Double Jeopardy

  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Producers: Leonard Goldberg
  • Writers: David Weisberg, Douglas Cook
  • Genres: Thriller, Drama, Mystery, Crime
  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenwood

Nick Parsons (Bruce Greenwood) and his wife Elizabeth (Ashley Judd), wealthy residents of Whidbey Island, borrow a friend’s yacht and set off sailing for the weekend. After becoming drunk, Libby falls asleep and wakes up to find her husband missing and blood all over her hands, clothes, and the boat’s floors. A Coast Guard vessel appears and Libby is spotted holding a bloody knife she found lying on the deck. She is apprehended, tried, and convicted for the murder of her husband.

Libby asks her best friend, Angela Green, to look after her son Matty for the duration of her prison sentence. When talking with Matty during a phone call from prison, she hears him exclaim “Daddy!” right before the line goes dead. Libby realizes that Nick could still be alive and living with their son and attempts to get some investigative help. Distraught by the futility of these attempts, she is consoled by a fellow inmate who suggests that she serve her sentence and wait for parole, upon which time she could track down and kill Nick without consequences due to the legal doctrine of double jeopardy.

Libby is paroled after six years and begins searching for Nick and Matty while living in a halfway house under the supervision of Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones), a parole officer. Libby violates her curfew and is caught breaking into a building to try and get Angela’s records but manages to escape from Travis and continue her search. Recognizing an art work in a newspaper photo and tracing it through a dealer’s database leads her to New Orleans, where she finds Nick living under an assumed name. Libby confronts him during a party at his hotel and demands he return Matty to her in exchange for her silence about his real identity.

Nick agrees to bring Matty to a meeting in a cemetery. However, Nick uses a decoy boy to distract Libby, knocks her unconscious and locks her in a mausoleum. Libby wakes up and manages to escape. Meanwhile, Travis has become suspicious of Nick’s death and begins to believe Libby. The two team up to try and send Nick to prison and argue with him in his office. In the ensuing melee, Nick shoots Travis but is shot and killed by Libby. Travis promises to help Libby get fully pardoned, as he now has evidence that proves her innocence. Libby and Travis then travel to Matty’s boarding school and mother and son are reunited.

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