Navy lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee is assigned to defend two Marines who are accused of the murder of a fellow marine at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Kaffee generally plea bargains for his clients rather than bring them to trial, which is probably why he was assigned this potentially embarassing case, but when Lt. Commander Joanne Galloway is assigned to assist Kaffee, she is convinced that there's more to the matter than they've been led to believe and convinces her colleague that the case should go to court.
Under questioning, Downey and Dawson reveal that Santiago died in the midst of a hazing ritual known as "Code Red" after he threatened to inform higher authorities that Dawson opened fire on a Cuban watchtower. They also state that the "Code Red" was performed under the orders of Lt. Jonathan Kendrick.
Kendrick's superior, tough-as-nails Col. Nathan Jessup, denies any knowledge of the order to torture Santiago, but when Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson confides to Kaffee that Jessup demanded the "Code Red" for violating his order of silence, Kaffee and Galloway have to find a way to prove this in court.