In this drama, John McKeown (Pete Postlethwaite) is a police detective who has come to have severe reservations about his job and his life. When two teenage boys are brought in on suspicion of murder, McKeown comes to the conclusion that the kids simply found the body while trying to rob a factory and were not involved with the killing. McKeown discovers that one of the would-be thieves, 17-year-old Dex (Jamie Draven), has no parents and is raising his younger brother and sister on his own. Dex supports himself and his siblings as a gardener and groundskeeper, for which he shows a natural talent, and McKeown believes that poverty rather than a criminal nature led Dex to consider a life of crime. McKeown and his girlfriend Sandra (Alison Newman) befriend Dex and often check in to see how he and his siblings are doing, but subsequent events lead the detective to wonder just how Dex lost his parents in the first place -- and if his role in the murder was as innocent as he first believed. The Butterfly Collector was originally produced as a three-hour mini-series for British television.