Innocent (novel)

Last updated
Innocent (Turow, 2010).jpg
First edition
Author Scott Turow
CountryUnited States
Genre Legal thriller, crime
Publisher Grand Central Publishing
Publication date
May 4, 2010
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback) and eBook
Pages544 pp
ISBN 978-0-446-56821-0
Preceded by Limitations  
Followed by Identical  

Innocent is a 2010 novel by Scott Turow that continues the story of the antagonistic relationship between ex-prosecutor Rožat "Rusty" Sabich and Tommasino "Tommy" Molto as a direct follow-up to his 1987 debut novel, Presumed Innocent. Sabich, now chief judge of the Court of Appeals, is indicted by Molto for the murder of Sabich's wife Barbara; Alejandro "Sandy" Stern returns to defend Sabich. The novel was adapted into a television drama of the same name, starring Bill Pullman as Sabich, which first aired on TNT in November 2011.



In the opening prologue of Innocent, set in 2008 and narrated by Sabich's son Nat, Rusty has been sitting with his dead wife Barbara for nearly a full day. According to Rusty, she was dead when he woke up in the morning; he believes it was due to natural causes, but complications arise because he had been previously accused of murder in the death of his colleague Carolyn Polhemus twenty-two years ago.

As it turns out, Rusty, who is now the Chief Judge of the State Court of Appeals for the Third Appellate District and celebrated his 60th birthday in 2007, has again had an extramarital affair, this time with his senior law clerk, Anna Vostic. Because Molto, now acting prosecuting attorney for Kindle County, was unable to prove Sabich's guilt in the murder of Polhemus, he is hesitant to pursue Sabich for the death of Barbara, but allows his chief deputy, Jim Brand, to quietly investigate. Eventually, the investigation yields enough evidence to once again indict Sabich for murder, setting up another courtroom confrontation between Molto, Stern, and Sabich.


Both Kirkus Reviews [1] and Publishers Weekly [2] gave Innocent starred reviews. Kevin J. Hamilton, reviewing for The Seattle Times , called the novel "terrific" and praised Turow as "by far the best courtroom novelist of our time", but added "Turow glosses over the [character] detail and the novel suffers for it". [3]


The novel was adapted into a teleplay as the debut entry in the TNT Tuesday Night Mystery movie, which aired on November 29, 2011. [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scott Turow</span> American author and lawyer (born 1949)

Scott Frederick Turow is an American author and lawyer. Turow has written 13 fiction and three nonfiction books, which have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. Turow’s novels are set primarily among the legal community in the fictional Kindle County. Films have been based on several of his books.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Legal thriller</span> Fiction genre

The legal thriller genre is a type of crime fiction genre that focuses on the proceedings of the investigation, with particular reference to the impacts on courtroom proceedings and the lives of characters.

<i>Presumed Innocent</i> (film) 1990 film by Alan J. Pakula

Presumed Innocent is a 1990 American legal thriller film based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, and written by Pakula and Frank Pierson, it stars Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raúl Juliá, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield and Greta Scacchi. The film follows Rusty Sabich (Ford), a prosecutor who is charged with the murder of his colleague and mistress Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi).

Operation Greylord was an investigation conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Chicago Police Department Internal Affairs Division and the Illinois State Police into corruption in the judiciary of Cook County, Illinois. The FBI named the investigation "Operation Greylord" after the curly wigs worn by British judges.

<i>Presumed Innocent</i> (novel)

Presumed Innocent, published in August 1987, is Scott Turow's first novel. It is about a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague, an attractive and intelligent prosecutor named Carolyn Polhemus. It is told in the first person by the accused, Rožat "Rusty" Sabich. A motion picture adaptation starring Harrison Ford was released in 1990.

<i>Into the Wild</i> (novel) 2003 novel by a team with the pseudonym Erin Hunter

Into the Wild is a fantasy novel about the lives of fictional cats, written by a team of authors using the pseudonym Erin Hunter. The novel was published by HarperCollins in Canada and the United States in January 2003, and in the United Kingdom in February 2003. It is the first novel in the Warriors series. The book has been published in paperback and e-book formats in twenty different languages. The story is about a young domestic cat named Rusty who leaves his human owners to join a group of forest-dwelling feral cats called ThunderClan, adopting a new name: Firepaw. He is trained to defend and hunt for the clan, becomes embroiled in a murder and betrayal within the clan, and, at the end of the book, receives his warrior name, Fireheart, after a battle with another clan. He must face the evil Tigerclaw. The novel is written from the perspective of Fireheart.

Trial films is a subgenre of the legal/courtroom drama that encompasses films that are centered on a civil or criminal trial, typically a trial by jury.

<i>The Burden of Proof</i> (Turow novel)

The Burden of Proof, published in 1990, is Scott Turow's second novel, somewhat of a sequel to Presumed Innocent. The Burden of Proof follows the story of defense attorney Sandy Stern in the aftermath of his wife's death and the growing realization that there is much about his marriage that he has never understood. Stern's bereavement coincides with his latest case, defending commodities broker Dixon Hartnell. Hartnell is a complex figure, one that Sandy admires but doesn't trust. Stern soon realizes that defending "Dix" will force him to tread a narrow path between zealous advocacy for a client and his ethical responsibilities to the courts.

The Burden of Proof is a 1992 television miniseries based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. The story follows the character Sandy Stern following events in the film and book Presumed Innocent. Brian Dennehy is the only actor to appear in both films, but here plays a different character.

<i>Reversible Errors</i> 2002 novel by Scott Turow

Reversible Errors, published in 2002 is Scott Turow's sixth novel, and like the others, set in fictional Kindle County. The title is a legal term.

<i>Limitations</i> (novel)

Limitations is a novel by Scott Turow which was published in 2006. It is by far his shortest novel and prior to publication as a novel was released as a serial story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

<i>Ultimate Punishment</i> 2003 book by Scott Turow

Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty is a 2003 series of autobiographical reflections regarding the death penalty. It is written by Scott Turow and marks his return to non-fiction for the first time since One L in 1977.

<i>Major Crimes</i> (TV series) American television police procedural series 2012–2018

Major Crimes is an American police procedural television series starring Mary McDonnell. It was a continuation spin-off of The Closer, set in the same police division, now headed by McDonnell's character, Sharon Raydor. It premiered on TNT on August 13, 2012, following the finale of The Closer.

Innocent is a 2011 television drama film directed by Mike Robe, starring Alfred Molina, Bill Pullman, and Marcia Gay Harden, based on Scott Turow's 2010 novel, a sequel to Presumed Innocent. In the film, Judge Rusty Sabich (Pullman) is charged with the murder of his wife Barbara (Harden) twenty years after being cleared in the death of his mistress. Robe previously directed The Burden of Proof, another sequel to Presumed Innocent, but which focused on the character Sandy Stern.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Morton (criminal justice)</span>

Michael Morton is an American who was wrongfully convicted in 1987 in a Williamson County, Texas court of the 1986 murder of his wife Christine Morton. He spent nearly 25 years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence which supported his claim of innocence and pointed to the crime being committed by another individual. Morton was released from prison on October 4, 2011, and another man, Mark Alan Norwood, was convicted of the murder in 2013. The prosecutor in the case, Ken Anderson, was convicted of contempt of court for withholding evidence after the judge had ordered its release to the defense.

<i>Blood Defense</i>

Blood Defense is a 2016 legal thriller by Marcia Clark, an attorney and former prosecutor. The first of a series, the novel follows criminal defense attorney and television pundit Samantha Brinkman as she takes on a high-profile murder case. It was announced in August 2016 that the first two Brinkman novels were being adapted as a TV series for NBC, to be co-written by Clark.

<i>The Reckoning</i> (Grisham novel) 2018 novel by John Grisham

The Reckoning is a best-selling novel by John Grisham. In addition to Grisham's typical legal thriller, the book was also characterized by reviewers as "a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga, a coming-of-age story," "a period piece", and a war novel.

<i>Identical</i> (Turow novel)

Identical, published in 2013, is a novel by Scott Turow which details the complicated relationship between the Kronon and the Gianis families, who are neighbors, friends, enemies, and rivals at different times throughout. Cass Gianis is sent to prison for the murder of Dita Kronon, his girlfriend; later Paul Gianis, Cass's identical twin brother, is running for mayor and Hal Kronon, Dita's older brother, uses his wealth to attempt to derail his campaign by accusing him of participating in Dita's murder.

<i>Testimony</i> (Turow novel)

Testimony, published in 2017, is a novel by Scott Turow which details ex-United States Attorney for Kindle County Bill ten Boom's first case on the International Criminal Court (ICC); ten Boom investigates the overnight disappearance and suspected massacre of an entire refugee village of more than 400 Romani people in the unsettled political atmosphere following the Bosnian war.

Presumed Innocent is an upcoming legal thriller miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Scott Turow.


  1. "Innocent, by Scott Turow". Kirkus Reviews. April 1, 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  2. "Innocent: Scott Turow, Author". Publishers Weekly. May 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  3. Hamilton, Kevin J (May 1, 2010). "'Innocent': Scott Turow's sequel to 'Presumed Innocent'". The Seattle Times.
  4. Andreeva, Nellie (July 21, 2011). "TV MOVIE NEWS: Lifetime Greenlights Kidnapping Saga With Teri Polo & Esai Morales, TNT's 'Innocent' Casts Bill Pullman". Deadline. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  5. Stanley, Alessandra (November 28, 2011). "Prosecutor who can't avoid trouble". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2019.