In “The Devil’s Advocate”, an interesting and entertaining comedy about a court-appointed psychologist who challenges his charges of criminal guilt, Dr. Michael Scott, a former University of Arizona philosophy professor, takes on one of the most controversial cases of all time, the civil lawsuit brought against Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce. “The Devil’s Advocate” also shows the lengths some will go to defend their accused loved one. This is a humorous and sometimes heartbreaking look at what it means to be accused of a crime and at what lengths a prosecutor and the public will go to defend them. The film does not make a direct claim that the judge was wrong, nor does it offer up any reasons for why he made the decisions he did. Rather, we are left with an opinionated yet entertaining story about the process involved in convicting a person of a crime.
In one scene, Michael goes to the courtroom dressed as a “doctor,” wearing scrubs, a lab coat and a stethoscope. He is immediately arrested and put in prison. Later he is transferred to an Arizona State Prison, and the public is invited to see him. The crowd is shocked by his appearance, but he claims to have been working on a medical case. When he is later allowed to make a brief speech to the group, his demeanor becomes very subdued and his voice becomes almost hoarse. He tells the audience how he felt as if his life were on the line and he would be spending a long time in prison.
When Dr. Michael Scott first appeared in the film, he was a leading critic of prison reform. He was not a supporter of the death penalty or incarceration of people who are not dangerous criminals. His position is not in line with the current trend on many levels. The movie shows us the lengths some will go to defend a criminal and exposes a system that may not have the right information or the proper training to put someone to death or jail someone for life without parole. “The Devil’s Advocate” will leave you entertained and somewhat cynical about the way justice is administered in the United States.