A lawyer unwittingly frees and later marries a guilty man. Now she’ll stop at nothing to see him convicted of a murder he didn’t commit.

    Title: A Good Defense

    Samurai Posted on April 24, 2019 in Thriller.
    Add Comment
    5 Review(s)

      The logline is written from her P.O.V. (which needs to change if she’s not the protagonist) If her motive is money, that needs to be spelled out. If not, it’s a strange line of action, to get married to someone before ruining his life..

      Summitry Answered on April 24, 2019.

      Thanks for comment. She’s my protagonist. She got him off once for a murder he DID commit, and now wants him to pay.

      Just in infancy of this idea so playing around. Thinking of dropping the married part in logline as it can confuse. But also shows why a woman would be extra angry (she spends years of her life fighting to get this guy out of prison & Gets seduced by his charms and marries him— only to discover he really did murder his first wife). I need a very strong motivation for her to disregard her ethical duties as his defense attorney and set up a plot to nail him for another murder.

      on April 24, 2019.

      Got it. It needs to be clear that there are two different murders, one of which he did commit. Discovering that he really did kill his first wife is an important detail (the inciting incident)  Although, why doesn’t she nail him for what he did commit instead of cooking up another plot? Convicting someone of a murder they didn’t commit is IMO not the best line of action,
      unless it is her own death she’s faking..

      on April 24, 2019.
      Add Comment

        The premise has potential, but I think you need to straighten out and clarify the legal logic and what is really at stake ethically.
        >>>unwittingly frees

        It’s a lawyer’s job to give her client the best defense even if she has reason to believe he’s guilty.  So if she succeeded getting him declared not guilty in a court of law, it’s not “unwittingly”.  It’s might be unwittingly for her to have taken the case believing in his innocence.  But then again she has no business being a criminal lawyer if she’s not willing to take clients who she knows are guilty because the nature of the job.

        Her mistake was not to have successfully defend him, but to marry him afterwards.  But there is nothing in the original logline to indicate why she married him.  I suggest his defining characteristic,  his charming personality, needs to be incorporated into the logline.

        Further, there is no inciting incident to explain why reverses her feelings — the discovery of his guilt. 

        >>>Now she’ll stop at nothing to see him convicted
        Has she switched roles and become a prosecutor?  But then she can’t.  She would have to recuse herself and if she didn’t the judge would remove her from the case because of her close association with the accused.

        And is she now accusing him “unwittingly”, sincerely believing he has committed the second crime? Or is she doing it out spite, to get revenge, for his deception in the first case? If the latter, she would be doing so in violation of the ethical legal code. Which would make her as much a criminal, a villain, as he is.

        Singularity Answered on April 25, 2019.
        Add Comment

          Here’s another spin:

          A corporate attorney, working pro bono, frees a man convicted of murdering his college sweetheart. But when his terrified new girlfriend finds strong evidence of his guilt, they hatch a plan to take him down.


          She’s working pro bono (I did this for 12 years on a murder case).

          I’m dropping the married part, too much for 120 pages. There can be sexual tension.

          I won’t reveal that the plan is to hide his new girlfriend who has been beaten to a pulp and set him up for her murder.

          My lawyer’s ethics have gone out the window because I’ll give her a terminal illness. Only way I can see now to solve this problem.

          I just have to make him beyond terrible for the audience to root for the women here.

          Samurai Answered on April 25, 2019.
          Add Comment

            And here’s one more take in under 25 words:

            When an attorney discovers the innocent man she freed from prison is really a murdering psychopath, she throws her ethics aside to stop him.

            Samurai Answered on April 25, 2019.
            Add Comment

              Let me unpack the story as I understand it:

              A lawyer helps a client beat a murder rap believing her client to be innocent [back story or opening setup].
              Only to discover new and compelling evidence that he actually he did the crime [inciting incident].
              But because  of the Constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy, he can’t be retried [complication].
              So she conspires to bring him “to justice” by a false charge of murder [plot].

              Well, why not cut to the chase? She decides to murder him herself.  Get “street justice”.

              The dramatic challenge for you as the writer is: how to make the audience at least empathize with her motives? Well,  I suggest that one way is the nature of his crime.  It can’t have been an impulsive crime of passion, done in a moment of anger (and under the influence of, say, alcohol).  Rather, his original crime has to have been premeditated and heinous,  say an act of prolonged painful torture on a helpless woman while she was alive, and depravity upon her body after she was dead.   In this way the narrative can sell  an audience on street justice emotionally  as justified even if logically they know otherwise. (There are any number of movies and crime novels that resolve the story with street justice.)


              Singularity Answered on April 25, 2019.
              Add Comment

              Your Review

              By posting your review, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.