In 1927, America’s Magic Congress, abbreviated MACUSA, transfers the powerful black magic wizard Gellert Grindelwald from their maximum security prison to one in London to be judged on the crimes he committed. Grindelwald escapes during the transfer, being helped by employee MACUSA and his fan, Abernathy. Three months later, Newt Scamander asks the Ministry of Magi to return his right to travel internationally after his right has been revoked as a result of events in New York.
While at the ministry, Newt meets Leta Lestrange, a former classmate at Hogwarts who is now engaged with his brother Theseus. The ministry agrees to relinquish his right to travel to Newt provided he has helped Theseus locate the obscure Credence Barebone, which has re-emerged somewhere in Paris. Credence may even be Leta’s long-lost brother, Corvus Lestrange, the last remaining pure sorcerer of blood.
Grindelwald thinks only Credence can kill his counterpart, Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore. However, Newt refuses to choose any part and does not want to get involved. After leaving the ministry, Newt is secretly summoned by Dumbledore, who is under constant supervision of the Ministry for refusing to confront Grindelwald. As they were young, they had a very close personal relationship. Dumbledore convinces Newt to go find Credence.