The Lincoln Lawyer season 1, episode 1 recap – the premiere explained

By Marc Miller
Published: May 13, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Netflix The Lincoln Lawyer season 1, episode 1


The Lincoln Lawyer is an effective pilot but still goes through typical first-episode motions.

This recap of Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer season 1, episode 1, contains spoilers.

Access the archive of news, recaps, and reviews for The Lincoln Lawyer.

The Lincoln Lawyer season 1, episode 1 recap

A man in a grey suit with slightly whiter hair walks to his car in a parking lot looking paranoid. He looks around, thinking he hears something. Unconvinced, when he climbs into his car, he looks in the back seat, and no one is there. Unfortunately, when he takes a breath of relief, he sees a man pull a gun out of the corner of his eye. He is then shot through the driver’s side window. One bullet enters his chest and a final shot in the head. The shooter grabs the man’s briefcase and walks away while leaving the passenger door ajar.

The following few scenes establish the characters and motivations. Mick (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is sitting on a beach, having flashbacks that appear to be him having an emergency (possibly a heart attack?) while surfing. He wakes out of the trance to a call from his ex-wife, Lorna (the adorable Becki Newton). How do we know it’s his ex-wife? Well, he tells her she is not his wife anymore, so it is none of her business why he has a meeting with a female judge this afternoon. Lorna thinks it is either a case or he has a personal relationship. However, she critiques him that this could be something positive since he hasn’t been in front of a court since his accident. Before she goes, Lorna tells him that he has to go in as the full Mickey Haller. So, he grabs the Lincoln from storage.

On the way, he gets a call from his first wife, Maggie, played by Neve Campbell. (At least, that’s what he has stored in his cell phone). She also has no clue why the judge has called him. It turns out Maggie is a DA, and they have a teenage daughter together. When he gets to the courthouse, Lorna is there to offer support. You can tell she still holds a torch for him. So, as Mick enters the chambers, the judge greets him and asks if it is true, they call him the Lincoln Lawyer? Yes, he says, because he used to work out of his car.

We now know Mick has two ex-wives. We learn of his nickname, hence the title, The Lincoln Lawyer. Finally, he has been desperate for work since having his health scare.

Judge Holder, played by one of the great character actresses Lisa Gay Hamilton, lets him in the chambers and rips the band-aid off. A lawyer, Jerry Vincent, was murdered last night, and Mick has been left his entire practice. Judge Holder is skeptical, but he is open about why he has not been practicing. After his accident, he became addicted to pain pills. And he also adds Vincent must have left him the practice because there is no better defense attorney in Los Angeles when he is right. The judge who signs off on the cases will monitor his progress, and now it is Mick’s turn to win over the clients.

He has inherited two critical cases in this episode. There is one he desperately needs and another he can relate to. One is Trevor Elliott (Christopher Gorham), a tech billionaire on trial for killing his wife (shocker). The other is a young woman named Izzy (Jazz Raycole), charged with assault and stealing a diamond necklace from a rich woman from San Francisco. Mick relates to her because she was a heroin addict who had entered rehab. She tells him she isn’t the same person any more than she was then.

The ending

Maggie and Lorna both care for Mick, but Maggie is worried that he has taken on a case that puts his life at risk. Lorna understands but argues she was keeping his firm together with bandaids — he needs to get back out there.

His private detective is Cisco (Angus Sampson), who is creepy, and tells Mick that he is dating Lorna and they will get married.

Detective Griggs stops in on Mick’s dinner with his daughter to make an ominous plea. Help him with the investigation, or he could be the next victim.

Mick gets Izzy off because she stole a fake necklace, and the victim’s husband does not want her to find out about it or the insurance company.

Mick lands the prime gig representing Trevor Elliott because he listens with empathy to his story about his wife being his “magic code.” Trevor admits that he was there but found his wife and lover murdered in his home.

Finally, Mick hires Izzy as his driver to work off her debt. As they drive away, Izzy informs him that someone is following them.

What did you think of Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer season 1, episode 1? Let us know in the comments below!

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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