Former covert operative Bryan Mills visits his daughter, Kim, to deliver an early birthday gift. After an awkward visit, he invites his ex-wife, Lenore, to dinner. Although she declines, she shows up at his apartment and tells him about her marital problems. He agrees to let her try to work things out with her current husband, Stuart, who comes to see Bryan and asks him never to see his wife again even though they have a daughter together. Stuart uses Bryan's phone without his knowledge or permission to arrange a meeting with Lenore so that the request appears to be coming from Bryan and deletes the message immediately after it is sent. Lenore gets kidnapped at the location of the supposed meeting.