‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Season 2 Review: A Well-Assured Courtroom Drama Miles Ahead Of Season 1

The first season of the Netflix original courtroom drama The Lincoln Lawyer was a crowd favorite, even though it did not gel well with the critics. The entire first season had a stretched narrative written all over it, and there was no engagement factor, which sadly made The Lincoln Lawyer a mediocre watch. This time around, Netflix released the show in two parts. The first five episodes of the show were released on July 6th while the last five episodes came out on August 3rd of this year. This is probably the first time the streaming giant is going the Hulu route, as many of their shows were released in parts. There wasn’t much anticipation regarding the second season because of the first one’s reputation, but this one will surprise the viewers.

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The second season began at the same juncture where the first season ended. Mickey Haller has become the most renowned lawyer in the city since the Trevor Eliot case, and there is no looking back for him. The Jesus Menendez case reopens, and this time around, Mickey gets into a legal technicality that forces him to not represent Jesus in court. Along with that, Mickey meets chef/activist Lisa Tramwell, who runs her own restaurant, and they connect on a deeper level. Unfortunately for her, she is charged with the murder of a businessman who is notoriously known for planning rampant construction around the city, and that includes the neighborhood that has Lisa’s restaurant. Technically he should not be representing her because of the one night’s passion they shared, he is drawn to her and rushes to help her. The murder case turns out to be a lot murkier than he thought, and his fight to get her bail, the case going into the trial, and the revelations made along the way make for season two of The Lincoln Lawyer.

Releasing this season in two parts benefited the show rather than becoming a bane because the pacing picked up in the second part as compared to the first part, which took the lazy storytelling route. There is a lot to say about the first half and the second half because it felt like there were plenty of changes in the narrative, pacing, and engagement factors. In the beginning, the five episodes were stretched, and there was no end to the story beating around the bush. It seemed like the writers wanted to give closure to the Jesus Menendez case, which was widely mentioned in the first season. It was the only connection to the previous installment. The story in the second half, which picked up most dramatically, ended in a predictable manner, but there was a sense of satisfaction. The story in the last five episodes connected the dots and tied up all the loose ends to give this season a gratifying conclusion. It makes the viewers wonder if the entire screenplay was supposed to be this way to give the show a push that was lacking in the first season.

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There was plenty of back and forth between the client, Mickey, and his team, which served no purpose in the first half. The tension between Lisa and Mickey, in the beginning, felt forced and inappropriate. The clash of intimacy between Mickey and his ex-wife Maggie was added only to titillate the audience and extend the episode by a few more minutes. The courtroom drama writing in all fairness is done right by adding the theatrics, and it is easy to comprehend why cliffhangers after every episode are required. It adds to the tension, even though the viewers might be right about who the culprit is.

The subplots that included his mother and ex-wife, Maggie, did not do much for Mickey’s arc. The endearing part about Mickey’s relationship with his mother includes him speaking to her only in Spanish, and that adds a touch of authenticity to the storytelling. Maggie’s relationship with Mickey should have gotten a lot more screen time, but the haphazard and quick-closing style of narrative given to the two of them only made the drama tiring. Maggie herself deserved a better arc. She was an important character in the first season, but here she is given nothing to work on except being angry at Mickey most of the time.

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Thankfully, the writers learned a lot from the overwhelmingly long first season, which was trying to tell us the story of Cisco, his fiancée Lorna, and Izzy, all of them duly executed. This time, they stuck to engagingly presenting the trial of Lisa Tramwell without any distractions. The account of Mickey’s friendship with Izzy, and Legal Siegal felt repetitive, and there was nothing much to offer in that area. These subplots did make the show tedious because most of the time, the viewers wanted to know more about Lisa’s trial. The writers surprisingly also talked about discrimination, a subplot that came out of nowhere. It seems the writers were trying too hard to talk about the issue of prejudice. If only the writers had explored this angle in depth instead of hardly touching the surface of the subject. The writers did not bother to take the story into the dark alleys of the crimes. The entire first and second seasons seemed like a sugar-coated version of all the wrongdoings that take place in the city. A gloomy take would have made the narrative gritty and interesting, and this is the kind of experimentation the viewers were looking for, but, in the end, the bigger chunk of the show was vanilla.

Creators David Kelly and Ted Humphrey and the plethora of directors did not have much to give in the technical department, as there was no change in the way the screenplay was presented. In one of the last episodes, there was an attempt to present the story in the manner in which Steven Soderbergh had presented it in the Ocean series. It was again a swing and a miss because it did not impact the show until the end. Since season two concluded with Mickey taking over the case of a person of interest, it sets up The Lincoln Lawyer for the next season.

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Just like each technical aspect of the show, there was not much of a change in the performances of all the lead actors in the show. Mickey Haller’s character from the start until the end did not have a character arc. It was not developed in a complex way, causing him to be very static. His sense of dedication, followed by betrayal, is something that has been explored before. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo is a good actor, but if only the writers and the director could have explored his potential to give Mickey a side nobody has seen before. There are no gray shades given to him. The female characters are only kept in the background as people here to assist the male lead. They could have been given depth and layers instead of making them seem like either a good person or an individual who is always on the edge.

Netflix’s gamble to release The Lincoln Lawyer in two parts paid off because the second half of the show turned out to add a punch that was lacking in the first half and the previous season. This is a courtroom drama presented decently, and it deserves a watch.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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Netflix's gamble to release The Lincoln Lawyer in two parts paid off because the second half of the show turned out to add a punch that was lacking in the first half and the previous season. 'The Lincoln Lawyer' Season 2 Review: A Well-Assured Courtroom Drama Miles Ahead Of Season 1