A well-meaning man discovers the downside of taking the law into your own hands in this black comedy. Jack Lambert (Dan Aykroyd) is a college ethics professor who lives next door to a kindly old man of German descent named Max Mueller (Jack Lemmon); Jack is also in love with an attractive doctor named Gail (Bonnie Hunt), whom he plans to marry. One day, an FBI agent approaches Jack with some rather surprising news -- Max is actually Karl Luger, an escaped Nazi war criminal known as the Beast of Burkau and responsible for the deaths of thousands of people during World War II. However, Max has avoided prosecution on a legal technicality, which deeply offends Jack's sense of justice. Outraged, Jack poisons the apples on the tree in Max's yard, and before long Max has succumbed to the tainted fruit. However, Jack then learns that the FBI agents had the wrong man, and Max wasn't really the Beast of Burkau after all. Wracked with guilt, Jack wants to do something to make amends, so he calls off his engagement with Gail and instead begins to court Inga (Lily Tomlin), Max's frumpy and socially inept daughter. Getting Away with Murder was the final project for veteran writer and director Harvey Miller.
by Mark Deming synopsis