In 2011, “The Lincoln Lawyer” was released on the big screen. The story is based on Michael Connelly’s novel of the same title. Aside from being blown away by the movie, it also converted me into a huge Matthew McConaughey fan.
And history has repeated itself with the TV spin-off, starring Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who slips into the skin of Mickey Haller, a criminal defence lawyer and recovering addict, with commendable swag.
The show and lead have won me over.
A Gerard Butler doppelganger, Garcia-Rulfo makes for a compelling lead as a pit bull in the courtroom. Outside of it, there’s a vulnerability that comes through when he is with his daughter Haley (Krista Warner) and ex-wife Maggie McPherson (Neve Campbell), who is a criminal prosecutor.
The series opens with a murder. A man is shot dead in his car and his laptop is taken.
In the next frame, Mickey, on the beach surfing, gets a call from Lorna Crain (Becki Newton), his second ex-wife and legal aide. She informs him that he has been summoned to the court chambers of Judge Mary Holder (LisaGay Hamilton).
Perplexed by the request, he concedes only to find that he is now the benefactor of prosecutor Gerry Vincent’s law practice and all his cases, including a high-profile case, where he has to defend gaming developer Trevor Elliott (Christopher Gorham), who is accused of murdering his unfaithful wife and lover.
Gerry, by the way, was the man killed at the beginning.
A little rusty after battling an addiction to painkillers on the back of a car accident, which saw his career tank, this is Mickey’s chance to bounce back.
And he is supported by Lorna and her fiancé Cisco (Angus Sampson), who is also his go-to investigator.
Mickey bagged the moniker of “The Lincoln Lawyer” because he was always working cases on the go. This time is no different – even though he has an office.
Among the last-minute cases he finds himself thrust into, he comes across Izzy Letts (Jazz Raycole), a former addict. In helping her get the charge dropped, he also finds his new chauffeur.
That’s Mickey, though, problem-solving while building cases on the go.
The case of Trevor is tricky from the outset. Mickey smells a rat with the version of events that he is told. And the more he pushes forward with a solid defence, the more he is setback by an unreasonable client and a web of lies.
And the situation is compounded by a threat to his life.
Mickey also finds himself in a catch-22 situation with his ex when cases overlap as corruption is rooted out.
Ntare Guma Mbhao Mwine gets a lot of screen time as Detective Raymond Griggs as does human trafficker Angelo Soto, played by Reggie Lee.
Amid all the complications in his life, Mickey is haunted by the case of his old client Jésus Menendez (Saul Huezo) and rectifies a past wrong.
When you think of legal dramas of substance shows like “How to Get Away with Murder”, “Bull”, “Suits”, “The Good Fight” and “For Life” come to mind.
Why? The characters are multilayered, the storylines are laden with intrigue and the approach is refreshingly unique.
Well, “The Lincoln Lawyer” is no different. At first, it may come across as an average legal drama but as the story gains momentum, it is clear that this series has gravitas and longevity.
Let’s just say, streamers will be blown away by the slickness of the storytelling and the unsuspecting manner in which the protagonist pieces together the evidence and fearlessly ruffles feathers, at the same time.
I’m all-in for a second season.
“The Lincoln Lawyer” is streaming on Netflix.