On death row in the southern US is John Brennan, an educated yet arrogant writer whose crime could be viewed as doing society a 'favour'. Brennan uses his skills and intelligence to actively campaign against capital punishment. He is also responsible for editing the prison newspaper, The Death Row Advocate, and in particular, penning the prisoners' obituaries. After his previous neighbour is executed, Bobby Alvin Reyburn takes his place in the cell next to Brennan.
Reyburn, an illiterate and deeply disturbed young man, is a member of the Ayran nation and the perpetrator of a horrific mass racist murder. Illiterate, yet strangely appealing, Reyburn is ready to die and longs to be in heaven where he believes he will be rewarded for carrying out 'God's work'.
Despite the gulf between the two men, an understanding develops between the two; and as each awaits their fate, one evokes sympathy, and the other derision.
Starring Ben Cross and Alex Ferns