The drama depicts a jury forced to reconsider its nearly unanimous decision by the single dissenter
who sows a seed of
. The story begins after
presented in a homicide case, as the
is giving his instructions to the jury. As in most American
, the 12 men must unanimously decide on a verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty". (In the
justice systems of nearly all American states, failure to reach a unanimous verdict, a so-called "
", results in a
.) The case at bar pertains to whether a young man murdered his own father.
The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence.
These 12 then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities
of their peers. Throughout their
, not a single juror calls another by his name because the
names are unknown by the jurors. Several of the jurors have different reasons for discriminating
against the witness: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his
Twelve Angry Men
takes place in a jury room in the late afternoon on a hot summer's day in New York City.
After the curtain rises, the judge's voice is heard offstage, giving instructions to the jury. He says that the
defendant is being tried for first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory death penalty. The judge adds that if
the jury has reasonable doubt about the guilt of the accused, they must acquit him. The verdict must be
The jurors, all men, file into the jury room and sit in straight-backed chairs around a long conference table. The
weather is hot, and there is no air-conditioning; some of the men are irritable. From the initial chitchat, it is
clear that most members of the jury regard the man as guilty. Jurors Seven and Ten ridicule the defendant's
story. Apparently, a young man has stabbed his father to death with a knife. He admits that he bought a knife
that night but claims that he lost it.
The jury takes a vote. Eleven jurors vote guilty, and one juror, Juror Eight, votes not guilty. Jurors Three,
Seven, and Twelve criticize him, but Juror Eight says that he does not know whether the man is guilty or not but
that it is not easy for him to send a boy to his death without discussing it first. After some argument, they agree
to discuss the facts of the case. Juror Three reviews what they know. An old man who lives underneath the
room where the murder took place heard loud noises just after midnight. He heard the son yell at the father that
he was going to kill him. Then he heard a body falling and moments later, saw the boy running out of the house.
Juror Four says the boy's story is flimsy. He said that he was at the movies at the time of the murder, but no one