Will Schuester, a teacher at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, starts a new glee club and tries to convince as many students as possible to join. But the uncool show choir only attracts a handful of kids, mostly outcasts, who haven’t found their place in school. The first recruits are uptight Rachel Berry, flamboyant Kurt Hummel, diva Mercedes Jones, stuttering Goth Tina Cohen-Chang and paraplegic movie enthusiast Artie Abrams.
However, despite his wife’s disapproval, Will is determined to make glee club the best club in school and tries to recruit more students. That is when the school’s football star, Finn Hudson, joins, alongside his girlfriend Quinn and her fellow cheerleaders Santana and Brittany. Football player Puck also enrolls. The group is named New Directions and the students start rehearsing for show choir competitions.
Quinn tells Finn she is pregnant with his baby, though the father is actually Puck. And if that was not enough drama, Finn has been having feelings for Rachel, and they were reciprocated. New Directions competes in Sectionals and, during the competition, Finn finds out that Puck is Quinn’s baby’s biological father. Despite the setback, New Direction wins the sectionals. Rachel, who was raised by her two gay fathers, discovers that her biological mother is Shelby, who also happens to be the coach of New Directions’ nemesis team, Vocal Adrenaline. Rachel has been dating Jesse, the star of that team, despite objections of her fellow glee club members. In the season finale, Shelby adopts Quinn’s baby and Vocal Adrenaline competes at Regionals, but comes in last.
In the second season, the glee club recruits Sam Evans. Rachel and Finn are dating again, but they soon break up. After being bullied for being gay, Kurt transfers to an all-boys school, Dalton Academy, where he meets fellow student Blaine and they fall in love. Meanwhile, Finn and Quinn rekindle their romance and Will starts dating Emma, the guidance counselor.
New Directions compete at Regionals, this time with original songs. They get standing ovations and win the competition. Santana confesses that she is in love with Brittany, but refuses to tell the world that she’s a lesbian. Kurt finally transfers back to McKinley High. As the school year comes to an end, everyone is trying to compete in the race for Prom Queen and King. At prom, Karofsky, a closeted gay student, is crowned prom king and Kurt is voted as the queen. Despite the humiliation, Kurt goes up on the stage and receives his award.
In the end, Finn breaks up with Quinn, once again, after realizing he still has feelings for Rachel. New Directions travels to New York to compete in the National show choir competition. They don’t make the top ten, but, at the end, Rachel and Finn start dating again.
In the third season, most glee club members are seniors and start thinking about their plans after they graduate. Will and Emma move in together and Kurt convinces Blain to transfer at McKinley High and he joins glee club. New Directions wins at Sectionals once again.
Will proposes to Emma and she tearfully accepts. In a surprise twist of events, Finn also proposes to Rachel, who after some thinking says yes. The seniors start receiving letters of acceptance from different schools. Quinn is accepted at Yale, while Kurt and Rachel are among the finalists for admission at NYADA. New Directions wins the Regionals and soon after Rachel and Finn plan on getting married. But, their wedding gets postponed when Quinn gets in a car accident and is temporarily paralyzed.
The competition for prom king and queen heats up once again. This time the winners are Santana and Finn, but since Santana’s girlfriend Brittany wasn’t elected she drops out. Quinn and Santana conspire to make Rachel a write-in prom queen.
New Directions wins at Nationals and the seniors must say goodbye to each other as they graduate. Mercedes is offered a recording contract in Los Angeles and Rachel is admitted to NYADA. However, both Finn and Kurt receive rejection letters form Actors Studio and NYADA, respectively. Finn makes Rachel leave for New York, breaks up their engagement and joins the Army.
Season 4 starts with Rachel trying to get used to her new school. Back in Lima, Will is left with Artie, Brittany, Tina, Sam and Blaine in the glee club, but he recruits new students. Kurt decides to move to New York, rents an apartment with Rachel and he gets an internship at Vogue.com.
Finn shows up at Rachel’s doorstep right when she and her friend Brody get close. In the end, Rachel breaks up with Finn and he settles back in Lima. Meanwhile, feeling alone, Blaine cheats on Kurt and later confesses. Will gets a job in Washington and asks Finn to replace him in glee club. New Directions loses at Sectionals after a student faints on stage, but the rival team is exposed for using steroids, and New Directions gets another chance.
Kurt auditions once again for NYADA and this time he’s accepted. The relationship between Rachel and Brody heats up and she invites him to move in, but breaks up with him after she finds out he’s a gigolo. Will and Emma’s wedding day is finally here and all the former glee club members return to Lima for the event. But Emma gets cold feet and leaves Will at the altar. He returns full time to Lima and resumes his post as glee club coach. After he tracks Emma down, they both decide to take their relationship slowly.
In the finale, Artie is accepted into film school in New York, Brittany gest a scholarship at MIT and Blaine is in at NYADA. New Directions wins Regionals, Rachel gets a callback audition for a part in the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” and Will and Emma finally get married.
Rachel gets the Funny Girl part and starts rehearsals. Kurt and Blaine get back together; Blaine soon proposes and Kurt accepts. The senior prom comes along and Tina is crowned prom queen. In a shocking twist, Finn dies and every glee club member, past and present, reunites in the school’s auditorium to perform songs in his memory.
Emma gets pregnant and Will is over the moon. New Directions competes at Nationals and come in second. Due to cutbacks, Glee club is eliminated and all members come back for the club’s last week. As the senior class graduates, Artie, Sam and Blaine are bound for New York while Tina goes Brown.
Rachel continues her rehearsals for Funny Girl, but she no longer has time for classes, so she decides to drop out of NYADA. Mercedes moves in the city and starts dating Sam, who works as a model. Blaine and Kurt are living together, but their relationship is in trouble. In the end, they break up and end their engagement. Rachel’s opening night is finally here and all of her friends are in attendance, but Will has to leave because Emma is in labour. Due to the success of the play, Rachel gets a TV job in Los Angeles and she is forced to choose between Broadway and LA. In the finale, Sam goes back to Lima, Mercedes goes on tour and Rachel is hired to film a pilot in LA.
The final season starts with Rachel returning to Lima after her show fails miserably. Blaine is the new coach of the glee club at Dalton Academy, because he failed his classes at NYADA and Sam is the assistant football coach at McKinley.
Rachel uses the money she earned from her show to start a new glee club at McKinley and enlists Kurt to help her coach. Will is also coaching a rival glee team. Kurt and Blaine finally get back together, and they even get married… at Brittany and Santana’s wedding.
Will goes back to McKinley High and helps coach the glee club, while Rachel gets a part in a Broadway play and the chance to go back to NYADA. All she has to do is make a choice. Her former boyfriend Jesse comes back to town and persuades her to take the part. New Directions wins Sectionals and Rachel decides to go back to school.
In the series finale, McKinley High is turned into an art school and Will is appointed principal. Mercedes goes on tour with Beyoncé. Five years later, Kurt and Blaine become theatre actors. Rachel is a Tony award winning Broadway star married to Jesse and also the surrogate mother of Blaine and Kurt’s child. In the end, everybody reunites in the McKinley Auditorium, which is renamed after Finn, and puts on a final performance.