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After graduating from Harvard, young lawyer Bryan Stevenson had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence and the main testimony against him being from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political manoeuvrings, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds - and the system - stacked against them.