Thrice-married and an alcoholic, Charley Sloan is rebuilding his Michigan law practice after his license suspension. Now in AA, he struggles to restore his reputation and not drink as he starts a relationship with sheriff‘s detective, Sue Gillis.
Charley's client, Dr. Miles Stewart, called Doctor Death for his high-priced mercy killings, is out on bond during an appeal. Charley is hired by attorney Mickey Monk, to take over the appellate court appearance to sustain the multi-million dollar award to Mickey's paralyzed client. The hard-drinking Mickey is in debt from the costs of the lawsuit and needs his million dollar fee. Mickey is gambling that the appeal court judge, Franklin Palmer, Charley's law professor who saved Charley from disbarment, will lean in their favor.
Retired Judge Mallow tells Charley that a favorable appeals court decision is for sale, and Charley's revered professor, Palmer, is in on the bribe. Mallow threatens Charley. If he doesn't go along, Palmer will rule against him, and the paralyzed client loses. If he reports them, Mallow and Palmer will claim that it was Charley who tried to bribe them. Turning to his respected mentor, Judge Bishop, Charley feels betrayed when Bishop surprises him with law enforcement officers who insist that Charley wear a wire to trap Mallow and Palmer. If Charley refuses to wear a wire, the officers suggest he must be lying to cover his attempt to bribe Judge Palmer. Sue believes Charley is being set up to protect all three judges. Charley must defend his clients, while his romance with Sue, his sobriety, and his new life are in jeopardy.
This report prepared by Jerri Rudloff