An ethics professor ironically finds himself caught in a dangerous ethical dilemma when he attempts to intervene on behalf of a bright but troubled student who appears to be a victim of physical abuse.


As his marriage crumbles, Julian Long, an ethics professor, turns his attentions toward a bright but troubled student, Vanessa Coolidge, after she begins to show up to class with signs of abuse. As Julian attempts to intervene on behalf of his student, he finds that his moral principles and ethical beliefs are no match for the dangerous rules and visceral lifestyle that dominate Vanessa's world. When Julian makes a desperate attempt to "save" Vanessa from what he believes is a deadly downward spiral, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will ironically trap him into a prison crafted from his righteousness for the ethical morality he so strongly clings to.

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An Apology to the Dead is the story of Julian Long (Troy Randall-Kilpatrick), a middle-aged ethics professor in a mid-western college town. Julian's home life with his wife, Caroline (Lisa Sodman), and his daughter, Rebecca (Chelsea Elizabeth Gill), has become increasingly unsettled. Caroline's stressful work life and Julian's need to befriend his daughter, have created friction between husband and wife. Caroline becomes paranoid that Julian is having an affair with a student when she uncovers a number of questionable emails from a female student, Vanessa Coolidge (Jenelle Mazaris).

Vanessa begins to take a genuine interest in her ethics class when Julian challenges her to live up to her potential. Her paper about the nature of true love proves to be her best work. But when Vanessa shows up to class with signs of abuse, Julian begins to fear the worst and attempts to uncover the truth. What he discovers confirms his darkest fears and leads Julian to attempt to "rescue" his star student from her dangerous lifestyle.

Julian talks of ethical dilemmas and objectivist reasoning in his classroom but does this obscure what is truly happening within and around him? Vanessa's secrets and the extent of her abuse prove too much for Julian to handle and his actions set in motion events with dire consequences.

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JULIAN LONG - Julian is an ethics professor at a midwest community college, married to Caroline, with a daughter, Rebecca. Julian enjoys his work as an ethics professor and his students admire his eccentric lectures and formidable class discussions. Julian once studied to be a professional musician, but gave it up to pursue a tangible career and support his family. Julian applies the principles of the ethics he teaches to the way he thinks and acts as a person.

CAROLINE LONG - Julian's wife. Caroline and Julian have grown estranged due to Caroline's relentless pursuit of a promotion at her legal firm. They have grown distant and awkward toward each other. Caroline especially disapproves of the way Julian has been "raising" their daughter while she has been working late into the night on her endless paperwork. As their fighting increases, Caroline becomes increasingly paranoid that Julian is having an affair with a student.

REBECCA LONG - Julian's daughter. Rebecca is confused by the growing animosity she senses between her parents. She writes letters to her father in which she argues for the right to purchase adult music, while subtly alluding that the language she might hear in the album is hardly different than the language coming from her parents' arguments. Unfortunately, Julian doesn't pay any attention to the letters, much to Rebecca's dismay.

VANESSA COOLIDGE- A student in Julian's ethics class with a lifestyle far more on the edge than Julian's morally certain world. Initially, Vanessa has problems showing up to class on time and contributing to class discussion. After Julian attempts to reach out to her, though, Vanessa begins to appreciate Julian's sincerity in trying to help her grow as a scholar and as a person. As she continues to work hard in the class, she finds the demands of her chosen lifestyle are beginning to conflict, violently even, with her desire to become a model student for Julian.

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