In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretary of State.
The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks.
Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer, Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the trial unfolds, Aiken realises that things are not entirely as they seem, and that there may be an unexpected twist to the story of events.
The Mary E. Surratt Boarding House still stands, and is located at 604 H Street NW in Washington, D.C. Mary Surratt's farmhouse in Clinton, Maryland, is now a museum. The town in which the farmhouse stands was originally called Surrattsville, but the United States Post Office renamed the town Robeysville due to the notoriety of the Surratt name. In 1879, Robeysville was renamed Clinton.
The Conspirator premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 11th September 2010, and a special premiere screening took place on 29th March 2011 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
A second premiere screening took place on 10th April 2011 at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., the site of the assassination.
The United States cinema release took place on 15th April 2011, the 146th anniversary of the death of President Lincoln. The film was released in Canada on 29th April 2011 and in the UK on 1st July 2011.
James McAvoy as Fredrick Aiken, an idealistic young war hero who reluctantly
defends Surratt and in the process comes to believe in her innocence.