Silent Witness (2011 TV Movie)
In Silent Witness, Dermot Mulroney (Zodiak, Copycat) plays prominent defense attorney Tony Lord, who returns to his hometown to defend an old friend, played by Michael Cudlitz (TNT's Southland). The friend is a teacher accused of murdering one of his students, and the case re-opens the heartache from Tony's own high school days, when he was a student falsely accused of murdering his first love. Silent Witness also stars Anne Heche (Hung, Men in Trees) as Sue Robb, the wife of the accused teacher, and Judd Hirsch (Damages, Taxi) as Saul Ruben, Tony Lord's close friend and associate.
1967, Lake Ohio. Tony Lord and Sam Robb, both in their teens, are best friends and athletic rivals. Twenty eight years later, Tony is a successful San Francisco attorney; Sam is a assistant principal at Lake City High School. Sam has never left home, and Tony has never returned since the trauma that changed his life: the brutal murder of his first love Alison, of which he was wrongly accused and turned everyone, even Sam against him. Now Sam is a suspect. One of his female students has been murdered. Tony, reluctantly but inevitably comes back to defend him. At once Tony is plunged back into the unfinished business of his past. In the merciless area of a murder trial, he must confront not only his fear that Sam is a murderer but also the buried truths that obscure the real meaning of Alison's death.
Criminal defense attorney Tony Lord has not returned to his hometown of Lake City, Ohio in close to thirty years, as, when he was seventeen, he discovered his girlfriend Allison Taylor murdered, she who appeared to be raped and then strangled to death. Tony was initially suspected as being the murderer, despite he being the one who reported the body to the police. Attorney Saul Rubin defended Tony, Saul who eventually became his mentor. The man who was eventually accused of the murder died in prison before his proverbial day in court. As such, some in town believed and still believe Tony to be the murderer. Tony returns home to help his best friend from high school, Sam Robb, now the assistant principal and girls track coach at their alma mater, Lake City High, when it looks like Sam will be charged with the murder of his star runner, Marcie Calder - Sam who reported the dead body to the police - her death being remarkably similar to Allison's. Tony still considers Sam and his wife Kate Robb his best friends, they who were among the few who stood by him during the issue with Allison. A demonstration of that friendship include Tony and his wife Stacey having named their son Sam. Tony only takes the case on Sam's vow that he didn't kill Marcie. Sam divulges to Tony information that will undoubtedly come out in court: that he and Marcie had a sexual relationship initiated by Marcie, their last sexual encounter taking place in Sam's car parked in the woods the night of her murder, and that he was trying to break it off with her that night on her admission to him that she wanted to marry him, something he had no intention of doing in his realization that there could never be a long term future for them. Sam also states that their encounter that night was interrupted by another car parked in the woods, the identity of the driver who he does not know. Tony enlists Saul's help in the case. Tony proceeds on the premise that he has to build enough doubt in the jury's mind for an acquittal, that doubt primarily coming in the form of Marcie's "friendship" with another adult male, her former track coach Michael Ramos, that friendship which was a contributing factor to the break-up of his marriage. Sam, knowing that his life as he knows it is over, including his marriage and his career, has a different end goal of truly proving in the jury's mind that he did not kill Marcie, at least to remove the label of murderer from his being. Through the court proceedings, some information may come to light which only certain people would be in the know demonstrating in their mind who truly did murder Marcie, and may shed some light on what happened to Allison some thirty years ago.
- Defense lawyer returns to his hometown to defend a friend on charges of murdering a student he was involved with.