The Lincoln Lawyer Season 1 Review – A messy but enjoyable law drama

Season 1

Episode Guide

He Rides Again
The Magic Bullet
Momentum
Chaos Theory
Twelve Lemmings in a Box
Bent
Lemming Number Seven
The Magic Bullet Redux
The Uncanny Valley
The Brass Verdict

 

The Lincoln Lawyer could have been a fantastic law drama. All the ingredients are here for a smash hit – an eclectic group of characters, the enigmatic lawyer who can do no wrong, and an interesting murder mystery. However, Lincoln Lawyer feels torn between two different sides, making for a rather messy watch, despite an enjoyable story.

On the one hand, this is typical network TV fodder, and the opening few chapters lull you into thinking this is going to be an episodic case-of-the-week drama. It’s not, by the way, and as you reach episodes 3 and 4, it becomes clear that this has been designed to be binged.

Now, this strange mix may not be quite so surprising when digging into the history of this production. Originally, this show was in development at CBS (with a different cast, mind) before shifting to Netflix. Adapting Michael Connelly’s Mickey Haller novels, The Lincoln Lawyer is an interesting production but gets bogged down with way too much going on in its 10 episodes and not enough care taken to flesh out the subplots along the way.

The man in the driving seat of all this is Mickey Haller, a brilliant defence lawyer who has had a year off thanks to a bad accident and an addiction to pills.

When his old colleague Jerry is shot dead in a parking lot, Mickey is surprised to learn Jerry has handed over the keys to his law practice (and all the subsequent cases he was working on) to him.

The most notable case here is one involving a hotshot game developer called Trevor Elliot. Accused of killing his wife and her boyfriend, Mickey scrambles to learn all the details of this murder, especially when it’s revealed that those same shadowy forces that killed Jerry could be coming for him too.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also drama in Mickey’s personal life from his two ex-wives, Lorna and Maggie. The latter is also a defence lawyer.

Those subplots and cases are nowhere near as interesting as what’s going on with Elliot and every time the scene shifts, it knocks the wind out the sails a little. Strange analogy to make but it feels like in Dragon Ball Z where the fighting is broken up with bouts of pointless chatter or comedic relief; you just want to get back to the action.

Alas, it’s no wonder then that episodes 8 and 9 – which focus almost exclusively on Trevor Elliot’s trial – are the two best episodes of the season. Everything in between flits between good, passable and outright mundane.

So what are those aforementioned subplots? Well, Cisco, Mickey’s right-hand man, is involved with an old biker group that crop up from time to time.

There’s also an old case that haunts Mickey that he never got around to resolving, along with a completely separate issue involving Maggie and a human trafficking case. Outside the courtroom, we’ve got crooked cops, a separate FBI thread that may or may not be linked to Elliot, Jerry’s murder and a couple of other random court cases to show off Mickey’s brilliance.

The show jumps all over the place between these different storylines, and half of them feel incredibly under-developed. Maggie’s case in particular is a real casualty here, with a lot of the run-time taken up with gathering evidence and finding witnesses…only for the case to be done and over by episode 10 thanks to some deus ex machina.

I’m being careful not to spoil anything though, and thankfully that disappointment is overshadowed by the resolution to the Trevor Elliot case, which is by far the best part of this series. The conclusion certainly caught me off-guard, audibly uttering a “oo that was good!” while watching. Hopefully you guys have a similar reaction.

There’s some lovely bits of foreshadowing early on that pay off, the main resolution is unexpected and although the final chapter scrambles to wrap everything up with a neat bow, it at least tidies up the Elliot case with some aplomb. For that alone, the series is worth persevering with.

The Lincoln Lawyer is certainly not going to win any awards but likewise, it’s not outright awful either. It’s designed to be a simple, easy to digest law drama and appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

If you can get past the rather cheesy opening few chapters, this one settles into a nice little rhythm, even if it does overstretch itself at times. It’s certainly better than CBS’ law drama All Rise, but it’s nowhere near as good as Perry Mason, Boston Legal or, more recently, Juvenile Justice. It’s a fun watch, just don’t expect anything too ground-breaking with this one.

 

The Lincoln Lawyer releases on Netflix Friday 13th worldwide!


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  • Verdict - 7/10
    7/10
7/10

3 thoughts on “The Lincoln Lawyer Season 1 Review – A messy but enjoyable law drama”

  1. I want a second season please it was really good and I like it and we need to know if they catch the real killer and if Micky and Maggie do get back together

  2. On the contrary, the Lincoln lawyer series Is well written and dramatic effect had me binging over a weekend.. well cast and the key characters are well fleshed out… their backstories are revealed at just the right time and I feel there is a market for another series.. I would certainly watch it..

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