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REVIEW: The Lincoln Lawyer is Surprisingly Great

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the Lincoln Lawyer Review

I only know about The Lincoln Lawyer from the 2011 film starring . And while that film was intriguing it lacked the time to go into the depth of deception and mystery involving Mickey Haller’s client. Now, Netflix has picked up The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from Michael Connelly’s novels, particularly the second book in The Lincoln Lawyer series, The Brass Verdict. The Lincoln Lawyer is created by David E. Kelley and Ted Humphrey serves as the series showrunner. It stars Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Neve Campbell, Becki Newton, Jazz Raycole, and Angus Sampson.

The show’s premise is simple. Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), an iconoclastic idealist, runs his law practice out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, as he takes on cases big and small across the expansive city of Los Angeles. But its execution and mystery twists are what make every single episode worth watching. Mickey Haller stumbles into his cases after the death of a close friend, inheriting simple pro-bono work and high publicity trials alike. The main thing on his plate? Defending Trevor Elliot (Christopher Gorham), the uber-rich game company head accused of killing his wife.

Split into 10-episodes, each one focuses on both the smaller elements of Haller’s work and the larger ones. Trevor Elliot is the Season 1 through-line that causes a domino effect in other cases for better or worse. Additionally, we see Haller grapple with his failures as a defense attorney in the past, particularly with the case of Jesus Menedez, a case that wrecked Haller so deeply that he began self-medicating and avoiding practicing law. That said, Haller isn’t the only lawyer in the series.

Haller’s ex-wife is none other than a state prosecutor, Maggie (Neve Campbell), played by the iconic Neve Campbell. While she prosecutes, Haller defends and The Lincoln Lawyer unpacks the difficulties with a justice system that operates in black and white both for those who serve it and those it ruins. This human level of investigating the differences and similarities between prosecutors and defenders also manages to balance a marriage against the victims of the criminal justice system. A human heart to a twisting story that keeps evolving.

It’s rare to see a Latino actor in a role like Mickey Haller, and it’s clear that The Lincoln Lawyer knows that. Instead of opting to pay lip service to his Mexican identity, the showrunners have allowed Garcia-Rulfo to work his latinidad into pretty much every element of his character. From his natural accent not being obscured to calling his daughter “mija,” to the guilt he feels not being able to free a previous client, Jesus Menendez, who had the world stacked against him, it all just works. In fact, the character work done with Haller makes for depth and emotion in a way that goes beyond the courtroom.

That said, Garcia-Rulfo has more charisma than his McConaughey counterpart. He commands all of his scenes and when he delivers his lawyer monologues both to people around him and the jury with his closing arguments, he moves you. There is an intelligence and intimidation that Garcia-Rulfo brings to Haller that easily makes him one of the best lawyers I’ve seen on television. Throw in his vulnerable moments with his daughter and in AA meetings, and you have a well-rounded complex character who carries the series.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from The Lincoln Lawyer, but over 10 episodes, I’m extremely in need of seeing more of Mickey Haller. The series focuses on the humanity and morality of the law, where prosecutors and defenders fall in it, and how criminality itself is one sliding scale often controlled by people in power. On top of that, there are elements of the series that offer up a thrilling crime drama, a game for jury selection, and even some humor. The only critique I have is that the series outpaces itself, and more episodes would have worked in its favor.

The Lincoln Lawyer is streaming exclusively on Netflix May 13, 2022.

Author

  • Former academic current television, film, and comic critic. I have spent around 10 years of my life analyzing popular culture, writing on it, and creating a community around it. You can describe me as a gamer, podcaster, chicana, scholar, nerd, just don't call me quiet.


The Lincoln Lawyer Season 1
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from The Lincoln Lawyer, but over 10 episodes, I’m extremely in need of seeing more of Mickey Haller. The series focuses on the humanity and morality of the law, where prosecutors and defenders fall in it, and how criminality itself is one sliding scale often controlled by people in power. On top of that, there are elements of the series that offer up a thrilling crime drama, a game for jury selection, and even some humor. The only critique I have is that the series outpaces itself, and more episodes would have worked in its favor.

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