John Kelso (Cusack) is a young writer from New York who has been sent to Savannah to cover a very prestigious Christmas party. This elegant, lavish and stylish event is given each year by Jim Williams (Spacey), one of Savannah's most prominent and colorful citizens. Unfortunately, things don't quite work out that way.
In a sequence of events set in motion following his courtly Christmas party, Jim Williams is arrested for murder. Claiming self-defense, Williams has shot and killed his live-in lover, Billy Hanson (Jude Law), who, it seems, had a history of irrational, often violent behavior. Williams, now jailed, sets up his office in his cell and calmly continues to do business. -- and what will be Jim Williams' fate.