In 1926, Newt Scamander arrives in New York by boat, carrying a mysterious suitcase that is home to dozens of magical creatures. Leaving the harbor, he comes across Mary Lou Barebone, who is a member of the Second Salemers. She is preaching about the existence of magical people and how these witches should be hunted down and put down. While Newt listens to Mary Lou, a Niffler escapes from his suitcase and sets course for a nearby bank. Newt chases after it, causing mayhem everywhere while dragging a “No-maj” (American Muggles) named Jacob Kowalski with him. After retrieving the Niffler from the vault, Newt takes Jacob outside and prepares to obliviate him, when Jacob hits him with the suitcase and gets away. Newt is caught by Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, who takes him with her to MACUSA for using magic in front of normal people. Tina, who was once an Auror but was fired after an incident, is send away by Seraphina Picquery, the president of MACUSA.
Tina takes Newt back to her office, where Auror Percival Graves demands to see what is in Newt’s suitcase after Tina explains the situation to him. Upon opening it, however, they are stunned to find pastries inside it, and Newt realizes he must’ve accidentally switched his suitcase with Jacob’s. At his home, Jacob puts the suitcase down, only for some of the magical beasts inside it to protest. Confused, Jacob opens the suitcase, and lets loose several of the magical creatures, getting hurt in the process. Meanwhile, Mary Lou Barebone is revealed to be running an orphanage of sorts, where she indoctrinates the children with stories about evil witches. Her youngest daughter, Modesty, proudly sings songs about dead witches, while her eldest son, Credence, likes to keep to himself and is seen having difficulties with their way of life. He is also approached several times by Graves, who has tasked him with finding a young child whose power is unmeasured, a prophecy Graves has supposedly foreseen. Credence, who desperately wants to get away from his current life, tries his best, but has failed so far.
Newt and Tina arrive at Jacob’s place, where they find half his apartment blown up, and Jacob somewhat ill due to a bite given by one of the beasts. Newt restores the apartment to its original state, and him and Tina decide to bring Jacob with them, given his injury. Tina takes them to her place, where they meet Queenie, her younger sister who excels at Legilimency. Newt and Jacob are allowed to spend the night at their place, but Newt soon disappears into his suitcase, with Jacob following him. Inside the suitcase, Newt shows him his collection of magical beasts, and his intention to care for them as long as they are rejected by the wizarding world. Newt does a headcount of his animals to know who he has to track down. While wondering through various landscapes, Jacob comes across a small dark entity, which Newt describes as an Obscurial, and urges Jacob not to touch it. They leave the suitcase in order to find the first missing beast, an Erumpent, but soon Newt realizes his Niffler has once again escaped, and finds him at a jewellery store. A small fight ensues after which Newt manages to grab the Niffler. They then come across several escaped regular animals, and they follow the trail back to the zoo. Tina and Queenie soon realize that the two men are missing, and Tina sets out to find them. She witnesses Newt and Jacob retrieving the Erumpent and heading back into Newt’s suitcase. Determined to prove she’s right to MACUSA, she locks the suitcase and takes it with her. She shows President Picquery, Graves and a room full of international wizards what Newt has been up to. Picquery and Graves, however, arrest Newt, Tina and Jacob, and confiscate the suitcase.
Graves questions Newt about the presence of an Obscurial inside his suitcase. It is explained to be a dark force created for young children to surpress their magic, out of fear that the No-maj community may discover them. A side effect is that these children do not live past 10 years. It’s also revealed that the child Graves is seeking, is in fact posessed by an Obscurial. Graves sentences Newt and Tina to death, which is overheard by Queenie while reading Tina’s mind. Newt uses one of his recently captured beasts to escape the Aurors, and together with Queenie, they retrieve Jacob and sneak out of MACUSA. Meanwhile, Credence is shown to be growing more unstable due to his abusive home, and when he finds a wand underneath one of the beds, Mary Lou assumes it’s his, and plans to whip him with his belt, a punishment he experiences often. The Obscurial appears out of nowhere, destroys the entire house, and seemingly kills everyone except for Credence and Modesty. Graves finds him later, and urges Credence to help him find Modesty, whom he believes to be the child from the prophecy. Newt, Tina, Jacob and Queenie go to a nightclub for magical folks to talk to its owner, Gnarlack, to obtain information about the final missing beast Dougal, a demiguise who has the unfortunate power of being invisible. After pretending to trade his Bowtruckle for information, Graves and his Aurors arrive at the nightclub, having been informed by Gnarlack about the foursome’s presence there. Newt and his friends escape, and manage to track down Dougal, who is revealed to be caring for an escaped Occamy, a magical creature which can expand or shrink itself to fit any available space. Now having taken residence in a giant shopping store, the Occamy has expanded itself to the size of a dragon. Newt, Tina and Jacob trick the Occamy into shrinking until it fits into a teapot and, relieved, Newt puts it back in his suitcase, now having retrieved all of the escaped magical beasts.
Graves and Credence track Modesty down to her old home where she used to live with her real family. After cruelly rejecting Credence and telling him he was never going to help him escape his abusive life, Graves prepares himself to capture a terrified Modesty. However, Credence then reveals he was the child posessed by the Obscurial all along. Fuelled by his rage for Graves, Credence is no longer able to control the Obscurial and lets loose. Now incorporeal, Credence ravages the streets of New York, leaving chaos and destruction in his path. Newt, realizing the lack of information Aurors have on Obscurials will lead them to kill Credence, sets out to find him. He tracks him down to an underground subway station, where he soothes Credence back into corporeal form. The arrivals of Graves and Tina cause Credence to go back and forth between corporeal and non-corporeal state. In the end, the rest of the Aurors arrive, along with President Picquery, who orders Credence’s death. Despite Newts, Tina’s and Graves’ attempts, this happens almost immediately. Graves berrates the MACUSA for their actions, and their obsessive need to control the thin line between the magical and non-magical world has created situations like these, and he swears to put an end to it. He is ordered by Picquery to surrender himself and hand over his wand. Graves battles the Aurors and seems to gain the upperhand until Newt overpowers and binds him. Using the Revelio Charm, Graves is revealed to be Gellert Grindelwald, the Darkest Wizard of their time. He is arrested and taken back to MACUSA. Newt, meanwhile, uses his Thunderbird to spread an amnesiac potion using the rain, wiping the memories of all No-majs who witnessed the magical havoc. Picquery orders them to wipe Jacob’s memory as well, reminding them there are no exceptions, although she allows them to say goodbye.
A little while later, Newt sends eggshells from the Occamy to Jacob, which are made of silver and gold, to use as collateral for the bank, so he can get a loan and open his own bakery. Newt and Tina say their goodbyes at the harbor, with Newt promising her he will return once he has finished his book. Queenie visits Jacob’s bakery, and it appears a memory is sparked when he sees her.
Coser: Jacob Disberger