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Judge Rayford: Mr. Kirkland you are out of order!
Arthur Kirkland: YOU'RE out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!
A 1979 courtroom drama starring Al Pacino and John Forsythe.
One of his clients is a man wrongly imprisoned due to a name mix up, and whom the Jerkass Judge Henry T. Fleming won't release due to a minor technicality. A close friend has a mental breakdown when a client murders again after being acquitted, and Kirkland watches as one of his cases goes to an apathetic lawyer. He's in trouble with the ethics committee for snitching on a client after he learns that someone has been forcing people to put lit cherry bombs in their mouths...just like the client bragged he would do.
While Kirkland is in this happy place, he learns that Judge Fleming has been arrested for rape. Not only that, but to his gaping incredulity, he learns that Fleming wants Kirkland to be the defense attorney. Fleming, though he loathes Kirkland, feels that if he's seen representing him, it will make people think Kirkland believes he's innocent and help the case, since why defend a man he so despises otherwise? Kirkland can't get out of it either, because Fleming has great sway over the ethics committee (and is the one to bring the client-snitching to their attention) as the judge reminds him.
Stress and frustration mount up as one clients commits suicide and another is killed. Meanwhile Kirkland gets more and more proof that Fleming is guilty as hell. Finally, just before Kirkland stands up to give his opening statement on Fleming's behalf, the judge says he'd be happy to 'meet' the victim again sometime...
Not to be confused with Metallica's 1988 album of the same name.
- Actually Pretty Funny: The man with diabetes even gets the cop testifying against him laughing when he calls the judge a douchebag.
- Amoral Attorney: Kirkland's girlfriend Gail Packer, who works on the state bar ethics commitee, is arguably one of these. She points out to him that much of what disgusts him about the justice system is, in fact, legally and procedurally correct. Of course, Kirkland counters, that doesn't make it right...
- Bittersweet Ending: Kirkland will probably be disbarred, but he has kept his integrity.
- Black Comedy
- Confess in Confidence: After Kirkland confronts Fleming with some incriminating photographs he's gotten, Fleming confesses to having committed the rape, which Kirkland cannot disclose by law.
- Deus Angst Machina: If you're a client of either Kirkland or one of his friends, the best way to be found guilty is to be completely innocent, or vice-versa.
- Driven to Suicide: Ralph
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The only logical way Fleming could make that last little comment.
- Hanging Judge: Fleming.
- Important Haircut: Jay Porter shaves his head after flipping out over a client who murdered two children after he got him off.
- Jerkass: Fleming is initially depicted as this, before he's slowly revealed as a Complete Monster.
- Mood Whiplash: From zany comedy to heavy drama and back again.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Fleming tries this on Kirkland, and it might've worked, if he would have only shut up.
- Signature Line: "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!"
- Title Drop: The opening credits are accompanied by voiceovers of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which naturally ends with the title phrase.
- Transsexual: One of Kirkland's clients, Ralph Agee, is a black man who presents as female. He commits suicide after being sent to prison for five years due to incompetence by Kirkland's colleague.