Andy Osnard is an MI6 spy reassigned to Panama after having an affair in Madrid with the foreign minister’s mistress. His superior warns him of the corruption present in Panama, but Osnard views that as an opportunity. Consulting a list of British citizens residing in Panama, he meets Harry Pendel, the tailor to many of Panama's elite, including the President. Pendel, a gifted storyteller, passes himself off as being formerly of Savile Row, but is in fact an ex-con who used to run scams with his late uncle Benny. Pendel's wife Louisa, the assistant to the administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, is unaware of his criminal record. While Harry is a superb tailor, he is a bad businessman; his tailor shop is constantly in debt, and he owes $50,000 of Louisa's money to the bank for a farming business that failed.