Morality seems to be the issue in Yates' courtroom thriller, but issues remain at the level of character traits, and there is no serious investigation of the alliances necessary to achieve simple justice. Suspect remains a routine Jagged Edge follow-up. Tired but tireless public defender (Cher) is stuck with a violent deaf-and-dumb derelict defendant (Neeson) in a murder trial. Prosecution (Mantegna) is nasty, the judge (Mahoney) partial, and the case apparently unwinnable, when on to the jury is drafted Sanger (Quaid), a Washington lobbyist. Used to greasing the wheels and bending the rules, Sanger starts sleuthing on his own, and progresses from being an embarrassment to being indispensable. Far from the open-and-shut case of a vagrant killing for a few bucks, the trail leads dangerously upwards, and there are close shaves among the filing cabinets after hours, and a red herring. Cher is workmanlike, Quaid excellent before he settles for loveable, Neeson unexpected, and the killer wildly improbable.