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The Lincoln Lawyer review – it’s a modern-day Knight Rider! Buckle up

By Lucy Mangan
The Lincoln Lawyer.
The Lincoln Lawyer. Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix

Micky Haller is the Lincoln Lawyer. Why? Because he likes to work while being driven round in his Lincoln town car rather than at a desk. How come? Because he hates the restrictions of an office and because characteristics are easier than character, that’s why. Did you mind when Bergerac did it? Were you ever this picky about Knight Rider? No? Well, you can get behind this car-led David E Kelley adaptation of Michael Connelly’s 2008 novel The Brass Verdict without any more questions then, can’t you?

Right. Micky (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is an LA defence attorney who developed an addiction to OxyContin after a terrible surfing accident and multiple operations left him in pain and unemployed. They also left him unable to walk past large bodies of water without staring nobly and handsomely out over them as the camera lingers on his noble, handsome face until it is time for the script to start again. This is one of the less publicised aspects of surfing’s trauma-led addiction, and while I’m sure it is a burden for sufferers, it does make a legal drama-cum-thriller quite pleasingly restful.

He is pulled back into the legal biz when a prosecutor called Gerry Vincent turns out to have altered his will to leave the Lincoln Watergazer his entire practice, just 10 days before said prosecutor is murdered. A professional job, apparently.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole (Izzy) eat tacos on the beach in The Lincoln Lawyer.
Tacos to go … Garcia-Rulfo and Jazz Raycole (Izzy) in The Lincoln Lawyer. Photograph: Lara Solanki/NETFLIX

Suddenly Micky has no more time to stare meaningfully out over large bodies of water. He has a job to do! Several, in fact. He must deal with a small case every week to satisfy the viewer’s need for tidy narratives. He must further the overarching story of client Trevor Elliott’s grand murder trial – in which Elliott professes his innocence despite a goodly amount of evidence that he killed his girlfriend and her secret boyfriend after finding them in bed together. He needs to fight the systemic racial and other biases of the American judicial system and navigate relationships with his two ex-wives, one of whom is his office assistant – and is engaged to the private eye hired by Haller’s firm – and the other of whom is the prosecuting attorney on the Elliott case. He’s also got to be a good father to his daughter, Hayley (Krista Warner), and keep up with his recovery. Crivvens!

By the end of the first episode, he has exonerated Izzy (Jazz Raycole), a young Black woman and fellow Oxy addict in recovery, who was charged with grand important felony theft type behaviour. Haller employs her as his new chauffeur because she can quip while driving. He has charmed Trevor Elliott (Christopher Gorham) into sticking with him rather than changing to a lawyer who – oh, I don’t know – sits at a desk and concentrates for 12 hours a day on saving him from the death penalty, rather than sitting in the back of a car and taking time out to liberate jaywalkers and litterers. He has also started investigating Vincent’s murder and squeezed in a bonding moment with his daughter.

The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix) will do you no harm, as certainly as it will do you no good. People say things like, “You know Michael – the only thing he likes more than a fight is a fight with one hand tied behind his back,” and they manage exchanges such as “Can you work with that?” “I can win with that,” with straight faces. Haller is frequently told he must be across town in court to defend an innocent man “in 41 [or a similarly precise number of] minutes”, but it’s OK because he can read the brief in the car, you see?

Absolute nonsense, of course, from axle to axle. But you can work with it, even if no one’s winning here.

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Dive Deeper:
Review: How Netflix's legal drama 'The Lincoln Lawyer' might predict the streamer's future
"The Lincoln Lawyer," premiering Friday on Netflix, is a meat-and-potatoes legal thriller starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller, a Los…
‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ fun and familiar, feels like the network cop shows of old
No objection here if Netflix wants to provide a well-acted throwback series complete with likable anti-hero and colorful suspects
The Lincoln Lawyer cast and what to expect from Netflix's new legal drama
Netflix picked up the series after the planning for it was dropped by another broadcaster.
Netflix: The best hidden gem originals you might have missed, from Big Mouth to Money Heist
With the streaming platform stepping up its original film and TV show content, it can be hard to keep track…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
'We've all made mistakes': Greg Norman brushes off questions about Jamal Khashoggi murder at Saudi-backed golf event
Former golfing great Greg Norman dismisses questions about Jamal Khashoggi, as he spearheads a $255 million tournament backed by Saudi…
The 31 men who have been jailed for abusing women in Wales this year as attacks reach 'epidemic rates'
The list includes two men who have murdered their estranged partners
Get all your news in one place