In the series opener, take-no-prisoners Manhattan litigator Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) hires law-school grad Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) to work on a civil case against businessman Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson), a corporate buccaneer who sold his company out from under his workers. But it turns out that Ellen has an unwitting tie to Frobisher: Her best friend is a chef who's being bankrolled by him. Shayes: Tate Donovan. Katie: Anastasia Griffith. David: Noah Bean.
Patty's resolve is tested when a mysterious threat arrives at her office that puts the whole case in jeopardy. Elsewhere, Patty places new demands on Ellen, and Tom digs up some interesting information on Katie. Michael Hewes: Zachary Booth. Det. Dan Williams: Casey Siemaszko.
Patty's team prepares a fragile Katie for her impending deposition; Gregory Malina sits on information that could be vital to the trial; and an on-the-job incident involving David threatens to complicate his relationship with Ellen. Meanwhile, Ray is pressured by superiors at his law firm to "get it done"; and Tom asks a partner at another firm for a favor: to help get his daughter into a special music school.
Frobisher pushes Fiske to take a more aggressive approach on the case. "I want redemption," he tells him. Meanwhile, Patty is on shaky ground with the clients, and Tom ponders his career options and seeks the advice of an outspoken friend (Donal Logue). In flash-forwards, Ellen is seen being attacked, and fighting back.
Eager to learn Gregory's secrets before it's too late, Patty pursues him---cautiously; an emboldened Frobisher tries to salvage his legacy with an unconventional strategy; and Lila reappears in David's life, further testing his relationship with Ellen.
The Frobisher case now hinges on Gregory Malina's deposition, so Patty must keep him safe. Meanwhile, Ellen and Tom hide something from Patty, who they fear is manipulating them. And in a flash-forward, Ellen is arrested for David's murder.
With Gregory missing and the Frobisher camp taking extra measures to keep the momentum on their side, Patty must find a new strategy for the case. Meanwhile, Ellen's parents (Debra Monk, Gordon Clapp) show up with troubling news. And in a flash-forward, Ellen is charged with David's murder.
The deposition is looming and both sides continue to fight for the upper hand, with Frobisher hiring a coach (Donna Murphy) and Ellen working her newfound relationship with George Moore (Peter Riegert). Meanwhile, Gregory Malina surfaces and seeks out Katie, while Lila DiMaio visits Ellen at her office. And in a flash-forward, Ellen and David get away for a weekend at Patty's beach house.
Patty and Frobisher square off at his deposition while Ellen, who has been relegated to the sidelines, makes risky moves that could get her back in the action. In flash-forwards, Patty is still missing and Tom makes a discovery in her apartment.
Pressure from the trial is taking its toll on Patty and Frobisher, as both sides intensify their tactics despite potentially dire ramifications. Ellen's secret information could be a huge help to Patty, but divulging it would be very risky.
In the first-season finale, Patty agrees to defend Ellen---if Ellen will provide her with the Gregory Malina videotape. Meanwhile, flashbacks follow Frobisher to Florida in 2002; and Hollis Nye seeks out Ellen.