PC Nicholas Angel is a high-achieving officer of the London Metropolitan Police Service. He is promoted to Sergeant, but his jealous colleagues arrange for him to be reassigned to the small rural town of Sandford, Gloucestershire, a regular “Village of the Year” winner. Angel is soon frustrated by his lazy and incompetent colleagues. His partner, PC Danny Butterman, is a fan of buddy cop films and son of Inspector Frank Butterman, Angel’s superior.
The two lead actors of a poorly acted “homage to Romeo and Juliet”, whom Angel had pulled over earlier for speeding, are murdered by a cloaked figure, who disguises it as a car accident. Angel is the only officer who suspects foul play. Sent to resolve a dispute, Angel discovers a stash of illegal weapons, including an old naval mine, and locks them in the police station. Angel warms to Danny, and they binge-watch action movies at Danny’s home. That night, wealthy land developer George Merchant is killed in an apparent gas explosion caused by his stove, and his body is launched out of a window by the explosion.
Angel suspects that the killings are connected to a recent property deal. A local journalist, Tim Messenger, approaches Angel at a church, claiming to have information, but is killed by falling masonry. Leslie Tiller, the village florist, tells Angel about her plans to sell her house to Merchant’s business partners. While Angel is distracted, she is stabbed in the neck with her garden shears; Angel gives chase but loses the killer. Angel suspects Simon Skinner, the sinister manager of the local supermarket, as the property deal would have built a rival supermarket, but Skinner has an alibi.
Angel is attacked in his hotel room by one of Skinner’s employees. Angel knocks him out and learns of a secret Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA) meeting at Sandford Castle. Angel confronts the NWA, led by Frank, who reveal that they carried out the murders for various petty reasons, as each victim supposedly threatened Sandford’s chances of winning Village of the Year and staging the murders as accidents. Frank’s motive is his late wife had put everything into helping Sandford win the first “Village of the Year”, but travellers ruined their chances the night before the judges arrived, driving her to suicide. Angel flees and falls into the castle’s catacombs, where he finds the bodies of the NWA’s other victims. Danny appears and fakes killing Angel. Pretending to dispose of the body, Danny drives Angel away and urges him to return to London for his own safety.
The next day, Angel returns to Sandford and arms himself with the confiscated guns. He and Danny engage in a shootout with the NWA. When Frank sends the other officers to arrest them, Angel and Danny convince them that Frank is the culprit. Frank flees and the officers besiege the supermarket, with Skinner fleeing in a car with Frank. After a car chase, Angel corners Skinner at a model version of the village, and Skinner is impaled through the jaw by a miniature church steeple, while Frank is caught after being attacked by a swan that Angel and Danny had in their car earlier.
Angel’s former superiors ask him to return to London, as the crime rate has risen heavily in his absence, but Angel decides to remain in Sandford. While the Sandford Police are going over the paperwork of the arrests, the elderly Tom Weaver, the last NWA member, bursts into the station wielding a blunderbuss. He shoots at Angel, but Danny jumps in front. In the resulting struggle, Weaver accidentally activates the naval mine, killing himself and destroying the station.
One year later, Angel has been promoted to Inspector and head of the Sandford police. Danny has survived and is now Sergeant. After visiting Danny’s mother’s grave, the two drive off to their next crime scene.