Based on the true story of a young Québécois heroin addict, Target Number One follows Daniel Léger (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) as he is sucked into an international drug deal and jailed in a Thai prison. It takes the piqued interest of journalist Victor Malarek (Josh Hartnett) to investigate the story for The Globe and Mail newspaper despite his editor trying to dissuade him. Malarek travels to Thailand to talk to Léger in hopes of uncovering the truth.
The film sets up multiple narratives before Malarek touches down in Southeast Asia, jumping across Canada from the Vancouver seaside where drug deals go down on boats to a Toronto newsroom to downtown Montreal, following the case that the authorities would just as soon keep hidden from the public. By setting the stage for international intrigue and showcasing Canada’s failing of vulnerable individuals as Léger entangles himself in an increasingly restrictive web that steals years from his life, Target Number One paints a heartbreaking but subtle picture of drug addiction and the desperation lurking therein.