top of page

The Lincoln Lawyer' TV Review: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Shines in This Gripping Tale of Redemption and Justice

By Joao Nsita

The Lincoln Lawyer' TV Review: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Shines in This Gripping Tale of Redemption and Justice

David E. Kelley, the prolific creator of legal dramas, returns with another adaptation, this time tackling Michael Connelly's "The Lincoln Lawyer" series for Netflix. The show, initially intended for CBS, follows the story of Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a defense attorney who runs his practice from the backseat of his Lincoln town car, navigating the complex world of Los Angeles' legal system.

Kelley's signature style, a blend of high-stakes drama and quirky humor, is evident throughout the series. However, "The Lincoln Lawyer" fails to reach the heights of some of his previous works, such as "Big Little Lies" or "The Undoing." The show's attempt to balance multiple narrative threads, including Mickey's personal struggles with addiction and his high-profile cases, feels disjointed at times.

Garcia-Rulfo's portrayal of Mickey Haller is a mixed bag. While he brings a certain vulnerability to the character, highlighting Mickey's battle with opioid addiction and his determination to rebuild his life, his performance lacks the charisma and energy that one would expect from a lead in a Kelley series. Mickey often feels like a passive observer in his own story, despite the script's insistence on his brilliant legal mind.

The supporting cast, particularly Neve Campbell and Becki Newton as Mickey's ex-wives, inject some much-needed life into the proceedings. Their interactions with Garcia-Rulfo showcase the potential for engaging character dynamics, but these moments are too few and far between. The show's attempts at comic relief, primarily through eccentric bit players, fall flat more often than not, feeling like a forced callback to Kelley's earlier, more whimsical works like "Ally McBeal."

Where "The Lincoln Lawyer" does succeed is in its exploration of the legal process. Kelley's fascination with the intricacies of trial law shines through, particularly in episodes that focus on specific aspects of the justice system, such as jury selection. These moments allow the audience to gain a deeper understanding of the strategies and challenges faced by defense attorneys like Mickey.

The Lincoln Lawyer' TV Review: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Shines in This Gripping Tale of Redemption and Justice

However, the show's legal drama fails to consistently captivate. Courtroom scenes, usually a stronghold in Kelley's series, often lack the necessary tension and energy to keep viewers fully engaged. This is particularly surprising given Kelley's track record of creating memorable and impactful legal battles in his previous works.

The show's overarching plot, which centers on Mickey's defense of a tech mogul accused of murder, provides ample opportunity for twists and turns. Yet, the pacing feels uneven, with some episodes getting bogged down in subplots that don't always contribute to the main narrative. The series attempts to weave together Mickey's personal life, his relationships with his ex-wives, and his legal cases, but the connections between these elements often feel tenuous at best.

Visually, "The Lincoln Lawyer" captures the essence of Los Angeles, with its sun-drenched streets and diverse neighborhoods. The cinematography effectively conveys the city's unique atmosphere, from the gritty underbelly to the glitz and glamour of the wealthy elite. The use of the Lincoln town car as Mickey's mobile office is a clever touch, adding a layer of novelty to the traditional legal drama setup.

Despite its shortcomings, "The Lincoln Lawyer" does have its moments of brilliance. When the show focuses on the legal machinations and the moral dilemmas faced by its characters, it hints at the potential for a more compelling series. The brief glimpses into Mickey's past and his struggle to maintain his sobriety suggest a deeper, more complex character waiting to be fully explored.

In conclusion, The Lincoln Lawyer is a serviceable legal drama that fails to live up to the high standards set by David E. Kelley's previous works. While the show has its strengths, particularly in its exploration of the legal process and its visual representation of Los Angeles, it is ultimately held back by uneven pacing, a lack of consistent energy, and a lead performance that doesn't quite captivate. For fans of Kelley's signature style, "The Lincoln Lawyer" may provide some enjoyment, but it falls short of being a must-watch addition to his impressive catalog of legal dramas.


bottom of page