Did Lisa Trammell Kill Mitchell Bondurant In ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Book? [Spoilers]


After winning Trevor Elliott’s case in Season 1, our beloved Lincoln Lawyer has been enjoying quite a reputation in town. All the notable newspapers and magazines want to interview him, and Mickey Haller doesn’t want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. However, like a true friend, Haller’s chauffeur, Izzy Letts, reminds him not to let this newfound fame get to his head. And yes, that’s it. That’s where Izzy literally underlines the conflict and how it clouds Haller’s judgment throughout Season 2.

Book Spoilers Alert

There has been something sketchy about Lisa Trammell since the moment she walked into Haller’s life, but he failed to see all those red flags because he was already blinded by fame. It is implied that Lisa knew Haller’s weaknesses and exploited them for her own benefit. Mickey Haller had been lonely for two seasons now and was eagerly looking for some comfort and companionship—someone who compliments Haller for trivial things, unlike Maggie and others who have been critical of all his actions. And that’s how Lisa set a trap, and the Lincoln Lawyer took the bait. But before we move ahead, a major warning is in order, as we will be discussing all the spoilers from the book that may or may not be used in the second part of Netflix’s series. So, if you don’t want to know what happened in Michael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness, then it’s a good time to look away, but if you are curious, then be our guest.

Why Did Lisa Kill Mitchell Bondurant?

Without beating around the bush, here is the fact that we have all been waiting for: Lisa did kill Mitchell Bondurant. But before we come to how she did it, let’s discuss what could be the motive for such a killing. In the book, The Fifth Witness, Lisa’s husband, Jeffrey “Jeff” Trammell, had taken a mortgage loan from a bank in Los Angeles called Westland National. One day, Jeff walked out of the house and quickly disappeared, abandoning his family and leaving Lisa and her son Tyler with a huge debt. Sometime later, Bondurant, the senior vice president of Westland, sent her a notice for foreclosure. It is revealed in the book that Lisa feared losing her house, because of which she took matters into her own hands and attacked Bondurant three times to save the roof over her head. However, the larger conspiracy here is that Lisa had also murdered her ex-husband, Jeff, and buried him in the garden, not wanting anyone to find the body. If the bank had seized the property, Lisa’s crime would have been unearthed one day, revealing her true face to the world. Therefore, in order to conceal one murder, she committed another.

The Netflix series has made a drastic change in the character of Bondurant, as he has been portrayed as a real estate developer instead of a banker. In the show, Bondurant wanted to revamp the Latino neighborhood where Lisa had lived for years. We believe that Lisa feared that if Bondurant took over her property, he would have found Jeff’s dead body during the construction. In the aftermath of such a revelation, Lisa would have to face criminal charges and prison time. Therefore, to safeguard herself, she went out of her way to silence Bondurant before her buried past freed itself from the confines of the grave.

How Did Lisa Commit The Perfect Murder?

We have established the motive behind Bondurant’s murder, but how did Lisa do it? In the first part of The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2, district attorney Andrea Freeman introduced key evidence that the police had recovered from Lisa’s gardening shed. It was a pair of gardening gloves with a trace of blood that belonged to the victim, Bondurant. However, in the book, it is a shoe instead of a pair of gloves, and the location of the discovery is the same.

The second piece of evidence is the murder weapon itself, which was a claw hammer that had been missing from a set of Craftsman tools that belonged to Lisa’s husband, Jeff. In the book, the hammer was found in the bushes with the victim’s blood on it though there was no sign of Lisa’s fingerprints or DNA on the murder weapon. The public prosecutor believed that it belonged to the same set of tools, thereby establishing a link between the victim and the defendant. In court, Haller established the fact that Bondurant was struck from behind by a person who was either exactly the same height or taller. The wound on Bondurant’s crown revealed that he had been struck at a 90-degree angle. It was only possible if the person was six feet and two inches or taller. The second possibility was that Bondurant might have been looking up when he was attacked. So if the district attorney wanted to prove that a woman of five feet three inches killed Bondurant, she had to first establish why he was looking up. The forensic scientists also found injuries on Bondurant’s knees, which established the fact that he was in a standing position when he was attacked. The prosecution failed to prove how Lisa committed the murder. Mickey Haller, on the other hand, did what he does best and convinced the jury to absolve Lisa of the crimes. Lisa had committed the perfect crime and had almost gotten away with it, until the Lincoln Lawyer intervened and ruined her entire scheme of things.

At Lisa’s victory party, Haller saw Lisa filling balloons with helium gas for the kids. After tying the knot to the balloon, she handed it over to a kid way taller than her, and it was at that moment that Haller got enlightened. The kid instantly looked up at the balloon in the air. Haller believed that Bondurant might have had the same reflex action when he found the note attached to helium balloons in the parking lot where he was murdered. Lisa might have been hiding behind a pillar, waiting for the right opportunity. As soon as Bondurant saw the balloons, he was struck with a fatal blow made at a 90-degree angle. The balloons had a symbolic meaning of their own in the book, as Bondurant, the banker, had been eagerly waiting for the balloon payment against the mortgage. However, we are not sure how these turn of events will be treated in the Netflix series. Lisa might have committed the murder in a different manner. Though, until the end of part 1, much of the plot, except for some minute details, has been similar to the book.

Did Lisa Get Arrested?

When Haller found out that Lisa had played him, he felt offended and somehow found out about Jeff’s dead body buried in Lisa’s garden. He tipped the police off about the same, and therefore, Lisa is finally put behind bars, though she has only been charged with one murder as Haller has proven her “not guilty” of the second one. Additionally, season 2 follows a similar pattern where the Lincoln Lawyer defends an alleged murderer and proves her innocence in court, which will eventually hype him up further and make every criminal in town want to hire him to defend them. In the book, Haller expresses his desire to stop protecting criminals and thus decides to become a district attorney, though we are not sure if the character in the Netflix series is going to take the same route or not.

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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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