SHADOW OF DOUBT
SHADOW OF DOUBT -- Jana Calloway, a billionaires daughter, is found dead in her
home with her throat slit. The only clue to her killers identity is a small link
from a necklace, apparently ripped from her attacker, still clutched in her dead hand.
Unbeknownst to the police is that another fragment of the necklace, the charm, also came
off in the struggle but slipped into the pool drain.
Police comb the crime scene and find a matchbook under Janas bed with a name and number written inside. Assistant District Attorney, Jack Campioni (Tom Berenger), personally oversees the investigation, as he is a friend of the Calloway family.
Kitt Devereaux (Melanie Griffith) is one of the best defense attorneys in the state. She is also Jacks ex. When the suspect fingered by the matchbook is found, Kitt is hired to defend him.
Robert Medina is an ex-gang member and drug dealer who just sold his first rap album to a major music studio. The studio pays Kitt and funds Medinas bail. Kitt had given up sexually oriented trials because an ex-client admitted to her that he did, indeed, committed the rape he was on trial for and then attacked her -- after she had convinced the courts he was innocent. But Kitt accepts this case because she believes Medina is innocent. He had no motive to commit the crime. And Janas roommate, Brigitte, said she saw Medina leave the house before the crime was committed. Kitt is aided by her technology-wiz friend, Al (Huey Lewis).
Kitt is invited to a party given by U.S. Senator, Paul Saxon (James Morrison). Paul Saxon is running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Though a stranger to Saxon, Kitt attends. She meets her ex there, as Jack is a close friend of Pauls. Kitt is soon called in to meet Pauls mother, a domineering woman with high hopes for her up-and-coming son. Mrs. Saxon asks Kitt to drop the Medina case. The Calloways are friends and supporters of her son, and she wishes to spare them the torment of a sensational trial. Kitt refuses and leaves.
Suddenly, Kitts ex-client, Laird Atkins, calls. He has just been released from his sentence for attacking her. He wants to get back with her and form a more intimate association. He begins stalking her.
Kitt begins to suspect the Saxon family has some involvement in
Janas murder. Not only because of Mrs. Saxons request to drop the case, but
also because Jack offers her a deal too-good-to-be-true for Medina if he pleads guilty to
the murder. Medina refuses to accept the plea, and Kitt begins her own investigation of
Kitt and Al go to visit Janas roommate, Brigitte. Al finds a hidden digital camera connected to a computer in Janas bedroom. He copies the last pictures taken on it before pointing out the camera to the police investigator. Brigitte also tells Kitt that Jana had attempted suicide and had been hospitalized afterward.
Kitts suspicions of the Saxons begin to be confirmed when one of the pictures from the bedroom camera shows Jana sitting in her underwear on the bed with Paul Saxon. Also, Al discovers that it was a company owned by Paul Saxons campaign manager that funded Janas hospital stay.
Kitt visits Brigitte a second time to ask her about Paul Saxon. While movers box up and take out Janas belongings, Brigitte admits that Paul was over many times. She mentions that Jana had said Paul was going to leave his wife to be with her. Kitt leaves Brigitte, and Medina sneaks out of the bedroom. Medina and Brigitte resume their "activities" as the pool man cleans only a few feet away. The pool man finds the charm in the drain and sets it in a jewelry case. The movers take the jewelry case back to Janas father with the rest of her belongings.
Mrs. Saxon pays another visit to Kitt. Kitt shows her the photos from Janas room, and Mrs. Saxon threatens to expose Kitts affair with Laird Atkins. Kitt leaves disgusted and confused. No one knew about her affair with her ex- client except herself and Laird.
In court, the trial begins badly for Medina. Kitt has found out that Medina and Brigitte have been having an affair. This taints Brigittes testimony and makes her useless in Medinas defense -- and she was the only witness who saw Medina exit the scene of the crime before it happened. Then Jack presents a former girlfriend of Medinas who testifies he once threatened to "cut" her. At home, Kitt and Al find a box left on Kitts doorstep. Inside, they find photos and letters, which seem to prove Jana and Paul were more than just friends. Kitt thinks she may have found a suspect with a motive. She puts Paul on the stand.
Paul claims Jana attempted suicide because she had been kicked out of UCLA. The intimate letters from Jana begging him to tell "her about me" Paul insists referred to a faculty member of the school, not his wife. Of the photo, he testifies that he never had sex with her. He explains that because of her drug problems she rarely left her bedroom or her bedclothes. But he reiterates they were only friends.
"You see, in politics the smallest thing can be construed as scandalous.... Im sure you, of all people, realize how the press can blow things out of proportion."
The trial takes a turn for the worse when Medina fails to show up for a
court date. Kitt and Al go to Brigittes looking for him. They find her murdered,
exactly like Jana had been. Medina is still asleep on the couch when the police arrive.
Kitt only has one card left to play. She invites Laird over to confess. She realizes Laird is involved because Mrs. Saxon could have learned of their affair only from him -- personally.
He arrives and spills his guts to get back into her good graces. He admits he killed Brigitte at Mrs. Saxons request, to frame Medina for both crimes. He speaks of a "conspiracy." Kitt gets the whole thing on video. Laird, after a run-in with Kitts Doberman, is captured by the police.
Kitt, once again sorting through the items from the box left on her doorstep, finds the charm in the jewelry case. She matches the piece of chain still attached to the charm to the fragment of chain found in Janas dead hand. Then, she matches the charm to another photo from one of her own photo albums.
At Pauls Democratic inaugural party, Kitt confronts Jack with a picture she took of him wearing the same necklace and charm, but intact. Jack denies the charges, but Kitt knows theyll stick. Police surround Jack and escort him out. Jacks guilt implicates both Paul and his mother who have heretofore inhibited all further investigations beyond Medina. They, too, are escorted out of their own party for questioning.
As Kitt leaves the party, Mr. Calloway admits it was he who left the box of Janas personal items at Kitts house. He wanted the killer of his daughter found, and he knew the police would be influenced by their D.A. and Senator. Medina is exonerated, and his new album goes to the number one position on the music charts.