Ted Crawford is a wealthy, brilliant, and meticulous structural engineer who lives in Los Angeles. He shoots his wife and entraps her lover. After the police arrive, he signs a confession. At his arraignment, he asserts his rights to represent himself and asks the court to move immediately to trial. The prosecutor is Willy Beachum, a hotshot D.A. who is getting ready to leave for a civil-law firm. He is told by everyone the case is open and shut....