Lionel Tasman, ex-cop, loyal to his country; served with honour and convicted of murder.
He’s spent years in prison seeking parole for a crime of justice he does not deny. Today is one of the hottest of the year and it’s the second time he will stand in front of the board to convince them he’s a good man; a man who no longer seeks justice for the vicious assault on his wife. A man who lost everything as a result… the woman he loved who could not cope with her attack and her family being destroyed; and a daughter who was taken by the state when the court deemed him dangerous.
The board that sit before him are three people whose lives are about to change. He has labelled them: Cowboy, Library Girl and Bigman. They treat Tasman with disrespect and disregard in the interview; where Cowboy has a particular dislike for him; his unswerving conviction that Tasman deserves all he gets for being a murderer thinking he’s just another criminal in another parole hearing with fake words of remorse. The feeling is mutual; Tasman knows Cowboy convinced the last board he was on to deny his parole, a decision that would cost Tasman severely once back inside the prison walls where he suffered further injustice – an extended sentence for defending himself against prison thugs. Tasman lost his chance to get out once because of Cowboy and knows his so called dangerous misconduct will also stop the two newer Board members from giving him a second chance, especially with Cowboy influencing them.
So when they finish their line of questioning and tell Tasman to leave; he has other plans. The Guard that brought him in stays firm, under the instructions of Tasman. His intimidating presence assures that the board will not leave until Tasman has finished with them. But they only have an hour before the prison Warden comes to check on the proceedings with another nervous guard on the other side watching out for him.
Tasman needs to make sure he gets the board to say things that will result in his parole. He begins to disseminate the character of each board member; Cowboy – a corporate psychopath with a penchant for nastiness, selfish to an end but hiding a secret to do with his wife that Tasman needs him to spill. Library Girl – once she used her sexual provocations to her advantage but soon fell in love with one of the men. Now she’s caught up in a love affair with a man who’s not right for her, a man in the room who’s using her for his egoistic gains. And Bigman - seemingly innocent in the scheme of things, until Tasman uncovers a rather distasteful side to him, captured on the board members own phone.
Using the stench of the day’s heat to his advantage and through his careful interchange of words, Tasman begins to play each character off trying to get them to convict themselves in front of the Guard recording the whole parole process. All the while, none are any wiser as to how Tasman managed to get all the information needed.
What follows is a tense situation in which Tasman gradually brings out the real people they are; showing them that their immoral lives have been found out by someone very dear to him on the outside and bringing into question their facade of law abiding citizens. When each one makes a choice to sign the parole papers, they are left numb knowing Tasman has the upper hand with their lives and wondering who really decides who is good in the eyes of society.
Tasman walks from the prison one week later – finally meeting his daughter; both in their hearts, knowing the answer to the question.