The Lincoln Lawyer is The Bad Husband, a sophisticated legal process with authenticity at its core

The outstanding quality of The Lincoln Attorney‘s Mickey Haller is airy, pesky confidence-inspiring Yes, really bad odds. In the hit new Netflix show — which shares its name with the Michael Connelly books it’s based on and the Matthew McConaughey legal thriller they spawned in 2011 — the defense attorney enters his first trial in more than a year. Here he brazenly claims that his client cannot be guilty of the “grand theft” because the diamond necklace she ripped from a rich lady’s neck is actually a necklace made of fake stones. Is Mickey a former jeweler? no Does he have any gem trading experience at all? Of course not. Is he right? Damn straight he is.

Mickey Haller, played by Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, is equal parts stubborn and conscientious. He prefers to do it the hard way, which almost always works. It drives the people who love it crazy, but it also is – when you add six novels, a big-budget Hollywood film and the world’s No. 1 low-stakes. Julianna Margulies gave us seven great seasons The good wife‘s Alicia Florrick, a woman returning to law after 13 years as a housewife. Now we get The Bad Husband trying to kick start a dead career.

“You know Mickey,” says Lorna, Mickey’s trusty paralegal and long-suffering ex-wife, in the first episode of the season. She’s talking to Maggie, the Also happens to be Mickey’s long-suffering ex-wife. “The only thing he likes more than a fight is a fight with one hand tied behind his back.”

The former Mrs. Hallers (with Lorna played by Becki Newton and Maggie by Neve Campbell, who are stored in Mickey’s phone as “First Wife” and “Second Wife”) debate the soundness of Mickey – who is returning to the law after a long hiatus – Take on a high profile double homicide case with a high profile client. Not that Mickey would ever heed Maggie’s advice, even if he were there to hear her concerns.

That’s not to say Mickey Haller is a bad person – just too dejected to listen to caution. In this new TV adaptation, he’s recovering from an opioid addiction that developed after a serious surfing accident. But his Los Angeles company dissolved while he was in treatment, and his relationship with his teenage daughter suffered as a result. When an old co-worker leaves Mickey with a thriving law firm, the Lincoln Lawyer — so-called because he prefers to do business from the back of his old Lincoln Continental convertible or a shiny new Lincoln Navigator SUV — gets a second shot at professional success. Just like that, no crawling or scraping required.

Developed by The good wife Producer Ted Humphrey and legal TV titan David E Kelley (Ally McBeal, The exercise, Boston Legal), the series is more than a simple remake of the film. The Netflix show largely sticks to the second book in Michael Connelly’s best-selling series, taking the familiar TV legal form. A son The good wife, each episode is a mix of case-of-the-week intrigue that gives its characters a chance to show off their courtroom ruses and dramatic stories with longer arcs. As Mickey navigates between fatherhood and sobriety, his bravery falters long enough for us to catch a glimpse of the man Lorna and Maggie have fallen in love with.

Manuel Garcia Rulfo in The Lincoln Lawyer


In another significant departure, Mickey is Mexican-American, a heritage buried under McConaughey’s casting. The Netflix series not only revives this aspect of the character, it centers it. Garcia-Rulfo speaks English with the same Mexican accent more commonly associated with TV criminals than their iconoclastic lawyers. It may be plot-side that Mickey prefers tequila to whiskey, but his Hispanic roots contribute to a richer, more accurate depiction of LA than we’re used to seeing on screen.

What remains unchanged is Mickey’s brave nonchalance and his obnoxious “NTGUILTY” license plate, which you can’t imagine would ever hang on the bumper of Alicia Florrick’s minivan. But she began her magnificent second act at the bottom rung of a humiliating corporate ladder; Mickey magically inherits a place at the top. As compelling as it was to watch her claw her way to the top, it’s less challenging and more fun to watch a guy walk straight out of disaster into his own miracle. If Alicia Florrick was a tribute to all the good wives and devoted mothers who struggled to make their families work, Mickey Haller represents a fantasy as sexist as it is familiar: the bad husband who has everything he needs to look after himself to change. The Lincoln Lawyer is The Bad Husband, a sophisticated legal process with authenticity at its core


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