Walter Kim In ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’: Did He Kill Mitchell Bondurant? Is Mr. Kim Dead?


Our Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller can be seen as a fun and goofy detective-turned-lawyer who always solves the case at the end of the day. While the first season brought some seriousness to the screen, the second one made the narrative more casual. The entire second season was more about family values, relationships, and situational comedy that diluted the ongoing Lisa Trammell murder case. The suspect here can be seen as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and it suffices to say that she has her reasons. However, what was funny was how a lonely Mickey fell right into her trap.

Speaking of traps, we would like to remind the readers how Lisa had gotten to his heart through his belly and gave him that little bit of attention that Mickey craved after a long stretch of singlehood. Maybe it was enough to trick The Lincoln Lawyer? It all seemed too good to be true, but for some reason, Mickey ignored all those warning signs because he eagerly wanted someone to fill the void left by Maggie. Every time Mickey’s ex-wife would walk out of his life, Mickey would find Lisa standing right around the corner to lend him her shoulder to cry on. But it wasn’t just that Lisa was deceiving Mickey through her sweet talks. She had been lying to him about her husband since the beginning. Mickey failed to see the truth of it until he connected the dots at the end.

Why Did Lisa Murder Jeff?

Lisa had murdered her husband, Jeff, and perhaps buried his dead body under the cilantro plant. Why especially those plants, you may ask? As Mickey deciphers in the end, Jeff hates cilantro, so maybe it was Lisa’s way to serve her revenge. Additionally, the series fails to answer the question: Why did Lisa kill Jeff? She tried to tell Mickey that the man used to assault her and that she had had enough, which might be one of the reasons why she took his life. In the book, Jeff had walked out on his family, taking a huge loan against the house, which was why Lisa killed him as an act of revenge. Hence, we can speculate that property could be one of the motives for the murder in the series as well. But if you are wondering if she really did kill Mitchell Bondurant, then we don’t have a definite answer to it, as the series tried to create a diversion. However, the book clearly mentions that she killed Bondurant, and she had her reasons to do so. We have written a detailed analysis of how she committed the crime, which you can read here.

As new information came to light at the end of The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2, we would like to entertain another possibility: what if Walter Kim had committed the crime?

Who Is Walter Kim?

We were first introduced to Walter Kim, the city building inspector, in the 4th episode of The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2. Cisco paid Walter a visit, as he was the key witness in the TRO against Lisa. It was Walter who clicked pictures of Lisa attacking Bondurant during a public protest, but Mickey soon found out that those pictures were deceptive, clicked only to manipulate the narrative. As per the video footage, it was Bondurant who had tried to harass Lisa on the day of the protest, and Walter clicked the picture the moment Lisa pushed him back in self-defense. But wasn’t it a suspicious coincidence that Walter was present at the very moment when Lisa pushed Bondurant? Or can we theorize that maybe Walter has been following Bondurant for a long time because someone paid him to do so, or it could also be a voluntary decision.

Did Mr. Kim Plant The Evidence In Lisa’s Garage?

Until the very end of The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2, we believed that Mr. Kim might have gotten confused with the whole scenario, but as the new evidence came to light, it forced us to believe that there might be a larger conspiracy at play here. In the ninth episode, Rene, Lisa’s head chef, brought some food to Mickey’s office, and that’s when he spotted Mr. Kim’s photograph lying on the table. He told Mickey and Lorna that the man in the photograph visited their restaurant some days ago for a surprise check and called himself a health inspector. But why would Mr. Kim impersonate someone? Or was Rene lying because he was following Lisa’s orders? Lisa had once sent an actor impersonating her dead husband, Jeff, and thus, it is most likely that Rene’s testimony here could be false. But if he was speaking the truth, then let’s move forward with the details to back it.

Mr. Kim had visited Lisa’s restaurant a day before she was arrested. According to Rene, he had also checked the gardening shed or garage from where the police had recovered the blood-stained gloves. It was apparently the same location where Lisa had kept her special toolbox, from which the hammer aka the murder weapon, had disappeared without a trace.

Did Mr. Kim Kill Bondurant?

Upon further investigation, Mickey found out that he was the chief building inspector on The Terrazzo project. It was an unfinished apartment complex that had been empty for three years, because of which Bondurant was incurring heavy losses every year. The entire inspection brought in another player in the game named Alex Grant, the son of the Armenian mobster, whose construction company, Argel Construction, had been handling The Terrazzo project. Mickey had also found an email sent by Bondurant to Alex in which he had threatened to expose him.

Bondurant’s Terrazzo project had been stalled due to inspection issues, because of which he failed to secure a valid permit to continue the construction. A point to mention here is that this problem arose after Argel Construction had done its job, which means everything was perfectly fine until Alex was in charge of the project, and it all went downhill as soon as his company left. Basically, the conspiracy here was that Alex or maybe his company had bribed the city inspector, Mr. Walter Kim, because of which all the inspections during Argel’s tenure were passed without a fuss. And maybe after they left, Mr. Kim had asked for bribes from other contractors or directly from Bondurant, which he might have refused. Bondurant, on the other hand, might have understood the entire scam and therefore threatened to expose Alex and Mr. Kim because of their fraudulent practices. Now, it was easy for Alex to back out or prove his non-involvement in the construction fraud, but Mr. Kim had signed those papers, and he could have been held responsible for the same in a court of law. He would have faced charges if Bondurant had filed a legal complaint against him. At that point, Mr. Kim would have lost everything he had built so far, and in order to protect his American Dream, he decided to commit the perfect murder.

Is Mr. Kim Dead?

Now, we are not sure if Walter Kim really murdered Mitchell Bondurant or not. We are just entertaining a possibility here. We already have a motive for him to commit the perfect crime, yet we still don’t know whether he acted on his own accord or was taking orders from Alex Grant. We could have found some answers in the series if Mr. Kim hadn’t disappeared at the end of The Lincoln Lawyer Season 2.

Mr. Kim’s wife had reported him missing after he didn’t come home from work. Two days later, the police found Mr. Kim’s car in a parking lot in Marina del Rey. However, there was no trace of him. Cisco and Mickey had proved that Alex Grant had bribed Mr. Kim, and therefore they believed that to cover up his tracks, he probably got him murdered or helped him run to some other state or country so that no one would hear from him again. But it could also be true that he might have escaped the city on his own and didn’t want to be found ever again.

How Did Mr. Kim Kill Bondurant?

During the court trial, Mickey established the fact that only a person as tall or taller than Mitchell Bondurant could have left such a fatal impact on his head with a hammer. However, the president of the people’s council, Andrea Freeman, was quick to reveal a scenario where such an injury could have been inflicted by an attacker if Bondurant was looking up. In the book, Lisa had planted some hydrogen balloons in the parking lot and was hiding behind a pillar when Bondurant walked in. And as soon as Bondurant looked upwards toward the balloons, she came out of hiding and struck the man, killing him on the spot.

In Mr. Kim’s case, the police recovered a telescopic inspection mirror from his car. According to Cisco, Mr. Kim might have used the mirror to create a glare on the ceiling of the parking lot. Bondurant might have been distracted by the glare and that was when Mr. Kim dropped the mirror and attacked him with the hammer he had stolen from Lisa’s garage. We believe that he might have dropped the mirror because Cisco thought that the shard of glass that the police found at the crime scene might belong to Mr. Kim’s inspection tool. So, if Walter Kim did murder Bondurant, then this would be the way he could have done it. And if he was acting on Alex Grant’s order, then he might have received a hefty sum of money to commit the crime, after which he escaped the country.

If Alex Grant was really the man pulling the strings here, then we believe Mickey Haller had some real enemies in this season, and he might face repercussions for his actions in the next season, as The Lincoln Lawyer does bring characters back. It will be interesting to see if Mickey fights a case against Alex in the next season and helps the FBI put the culprit behind bars. We may also find out what actually happened to Walter Kim and if he did commit the murder 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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