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Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore (1992)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  19 January 1992 (USA)
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In the second dramatic case for lawyer Harmon Cobb, he defends an incarcerated woman who is refused release from a mental institution.


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Title: Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore (TV Movie 1992)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Adkins
Barton Heyman ...
Norman Rose ...
Judge Gold
Larry Keith ...
Dr. Obenland
Dr. Friedman
District Attorney Yates
Bridgit Ryan ...
Susan Chapek ...
Melina Vovakis
Don Brockett ...
Judge Mulligan
Bingo O'Malley ...
Judge Stoneburner
John Hall ...
Young Lawyer


In the second dramatic case for lawyer Harmon Cobb, he defends an incarcerated woman who is refused release from a mental institution.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cobb's Law  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Follows The Incident (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Family-approved film satisfactorily shows battle to give rights to the mentally ill
3 November 2002 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews


1992 Made for TV starring Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan, a "family approved" story about improving legal protections for those improperly incarcerated in state mental institutions circa 1947. Although Baltimore was chosen, the state of Maryland should not be singled out. Mistreatment of the mentally ill was, and is, a nation wide problem.

As recently as yesterday [11/02/2002], the news services reported on the failure of major federal and state programs to deliver on promised multi-agency initiatives to help the mentally ill WITH NO ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURE LEVELS. Where there is ignorance and fear, there is apathy and inertia.

The film's Primary Issue is sovereign immunity: the ability to sue the state AT ALL on behalf of inmates.

Related issues are covered: overuse of insulin therapy. electro-shock therapy, budget-limited feeding (49 cents a day), billing for therapy and other treatments not provided, "ice-pick lobotomy, and on an on, in a system with no checks and balances. etc.

A fascinating and typical story told in a film style without the horrific raw edges that would make the film impossible to show to younger children or citizens' groups.

I say "family approved" because if you surf the internet you can find this film pointed out at various sites which list films that treat issues for specialized populations. The following is illustrative of the TYPE of group that honors AGAINST HER WILL by placing it on their list. I have changed a word here and there to protect their privacy.

QUOTE This website presents a list of 3000 feature films which involve in one way or human disabilities. It is directed towards teachers, students and anyone who has an interest in how disability is represented in films. UNQUOTE

The pacing and intensity of the film is along the lines of the TV series MURDER SHE WROTE or MONK, but with most (not all) of the humor extracted. Issues are introduced gradually and fully elaborated. Gradations of issue, and new points, are "acted out" by having a character embody or manifest the plot development so that the viewer does not have to bring a large vocabulary of prior knowledge. (However, ice-pick lobotomy is left to the advanced viewer who either knows, or doesn't know. No illustrations provide.)

This film is not BIRDY (1984)or DON'T SAY A WORD (2001) or even ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEXT (1975).

I might especially recommend this for parents of children who--and this happens--were led to tease, bait, bully, or disrespect the mentally ill either in specific (a classmate) or in general ("those wackos").

While it won't build compassion from scratch, the film may build back compassion that was there, and may educate. It's also a great film for the budding attorney in your brood.

Besides which, watching Harry Morgan and Walter Matthau circle each other, and then bond, in typical "old Disney" style, can only be fun for all age groups.

Six out of 10 for basic made-for-TV film accomplishment plus a bonus point for casting equals 7 out of 10.

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