TV Netflix Series The Lincoln Lawyer vs Audiobook by Michael Connelly
So, have you been thoroughly saturated with The Lincoln Lawyer yet? First, we had the book written by Michael Connelly (2005), then the movie starring Michael McConaughey (March 2011), and now the Netflix series starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. No? There’s a reason for that (besides the male stars of either screen version)—it’s good. Escapist entertainment, satisfying, realistic well-drawn characters. (But I have to be honest with you—I didn’t see the movie version.)
“Idealistic lawyer Mickey Haller runs his practise out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, taking on cases big and small across Los Angeles.”
Season 1 is actually based on Connelly’s second novel, Brass Verdict, as conceived by David E Kelly and developed by Ted Humphrey. Haller is a defense attorney whose practice and marriage to prosecutor Maggie McPherson (McPherce) were curtailed by his painkiller addiction. Now clean and ready to resume his legal profession, he inherits a colleague’s caseload. The caseload includes one new and a couple of ongoing cases that are pulled to the fore with a team necessarily involved in extensive investigation.
The part of Mickey Haller is handled well by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (although I’m not sure if I missed an explanation for his accent or not),
Neve Campbell as Maggie McPherson,
Becki Newton as ex-wife number 2 Lorna Crain, Jazz Raycole as Haller’s driver Izzy Letts, and Christopher Gorham as Trevor Elliott as well as a number of other prominent parts, including Angus Sampson as Cisco.
Christopher Gorham as Trevor Elliott plays his despicable part to Emmy level and for the most part, the cast works well. LA always sparks an iconic atmospheric setting and who doesn’t love those ginormous old Lincolns? The series sets an early hook and keeps the viewer gripped with a tantalizing and complex plot, full of suspense, ending each episode with a cliff-hanger into the next. It’s well done.
I could see Netflix following the book, making expected changes for a series often predicting the scene and plot line of the book but not necessarily the timeline. There were subtle differences but not so radical as encountered with a few of the previous books to small screen conversions lately. I suspect Connelly had a strong hand in keeping the series version authentically Connelly. In any case, the series is engaging and entertaining using wildly divergent characters to glue together a gripping thriller.
INSPIRATION FOR THE ORIGINAL SERIES THE LINCOLN LAWYER – THE #1 TV SHOW ON NETFLIX
The bestselling legal thriller has charismatic defense attorney Mickey Haller taking on a slam-dunk court case involving a Beverly Hills playboy — but as it spirals into a nightmare, he finds himself in a fight for his life. Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers — they’re all on Mickey Haller’s client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it’s about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it’s even about justice. A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney’s dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal — this time to save his own life.
Mickey Haller is handed a “franchise” case in the form of an entitled, rich playboy who is very used to calling the shots. Haller, however, working out of the back of his Lincoln isn’t exactly flush himself and could use the revenue. On the surface, it didn’t look like it would be a tough negotiation.
Haller isn’t new to the game. He’s defended and accumulated a client list of a variety of defendants from bikers and con artists to drug dealers. Louis Ross Roulet is the spoiled child of a wealthy mother who will do anything to keep her son out of jail. He is accused of beating up a woman he met in a bar when they went back to her room. He vehemently denies hitting her and further asserts she set him up. What could go wrong?
Well, I have to say I liked the character of Haller, even with having two failed marriages and his ex-wives still in the picture, no less, along with a small daughter. He is charismatic, there’s a heart of gold beating in there somewhere, and it shows in the clients he’s successfully defended and willing to perform some pay-back work.
Haller is complex; obviously, he has his failings, his flaws. He brings intelligence, wit, and energy to the story. He’s been around long enough to know the score and quickly begins to smell a rat. Something about Roulet isn’t ringing true. And if nothing else, he won’t allow himself to be manipulated beyond his moral compass. I love the way he deals with his antagonist.
Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.
The Netflix Series
WOW! I have to hand it to the Netflix version. While it doesn’t follow Book 1 to conclusion (after all, it’s a series), it does include all the important plot points, charismatic characters, and atmospheric LA locations and scenes. The character of Haller’s first ex doesn’t fit for me—feeling she appears older, not just in terms of maturity, but age as well, looking a good ten years older to his youthful good looks. Doesn’t work for me as well as ex number 2, although I can understand why that marriage didn’t work either. It appears that Haller could be a player, but he’s a great deal more dedicated to his profession than to his women. And he’s very, very good at his profession.
I’ve become a solid fan of the Connelly style of writing a legal thriller; the mystery, the suspense, the characters all well-drawn and engaging. The fast-paced plot never sags and he brings a satisfying conclusion to the narrative, if just a tad beyond plausibility.
Genre: Legal Thrillers, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Listening Length: 11 hrs 36 mins
Narrator: Adam Grupper
Audible Release: September 27, 2005
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Lincoln Lawyer [Amazon]
Netflix has done an admiral job of bringing to the small screen an authentic feel of the original work by the author. With just a couple casting wobbles, it engages and entertains solidly throughout the episodes with an equal level of suspense leading the viewer to continue the series and looking forward to Season 2 (and surely there will be a second).
The book, in my case audiobook, narrated capably by Adam Grupper hooks from the beginning and becomes suspenseful, gripping, and thrilling. I enjoy legal thrillers anyway, and this checks all the boxes for me that include a seriously complex plot that doesn’t sag.
Happy either way—one or both—entertaining and looking for more. Have you read the book? Listened to the audiobook? Saw the movie? Viewed the series? What did you think? Haller or Connelly fan? I’d love your comments!
©2022 V Williams