The United States vs. Billie Holiday is set primarily during the height of Holiday's career in the later period of the legendary jazz singer’s career up until her death in 1959. the movie draws from on Johann Hari’s bestseller Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, which tells stories from the early days of the war on drugs and those caught up in that fight. The movie touches specifically on the chapter about the federal agents who targeted Billie Holiday. Though the movie’s timeline jumps between different points in her life and career. It mostly focuses on jazz singer Billie Holiday's battle with the United States government and Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics over her efforts to sing "Strange Fruit," a song about lynching's in the South, and the attempts to suppress her by targeting her for her drug use. Throughout the movie, Holiday grapples with the weight of legal troubles, her past which contribute to her drug use, engages in a romance with an Jimmy Fletcher the black FBN agent tracking her, and her rises up to become a key figure in the early days of the modern Civil Rights Movement.