‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ ~ TV TALK with BILL CUSHING


By: Bill Cushing – June. 2022

In 2011, Matthew McConaughey starred in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ a big-screen adaptation of Michael Connelly’s series of legal thrillers featuring Mickey Haller. Now, Netflix has cast Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Haller, the brilliant defense lawyer known for working mostly out of one of his Lincoln Town Cars of various vintages, or his Lincoln Navigator, as he travels the highways of the Greater Los Angeles area in service of his clients.
The series opens with Mickey on a hiatus of sorts. He hasn’t worked in over a year due to a surfing accident that left him addicted to painkillers and led to him spending time in rehab. However, his career is jolted back to life when a colleague is murdered and leaves his entire practice to Mickey in his will.

While this is a big boost to Mickey’s non-existent law practice, it also comes a big negative. Now he is inundated with cases that he knows nothing about. One of these cases is a ‘Trial of the Century’ style spectacle involving a video game mogul named Trevor Elliot, who was found by police standing over the bloody bodies of his wife and her lover.

Elliott proves to be an especially difficult client, but Mickey sees this as the case that could restore his career and is determined to give it all he has.

There’s also the matter of the dead colleague and the police investigation into it. Did the killing have something to do with one of the cases Mickey inherited? Is he in danger now? It’s quickly apparent that the answer to both questions is yes, giving birth to any number of intriguing—and deadly—subplots, each accompanied by a gut-wrenching episode cliffhangers.

The series was created by David E. Kelley, and he and co-writer Ted Humphrey seamlessly introduce several key characters into the proceedings, starting with Mickey’s second and most recent ex-wife Lorna (Becki Newton), who runs Mickey’s suddenly busy office, and Maggie McPherson (Neve Campbell), a prosecutor who was Mickey’s FIRST wife and the mother of their teenage daughter Hayley (Krista Warner).

Mickey’s best friend and investigator sidekick, Cisco (Angus Sampson), has recently become engaged to Lorna, and Mickey seems fine with that because he and Lorna work better as friends than romantic partners. Besides, it is clear that Mickey still has feeling for Maggie.

‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ is fast-moving and packed with action. Garcia-Rulfo may not quite live up to McConaughey’s magnetism in the role, but his casting is key to the series’ success. In the novels, Haller is half Mexican, and the series enhances his Mexican heritage in a way that the film does not. Garcia-Rulfo plays Mickey as if he never gets more than three hours’ sleep a night, yet confidently explores the character’s flaws, shrewdness and feeling to build a fine-tuned performance.

While the novels also reveal that Mickey is the half-brother of Connelly’s other famous character, Harry Bosch, it is unclear if the series will also reveal that part of the story or if we might see Titus Welliver make an appearance as Harry. Probably unlikely, since ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ and ‘Bosch: Legacy’ air on different networks. But it would be fun if they could work it out and cross over.

All of this combines for a very enjoyable, highly bingeable series that has a visually appealing style and makes good use of the L.A. locations.

‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ has already been renewed for a second season and is available to stream on Netflix.

If you have any questions about TV, you can email me at BillsTVTalk@gmail.com. I will answer all your questions and will feature some of the questions I receive in a future Mailbag column.

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