Nick Walker, a narcotics detective with the Boston Police Department, has just been killed in the line of duty. Rather than face judgment to determine his final resting place, Nick is recruited by Chief Mildred Proctor into the Rest in Peace Department (R.I.P.D.). Part of the reason for he ending up in this limbo of sorts is that on Earth, he and his partner, Detective Bobby Hayes, in the process of a drug raid, found a stash of gold pieces, which they took for themselves, Nick doing it solely in the want to make a better life for his wife, Julia. The limbo is also despite Nick, before his death, feeling remorse for this action and vowing to turn in his share of the gold, in the process not turning in Bobby. The mandate of the R.I.P.D. is to go back to Earth to find and destroy deados - dead people who have been able to evade judgment and are now back in human form among the living on Earth - so that they will face that judgment, ultimately sending them "down there" as their final resting place. Initially, Nick, learning that he will be going back to Boston, expects that he will be able to reunite with Julia and avenge his death in this job, that is until he learns that R.I.P.D. members are given new appearances and thus new identities. Nick is partnered with Roy Pulsipher, a longtime R.I.P.D. member who was a southern US Marshal during the Civil War era in his life on Earth. Judgmental Roy, who is not told of Nick's criminal actions, hopes to be able to retire soon to go to his final resting place. In the process of their work, they will discover that the gold pieces have a higher more nefarious purpose which, if in the wrong hands, could spell the end of life on Earth as it is known. As such, Nick tries to do this work while attending to his own initial goals of avenging his death and reuniting with Julia, which may not be easy considering the role of the gold pieces and with Roy and Proctor constantly looking over his dead shoulder.