A masked intruder breaks into the beach house of San Francisco socialite Paige Forrester, ties her to her bed, rips open her shirt, and kills her with a hunting knife. Her husband Jack, arrested for her murder, tries to hire high-profile lawyer Teddy Barnes to defend him. Barnes is reluctant to take the case since an incident with district attorney Thomas Krasny, her former boss, caused her to quit practicing criminal law.
Krasny tells Barnes that prisoner Henry Styles hanged himself, which distresses her. Barnes visits Sam Ransom, a private detective who also used to work for Krasny and who changed careers at the same time as Barnes. Barnes decides to take the case.
Barnes and Forrester prepare for the trial and eventually sleep together. Ransom warns Barnes that Forrester is just trying to make her care more about his case. Her office begins receiving anonymous letters containing non-public case details and an analysis shows they were typed on a 1942 Corona typewriter.
In a pre-trial meeting, Barnes tells the judge that Krasny has a history of not meeting discovery obligations. The prosecution's case relies on circumstantial evidence and two of its key witnesses are discredited by Barnes.
Krasny calls Eileen Avery, who had an affair with Forrester, to testify. As Avery details her relationship with Forrester, Barnes finds it eerily similar to her own relationship with him. She feels manipulated and now believes Forrester is guilty but continues out of a sense of duty.
Another note arrives at her office saying, "He is innocent. Santa Cruz. January 21, 1984. Ask Julie Jensen." Barnes calls Jensen to testify that she was attacked in the same manner as Paige Forrester. All the details match, but she says her attacker seemed to stop himself from killing her. As Krasny objects that the attack on Jensen is unrelated to the one on Forrester, he lets slip that his office had investigated the attack and not revealed it in discovery. In chambers, the judge threatens to have Krasny disbarred. Krasny insists that Forrester planned Paige's murder for 18 months, he attacked Jensen to create an alibi for himself, and he is the writer of the anonymous letters.
The judge forbids Krasny from presenting his theory to the jury and Forrester is found not guilty. Barnes announces to the media that she left the district attorney's office when Krasny suppressed evidence that proved Henry Styles was innocent. Krasny walks off in disgust.
Barnes goes to Forrester's house to celebrate, and they sleep together again. In the morning, she discovers, in a closet, a 1942 Corona typewriter matching the analysis of the anonymous notes. She takes it and flees.
When Forrester calls, she tells him she found the typewriter. Forrester insists on coming over. Barnes calls Ransom, on the brink of telling him that Forrester is a killer, but instead hangs up. A masked figure breaks in and confronts her in her bedroom. As he starts to attack, Barnes throws back the covers to reveal a handgun. She shoots him several times until he falls to the floor. Ransom comes in and unmasks the attacker: Forrester.
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