Following an investigation in 1996 Detective Sergeant David Hurst and his friend Detective Constable Steve Adams receive death threats from the Provisional IRA. Many years after the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland being signed, both officers forget about the death threat until they are shot at outside the Old Bailey courts in London. After seeing members of that IRA cell following Hurst when visiting family in Liverpool, while making enquires including seeing one of their old Irish informants the officers come across intelligence revealing the Irish dissident group, the Real IRA are trying to mount a terror campaign in mainland Britain.
As there is an ongoing investigation by Hurst's team into an Al Qaeda plot to attack cities in England and as the killings start by the Real IRA, with resources stretched time is against Hurst and Adams to find out who is financing the Real IRA, what the Real IRA's main target of attack is and to stop them.
Closely based on David Lowe's experiences as a detective in Special Branch's Counter-Terrorism Unit, A Real Job has a stark reality feel to it as it takes you inside the Counter-Terrorism Unit as they carry out their investigations