Javert's Apology takes place in 1823, Montreuil-sur-Mer, after Jean Valjean (disguised as Monsieur Madeleine) saves Fantine from being arrested by Javert and takes her to the hospital. Angry with Valjean for interfering with police work, Javert makes a report suspecting Valjean's true identity. A letter from Paris then comes informing Javert that the "real" Jean Valjean has been found; however, it is another criminal that had been caught stealing and was mistakenly identified as Valjean. Javert goes to the Mayor to apologize for mistaking him for being a convict, and asks the Mayor to press charges against him. Valjean, however, acknowledges Javert as merely doing his duty, and lets him off.
Monsieur le Mayor, I have a crime to declare!
I have disgraced the uniform that I wear
I've done you wrong, let no forgiveness be shown
I've been as hard on every rogue I have known
I mistook you for a convict,
I have made a false report,
Now I learn they caught the culprit,
He's about to face the court.
And of course, he now denies it,
You'd expect that of a con,
But he couldn't run forever,
No, not even Jean Valjean!
You say this man denies it all
And gives no sign of understanding or repentance?
You say this man is going to trial
And that he's sure to be returned to serve his sentence?
He will pay, and so must I
Press charges against me, sir.
You have only done your duty,
It's a minor sin at most.
All of us have made misjudgments
You'll return, sir, to your post.