The Defenders: Taking the First (1998)

TV Movie  |  R  |   |  Drama  |  25 October 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 96 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

John Walker is white supremacist. Now after hearing his speech, four boys go out and kill a young Hispanic. The Prestons are hired to defend one of them, who is the grandson of an old ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nelson Rodriguez (as Clifton González González)
Chris Wiggins
John Walker
Camille Preston
Camilla Scott ...
Liz Carter
Irene Lopez Kuchilani ...
Mrs. Rodriguez
Diego Fuentes ...
Bayo Rodriguez
Marilo Nunez ...
Rosalie Rodriguez
Nancy Palk ...
Judge Lacey
Lili Francks ...
Alice Rawls
Jeff Topping ...


John Walker is white supremacist. Now after hearing his speech, four boys go out and kill a young Hispanic. The Prestons are hired to defend one of them, who is the grandson of an old friend of the Prestons. They convince their client to testify against the others, which he does. The Hispanic's brother, a law student, feels that getting the ones who killed his brother is not enough. He wants to file a wrongful death suit against Walker, cause he incited those four men to kill someone who wasn't white and his brother was the first one they came across. While the Prestons agree to do it, they receive harsh criticism that they are attacking the First Ammendment but nevertheless they persevere. Written by <>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and a scene of violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Defenders 3 - Gegen das Gesetz  »

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Did You Know?


Follows The Defenders: Choice of Evils (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Started Better Than I Expected But Went Downhill
10 June 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

I've never thought much of THE DEFENDERS TVMs mainly because of the liberal do gooder subtext that bashes the audience over the head at every single opportunity so when the teleplay started I instantly knew where it was going . A right wing rabble rouser called John Walker stands on campus calling for Americans to take back their country . A lone Latino protester heckles Mr right wing guy and on the way home he bumps into some of the rabble rouser's vanguard .


As I said I knew where this was going . The Latino defends himself against the bad guys and finds himself on a murder charge but this doesn't happen as the Latino is beaten to death , so I guess credit where it's due since this plot twist surprised me and we see Preston and Preston , who if you've seen previous TVMs in THE DEFENDERS series will know are bleeding heart liberals , having to defend a misguided teenager up on a racist murder charge . So far so good and if the story continued in this vein it would certainly have been very interesting for this viewer . Unfortunately this is skated over very briefly and the story once again becomes a liberal crusade against conservative values

I don't want to give the impression that it's because of politics that I disliked TAKING THE FIRST but as with the previous TVMs in the series we're not exactly asked to be impartial as to who the good guys and bad guys are . Can't the audience make up their own minds ? The rather polemical scripting doesn't allow the audience to think for themselves which is slightly insulting . But it's with the rather dubious legal arguments that the main problem lies - If someone makes a rather extreme speech and them someone decides to further a vaguely similar cause through violence does this mean the person making the speech is responsible ? Highly unlikely and the arguments put forward are badly explored too

I would say that THE DEFENDERS: TAKING THE FIRST is probably the best in the series but considering the very low marks I gave the previous two TVMs that's not much of a compliment and this ( Final ? ) story in the series suffers from all the problems like highly unlikely legal arguments and too much liberal politics as the other stories that preceded it

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