Why The Lincoln Lawyer Show Ignores So Much Of Book 1 (What’s It Based On?)
Netflix’s adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer novels by Michael Connelly ignores the first book, telling a different story. But what book is it adapting?
Warning: Contains spoilers for The Lincoln Lawyer season 1
Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer TV series adapts the second Mickey Haller book, The Brass Verdict (2007), but why does it ignore book 1? The Lincoln Lawyer novel series starts with a book of the same name and is written by Michael Connelly, the same author behind the Bosch novels. While the author and production team claimed that the series would adapt The Brass Verdictthe truth is a little more complicated.
Criminal defense attorney Michael “Mickey” Haller Jr. (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) was first introduced in the 2005 novel The Lincoln Lawyer. Working as a part of the machine of the legal justice system, Haller helps clients to escape unethical police work, but is also hired by a client named Louis Ross Roulet who has been charged with brutally assaulting a sex worker named Reggie Campo. The story is connected to an old case of Haller’s which saw the innocent man Jesus Menendez sent to prison on a life sentence for the murder of another sex worker, Martha Renteria.
It has not been explicitly stated why the Netflix adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer did not adapt the original book of the same name, but there are logical reasons for the decision. 2005’s The Lincoln Lawyer was already adapted into a well-received film starring Matthew McConaughey in 2011, meaning that many people would already know the answers to the mysteries and the Netflix adaptation would struggle to get out of McConaughey’s shadow. Additionally, The Lincoln Lawyers focus on visceral descriptions of violence against women might have been an easy choice to avoid for Netflix executives hoping for something at least a little more family-friendly.
It would have been easy for Netflix TV series of The Lincoln Lawyer to make a straight adaptation of The Brass Verdict, simply acknowledging that the events of the first book had already taken place. However, the series ignores the events of the first book, replacing the injury Mickey Haller sustains at the end of The Lincoln Lawyer with a surfing injury that leaves him in a similar place. This enables Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer to kill any potential connections to the 2011 movie and establish itself as its own narrative.
This works particularly well in The Lincoln Lawyer TV series as Netflix actually blends in a lot of the subplots from the original 2005 novel. This includes cases such as that of Sam Scales and Harold “Hard Case” Casey, but more importantly that of Jesus Menendez. Divorced of its connection to Louis Ross Roulet in the Netflix adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyerthe Menendez case is able to set up The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 with a suggestion that the second season might revisit the main plot from the first book now that the series has established its world and characters.
Next: Bosch: Legacy’s Amazon Prime Departure Benefits The Show (& Jeff Bezos)
The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 is now available on Netflix.
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