Faced with evidence of stunning prosecutorial misconduct, a San Francisco judge has ordered a new trial for the Maxwell brothers' father, Lawrence, who was convicted of killing their mother 21 years before. A prison snitch soon turns up dead, with Lawrence the only suspect, and Leo teams up with hotshot attorney Nina Schuyler to defend Lawrence against murder charges both old and new.
Leo Maxwell thinks he's found a career-making case when a mysterious woman nearly runs him down, then appears at his office to hire him to defend her brother on a murder charge. One problem: Leo hasn't actually met the client when he sets out to investigate what seems like a hot tip on a burgeoning scandal in the Oakland Police Department. When he presents evidence of deep-set corruption in the Department to the District Attorney's office, he quickly learns that all is not as it seems, beginning with Leo's client and the alluring woman who hired him.
Leo had been raised by his older brother, Teddy, a top criminal lawyer both renowned and notorious for his talent and ruthlessness. Though different in character and viewpoint, Leo always tried to emulate Teddy, striving to be recognized by his brother as a fellow lawyer in his own right. The two are at lunch when Teddy, supposed to give the closing argument of his current trial that afternoon, is shot - in public, in the middle of the bar. But the shooter escapes without Leo catching even a glimpse of him.
After working to free his father from prison in Fox Is Framed, Leo has now left private practice and is working as a public defender in San Francisco. He and his cocounsel, Jordan Walker, are in the midst of trial, brilliantly defending Randall Rodrigues, a mentally ill homeless man whom they contend falsely confessed to the rape of a young San Francisco socialite. After their client is acquitted, Leo and Jordan fall into an intense relationship - until Jordan is found brutally raped and murdered in her apartment.