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Upon release from prison, gangster Eddie Kagle (Paul Muni) is killed by his partner in crime, Smiley Williams (Hardie Albright). Kagle ends up in Hell, where ‘Nick’ (Claude Rains) offers him a chance to escape hell and avenge his own death in exchange for help with a problem. Kagle looks exactly like Judge Frederick Parker (Paul Muni), a man who is causing Nick distress because he is entirely too honest. Nick fears that Parker will cause him more anxiety in future, as he is running for governor. Nick wants to destroy Parker’s reputation and Kagle readily agrees to have his soul transferred into Parker’s body.
As soon as Kagle appears as Parker, odd things begin to happen. Kagle pursues his goal with evil intent, but everything he does to ruin the judge’s reputation somehow results in making him look better.