Judge Gibbs' young wife performed in a mermaid show until she nearly lost her life to an alligator, after which she abruptly retired from the business and can no longer even go in her swimming pool. Baker comes to Deepwater on a case and becomes a romantic target for the local sheriff, as well as a potential conquest for the always lustful judge. The show also includes a family of inbred, myopic, dysfunctional people with a criminal bent.
Public defender Kathy Baker visits the small Florida town of Deepwater to defend a young client being used as a pawn by a politically minded judge. She stumbles onto the town's many peculiarities including a criminally minded backwoods family, an abusive deputy, alligators running rampant, and a crazed environmentalist, all presided over by an eccentric judge, "Maximum" Bob Gibbs.
Bob 'borrows' a convict from the prison to serve as his personal gardener, leading to problems when Wanda Grace chooses him to be her first love. Leanne willingly donates her body for Wanda's use. Bob bursts in, leading to a large manhunt and a kidnapped baby.
Bob enjoys the satisfaction when he busts he ex-wife Rosellen for smuggling Cuban cigars into the country. His satisfaction is short-lived when two federal agents arrive, claiming that Rosellen is a federal operative. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Bob spies on Rosellen and in the process gets captured and held hostage by Cuban Freedom Fighters. Meanwhile, in another part of Deepwater, Kathy and Sheriff Hammond practice for an upcoming dance contest.
Kathy represents a man being refused a job as a mermaid. Dirk and Bogart Crowe refuse to return their pet manatee to its rightful owner. Kathy represents her estranged husband Kevin after he is brought before Judge Gibbs for traffic violations. Kevin tries to convince Kathy he is a changed man.
Kathy befriends a dog that saved her life. Meanwhile, the whole town is up in arms over a beast of some sort that attacked a young woman, biting off three fingers. According to witnesses (the Crowe family) the beast was either a Gatorman or the OkeechobeeWolfman. Judge Gibbs hires an exorcist to cast out Wanda Grace.
Bob falls for Angelyne, a born-againdeath row inmate. After 'Old Sparky' blows a fuse, Bob works with Kathy to find a way to let the prisoner off the hook. Meanwhile, Inez Crowe comes to work as Leanne's personal aide.
Judge Gibbs' gubernatorialcampaign is temporarily derailed by allegations of sexual assault leveled by a former intern. Elvin Crowe and Sheriff Gary hunt down Sonny and another convict after the two break out of prison.