A Washington, D.C., lawyer on the run from his past mistakes, and now from the cops, gets one last chance to straighten out his life.
In a long, long series of flashbacks, Jack Stanton remembers the days before he became a wanted man, the days he worked long hours as a public defender to support his wife and infant son, then hung out a shingle with his old officemate Harrison Bonifant as a criminal defense attorney. Even back then, when he was making every attempt to tailor his behavior to the bar's Code of Personal Responsibility, circumstances constantly forced him to cut corners, with virtually every troubling victory bringing him up against the same improbable adversary, rising-star prosecutor Morgan Langrell. There was the cocaine possession Jack found himself defending while still in law school, the alleged liquor store thief who deserved his best efforts, the accused burglar-turned-killer who produced an ironclad alibi but asked what it would mean if he'd only been along for the ride, the father who'd killed the threatening mother of one of the kids who raped his daughter. Now Jack's latest escapade, involving an unspecified betrayal by Linda Morrison, the nurse with whom he'd been keeping company, has made him a fugitive from the law he once swore to uphold, and he's gone to ground on Maryland's Eastern Shore, a landscape equally familiar to his author (The Waterman, 1999). Seeing no escape from the net his nemesis Langrell is tightening around him, Jack thinks of ending it all, but his efforts toss him up against a young woman in even more desperate straits—a woman worth fighting for.
It's a heartwarming story, all right, but one whose set-up line—the opening two acts of self-contained ethical dilemmas—seems just a little too much like a season of The Practice, and whose climactic moral resolution is just a little too pat.