It wouldn’t be foolish to think that the Netflix release The Lincoln Attorney is just another drama full of courtroom antics and lawyers fighting it. It’s not just the title of the series that leads to this conclusion, it was created by David Kellythe man behind previous legal hits Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. The series definitely has all of the usual Kelley hallmarks and courtroom scenes that you would expect. The series has a lot more heart, however, with an exploration of hard-hitting, relatable themes like divorce, addiction, and grief.
Haller, portrayed with an outstanding performance Manuel García RuffaloShe faces many struggles throughout the series. The first of these is divorce. In fact, we quickly learn that Haller went through it twice. His first marriage was to District Attorney Maggie McPherson, played by Never Campbell, with whom he shares a daughter, Hayley. We first see Maggie berating Haller for being late in picking up Hayley; however, it quickly becomes clear that there is still a certain amount of love between the two. As the series progresses, the romance the two once shared resurfaces and their relationship begins to flourish. Towards the end of the series, viewers believe they are in for a fairytale ending for the family when Haller and Maggie decide to give their relationship another chance.
Hope is shattered, however, as the struggles they once faced come to light and the high pressure of their work takes its toll. The show examines how the divorce is affecting Hayley and shows her feeling frustrated, angry and confused as she navigates her way through her mind. Through a tender approach to the subject, The Lincoln Attorney examines how a divorce can affect not only the two main parties, but also their family. The audience learns how crucial circumstances are to a successful marriage, and in reality, sometimes things just don’t go the way we want them to.
Haller’s second marriage was to Lorna Crain, portrayed by Becky Newton. Lorna is Mickey’s post-divorce paralegal, and to add another dimension of potential embarrassment, she’s engaged to his detective, Cisco. However, this relationship differs from the one Mickey has with Maggie. Mickey herself describes their marriage as a setback and a failure, and the two work well together. There’s definitely a lot of chemistry and love between the two, but it’s clear to see that this is strictly platonic. It’s clear how much they still care about each other. Haller approves of Lorna’s engagement, but not without protecting her and making sure she is happy, and Lorna consistently encourages and motivates Haller through his low points. This is a more positive portrayal of divorce, showing how it is possible for the parties to be amicable, although this time it is much easier as there are no other parties involved.
One of the most powerful themes touched on by the series is addiction. We are first confronted with this when we learn of Haller’s surfing accident, which sent him into a addiction to painkillers and alcohol. Addiction struggles are further highlighted as Mickey meets Izzy Letts (Jazz Raycole). He represents her in court and has her case successfully dismissed. After informing Mickey that she can’t afford to pay him, he hires her to drive him around in the famous Lincoln, which gave him his nickname. As the two meet, Izzy empathizes with Mickey when she tells him she’s also a recovering addict. A genuine friendship develops between the two and it is heartwarming to watch.
As a father, you might expect their relationship to be pretty one-sided as Mickey channels his paternal instincts to take care of Izzy, but it’s more like Izzy looking out for Mickey. She urges him to talk about his triggers, encourages him to join a support group, and eventually intervenes to keep him from relapsing. Haller also keeps an eye on Izzy, of course, and is instantly there for her when she calls for help after coming to the brink of her own relapse. He drops everything when she needs him and is there to give her the support she needs without hesitation. This touching relationship awakens a positive perspective for addicts and shows that a beautiful friendship can emerge from such a dark place.
Since this is a legal drama, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of death involved. As a result, we are subjected to great grief. Haller’s main story is his portrayal of high-profile game developer Trevor Elliott. Elliott, suspected of murdering his wife and her lover, is put under a lot of pressure as he tries to clear his name while mourning the loss of his childhood sweetheart. Christopher Gorham gives a great performance as Elliott here, showing raw emotion when he tries to talk about his late wife. However, it’s worth noting that although Haller wins the case for Elliott, he was tricked and Elliott was actually the culprit. Still, Haller’s belief in Elliott’s innocence helps the audience believe him, and Elliott plays the exact role of a grieving husband. He remembers her in his acting, his tears are real and the anger he shows paints a picture of what it’s like to mourn, making the character very sympathetic.
let’s not fool The Lincoln Attorney is definitely a legal drama with a much of court scenes and the story is heavily dependent on Haller’s cases. Beneath the surface, however, there are many emotional themes that help give the story a sense of realism and allow the audience to feel drawn into the less than perfect lives of the characters. The depictions of love in all its possible forms give the series much more substance and make it far more compelling to audiences than it would have been if it were just a collection of quarreling lawyers and legal jargon.
Reunion with Matthew McConaughey’s The Lincoln Lawyer ahead of the TV show’s debut