A decade ago, “The Lincoln Lawyer” was an OK movie that felt like a pretty good TV episode. Afterward, there was talk of turning it into a TV series, the sort where our hero wins a case each week. Fortunately, David E. Kelley has crafted something better (shown here).
Kelley has already done TV’s best lawyer shows – “L.A. Law,” “The Practice” and more. Lately, he’s spent more time on mini-series, including “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
Now he’s adapted some Michael Connelly novels into a 10-part”Lincoln Lawyer” mini that arrived recently on Netflix. “The Lincoln Lawyer” could go another season, but doesn’t have to.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo stars as the lawyer – half Mexican, half-Anglo, partly broke and using his Lincoln as a mobile law office. With lots of help from one ex-wife (Becki Newton) and occasional help from another (the always-excellent Neve Campbell), he races between cases, ill-prepared.
Some only take a few, pleasant minutes, including the math genius arrested for going topless on Los Angeles beaches. But one case is long, complicated and vital to the firm’s future.
Kelley wrote the first episode, which crackles with wit, and produced the others. At times the story feels forced and stretched; it would have been great at eight parts, but is merely quite good at 10.
Also, this uses a cliché – an angry bystander administering revenge – that happens too often on TV.
Mostly, however, this is classic Kelley. A deft character drama has been spiced with bits of humor and some smart courtroom twists.