6.6/10
9,007
50 user 19 critic

Suspect (1987)

When a homeless man is accused of murdering a Justice Department file clerk, a public defender is tasked with mounting his legal defense.

Director:

Peter Yates

Writer:

Eric Roth

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cher ... Kathleen Riley
Dennis Quaid ... Eddie Sanger
Liam Neeson ... Carl Wayne Anderson
John Mahoney ... Judge Matthew Bishop Helms
Joe Mantegna ... Charlie Stella
Philip Bosco ... Paul Gray
E. Katherine Kerr ... Grace Comisky
Fred Melamed ... Morty Rosenthal
Lisbeth Bartlett Lisbeth Bartlett ... Marilyn
Paul D'Amato ... Michael
Bernie McInerney Bernie McInerney ... Walter
Thomas Barbour Thomas Barbour ... Justice Lowell
Katie O'Hare Katie O'Hare ... Elizabeth Quinn
Rosemary Knower Rosemary Knower ... Justice Lowell's Secretary
Aaron Schwartz ... Forensic Pathologist
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Storyline

A judge commits suicide, and his secretary is found murdered. A homeless deaf-mute man, Carl Anderson is arrested for her murder. Public defender Kathleen is assigned by the court as his lawyer. She sets to find the real killer, and gets help from the congressional advisor, Eddie Sanger who is called to be on the jury panel. Together they discover a dangerous circle of corruption in high places. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jury | deaf mute | suicide | judge | murder | See All (94) »

Taglines:

No matter the cost, No matter the danger. They will find the truth.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The filmmakers felt that the use of Washington, D.C. as the principal location was critical to the making of Suspect (1987) and, in fact, that the setting would be a central character in the story. See more »

Goofs

At 1:23 into the movie, when she is checking keys against file cabinets at the Justice dept., the key won't fit into one of the file cabinets, then the key fits the very next one. This is minor but would not happen. Since the file cabinets are identical, they key would at least FIT the lock (though it wouldn't turn the lock mechanism) unless it were the correct key. For example....all Master Lock keys (of the same sort) will fit the intended item perfectly - it just won't unlock it unless the tumblers match. See more »

Quotes

[Michael sneaks up behind Kathleen and holds a razor to her throat]
Michael: God is angry with the wicked! Why did you send the black devil for me?
Kathleen Riley: [stammering] Because Carl!
Michael: [interrupts] Carl has already been judged! The mighty hand struck him deaf and dumb.
[Michael continually jerks the razor around in a frenzied manor]
Kathleen Riley: [terrified] Okay.
Michael: Only the lord Jesus can take a soul. I saw the angel of death. I watched her die. I saw her spirit leave her body. She gave me a message from the Almighty. A key to the ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Angel III: The Final Chapter (1988) See more »

User Reviews

 
Underrated Courtroom Drama Where the Homeless Meet the Political Elite
23 March 2008 | by classicalsteveSee all my reviews

Anyone who thinks that the United States legal justice system is fair and balanced has been watching too many movies. The poor and the marginalized get convicted and the rich and elite drive away from the courthouse. It's largely a matter of the size of the pocketbook. And it's still amazing how many innocent people are locked away with almost no hope of getting out. "Suspect" is how about a how a homeless man (Liam Neesom) and his public defender (Cher) find themselves in a case that has much larger ramifications than a simple matter of did a homeless person murder the victim for $9.

The aspect that makes this movie a gem is the fine acting: Cher as the overworked and underpaid public defender, Liam Neeson as the deaf/mute defendant in one of his first major roles, Dennis Quaid as a sexy lobbyist (often messing around with congresswomen to get votes for his industry) turned juror turned amateur sleuth, and John Mahoney as the stoic judge at the trial. A lot of it is pure fantasy but the moments in the courtroom are actually very much like a real courtroom in its obsessiveness with procedure and protocol.

The story begins with the suicide of a prominent Supreme Court Justice and the subsequent murder of his assistant who has been slashed to death. When police investigate the surrounding area, they find a homeless man sporting a knife and in possession of the victim's wallet which contained a king's ransom: $9. Cher is appointed to take the case, and Quaid ends up becoming one of the jurors. Because of the suicide at the beginning of the film, Judge Helms (Mahoney) becomes one of the people on the US President's short list to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Helms requests to preside over the murder case to free up his later schedule in order that he be considered for the vacancy.

Several scenes take us into the bowels of the homeless of Washington DC. We see a lot of lawyers, a lot of law libraries and a lot of knives. Every homeless person appears to wield a knife. Cher with the unlawful help of Quaid (lawyers and jurors in the same trial are not supposed to commiserate, let alone team up) stumbles upon some evidence that makes the case much more complex. A thoroughly enjoyable courtroom drama with enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and an interesting commentary on the justice system and how it handles the poor and the homeless. Unfortunately, public defenders are probably not as successful as Cher appears to be.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Suspect See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,152,015, 25 October 1987

Gross USA:

$18,782,400

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,782,400
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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