Three people attempt to bend justice for their own purposes in this drama based on the best-selling novel by John Grisham. After a man dies in a shooting incident, his wife files a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the gun, with her lawyer, Wendell Rohr (Dustin Hoffman), arguing that the firm in question knew the shop which sold the weapon was not following federal regulations pertaining to the sale of firearms. As the case goes to trial, the firearm manufacturer is taking no chances on the outcome of a potentially devastating case, and they hire as part of their legal team Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman), a "jury consultant" who makes it his business to see that he knows enough about the jurors to be able to guarantee the result of the trial. Fitch and his team have learned incriminating secrets about nearly everyone hearing the evidence, but Fitch discovers two factors he wasn't counting upon -- Nick Easter (John Cusack), the jury member who appears to have an agenda all his own, and Marlee (Rachel Weisz), a mysterious woman who has her own plans regarding bending the jury to her will. Bruce Davison, Jeremy Piven, and Bruce McGill round out the supporting cast. Incidentally, in John Grisham's original book, the case was filed against a cigarette manufacturer, but the producers opted to adjust the story after several real-life trials against tobacco companies.
by Mark Deming synopsis