Presumed Innocent (novel)

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Presumed Innocent
Presumed innocent turow novel.jpg
First edition
Author Scott Turow
Country United States
Language English
Genre Legal thriller, Crime novel
Publisher Farrar Straus & Giroux
Publication date
August 1987
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 448 pp (first edition, hardback)
432 (paperback)
ISBN 0-374-23713-1 (first edition, hardback)
ISBN 0-14-010336-8 (paperback)
OCLC 15315809
813/.54 19
LC Class PS3570.U754 P7 1987
Preceded by One L
Followed by The Burden of Proof

Presumed Innocent, published in August 1987, is Scott Turow's first novel, which tells the story of a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague, an attractive and intelligent prosecutor, Carolyn Polhemus. It is told in the first person by the accused, Rožat "Rusty" Sabich. A motion picture adaptation starring Harrison Ford was released in 1990.


The novel begins with the discovery of Polhemus dead in her apartment, the victim of what appears to be a sexual bondage encounter gone wrong, killed outright by a fatal blow to the skull with an unknown object. Rusty Sabich is a prosecutor and co-worker of Carolyn and is assigned her case by the district attorney. Everything is complicated by the fact that Rusty is an ex-lover of Carolyn's. The novel follows the eventual discovery of their affair and Rusty's trial for her murder.

Many of the minor characters in Presumed Innocent also appear in Turow's later novels, which are all set in the fictional, Midwestern Kindle County. A sequel to Presumed Innocent, titled Innocent, was released on May 4, 2010 and continues the relationship between Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto.


Scott Martelle of Los Angeles Times called the novel's plot twists "inventive".[1] Kevin J. Hamilton of The Seattle Times called its story "clever, chilling and wildly unpredictable."[2]


Before the original novel was released in August 1987, director Sydney Pollack bought the film rights for $1 million.[1]


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