As me, my family and friends eagerly await the return of “Virgin River,” Netflix’s compulsive hit about a nurse who moves to a sleepy Northern California town to start over and ends up starting something with the landlord of the Luke Danes-esque restaurant, is there an equivalent show with a male protagonist? Netflix’s “The Lincoln Lawyer” might do the trick.
Reminiscent of a classic network show, it’s easy. It is windy. This is a criminal defense attorney.
But wait, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ star Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) does the job he does because he’s a good guy who knows the justice system is flawed and he wants to do his part to prevent innocent people from being detained. He is recovering from addiction and has a whole host of supportive friends and colleagues, including Neve Campbell. Sounds like a great escape. Is it also a male fantasy?
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Mickey has style; he has class. He drives (or is driven; he likes to think in the car and this is LA County, after all) a string of shiny Lincolns – including a 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible – each with vanity license plates with clever jokes like NTGUILTY. It has a retro look, as the series sometimes does, reminiscent of 1950s noir glamor with cufflinks, neon, whiskey in a glass.
Even its lowest point is elegant.
As a David E. Kelly legal drama, the show centers on beautiful people who look beautiful, wear beautiful clothes, and live in beautiful homes; in this case, drenched and sunny Los Angeles. The series is adapted from a 2005 novel, part of a series by Michael Connelly, a crime writer who sets many of his stories in the City of Angels.
In many ways, Mickey is a throwback to a classic gumshoe, though it’s before the jury. He thinks well on his feet – he has to, given that he suddenly has a case Filofax he knows nothing about (more on that later). He solves crimes with simple and creative solutions. He makes the job of a defense attorney easy, casual like the suit jacket he slung over his shoulder.
“The Lincoln Lawyer” first appeared on the (bigger) screen in 2011, in a film adaptation starring Matthew McConaughey. Talk about casual charm. But in the books, as in the Netflix show, Mickey is Mexican American. Garcia-Rulfo is a Mexican actor and this is his first television role. He told MetaCritic, when he was in talks for the role, “I said, ‘You took a risk hiring me as a Mexican actor, so let’s take advantage. Let’s explore this side of Mickey Haller. “
As LatinaMedia.Co writes, “His story isn’t just about being Chicano, but that’s still who he is.” He has a favorite taco restaurant where he brings friends and co-workers. He occasionally speaks Spanish with his daughter (Krista Warner) and with some of his clients.
Garcia-Rulfo’s performance is coolly efficient and quietly convincing. He has a discreet charm, different from McConaughey but still magnetic. He owns the room. Although unfazed, his Mickey seems more human.
You can go to the kitchen for a snack. Things are going to be fine.
Mickey also struggles with an addiction, which is hinted at several times throughout the series but only shown briefly: when he orders alcohol at a bar after a rough night but he doesn’t drink it. Mickey has a lot of help, which might not be the most realistic portrayal. Although his past drug addiction is brought up in an attempt to hurt him, he quickly shuts it down. Even its lowest point is sleek and calm. He is sitting on a beach, looking at the ocean. He used to surf but can’t anymore.
Mickey took a year off from a lawyer to deal with his addiction. And it looks like he did pretty well. Everyone from his team to the mother of his child (Campbell) is understanding.
Although we’re told his career and finances have suffered, we don’t really see the evidence. Then opportunity falls in his lap, in a way that usually only happens to some white men who fall (and notably, Mickey isn’t that): Mickey inherits the practice of a fellow lawyer from very prosperous defense.
Mickey is an idealist, now with a nice cash flow. It balances an assortment of new customers with typical ease. And of course, the lawyer who wanted Mickey a practice was murdered – but remember, it’s “Virgin River” for dads. It’s comfortable, not cold. You can go to the kitchen for a snack. Things are going to be fine.
Mickey has predictable thorns with his teenage daughter, but it’s fleeting. Overall, they have a great relationship, much better than most divorced dads on TV or otherwise. He shows up almost exactly when he says he’s going. She usually wants to spend time with him. They have tacos; he explains to her the importance of his work — and she understands.
In perhaps the most fantastical aspect of “The Lincoln Lawyer”, Mickey is friends with his two ex-wives. He is friends with the boyfriend of one of his ex-wives, Angus Sampson as the charming, gruff investigator Cisco who roars through LA County on his motorbike like a sentient meatloaf. Mickey works with his second ex-wife, the capable Lorna (Becki Newton, who shines with sympathy), who basically kept his business going even when it wasn’t really a business. As with his daughter, Mickey has a good relationship with his daughter’s mother, his first ex-wife (Campbell), another lawyer. They communicate well, help each other and are (usually) there for each other.
The two ex-wives are a constant presence in his life. As he tells Cisco, these are two of the most important people in his life.
With few responsibilities, he is the definition of the relaxed man.
Is it a good idea? Most relationship experts say it depends on the motivation behind wanting a friendship. Hoping to rekindle the romance one day is not a good answer, especially if your ex has a new romantic partner. As InStyle wrote, “If you can’t honestly answer that you’d be comfortable spending time with both of them and that you’re genuinely glad your ex met someone, you shouldn’t be hanging out. “
So maybe Mickey should not calling Campbell’s Maggie more than he needs to for co-parenting reasons.
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One last interesting part of the fantasy that is “The Lincoln Lawyer”? Aside from predictable sparks (but no fire) with ex-wife Maggie, Mickey has no romance, unusual for a leading man on a show, but nonetheless part of his character traits: easy-going. , without pressure, without ties. With few responsibilities, he is the definition of the relaxed man. Alone, unattached, he rides into the sunset. Or, surf in it. Is it realistic? We do not care. It’s funny.
“The Lincoln Lawyer” is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch a trailer via YouTube.
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