Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin wrote this screenplay about married lawyers who battle each other in court on an attempted murder case.
Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday) follows her husband Warren Attinger (Tom Ewell) after work to the apartment of Beryl Caighn (Jean Hagen) and shoots wildly, hitting him once.
Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) sees the news story and gives Adam Bonner (Spencer Tracy) breakfast in bed. They discuss the attempted murder. Adam has to prosecute the case, and he calls Amanda, who tells her secretary Grace to find Doris Attinger. Adam questions Warren in the hospital. Doris tells Amanda that Warren had been hitting her. She says she bought a gun, but it was like a dream.
Adam brings Amanda a new hat. They have dinner guests, and Kip Lurie (David Wayne) comments on their home movie. Adam wants Amanda to drop the case and warns her.
Adam sees Doris wearing the hat. Amanda gets a juror dismissed for not believing in equal rights for women. That evening Adam and Amanda are affectionate and fix their own dinner. Kip comes in and sings, "Farewell Amanda."
Beryl testifies that Doris tried to kill her, but Amanda's objection is sustained. Warren testifies that he no longer loves Doris because she got fat. He says she hit him. Doris testifies that she only wanted to frighten Beryl, not kill anyone. Amanda objects to Adam's questions, and they quarrel. At home Amanda and Adam give each other massages, and she objects to a punitive slap on the rear. Adam says he is ashamed of her, and she cries.
Amanda calls in outstanding women, and three testify. A strong woman lifts up Adam. Amanda comes home late with a gift, but Adam won't talk. He starts packing, calls her a competitor, and leaves.
Amanda tells the jury that shooting may be justified to defend one's home. Adam asks for a guilty verdict and mixes up his words. Amanda objects, and they quarrel again. Adam takes his hat back from Doris. The jury finds her not guilty. They all shake hands, and Doris greets her three children. Adam congratulates Amanda, who wishes it was a tie.
Amanda drinks with Kip and talks about marriage. Kip says he loves her, and she calls him a man. Adam comes in with a gun, and Amanda says he has no right. Adam puts the gun in his mouth and takes a bite of licorice. The three fight and separate.
Adam and Amanda meet with their accountant to sort expenditures. They own their own house now. Adam cries, and they decide to go there. Adam praises her job and says he may run for judge as a Republican. Amanda might run as a Democrat. Adam says he will cry and shows he can do it. She says the sexes are almost the same, and he says hooray for the difference.
This comedy reflects women's struggle for social equality
by showing that a woman can be just as persuasive in a court of
law as a man, and it suggests that the double standard on sexual
infidelity should be dropped.