The District Attorney:
Kathryn "Katie" Peale (Maura Tierney) is a workaholic district attorney who doesn't sleep well when bad people win.
The Defense Attorney:
Jimmy Brogan (Rob Morrow) is the kind of fight-for-your-rights-no-matter-what lawyer you want on your side. He's also the kind of guy who likes to walk into court wearing red sneakers.
The desecrated body of 17-year-old Maria Covas was found in the alley behind the school where family man Glen Sellards teaches. Jimmy Brogan will do everything he can to defend Sellards against this witch hunt. Kathryn Peale promises to use every legal means to convict this devoutly religious girl's killer. The fight that breaks out between Maria's father and Sellards' son is an ominous precursor to the war that's about to take place in court in what has been dubbed the "Ave Maria" case.
The Prosecution's Case:
Skin cells and saliva from the accused were found on the victim's breasts. Sellards bombarded Maria with phone calls and an eyewitness saw them together in the alley just before the killing. The Chief of Trial Bureau 50, Terrence 'Edge' Edgecomb (Eamonn Walker), wants to know the case's weakest link. It's forensics. There are postmortem wounds and genital trauma, but no DNA link to Sellards.
Junior A.D.A. Chad Griffin (Sean Wing) interviews a student who will testify in that Sellards made nasty remarks about Latinos. A hate crime charge is added. The accused has rage issues, can no longer produce semen (explaining the lack of any in the victim) and was fired from a previous job for having an affair with a student. Finally, Glen Sellards' daughter found a bottle of Viagra. Her dad told his lawyers he hadn't had sex with his wife in a year because she's battling cancer. So why would he need the pills unless he was having an affair?
The Defense's Case:
Glen Sellards counseled Maria which explains the many phone calls. His wife and daughter testified to a grand jury that he was at home the night of the murder. The skin cells and saliva could have been left on the victim during a debate club meeting. Glen has a Chinese character drawing Maria made. The symbol means friend.
Jimmy's newest associate, Lena Boudreaux (Christine Adams), discovers the past student who accused their client of an affair did so falsely in retaliation for a bad grade. Lena wants to second chair the case which doesn't sit well with longtime associate Alejo Salazar (Anthony Ruivivar). The team discovers the victim had a secret sex buddy who has a video of them doing things that don't support the whole Ave Maria angle. As for the Viagra, Glen says they were for prostitutes and Jimmy will reluctantly have to call upon some of them to testify.
Jimmy discredits the prosecution's eyewitness at the scene. He also pokes holes in the hate crime theory, as Glen's derogatory remarks about Latinos were quotes from a Clint Eastwood flick. Sellards' daughter testifies about the Viagra and that she lied about seeing her dad the night of the murder. A prostitute testifies that Glen was a client but adds that he once asked her to introduce him to some of her younger girlfriends.
A debate club student testifies that Sellards once tucked a borrowed scarf into the top of Maria's shirt and she looked scared. Alejo argues that the scarf explains Glen's DNA on the victim's upper body. The kid on the sex tape testifies that Sellards once had Maria's crucifix in his possession. That crucifix is currently missing. The injuries on the victim's thigh were made with a small instrument. The postmortem markings resemble the Chinese drawing Maria made for Glen Sellards' class and could have been made with the crucifix. As the trial draws toward its end, Glen Sellards' wife loses her battle with cancer.
Glen Sellards is found guilty of the murder of his student, Maria Covas.
The Whole Truth:
While boxing up items in her suddenly empty house, Glen Sellards' daughter notices something behind a cobweb-ridden vent. It's an organizer book belonging to her father. She flips through the pages. The young girl clasps her hand to her mouth in horror as the bloody crucifix that was hidden inside falls to the floor.