Jerry Flanagan is a 22 year-old college graduate and native of the Jersey Shore. He starts his banking career in 1976 as one of fifteen management trainees working for a large regional bank in Newark, N.J. The country has just celebrated its Bicentennial, and the disco culture is reaching its peak. New York City is just recovering from its near collapse from bankruptcy, is shaking off the effects of the worst blackout in its history and is trying to survive the Summer of Sam. Newark is not much better off, but at least Jerry has made new friends at the bank. His peers are smart, ambitious, competitive and eager-to-succeed early twenty-somethings who represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, economic and social backgrounds. They discover that even though they all have their own individual career objectives and dreams, they must pull together as a team if they are to survive their first year in the workplace. In addition to helping each other out on the job, they naturally start to socialize outside the workplace.
Jerry is smitten with fellow trainee Maria DeMarco, an intelligent, beautiful, and somewhat shy young lady who shares an important secret with Jerry. In addition, Jerry endures a tragic event, the death of a fellow trainee, his close friend and colleague. This event shakes up Jerry's idyllic world, but also serves as a catalyst for solidifying his relationship with Maria. Jerry tries to prove himself as a rising star in his trainee class by uncovering a suspected misdeed by a client of the bank, aided and abetted by one of the bank's senior officers. Maria, who assists him in his "undercover" work, is caught in the cross-fire and Jerry's plan suddenly unravels. He must somehow win her back and redeem himself in her eyes before making the most important commitment of his life.