From a northern working-class background, James Kavanagh (John Thaw) has climbed to the top of an elite profession through hard work and a love of the law. He has earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and opponents alike, as well as a lifestyle to accompany his high salary, but his dedication to work, the long hours and difficult cases, have taken their toll on life at home with his wife and two teenage children.
Despite his success, Kavanagh does not always have an easy time in court or in chambers. His sympathy for minority causes, and his willingness to take on worthy cases for minimal reward, does not
always go down well with his peers.