Set against the backdrop of the Civil War, TIME EXPOSURE is an historical mystery framed by a modern story linking the past and present through current technology.
In present day Washington, D.C., renowned digital photographer Maggie Thornhill discovers the mummified remains of a human male behind a false wall in the cellar of her Georgetown brownstone. The brownstone has been in her family since famed Civil War photographer Joseph Thornhill owned it. Family history maintains that Joseph vanished shortly after Lincoln’s assassination. Buried with the corpse is a satchel containing Joseph’s field diary, letters, and a photograph of a civilian on the battlefield. Maggie believes she’s found her lost ancestor’s body. Now she must prove it’s him so the mystery can be put to rest.
In 1860 Joseph is a restless and dissatisfied portrait photographer for the Mathew Brady Gallery. When the Civil War erupts, he enlists as a spy for the U. S. Secret Service. Using his professional duties as cover, he investigates the deaths of several government agents. While shooting battle scenes, Joseph inadvertently photographs a civilian in the background, someone who should not have been there. By the time he suspects it’s the killer, the man is long gone.
The traitor has, in fact, been hired by unscrupulous industrialist, Samuel Lindsey, to kill the government agents in order to protect Lindsey’s munitions company from scrutiny. Joseph learns that Lindsey’s company not only produces sub-standard weapons for the North but also runs guns to the South.
As he pursues the killer, Joseph is wounded on the battlefield, captured, and tortured by Confederates but ultimately escapes. During his flight, he photographs proof of Lindsey’s treason, cases of guns stacked in a southern railroad depot, and brings the evidence to the President. Lincoln is assassinated, however, before he can act, and Joseph’s report is sealed by President Andrew Johnson.
Lindsey realizes that he must tie up loose ends to ensure that his guilt remains undiscovered. He directs his hired gun to kill the last remaining threat: Joseph Thornhill.
A century and a half later, Maggie discovers through DNA evidence that the body in her basement is not that of Joseph as she suspected. Through tenacious research, she locates the long-sealed portfolio that Joseph presented to Lincoln to document Lindsey’s treasonous activities. Maggie utilizes cutting-edge facial recognition software to digitally analyze Joseph’s photograph of the civilian. What she finds shocks her. Further research reveals that Lindsey’s company is still in business today and under investigation by the FBI. Maggie enlists the help of her future father-in-law and long-time family friend, Senator Fitz Wade to get inside information on that investigation. However, the Senator is less than forthcoming. She suspects he is hiding something or protecting someone, perhaps his son, Maggie’s fiancé, T.J. Wade.
She visits the Senator’s home to confront him but the Senator’s wife, Dorothy, blindsides her instead. Dorothy warns Maggie to drop her relentless investigation but with the help of a family photo, Maggie pulls together the missing pieces. Dorothy, in fact, owns the company, which true to tradition, is selling guns to enemies of the U.S. American soldiers are once again dying in the name of profit. But worse, Dorothy is the descendant of the civilian killer.
Now that Maggie knows the truth, she has to die.