This movie is loosely based on the real-life case of Larry Davis, a drug dealer who shot six cops but was acquitted (with William Kunstler as his lawyer) after charging that the police were trying to kill him because they were involved in the drug trade. The Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, was also nicknamed "Morgy".
The flag with the green and white stripes seen in the room where the first interrogations take place is the official flag of the NYPD. The NYPD flag flies outside Precincts and other Police Department buildings and was first created in 1919. It bears five alternating green and white bars, representing the five boroughs of New York City - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. There are 24 white stars on a field of blue in the left corner of the flag. The blue field represents the Police Department. Twenty-three of the stars represent the separate towns and villages that became part of New York City under the Consolidation that took place in 1899, while the 24th star represents the City itself.
Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis wrote the original score for the film but was replaced by Mark Isham after the film's preview screening which featured the film's original upbeat ending instead of the one Isham would re-score with the downbeat ending.