secret background and seduces her into a series of trysts involving cocaine enhancement. She justifies her transgression as necessary to secure his cooperation. Alerted to this, Kevin flies his plane to Tucumán to confront Alicia and the soldier. He stumbles onto them having sex on the living room floor. Not to risk alienating a key witness, Kevin is constrained to stand silently watching, untilmthe drug-crazed soldier gets rough. Kevin instinctively jerks him off his wife and blunts his resistance with a shot from his handgun, parting his dense curly hair. Kevin presents Alicia with the clear alternative of behaving or leaving.
Returning for her answer, Kevin finds the house neat and empty, except for the chaotic signs of a hurried departure in her bedroom. He flies to Còrdoba where the neatly dressed soldier greets him with a conciliatory demeanor, vowing to keep his word to testify and wishing to make amends for the harm he had done. Kevin gathers up his overdosed, bleeding wife and in the company of Elena, flies her home to Santiago. The hospital prognosis for her recovery is unfavorable, foreseeing serious psychological damage and a possible need for a hysterectomy.
The psychiatrist blames Kevin for expecting too much from Alicia, in view of her dual personality problem. Kevin swallows his pride and diligently helps Alicia rebuild her self-esteem. Elena takes over the task of managing the witnesses and quickly secures the nurse´s agreement to testify.
The case against the top generals in Buenos Aires for the theft of babies and murder of their mothers, reaches a guilty verdict with long prison sentences. Elated, Alicia recovers to rejoin Elena in their practice. She throws herself into helping, Dr. Diaz, her father-in-law, to counter an avalanche of legal motions by defense lawyers to delay a verdict in the case against the Tucumán commander for murdering prisoners.
President Alfonso resigns early and incoming Peronist, Carlos Menem, halts all legal proceedings against Junta officers. With their hopes dashed, Alicia´s emotional condition plummets and she slits her wrists. The loving care of Kevin and Elena produces minimal results. As a last resort, Kevin takes her to Spain to work with their partner in the Spanish Club to prosecute the Junta officers in absentia in Spain. Kevin agrees to give Alicia the opportunity to redeem herself in the eyes of her father-in-law, by not participating in her Spanish efforts.
The Spanish trials lay bare the repulsive deeds of the Junta in gruesome detail. Shamed into facing reality, in 2005, the Government of Argentina finally opens its own justice system to prosecutions in the hope of finally bringing closure to its most reprehensible era of civil repression.
Through Alicia´s efforts the military commander of Tucumán, who upon retirement from the military, served a term as elected governor of Tucumán and subsequently was elected to the Argentinean Parliament. He is not allowed by his peers to be seated because of his repugnant cruelty. As the Argentinean courts are about to open, he is again barred from taking office, this time as the Mayor of San Miguel.
Furious, the militants in his Republican Force political party try to assassinate Dr. Diaz and sabotage Kevin´s airplane, causing him and Elena to crash with the loss of Elena. Deeply angered by her death and severely burned, Kevin goes on a media blitz from his hospital bed against the former general.
Dr. Diaz, weakened by the attempt on his life, dies in his sleep from a heart attack. As the realization dawns, that she has essentially delivered on her oath, Alicia turns inward to find a spiritual sense in all the suffering. In reality, her purpose had been to make Argentina understand the dreadful cost of its extremist ways. Only through tolerant understanding could it ever become a civil society. Redeemed in the eyes of Kevin, she returns with him to California where they continue their mission, never to let society forget what happened in Argentina.