Overview... young lawyer defending a man for (allegedly) killing the two men who (allegedly) raped his 10-year-old daughter. For Jake, those bare facts are only the tip of the iceberg in this case that has rocked rural Mississippi. First, there’s really no “allegedly” here – Carl Lee Hailey gunned down the two men in a public courthouse in front of scores of witnesses, and there’s no doubt that they raped his little girl. Then there’s the always tangled issue of race. Jake is white, his client Carl Lee is black, and the two deceased were white supremacists. Now Canton, Mississippi, is set to explode as Carl Lee goes on trial.
Personality... smart and idealistic, perhaps too much so for his own good. Jake is a good lawyer, but he might be in over his head. He’s underestimated just how volatile this case is and how much it might put those he cares about in jeopardy. Jake wants to be friends with Carl Lee and argues that race doesn’t matter, but that’s not quite true in 1980s Mississippi. In fact, Carl Lee hired Jake in large part because he’s white, which he figures will give him a better chance of winning the case in front of a largely white jury. Jake is going to have to get those jurors to put themselves in Carl Lee’s shoes, which will be no easy feat.
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