He Rides Again
Episode 1 of The Lincoln Lawyer begins in a parking lot late at night. An assassin shows up, shooting a defence lawyer called Jerry in cold blood. He snatches up his briefcase and takes off. It’s a shocking and abrupt opener, one that sets the scene for what’s to follow.
We then cut across to a guy called Mickey Haller who receives a call from Lorna, who he has listed as “Second Wife” on his phone. She’s running the practice and has received a call from the Chief Judge, Mary Holder. Mickey hasn’t had a case in over a year and it could be that he’s being assigned one here. Fingers crossed!
Mickey stops mulling about on the beach and gets himself dressed up ready to go. On the way, he receives a call from his first wife, Maggie, who reminds him to pick up his daughter Hayley at 6pm sharp that night. As the camera pans down we see his licence plate reads “NTGUILTY.” Cue eye-rolls!
Mickey shows up to meet the judge, where we learn he used to be called the Lincoln Lawyer. He also went up against a prosecution lawyer known as Jerry Vincent. They weren’t particularly close. Apparently, 10 days prior to his death in the parking lot he actually passed everything across to Mickey; his whole practice.
Mickey is certainly taken aback, given it also includes a prolific case known as the Trevor Elliot trial – a tech guy who killed his wife and her boyfriend. Every client has a right to move on, Holder informs him, but it also means that Mickey gets first shot at everyone on the roster.
It’s here we get a big ol’ exposition dump as we learn that Mickey had a surfing accident 18 months back; he had multiple surgeries which unfortunately led to an addiction to painkillers. He’s pretty rough around the edges but on his best day, Mickey claims to be the best defence lawyer in town.
Lorna joins with Mickey as he shows up at Mr Vincent’s practice. The thing is, the whole place is off-limits as police claim it’s a crime scene. They’re both told to leave by Detective Griggs, given they’re “contaminating the crime scene.” Mickey flexes his legal muscles but in doing so, is inadvertently made a suspect. The detective eventually does leave though.
Mickey intends to hire on his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Cisco. He’s a top investigator and would be perfect but for now, he’s needed in court. He’s thrown right in the deep end, managing to file a continuance for a girl called Izzy, until 10am the next day. The suspects and their family are not happy, as Izzy speaks to Mickey and reveals what happened. She’s an addict and snatched up a necklace while high.
Mickey gets right back into the swing of his Lincoln swagger, driving from place to place and meeting numerous different clients. The most prolific, of course, is Trevor Elliot who happens to be on the rooftop playing basketball. I’m sure that must be annoying to accidentally knock a ball off the edge. Anyway, he claims it’s open season against him, having had to wait 5 months for his day in court. Mickey promises that he’s better than Jerry and will get up to scratch on his case and help him out.
Cisco eventually meets Mickey and agrees to work with him on the Trevor Elliot case. While talking though, Mickey realizes he’s running late and races up to collect up his daughter. Maggie is not exactly happy, pointing out that this isn’t the way to go to get joint custody of Hayley. Still, she’s happy to see him anyway.
With 9 days to get up to scratch on everything in this case, it’s a mammoth job, especially for three people. The thing is, there’s another side of this that makes things that much harder. The detective from earlier, Griggs, shows up with a file showing what Mickey is up against. Griggs confirms that someone targeted Jerry specifically. There’s something on the laptop that had him killed, something that appears to be nestled deep in the files.
Griggs warns that Mickey is at risk and could be next, given he’s picked up what could end up being a poisoned chalice.
First up is the Izzy case. Mickey calls out the necklace in question, believing it to be a counterfeit and not the real article. Not only that, Mickey has brought a jeweller to verify his concerns. So just like that, the case is thrown out completely. Izzy is allowed to go free so Mickey encourages her to sign on as his new driver.
Mickey turns his full attention to the Elliot case, heading over to his apartment and walking all over the crime scene to get a feel for what happened.
Now, according to Trevor he was busy with work the whole time. He’s a whizz at computer programming and was developing a photo-realistic game. Or as near as possible anyway. He came close, modelling a realistic character in a game around Lara, his wife. Trevor had been working a lot and head over that day to surprise her. In doing so, he found her dead and in a pool of her own blood. It’s an image that will haunt him forever.
Trevor’s story seems pretty genuine and he even admits he wouldn’t have left his wife after finding out about her cheating, given he needs her. Having heard enough, Mickey is confident he can get a no-guilty deal and he’s hired to take on the case properly. However, while driving away from the scene, Mickey realizes he’s being followed.
The Episode Review
The first episode of The Lincoln Lawyer feels like a CBS pilot which I guess is unsurprising given the show was originally in development with that very studio before Netflix have taken the reigns.
There’s a bit of rough exposition dumped at different intervals, and the cheesy “NTGUILTY” number plate is a bit overkill too. Beyond that, there’s certainly enough here to whet the appetite. It’ll be interesting to see if the show takes on a more episodic nature with different cases dotted throughout, perhaps with a longer narrative across the whole show. That’s the feel we’re getting from this episode anyway, we shall see.
For the time being, a rather simple but enjoyable opening episode sets the scene to follow.