Is Presumed Innocent Based On A True Story?

By Navin SoniPublished on: June 10, 2024 Updated on: June 12, 2024
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“Presumed Innocent,” the acclaimed legal thriller by Scott Turow, is not based on a true story but is a work of fiction. However, Turow, who is also a former prosecutor, infuses his understanding of legal intricacies and character complexities into the novel, which adds a layer of realism that might feel very authentic.

For instance, the character of Alejandro “Sandy” Stern in Turow’s novels is inspired in part by Turow’s uncle, a doctor whose life story influenced the creation of Stern. Turow told Bill Blum of the Los Angeles Times about his uncle’s profound impact on him, highlighting his challenges and new beginnings in later life, which informed the depth of Stern’s character. He said,

I had always been fascinated by his life and by the fact that when, in his later years, he found himself alone, unmarried, and “not entirely pleased with the way his life had gone,” he had the courage to start again. “I always wanted to write a book about a man like that who was starting again”

While the plot and main storyline of “Presumed Innocent” are purely fictional, Turow’s personal and professional experiences lend a genuine feel to his characters and settings, bridging fiction with elements of real-life observations and emotional truths. This blend makes Turow’s characters relatable and his plots intriguing, capturing the complexities of human nature and the legal system.

What Is “Presumed Innocent” About?

“Presumed Innocent” is a gripping legal thriller by Scott Turow that explores the dark complexities of the legal system through the lens of Rusty Sabich, a prosecutor in Kindle County. The novel begins with the murder of Carolyn Polhemus, a colleague and former lover of Rusty, who is then tasked with the investigation.

As the plot unfolds, Rusty is shockingly indicted for the murder due to circumstantial evidence and his intimate history with the victim. The narrative delves deep into Rusty’s trial, exposing the personal and political pressures within the legal community, as well as the intricacies of legal procedure.

Throughout the trial, Rusty and his defense attorney, Sandy Stern, unravel a web of deceit, corruption, and hidden motives that challenge the concepts of truth and justice. The story is not only a mystery but also a detailed legal procedural, reflecting Turow’s own experiences as a prosecutor, which brings authenticity to the judicial and investigative processes depicted in the novel.

Apple TV+ Series Is Its Second Adaptation

“Presumed Innocent,” the compelling legal thriller by Scott Turow, has been adapted into an Apple TV+ series, marking its second adaptation after the 1990 film starring Harrison Ford. This new series, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, launched on June 12, 2024, with Gyllenhaal portraying the central character, Rusty Sabich, a prosecutor accused of murdering his colleague.

The Apple TV+ series is an eight-part limited series developed by acclaimed creators David E. Kelley and J.J. Abrams, known for their significant contributions to television drama. This adaptation delves deep into the themes of obsession, sex, politics, and the personal and professional turmoil of the accused, Rusty Sabich, as he fights to keep his family and career intact amidst the chaos.

With a lineup including Ruth Negga, Kingston Rumi Southwick, Chase Infiniti, Renate Reinsve, and other notable actors, the series aims to explore the narrative’s complex moral and legal questions while adapting the 1987 novel’s intense and suspenseful atmosphere. The direction under Anne Sewitsky and executive production by Emmy winner Greg Yaitanes promises a visually engaging and narratively rich experience.

The choice to revisit “Presumed Innocent” reflects the enduring appeal of Turow’s novel and its themes, providing a fresh interpretation for a new audience while retaining the intricate plotting and deep character exploration that fans of the original book and film adaptation appreciate.