Paul Silas is a copper with a chequered past, saved from a life of hard crime by policeman he dedicates his life to justice and the law. One day, he discovers that his superintendent, Mags, has been taking bribes and tampering with evidence. Seeing this as a perversion of the law, Paul sends in an anonymous tip-off. However, things don’t go to plan and Mags manages to escape. A few days later the new guy from evidence, Jim, disappears too and Paul quickly realises the two had been working together and Mags has kidnapped Jim, thinking it was him that sold him out and intending to kill him in revenge. Paul tracks Mags down and manages to find him but just before breaking in to rescue Jim he pauses. He realises he would essentially be risking his own life to save the life of a criminal. He could leave Jim to his own fate, abandoning his principles, but call the police on Mags and get out alive. Or, he could dive in now to save Jim but end up having to face a furious Mags and his gang all by himself.
The character of Paul Silas is based on Paul from the bible who, like Paul Silas, made an about-turn in his life when he went from persecuting early Christians to championing the faith. The story is based on an event from the Book of Acts when Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into jail without a fair trial. Trusting in God for justice, the two sing and pray until miraculously the prison doors are flung open and their chains came loose, setting them free. They are faced with a choice, they can escape from the prison in which they were unjustly kept but that would mean the death of the jailer who would be held responsible. This is comparable to Paul Silas’ choice, as he has to choose between his own and another person’s safety. Finally, the magistrate in Acts orders that Paul and Silas be set free quietly, but knowing that their rights had not been met they stick to their principles and instead insisted that the wrongs against them are acknowledge by the magistrate personally. Likewise, Paul Silas in the film fights for justice and against corruption, taking down Mags even though he is his superintendent.