Peter Hale is a young attorney struggling to make his mark in his father's venerable law firm. When his father is taken ill in the midst of a big money case he decides to pursue it, against his father's wishes, seeing his chance to prove he's the whizz-kid lawyer he knows himself to be. In his zeal to prove himself he loses the lot - the case, his job and his father. Unemployed and disinherited, Peter takes the only job he is offered - that of a public defender in a small Oregon town. He hope to make good there and re-instate himself in his father's good books. However, once gain his ambition gets the better of him when he takes on a death penalty case, representing amentally retarded man accused of a brutal murder. It's only when he realises that his greed and his ego may end up killing his client that he understands what it means to be a good lawyer - and to become a man
Phillip M. Margolin is a practicing criminal defence lawyer in oregon, where he has tried many high profile cases. He is married with two children.