The back half of the second season of The Lincoln Lawyer came out this month and quickly returned to the top spot among Netflix original television programs. It is, like the summer’s biggest streaming hit, Suits, very good background television (minus the masturbation conversation).
Spoilers for season two (and potentially beyond).
This is season two of The Lincoln Lawyer in a nutshell: Mickey Haller defends a restaurant owner, Lisa Trammel, who is accused of murdering real-estate developer Mitchell Bondurant. Mickey successfully gets an acquittal for Trammel because, during her trial, he cast enough suspicion on a character named Alex Grant to plant reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.
The reasonable doubt was warranted. Lisa Trammel did not kill Mitchell Bondurant. However, neither did Alex Grant, a character whose connection to the Armenian mob Mickey teased out on the stand—ultimately forcing Grant to plead the fifth. Although a jury is not technically allowed to hold that against a witness, the jury clearly made an assumption based on Grant’s refusal to testify for fear of incriminating himself that Grant killed Bondurant.
The actual killer of Mitchell Bondurant was Walter Kim, a building inspector who had been taking bribes from Alex Grant. Meanwhile, while Trammel was not guilty of killing Bondurant, she was guilty of killing her first husband and burying his remains in her garden. Haller told his assistant, Lorna, who tipped off the cops.
This is important to a potential season three (or four) storyline. The end of season two strongly suggests that Netflix will be adapting Michael Connelly’s Gods of Guilt, the 5th book in the Mickey Haller series. That book centered on the murder of a sex worker, a character in the television series whose name is Glory Days (she appears in the first season as a key witness, as well as earlier in the second season when she was framed for cocaine possession by an undercover cop and client who also tried to kill Glory Days (real name: Gloria Dayton)). Gloria said she was going to Hawaii, and later sent Mickey a postcard suggesting as much, but her body turned up at the end of season 2, all the same, and Mickey was asked to represent the man accused of killing her.
However, there’s another potential storyline based on Connelly’s 2020 novel, The Law of Innocence. In that novel (spoilers, again), the body of Sam Scales turns up in Mickey Haller’s trunk, and Mickey is put on trial for Scales’ murder. Sam Scales seems to be based loosely on the television series character, Walter Kim, the building inspector who actually killed Mitchell Bondurant. He goes missing at the end of season two of The Lincoln Lawyer, and it is assumed that Alex Grant had him killed.
Alex Grant is based on Louis Opparizio in the novels. Though there is a bigger conspiracy involved, as well, Louis Opparizio tries to frame Mickey for Sam Scales’ murder because Mickey embarrassed Opparizio—who had connections to the Russian mob—by accusing him on the stand of murdering Mitchell Bondurant. He endeavors to kill two birds with one stone by killing Sam Scales and framing Haller for the murder. In the end, however, Opparizio ends up dead himself. However, Lisa Trammell — in prison for the murder of her husband — does testify against Haller in his trial because she’s still angry at him for essentially ratting her out for killing her husband.
Given the disappearance of Walter Kim at the end of season two, I would not be surprised to find his body in the trunk of Haller’s car, nor would I be surprised to learn that Alex Grant is behind it. As such, season three could very well work in the events of both Gods of Guilt and The Law of Innocence, and therefore see Mickey Haller defending both the accused murderer of Gloria and himself.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ wouldn’t exist.