Alex West is a man who roomed with Norman Bates at the state lunatic asylum for nearly 20 years. After Bates' death, Alex finds that he is in Norman's will as the inheritor of the Bates Motel, which has been vacant since Norman's arrest. Alex travels to Bates' California hometown and with a little help from a teenage runaway, Willie, Alex struggles to re-open the motel for business, only to have strange things happen. Is someone trying to drive him away, or is the motel really haunted by the ghost of Norman's mother?
A "contemporary prequel" to the 1960 film Psycho, depicting the life of Norman Bates and his mother Norma prior to the events portrayed in Hitchcock's film, albeit in a different fictional town and in a modern setting. The series begins after the death of Norma's husband, when she purchases a motel located in a coastal Oregon town so she and Norman can start a new life.