The Unthinkable Happens. Karen is on the phone with her daughter Julie who is at home decorating the house for her small sister's birthday party when the doorbell rings. Julie tells her mother she is going to answer the door. A man pushes his way into the house, thrusts Julie to the floor, and violently attacks her. Karen can hear Julie scream and calling for help. Karen is helpless and stuck on the highway in a traffic jam. The phone is not disconnected so she cannot call the police. Karen, played by Sally Field, runs from car to car begging for someone to call the police. Most ignore her, until finally one woman calls the police. When Karen finally gets home, she learns that her beloved 17-year old daughter is dead.
Months later, Det. Sgt. Denillo, played by Joe Mantagna, has a suspect, and DNA evidence to prove it. The Prosecutor tells Karen and her husband, Mack, played by Ed Harris, that it's an open and shut case. However, when the case is brought before the judge, the defendant, played by Kiefer Sutherland, gets off on a technicality. It's incredible that the Judge who knows that the evidence clearly shows that the creep before him killed young Julie, yet he won't allow the evidence to stand. And the defense attorney defends her client knowing full well that he killed a beautiful young girl with her whole life ahead of her. These two, Judge and defense attorney, are educated people, and yet they let a rapist- murderer get away with such a heinous crime. This film points out that the Justice System needs revamping.
Karen joins a grieving-support group, and learns that some members are taking the law into their own hands and killing those who killed their loved ones. The Killer who killed Julie has killed yet another woman. And there is no proof against him. What Karen does to stop the rapist-murderer is incredible and necessary.
Sally Field, a great actor, is outstanding as Karen. Ms. Field is always excellent in every part she plays. Ed Harris as Mack Karen's husband is also outstanding. Joe Mantagna as Det. Sgt. Denillo is excellent. Kiefer Sutherland, a fine actor, is sleazy and convincing as a brutal rapist-murderer.