Clark Taylor is an ambitious public prosecutor who's eyeing the position of his boss, district attorney Joe Metcalf, who's retiring. To make sure that he's noticed by the right people, he demands a death penalty for a suspected cop killer. He even brags about it post-coitus to his girlfriend and fellow prosecutor Pamela Vance, who also works for Metcalf. However, a Vietnam vet called Rourke appears and claims that he's the real killer. Fearing that this muck up will kill his chances for promotion, Taylor bribes desperate, guilt-ridden Rourke to keep quiet. But Rourke soon returns for more. However, all is not what it seems.