Mickey Haller In ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Season 1, Explained


But why the name, “The Lincoln Lawyer”? Mickey Haller, the defense counsel in LA County, California, tells us with a charming smile, ‘I think better on the road.’ And for the ride, he chooses an elegant Lincoln Car, thus earning the name, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer.’ From the backseat of the car, Mickey solves even the most complex criminal cases and saves his innocent clients from menacing public prosecutors. However, the word “innocent” is subjective here, because any criminal, until proven guilty, is innocent. One needs evidence to prove a person’s guilt in a court of law. And evidence, be it a person or a thing, can be manipulated easily. So, is there really a way to draw a line between who is innocent and who is not? Maybe not, but our Mickey Haller strictly adheres to Blackstone’s ratio in order to keep his consciousness clean. Yes, the famous old saying that it is better to have tens or hundreds of guilty men escape prison than an innocent man be wrongly convicted.

So here we have a lawyer, Mickey Haller, not a perfect one indeed. He makes mistakes. He over thinks his defeats. He is traumatized by wrongful convictions, especially if they happen because of his own inaccuracies. And when we meet Mickey, he is already going through a lot. He has hit rock bottom and is trying to crawl his way out of the shame that he has brought upon himself. And what will be the end of his hustle? Will the protagonist be able to redeem himself and transform for the better? Maybe.

“The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 1 started with Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) sitting on the beach shore and reimagining a traumatic incident that robbed everything away from him: his family, his career, and most importantly, his confidence. Eighteen months ago, Mickey had a surfing accident, because of which he went through multiple surgeries. To deal with the pain, he took some painkillers (oxy) and got addicted to them. He went to the rehab center for the same, but in those 18 months, he lost his reputation and his family. His first wife, Maggie McPherson, a public prosecutor, distanced herself from Mickey and took their teenage daughter, Hayley, under her custody. In the meantime, Mickey met his second wife, Lorna Crain, who happens to be his secretary as well. However, Lorna only filled the void in Mickey’s low time, and there wasn’t any real connection between them; and hence, as the series began, Mickey and Lorna had already ended their relationship on friendly terms. Lorna still works for Mickey but is planning to marry Mickey’s private investigator, Cisco, who was once a member of a LA biker gang that was involved in illegal businesses like selling meth.

When a criminal defense attorney, Jerry Vincent, is shot in his car, Mickey gets a chance to redeem himself. Ten days before his death, Vincent filed a motion with the court to transfer all his practice to Mickey in the event of his death. In Vincent’s practice, there is a particular case, ‘The People versus Trevor Elliott.’ Trevor is a tech guy who is charged with the first-degree murder of his wife, Lara Elliot, a coder, and her lover, Jan Rilz, a yoga instructor. 

While Mickey keeps himself busy with Trevor Elliott’s case, a case from his past starts haunting his sanity. Before his accident, Mickey was involved in a murder case where his client, Jesus Menendez, was charged with the murder of a prostitute named Martha Renteria. In Jesus’s case, Mickey had a strong witness named Gloria Dayton, also known as Gloria Days. The night before the hearing, Gloria left LA after she was threatened by a vice cop named Linda Perez. In the absence of his star witness, Mickey had to convince Jesus to take the plea offer and thus was sentenced to some 15 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

At some point, Mickey told his new chauffeur, Izzy Letts, that the pain he was trying to numb through painkillers wasn’t physical but emotional and mental. It wasn’t the pain from the surfing accident or the surgeries. He was tormented by the fact that, because of him and his failure, an innocent man was put behind bars. His old man once told a preteen named Mickey that a conscience defense lawyer loses his peace if he fails to protect an innocent man that he is representing. And maybe his father was right; after Jesus’s arrest, Mickey lost his sleep and resorted to drugs to numb his guilty conscience. But that particular conflict paves the way for a transformation in his character that we experience by the end of “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 1.

While Trevor Elliott’s case was more about making a comeback in the ring, Jesus’s case was the one that could have given Mickey the fulfillment he had been yearning for. He finally located Gloria Days and brought her to LA to testify in Jesus’s case, which was reopened after Mickey impressed Judge Mary Holder with his efficiency in Elliott’s case. So both of them were connected, yet so different. In Elliott’s case, Mickey knew Trevor killed his wife, Lara, and her lover, Jan, because Lara was going to expose Trevor’s fraud. It wasn’t Trevor who coded their best-selling game, Nocturna, but it was Lara who created it. However, at that time, Lara was working for Chaos Games, and the game would have belonged to them; hence it was Trevor who took all the credit in order to protect the intellectual property and later sold it to the investors for a profit. He wanted the entire profit, but when Lara threatened to expose him, he got her killed. By the end of “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 1, Mickey knew all about his grand ploy yet kept him numb because of attorney-client privilege. However, the truth in Elliott’s case didn’t torment Mickey like it did in Jesus’ case because of the simple Blackstone’s ratio that Mickey religiously followed.

There was yet another conflict in Jesus’ case that Mickey had to deal with. He had to make a choice between his wife and his client. In Jesus’ case, the corrupt vice officer, Linda Perez, who threatened Gloria to leave LA, was carrying the orders of her superior, Detective Lee Lankford. At that time, Lankford was actively involved in another case of human trafficking where a guy named Angelo Soto had brought in illegal labor from other countries and was exploiting them for his business. Mickey’s wife, Maggie, was fighting a case against Soto, and when Mickey’s friend, Detective Raymond Griggs, informed him about Lankford, Mickey had a choice to make: whether to help his client get out of jail or keep silent and help Maggie put Soto behind bars. Again, Mickey decided to help an innocent man instead of putting a criminal behind bars, and thus exposed Lankford in front of the court because of which Lankford’s testimony in Soto’s case was rejected, and Soto was free to go. And Mickey might have ruined his relationship with Maggie, but at least he got rid of his guilty conscience and helped Jesus come out of prison.

As a character, Mickey finally dealt with the internal conflict that was tormenting him from the beginning of “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 1. In the end, we found him sitting near the shore in his swimming gear, ready for another surfing session in the ocean. The man had conquered his fears, and now he was ready to take on the new waves that were waiting for him ahead. Yet behind him, we saw a man standing tall. A man from the past, with a tattoo on his left hand, who is probably the person who killed Martha Renteria. But what does this shady man want from Mickey? He will probably try to kill him for opening the investigation again or put him to death so that he will not be able to investigate further to keep his identity hidden. “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 2 will probably reveal whether this man, who seems to be a serial killer, will be able to exact his revenge on Mickey. Or if Mickey gets to him first and gets him lawfully arrested for his crimes.

As other characters in the series are concerned, Maggie resigns from the DA’s office, probably to switch sides and become a defense attorney like her husband and put the criminals behind bars without any internal politics to sabotage her case. In Lorna’s case, she submits the Southwestern Law School student registration form to finally pursue a career in law and become a lawyer, something she has desired since the beginning of the series.

Cisco, on the other hand, cracked a deal with Ted, the leader of the LA biker gang called Road Saints California. It was minutely suggested in the series that Cisco used to work for Ted before he left the gang and became an investigator for Mickey. However, it isn’t really possible for any gang member to leave any kind of syndicate, and thus, Mickey had to do favors for Ted to protect Cisco from them. When Cisco found out about Ted’s deal with Mickey, he decided to confront Ted and clearly informed him that his deal with Mickey was off and that, whatever debt he owes to the gang, he would be the one who pays it, and not Mickey. At this prospect, Ted, with a smirk, brings in illegal work for Cisco, though the nature of the job wasn’t revealed at the end of “The Lincoln Lawyer” Season 1 and will be further explored in Season 2. If Cisco gets himself tangled up with the criminal affairs of the gang again, it may bring a new case for Mickey and may also create problems in Cisco and Lorna’s upcoming marriage, which Season 2 will explore in-depth.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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