In 2011, Matthew McConaughey starred Lincoln attorney, a theatrical adaptation of Michael Connell’s legal thriller series starring Mickey Haller. It was way better than it should be, like one of those old-school Grisham movies when legal thrillers could still make money in theaters A time to kill, The Rainmakeror Pelican briefs.

Although Grisham continues to produce (increasingly bad) novels, David E. Kelley has in some ways become his spiritual successor. When he’s not adapting Liane Moriarty’s novels, he’s the guy you grab for your legal dramas LA law to Ally McBeal, The exercise, Boston Legal, Harry’s lawHBO’s The doomNetflix Anatomy of a Scandaland Prime Videos Goliath. It’s insane how productive Michelle Pfeiffer’s husband still is in his 60s, especially given the illegal shows he’s on in addition keep writing (currently closeup on Disney+ and big sky on ABC). Kelley can do kid-friendly series, network TV, prestige TV, and he even has time for the occasional Stephen King adaptation, like the solid three seasons of Mr Mercedes that he created and no one was looking at.

Netflix Lincoln attorney falls squarely between network television and a prestige drama, not dissimilar to its Billy Bob Thornton Prime Video series Goliath. It’s not immersive, brilliantly acted must-watch TV, but it’s not case-of-the-week proceedings either. It’s an escapist legal thriller that’s neither stupid nor particularly grueling, the kind of series fans are likely to be satisfied with Goliath and The exerciseor those of us who wished to The doom spent more time in a courtroom.

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays Mickey Haller, a brilliant defender known for working primarily with his Lincoln Navigator. When the action begins, Haller has been unemployed for over a year after developing an addiction to prescription drugs after a surfing accident. His second ex-wife Lorna (Becki Newton) is also his paralegal and biggest supporter, while Haller is still devoted to his first wife Maggie (Neve Campbell), with whom he has a teenage daughter.

Haller was nearly sidelined by his addiction until a colleague of his is shot by a hitman and leaves his entire practice to Haller, including his clients and existing cases. Among those clients is Trevor Elliott (Christopher Gorham), the owner of a video game company who is accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But first Haller has to convince Elliot to keep him as his attorney, and then Elliot has to convince Haller not to ask for a sequel because, for reasons that will only become clear later, Elliot is determined to move forward with a murder trial just a week after a new attorney came in.

In addition, there is the matter of the dead colleague and the police investigation. Elsewhere, Maggie — a Los Angeles district attorney — pursues her own case against an abusive sex trafficker. This case, along with several others that Haller is overseeing along with the murder trial, intertwines with the Elliot case. Despite having an office where his second ex-wife and her detective friend Dennis (Angus Sampson) work, Haller still works primarily from his Navigator, having hired a client, Izzy (Jazz Raycole). , who could not afford to pay him as his driver.

It’s a 10-episode series, but Kelley and his co-creator Ted Humphrey (The good wife) manage to keep a lot of balls in the air and mostly avoid the Netflix bloat. Both Humphrey and Kelley have enough network television experience to understand that season arcs are better when broken up by a series of standalone cases. It’s busy enough to keep it entertaining, but not so busy that it ever gets too crowded. The cast feels like something straight out of USA Network’s old-school “Characters Are Welcome” era, and the tone — despite the heavy subject matter — is mostly light-hearted, with the occasional sprinkling of humor. It all makes for a remarkably easy series to make, and despite the much better shows on TV at the moment, Lincoln attorney has a certain Bosch-like feeling that makes it the ideal getaway.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You can email him here, follow him Twitteror listen to his weekly TV podcast Podjiba.

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