The new Netflix original series, The Lincoln Lawyer, follows the career of Mickey Haller, a renowned defense attorney who operates from his Lincoln car in Los Angeles. The series was created by David E. Kelley and is adapted from the series of novels written by Michael Connelly. Season 1 is based on the first book, while season 2 will be based on The Brass Verdict, the second book.
In the series, Haller’s driver is a former convict and drug addict who helps him navigate the city’s legal system. Season 2 has just premiered on Netflix, so it’s time to get a quick recap of season 1 before you start binging!
1. The Premise of the Show
In the show’s opening scene, Mickey Haller is seen struggling to surf in the ocean. He was involved in a serious accident a year ago, which led him to a rehab facility, and he became addicted to painkillers.
He is trying to overcome his trauma and return to his everyday life. However, he faces many challenges as a former criminal lawyer who has lost his reputation and money. He is now insecure about his capabilities and has lost his confidence.
Meanwhile, the series also focuses on the murder of Jerry Vincent, another prominent criminal lawyer in LA, who was shot in his car in a parking lot. The killer also took his laptop, which may have contained crucial evidence against his clients.
The motive and the killer’s identity are unclear. Mickey is about to learn from Judge Mary Holder that Jerry has transferred the fruits of his legacy and practice along with all his ongoing cases to him. Jerry apparently respected Mickey as his colleague in the same profession.
2. Mickey Takes Over Jerry’s Cases
Mickey and his ex-wife Lorna, who co-own a small law firm, are shocked to see Jerry’s legacy, as Mickey was desperate for new cases just a few days ago. Now, they have all of Jerry’s ongoing issues to choose from if they agree to take over Jerry’s practice.
Mickey is also puzzled by Jerry’s trust in him, as he feels he has to prove himself worthy of the cases. The most prominent case among Jerry’s cases was the murder case of Lara Elliot and her boyfriend, who her husband allegedly killed. Lara was the wife of video game tycoon Trevor Elliott.
The show focuses on two cases: Jerry’s murder case and Trevor Elliot’s trial, as Mickey tries to find the truth behind both. It also focuses on other cases that Jerry had been working on, which Mickey has to handle and win in his absence.
This is a way to portray Mickey as a formidable lawyer in the city and show his determination and resilience and his team spirit with Cisco, his reliable private investigator, who can get hold of any information that Mickey needs.
Mickey represents Izzy, one of his clients, in a robbery case and clears her of the charges. He then offers her a job as his driver so she can have a legitimate and respectable livelihood.
He also mentors her on his field of work and how it requires more than just legal knowledge. He tells her that he uses strategy and tactics as a lawyer and that he pays attention to the body language of the people in a jury trial.
3. Mickey’s Investigation of Jerry’s Cases
Mickey convinces Trevor to retain him as his lawyer after Jerry’s death and starts gathering evidence to free Trevor, as the police were fixated on him as the killer and overlooked any other leads. This also casts doubt on the efficiency of the notorious LAPD.
Trevor maintains his innocence, saying he loved Lara and did not want to end their marriage despite knowing about her affair. As per Trevor, he discovered and reported the bodies of his wife and her lover with bullet wounds on the bed.
The police and the assistant district attorney are determined to convict Trevor. Still, they only have circumstantial evidence to support their case, and Mickey intends to use that to his advantage to win the trial.
The show also gives the viewers an insight into how a criminal procedure operates and the time required to select a jury for the trial. One episode focuses on how both parties of a case look for a jury member who will favor their side. The process appears long and tedious, but it has a strategic value, and one will have to endure the time invested in it.
4. Maggie’s Deals with Angelo Soto’s Case
While Mickey is handling his high-profile case, his first ex-wife Maggie, who is a criminal prosecutor, is pursuing a case against Angelo Soto, who is accused of running a slave labor ring under the cover of a business empire.
Few witnesses are brave enough to testify against him, as he is notorious for killing off anyone who opposes him, and there is no evidence to link him to the murders.
This also shows the effort the prosecution has to make to dismantle a criminal network and expose the corruption in the system, as many are protecting criminals like Angelo.
After struggling to catch Angelo, Maggie and her team use Soto’s pregnant girlfriend to obtain as much information as possible and arrest him. However, his arrest is short-lived, and he is released soon.
Meanwhile, Maggie is transferred to Van Nuys for jeopardizing the case, leading her to contact the FBI to arrest Soto on human trafficking charges. This seems to be the start of a lengthy ordeal and trial that Soto will face, and his subplot will continue in season 2. It will be intriguing to see if he will be convicted or not.
5. Trevor Elliot’s Case
When Trevor Elliot’s trial begins, the prosecution has no evidence of the missing murder weapon, and since Trevor says he discovered the bodies, there is no trace of his fingerprints or DNA on them.
The prosecution builds a case on the premise that Trevor is wealthy and should not escape justice, drawing parallels with the OJ Simpson trial. There were also statements against Trevor by Sonia, the other lover of Jan Rilz, who was killed with Lara.
Mickey is convinced that Trevor is innocent and does everything to ensure that he is not found guilty, as he relies on facts. Trevor is relieved when the jury clears him.
Later, Mickey and Cisco discover some shocking information about Trevor and his involvement in killing his wife and Jan. Knowing that Trevor is in trouble now, Mickey realizes he disposed of the murder weapon in the sea using his drone.
This is a weak way to reveal Trevor as the killer, as this part of the subplot is poorly executed. Mickey’s discovery of Trevor’s true nature comes too late and is rushed. The show rushes the plot to its end, as Sonia soon shoots Trevor at a public event.
Sonia immediately gives herself up, devastated by what she believes is an unjust acquittal. It is disappointing to see such events implemented so sloppily that they leave no lasting impression on the viewers. Hopefully, the second season will have more to offer in terms of good drama.
6. The Truth Behind Jerry’s Murder
During Trevor’s trial, a large SUV was constantly tailing Mickey’s car, and at one point, his car seemed to have been bugged. Mickey cleverly switches his vehicle, and the new one is inspected thoroughly by Cisco every day.
After suspecting that Trevor was the one who killed Jerry because Jerry had found evidence to charge him, he soon learns that Jerry had uncovered Judge Mary Holder’s corrupt practices. She was the one who ordered Jerry’s murder.
She also bribed the juror for Trevor, and the same juror turned out to be the one who tried to kill Mickey. Mickey connects the dots easily, and he confronts the woman about it. She confesses to everything on a wire, which leads to her arrest.
The subplot also shows how much Trevor would go to protect himself from being arrested. With his death, Judge Mary cannot frame anyone else with her. Things are closing in on her, and seeing how the second season develops her character will be interesting.
7. Mickey’s Old Case of Jesus Menendez
The name Jesus Menendez recurs throughout the show as Mickey’s old case, where he could not solve the murder of many prostitutes. Jesus, who was innocent, had no option but to plead guilty.
Later, Mickey convinces Gloria, a prostitute and the only witness who escaped being killed, to come forward and testify that Jesus was innocent. Gloria reveals in court that she was coerced by a vice detective, Linda, to leave the town and not speak up for Jesus, which triggered a domino effect.
Linda charges Detective Banks, who collaborated with Maggie to build Soto’s case. These events are evidence of the widespread departmental corruption and nepotism that occurs, and no one is willing to solve the case and free an innocent person.
Banks’ involvement, in this case, makes Soto’s case invalid, causing Maggie to lose all the evidence she had collected so far as irrelevant.
8. The Season 1 Finale
The final episode of the show was confusing, as there was too much focus on Jesus Menendez, who is finally cleared of his charges and released from prison.
Yet, the sudden narrative shift only suggests that this was a setup for the second season, as the episode ends with the man appearing at the beach where Mickey goes surfing.
The tattoo on his hand matches Gloria’s description of her assailant, indicating that more is to be uncovered and investigated in this case. The first season would have been more compelling if it had ended with a cliffhanger that would make the viewers anticipate what would happen to Mickey, Lorna, Maggie, and Cisco.
9. About The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer is an American legal drama television series created for television by David E. Kelley and developed by Ted Humphrey, based on the books of Michael Connelly.
It stars Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller, a defense attorney in Los Angeles who works out of a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Navigator rather than an office. Neve Campbell, Becki Newton, Jazz Raycole, Angus Sampson, and Christopher Gorham also star.
The first season is based on Connelly’s 2008 novel The Brass Verdict, a sequel to his novel The Lincoln Lawyer. It premiered on Netflix on May 13, 2022.