The Lincoln Lawyer

CBS executive Tom Sherman announced development on a TV series based on The Lincoln Lawyer during his Television Critics Association executive session today, with television veteran David E. Kelly writing the pilot. Michael Connelly’s book was previously adapted as a movie starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller, a lawyer who practices out of his Ford Lincoln Town Car. 

The news is fresh so details are scant, but here are a few things we know about the CBS version of The Lincoln Lawyer, and a few things we can extrapolate based on our knowledge of the previous movie and book series.

David E. Kelley Does Good Law Shows

Kelley created Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal. The Lincoln Lawyer is in his wheelhouse, that’s for sure. 

“We’ve made a series commitment with David for The Lincoln Lawyer,” Sherman said. “His take on Mickey Haller is brilliant. He’s off writing right now. We’re salivating to get his first script.”

Kelley has adapted books before too, most recently Big Little Lies and Mr. Mercedes. Combining his skills for adaptation with his skills for making legal briefs and closing arguments entertaining should be a winning combination. 

The Lincoln Lawyer is a Franchise

The movie was expected to be a new franchise for McConaughey. Since that didn’t happen, turning the remaining stories into a series makes sense. Haller could conceivably try a different case from his car every week. But will Kelley take that kind of episodic approach, or will he serialize the story of the book over one or more seasons?

There are six Mickey Haller books in Connelly’s series. That’s at least six episodes right there. Kelley likes to do more topical cases though. While he may draw some inspiration from The Brass Verdict or The Fifth Witness, he’ll probably see current issues through the eyes of Mickey Haller. 

A Lincoln Lawyer Shared Universe?

In Connelly’s books, Mickey Haller is the younger brother of Harry Bosch. Bosch has his own series on Amazon Prime, so it’s unlikely they’ll cross over on CBS. However, Kelley does have an Amazon show, Goliath, so he has an in. 

Plus, Kelley likes a shared universe. The Practice, Boston Legal, and Ally McBeal all took place in the same world and often crossed over.

The Lincoln Lawyer is a Year Away

Since today was just the announcement, The Lincoln Lawyer is still far from hitting the screen. Kelley is also a writer who likes to write every script himself. He’s got to do the pilot first, but then he’ll probably be doing all or most of the 22 in a season.

“No casting yet,” Sherman said. “We don’t have a script yet, can’t wait to get that. It is targeted for 2020-2021, not for this season.”

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