Valerie Solara insists that she is innocent. Charged with murdering one of her two best friends, Amanda Miller, by poisoning Amanda’s food, Valerie’s trial is just beginning. But Martin Bristol, a renowned local criminal defense attorney who is lead counsel on the case, has taken ill. His granddaughter and partner, Maggie, has asked Izzy McNeil, her best friend, to assist.
Izzy is a civil litigator, just getting back to work after a tumultuous year. She was a reporter and commentator for a legal network until she was named as a “person of interest” during the investigation into the murder of one of her colleagues. And just two months before their wedding, her fiancee, Sam Hollings, vanished. Now Izzy has a new boyfriend several years her junior, Theo, and she’s happy to finally be getting back to work in a courtroom. But Izzy is a civil litigator, not a criminal defense attorney, and she does not yet understand the nuances and protocols of criminal defense work.
One of the tenets Izzy struggles with is the notion that a criminal defense attorney does not need to know — and frequently does not want to know — whether his/her client is guilty. After all, as Maggie explains, it is their job to see that Valerie gets the fair and impartial trial to which she is Constitutionally entitled. A criminal defense attorney must always bear in mind that the prosecution bears the burden of demonstrating the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So long as an attorney does not put a client on the stand knowing that the client is going to offer perjured testimony, the real question of guilt or innocence is usually moot.