The Lincoln Lawyer began life as a series of legal thriller books authored by Michael Connelly. The books follow the adventures of Mickey Haller – a twice divorced criminal defense lawyer who is brilliant in the courtroom but struggles with a turbulent personal life.
Haller’s moniker of “The Lincoln Lawyer” comes from his preference to operate his practice out of the back of a chauffeured Lincoln town car. One of his biggest struggles is the discomfort he often feels for representing the guilty.
In 2011, Lionsgate released a film based on the first book in the series. The film featured an all-star cast including Matthew McConaughey as Haller, Marissa Tomei as his ex-wife Maggie McPherson, and Ryan Phillippe as his client Louis Roulet – a Beverly Hills playboy accused of a violent crime. Also in the cast are Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña, Bryan Cranston, William H Macy, Michael Paré, and Trace Adkins.
My familiarity with The Lincoln Lawyer began and ended with that film. I had no knowledge that the movie was based on a literary character or if those books were any good.
The Matthew McConaughey feature is not a bad movie. I enjoyed it to a degree, but in the end thought the best part of the film was the title. The Lincoln Lawyer is just such a cool name.
The buzz on the street right now is that the new Netflix television series based on The Lincoln Lawyer books is a must-see. If something is a must-see, then I guess one must see it. At least that was what happened for me with this series. I watched it. And, I’m so glad I did.
The first season of The Lincoln Lawyer television series is based on the 2008 Connelly book The Brass Verdict. The advantage that a television series has over a film is immense. Instead of trying to cram all the plot points from a book into a 2-hour film, a series has 10 or more episode with which to paint the picture.
The television series was created for television by famed producer David E. Kelly. Kelly’s resume includes such hits as Chicago Hope, The Practice, Boston Legal, Doogie Howser MD, and Ally McBeal. The series was developed by Ted Humphery, who is best known for his work on The Good Wife.
While McConaughey’s interpretation of Mickey Haller relies on his good looks and Texas charm, the television series stars a very different leading man in the role. Enter Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.
García-Rulfo is a Mexican-born actor best known for his roles in From Dusk till Dawn: The Series and the films The Magnificent Seven and Murder on the Orient Express.
Garcia-Rulfo’s Mickey Haller is so much more developed than the character in the 2011 film. In addition to being a riveting courtroom drama, the series embraces Haller’s Mexican heritage and his relationships with his daughter and his two ex-wives.
I have to admit, I was not familiar with García-Rulfo prior to watching this series. But I am a fan now. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is a phenomenal actor.
García-Rulfo shows us the internal battles Haller faces over defending often guilty criminals. He also shows us the wear and tear on his psyche when an innocent client gets the shaft due to a corrupt system.
IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
In this series, we also get to see Haller’s relationships with his ex-wives and his teen daughter. Neve Campbell and Becki Newton play Mickey’s two ex-wives: Maggie and Lorna. Both do an exquisite job with their characters. Krista Warner also turns in a very fine performance as Mickey and Maggie’s daughter Hayley.
In this incarnation of the character, Haller has been away from the legal profession for over a year, thanks to the struggles of opioid addiction.
Haller lost joint custody of his daughter because of his drug addiction. His battle to revive his career and reputation is all the more prevalent because he sees it as the key to regaining joint custody.
HIGH PROFILE CASE
In the first season of The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix, Mickey Haller catches a high-profile murder case involving a video game designer who is accused of killing his wife and her lover.
Christopher Gorham plays Trevor Elliott – the tech wizard accused in the double murder. I am a longtime fan of Gorham. I was first exposed to Gorham’s charismatic charm opposite Peter Weller in the 2002 series Odyssey 5. He later starred in another series I enjoyed, espionage series Covert Affairs.
Gorham adds a wonderful element to season one of The Lincoln Lawyer. Also of note in the supporting cast are Jazz Raycole as Mickey’s driver, Angus Sampson as his go-to investigator, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine as the detective investigating the Elliott murder case, Michael Graziadei as the Deputy District Attorney prosecuting the case, and LisaGay Hamilton as a judge watching over Mickey’s re-entry into practicing law.
IT ALL WORKS
Everything about the television series works. It is well-written, well-directed, and spectacularly acted. An example of a truly binge-worthy show, I started watching season one on a Friday and finished the last episode on Sunday. Rarely has a series captivated me so much.
If you enjoy legal thrillers, you’ll be a fan of The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix. It’s a damn good show.
As of the end of May 2022, Netflix has yet to announce that there will be a season two of The Lincoln Lawyer. This is not alarming; Netflix often waits to analyze various viewer metrics before renewing a show.
However, with the strong buzz and critical embrace of the show, it would seem very likely we’ll be seeing more of Mickey Haller’s courtroom adventures in the future. I shall look forward to it. And, if you give season one a view, you’ll be right there with me jonesing for the next season.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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