For Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), an invitation to join the prestigious secret college organization, The Skulls, is a dream come true. Unlike many of his New Haven classmates, Luke gained admission to the Ivy covered halls of learning through hard work and the crushing burden of student loans. And he knows it will take much more than good grades and being captain of the school's championship varsity crew team to secure a spot in a top law school. It's going to take a great deal of money and recommendations from prominent alumni-neither of which are at his disposal, despite his outstanding grades and years of sacrifice.
At school, Luke is reminded at every turn of his humble beginnings as a "townie" by his well-heeled classmates, whom he waits on in the school dining room. And his growing affection for his close friend Chloe (Leslie Bibb) is tempered by the realization that he can never hope to be accepted by her upper-crust family.
Then, overnight, Luke's fortunes change when he is "tapped" for entry into the highly selective secret society known as The Skulls. The clandestine organization's membership includes the best and the brightest, the descendents of the rich and powerful. Acceptance into the Skulls would ensure Luke a place at the table, and guarantee him both the financial means and the connections to make it into law school.
Luke is dazzled by the invitation, which includes a tax-free $20,000 deposit into his bank account. The Skulls is a way to leave his humble past behind and secure his future. Only by entering that exclusive world can he ever hope to woo Chloe and win her family's approval.
But not everyone shares Luke's rosy view of the organization, least of all his best friend and roommate Will Beckford (Hill Harper), an enterprising journalism major who casts a cold eye on The Skulls. "If it's secret and it's elite, it can't be good," Will cautions. Even Chloe is torn. Despite her prominent lineage, Chloe is a solid, pragmatic woman and Luke has come to rely on her unfailing moral compass. It's not that she thinks Luke isn't good enough for The Skulls. She thinks he may be too good, too firm in his populist goodwill to join a restrictive, elitist group dedicated to propigating their own agendas. But Chloe understands Luke's attraction...She only hopes that the experience doesn't change him.