Dr. Jane Halifax, f.p., is asked by the court to evaluate Kristy O' Connor, a young girl with a near-genius level IQ, who deliberately drowned a fellow pupil (and her only friend) in a bath at the exclusive private girls school which they both attend.
At first, Jane finds Kristy rebellious, difficult and seemingly unconcerned with the reality of her situation and the crime with which she has been charged. In time, however, after interviewing Kristy's mother, Maureen, fellow pupils and the local doctor in the small country town in which Kristy lives, she finds many things in the child's background disturbing, most particularly the fact that her Irish-born father, Sean, to whom Kristy was reportedly very close, suddenly disappeared four years ago and, apart from a few beer coasters, supposedly collected on his travels and posted to her, the child has had no contact with him.
Delving more deeply, Jane soon realises that Kristy is not only very intelligent, but also a consumate liar who has committed arson in the past. Members of the community also inform Jane that Sean O' Connor was a violent drunk, whom nobody missed when he suddenly left the area. Nobody that is, except his daughter, who is obviously still fretting for him. Further investigation brings to light the fact that Maureen O' Connor has somewhat questionable morals and is involved in an affair with her boss who owns the local lumber mill. Kristy seems to greatly dislike this man, and, after speaking with him, Dr. Halifax is not very impressed with him either.
It is not long before Jane begins to suspect that the disappearance of Kristy's father is not as clear cut as it seems. Finally, Jane finds out that Sean O' Connor is dead and that Kristy believes she killed him after hitting him over the head during a violent arguement between her parents when her mother was being beaten. Sean fell to the bottom of the stairs and when his body had been moved the next morning, the child was convinced it had been taken away, and the story of his 'running off' was put about in order toprotect her from a murder charge.
As Jane and the police delve more deeply into these events, it transpires that Kristy has been lied to by her her mother all along, as Sean was NOT dead at the bottom of the stairs, but merely unconscious, and it was 'the boyfriend' who dispatched him with a bullet to the head, before dumping his weighed-down body in the water. Freed from the belief that she accidently murdered her own father, and safe in the knowledge that the real culprits will be held accountable, Jane Halifax feels that there may be some hope of a future for the young girl after all.
A 'must-see' episode for all fans of crime/drama. Rebecca Gibney and Emily Browning work superbly together and clearly bring out the best in each other in this great piece of Australian television.