Review: How Netflix's legal drama 'The Lincoln Lawyer' might predict the streamer's future

Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

And he's a good father, hoping to get back joint custody of his daughter. And, not least important, he is a handsome devil of an advocate — taller and handsomer, by the usual dramatic math, than his designated opponent, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Golantz (Michael Graziadei) — who looks equally good in a suit or a wetsuit. These things matter in television.

A quote from Frank Lloyd Wright makes "The Lincoln Lawyer" sound smart; a reference to K-pop tuned in to what the kids are into; the jazz that Mickey listens to in the car (funky '60s stuff like "Watermelon Man") throws a bone to the older generation. Surprise guest appearances by notable actors make it very much a David E. Kelley production.

If a series this resolutely mainstream, as unconcerned with pushing envelopes and cutting edges, is not typically what streamers have sought to produce — having built reputations on throwing money at capital-C Creatives in a play to corner television prestige — it's not at all unwelcome. (And perhaps a sign of things to come.) It has a sort of modesty — the cast delivers appealing, workmanlike performances that do exactly what they need to without overshadowing any other actor or element of the series. (That's not to say that some don't get some heated moments to play.) The twists are twisted enough to keep things interesting, if that's what you watch for, but as with most if not all character-driven procedurals, it's the characters that keep one coming back.

The plot strains credulity less than many procedural series do — and they all do — and the production aims for realistic local color. Angelenos who have been called for jury duty will find the courthouse lobbies and corridors and courtrooms familiar; local landmarks Taylor's Steakhouse, Pink's Hot Dogs and the Wilshire Ebell Theatre play themselves. The opening credits pan across a map of the city, and you can see where I grew up.




Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17)

How to watch: On Netflix Friday


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