Gale's lawyer is Braxton Belyeu, an ageing eccentric with a long ponytail. We learn that Gale asked specifically for Bloom, and will talk only to her. They are to have two hours on each of four consecutive days, after which Gale will be executed at 6 o'clock in the evening. Belyeu and Stemmonsleave the prison and Gale starts to tell Bloom his story, which we see in a series of flashbacks.
Gale's marriage was in difficulties, and relations with his wife Sharon strained, but he was devoted to his small son Jamie. We see Gale lecturing on philosophy to a large class of students. Then a couple of minutes before the end of the lecture period a beautiful female student called Berlinarrives noisily and Gale pauses while she takes her seat. Then, as the students leave after dismissal, Berlin attempts to tempt Gale to give her a better term mark in exchange for sex. He tells her quietly but firmly that the way to get a better mark is to study. However, not long after that Gale finds himself one evening at a party with faculty and students, and Berlin catches him alone in aluxurious bathroom. Locking the door, she tells him she has quit class and isn't his student any more, and that she wants sex with him anyway.
Gale gives in to temptation but soon finds himself accused of rape. His world falls apart: he loses his university post; his wife leaves him taking their son and moves to Spain, selling their house; and even the (unseen by us) national leader of Death Watchwants local organizer Constance Hallaway to have no more to do with him. We see Gale setting distraught on the step of the path to his house front door, clutching his little boy's favorite soft toy to him, as his wife and son are driven away in a taxi; we see him in a conversation with a university dean who explains there is no way he can give Gale a job because of his reputation; and we see him in aninterview attempting to get a job in business and hopelessly lost when asked to give three reasons why they should hire him. Gale, now jobless and homeless, turns heavily to drink; we see him in a bar, then staggering along a crowded sidewalk at night shouting about Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to passers-by; and at last he winds up on the porch of his only remaining friend in the world,Constance Hallaway. He now learns, as a result of an emergency when she has to go to hospital, which she is dying of leukemia. He has to sleep off his drunken stupor on a seat in the hospital corridor. After she is home again, Constance is talking to David one evening about her one regret in life, that she didn't have more sex. He offers and, having assured her it isn't out of pity, she accepts. Heleaves in the morning but she is subsequently found dead --- naked, handcuffed behind her back, with her mouth taped over with gaffer tape, and suffocated by a plastic bag that is over her head and taped round the neck. A post-mortem reveals that she had swallowed the handcuff key. David Gale's semen is also found inside her. A video camera on a tripod --- on which no fingerprints were found --- hasrecorded the whole scene.
After the prison visit one afternoon, Bloom and Stemmons have to collect a large sum in US currency bills; they then return to their motel to find her door blocked open with a roll of gaffer tape, and a videotape cassette suspended by a string from the ceiling of her room, labeled with her name. They borrow a video player from the motel manager and are profoundly...