Reel Reviews | The Lincoln Lawyer

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

Michael Connelly’s iconic character returns but this time to the small screen and instead of McConaughey, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is, The Lincoln Lawyer.

After recovering for over a year from a surfing accident, Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is called into the chambers of Judge Mary Holder (LisaGay Hamilton) who promptly informs him that a colleague, Jerry Vincent has died and is passing all the cases of his law office to him, including the very high-profile case of a tech billionaire, Trevor Elliott (Christopher Gorham) accused of murdering his wife and her lover. After being out of work for so long, Mickey now finds himself scrambling to assemble his team, represent his new clients, maintain Elliott as a client and juggle his parental duties to his teenage daughter. All under the watchful eye of Judge Holder who is ready to pounce at the sign of one misstep.

Created by Ted Humphrey and David E. Kelley based upon the book The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer stars Garcia-Rulfo, Hamilton, and Gorham along with Neve Campbell, Becki Newton, Jazz Raycole, and Angus Sampson.

This series was initially a CBS project but got canceled by COVID and revived by Netflix. The ten-episode season is a promising start for a franchise. Nowhere near as intense as the 2011 movie of the same name, this television series has the pre-requisite number of twists and turns for a legal drama, certainly enough for intrigue and interest. David E. Kelley brings plenty of experience in the genre to this series having created and helmed shows like The Practice, LA Law, Ally McBeal, and Boston Legal to name a few. Kelley knows how to make a show like this work.

Don’t watch this show expecting a remake of the movie. This is an entirely different vehicle. While Haller may still ride in Lincolns to help him think, it goes without saying that the comparison between Garcia-Rulfo’s Haller and McConaughey’s Haller ends there. This new iteration of the character is much more rushed and frantic, juggling to keep all the balls in the air while solving a murder case (or two). This is a good look for Rulfo as he plays this role well. Sure, the cool confidence of the previous Haller is missing but it would be inappropriate forthis version.

The show plays more like a family drama than a legal one. With Mickey trying to protect and communicate with his daughter, Hayley (Krista Warner) the show delves into the legal obligations of being a defense attorney versus the moral obligations. Mickey even attempts to be a father to Izzy (Jazz Raycole) an ex-client who seems to be having issues with sobriety and romantic relationships.

Rated TV-MA for mild nudity, violence, and language, The Lincoln Lawyer is a mildly entertaining reboot that saves its punch for the last few episodes. It’s not the worst thing streaming but maybe Netflix should have left this one to network television.

The Lincoln Lawyer can be seen on Netflix.

Grade: C+