->'''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 AlPacino and John Forsythe.

Arthur Kirkland, a [[GoodLawyersGoodClients very moral public defender]], is [[BreakTheCutie growing sick]] of all the evils inherent in the system.

One of his clients is a man wrongly imprisoned due to a name mix up and frame job, and whom the {{Jerkass}} [[HangingJudge 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 at gunpoint...just like the client fantasized doing.

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 [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections friends in high places]], and great sway over the ethics committee (he is also the one that brought the client-snitching to their attention), [[AnOfferYouCantRefuse as the judge reminds him]].

Stress and frustration mount up as one client commits suicide and another is killed in prison. 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 Music/{{Metallica}}'s 1988 album of the same name.

* ActuallyPrettyFunny: The man with diabetes even gets the cop testifying against him laughing when he calls the judge a douchebag.
* AmoralAttorney: Kirkland's girlfriend Gail Packer, who works on the state bar ethics committee, 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...
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: Fleming tries this on Kirkland, and it might've worked too, if he would have only shut up.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Kirkland will probably be disbarred, but he has kept his integrity.]]
* BlackComedy
* ConfessInConfidence: After Kirkland confronts Fleming with some incriminating photographs he's gotten, Fleming [[spoiler:confesses to having committed the rape, which Kirkland cannot disclose by law]]. [[PlotHole However]], he ''would'' be legally required to turn over photographic evidence to the prosecution...
* DeusAngstMachina: 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.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Ralph]]
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: The only logical way Fleming could make that last little comment.
* FrameUp: Jeff had the knife which a guard was stabbed with planted in his cell, leading him to be sentenced to five years in prison.
* GoodLawyersGoodClients: Played completely straight with Arthur. Every client we see him defend is either innocent or very sympathetic, until he's blackmailed into representing Judge Fleming on rape charges, leading to his infamous breakdown.
* HangingJudge: Fleming.
* HollywoodLaw: It doesn't seem that Kirkland should be in danger of losing his license over telling the police his former client was probably the one forcing lit cherry bombs into people's mouths. Attorney-client privilege only applies to ''past'' crimes, and this was a crime the client fantasized about committing in the ''future''. In that case, attorneys are actually ''required'' to notify the police of what their client plans.
* ImportantHaircut: 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.
* MiscarriageOfJustice: Jeff was arrested due to MistakenIdentity (he had the same name as a suspect) then framed by other inmates for a prison guard's stabbing. Kirkland can't get him out due to the evidence clearing him coming in too late, [[spoiler: leading Jeff to snap, taking hostages after being [[PrisonRape gang-raped by fellow prisoners]] and is then [[{{Tearjerker}} shot dead by a police sniper]].]]
* MoodWhiplash: From zany comedy to heavy drama and back again.
* OffOnATechnicality: Cruelly {{inverted}} with Jeff, whom Kirkland can't get off although he's innocent ''because'' of a technicality.
* PrisonRape: What drives Jeff over the edge.
* SignatureLine: "''You're'' out of order! ''You're'' out of order! The whole ''trial'' is out of order!"
* {{Tearjerker}}: The death of Jeff.
* TitleDrop: The opening credits are accompanied by voice overs 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. [[spoiler: He commits suicide after being sent to prison for 5 years due to incompetence by Kirkland's colleague]].
* WhatTheHellHero: Kirkland bitchslaps Flemming with that trope. Even though Fleming is evil, he's still a judge.
--> '''Kirkland:''' ''You son of a bitch!'' You're -- you're supposed to ''stand'' for something! You're supposed to ''protect'' people! Instead you '''''[[spoiler:FUCKING MURDER THEM!!!]]'''''