It's a beautiful day in Springfield, but Bart isn't happy about going to school (in part because they have to go on a prison bus) and when arriving in class, Bart has had enough, skipping school by pretending to go to the dentist. However, Principal Skinner isn't convinced.
He goes after Bart, finally cornering him, but Bart jumps in a car in time. The car is driven by Freddy Quimby, going to his birthday. At lunch, Freddy is served chowder, but he asked the French waiter, Mr. Lacoste, to say it correctly. He says 'shau-dere', but Freddy says it's 'chow-dah'.
Freddy follows the waiter into the kitchen, where Bart is hiding under a table, demanding that the waiter pronounce chowder "chow-dah." Soon after, Freddy is heard saying, "All right, you asked for it. I'm gonna enjoy this." These words are then followed by a loud assortment of noises, and the waiter lands right by Bart, who is still hiding, but has witnessed the whole thing. Freddy is then arrested for the crime (presumably battery) and put on trial.
Everyone says he's guilty, but Bart knows that Freddy didn't do it. He doesn't want to testify, however, because he skipped school and Principal Skinner will know that he did if he testifies. Meanwhile, Homer is selected for jury duty for the trial. During the course of the trial, Mayor Quimby pays for witnesses (such as Moe) to falsely testify that Freddy was nowhere near the Quimby Compound that day. The people in the courtroom grow to believe this is correct, and Freddy Quimby is asked to speak before the court. Freddy's lawyer tells the court that Freddy would never lose his head over something as trivial as the pronunciation of the word chowder (pronouncing it as it should be). This causes Freddy to fly into a rage, shouting: "That's chow-dah! Chow-dah! I'll kill you! I'll kill every one of you, especially those of you in the jury!" Needless to say, Freddy is already being considered a guilty party.
Homer discovers that if the jury is deadlocked, they will have to be sequestered and stay at the Springfield Palace Hotel until they decide on a verdict. Thanks to him, they do so. He ends up sharing a room with Principal Skinner (also one of the jurors).
Bart reconsiders testifying to Freddy's innocence after watching a show on TV with a similar incident. Lisa manages to help Bart work up the courage to testify, and the judge allows Bart to take the witness stand.
Bart explains exactly what happened. After the waiter refused to say 'chow-dah,' Freddy grabbed a bottle of champagne and shouted, "All right, you asked for it. I'm gonna enjoy this!" He popped it open and left the kitchen. After Freddy left, the waiter ended up injuring himself through a series of clumsy actions. The waiter declares he's not a clumsy 'Clouseau-esque' waiter, but in the process falls out of a nearby open window into an open-roof truck filled with mouse traps. Freddy is cleared of all charges, but Bart is given four months detention. (Skinner's amending it from three to four months is cut in syndication.)