Joey Nolfi
October 05, 2017 AT 09:00 AM EDT

Denzel Washington gets into the groove of a no-nonsense lawyer in the trailer for Roman J. Israel, Esq, which debuts exclusively above.

Directed by Oscar-nominated Nightcrawler filmmaker Dan Gilroy, the dramatic thriller unfolds amid the underbelly of the Los Angeles criminal justice system, where the titular defense attorney embarks on an unexpected, turbulent series of events that challenge his notorious activist history that has largely defined his career.

The amusing temperament of Washington’s character is of particular note, as the ruthless counselor doesn’t seem to take kindly to his opponents — or much of anyone, really.

“Voluntary manslaughter. It’s a good deal,” an associate, referencing a case, tells him during a phone call. He responds: “It’s an enema of sunshine.”

Gilroy wrote the character with Washington in mind. “Roman is defined by his belief in something greater than himself. He’s a man of faith. He has this common, universal humanity to him that he believes. Denzel, if you research Denzel, he’s literally a man of faith,” Gilroy told EW earlier this year. “So it was never going to be hard for the audience to buy into the idea that the actor playing the part believes in the things Roman is doing. I think one of the reasons why Denzel dissolves into the character is because they’re so close to each other in so many ways. Denzel embodies the idea of a man living his life on terms that are based on a cause — going toward something. That’s why I really wrote it for him.”

Roman J. Israel, Esq. opens in theaters in November. Watch EW’s exclusive trailer above.

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