Mickey Haller, the first-rate Los Angeles defense lawyer created by Michael Connelly in a series of bestselling books, was a triumph for Matthew McConaughey in the 2009 “The Lincoln Lawyer.”
Now “Lawyer,” named for Haller’s “office” in his vintage Lincoln convertible, is a 10-part Netflix series with Mexico’s Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Haller.
After featured roles in the remakes “Murder on the Orient Express” and “The Magnificent Seven,” will it be a career changer for Garcia-Rulfo, 41?
“Honestly, I know it sounds weird, but I don’t see it like that,” he said in a phone interview. “It was a challenge and a stretch for me personally, because it was in a language that’s not your first language, with these huge key monologues with legal terms and all that. So that was something.
“But whether this is going to get me somewhere? I don’t know. I never see things that way because then you put so much expectation on things. I did my job and I’m very proud of what I did and what we did with the series. We’ll see what happens.”
The Lincoln Lawyer: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo stars as Mickey Haller in 'The Lincoln Lawyer.' (Lara Solanki/Netflix © 2022)
'The Lincoln Lawyer.' (Netflix © 2022)
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As to whether there’s any difference now that’s he stepping into McConaughey’s Lincoln, “Not really. The difference is I’m Mexican and he’s American. It’s just a different take.
“I re-watched the (McConaughey) film when I knew I was going to do this series and he does an amazing job. In the novels Mickey Haller is half-Mexican. His mother’s full Mexican and his father’s American.”
As to why Haller is a great defense lawyer, “He’s fast and he’s passionate. He likes people. He’s very charming and has a lot of connections with all kinds of people. He plays all that to his favor.”
While the first season is based on Connelly’s second Mickey Haller book, “The Brass Verdict,” and executive producer and series creator David E. Kelly is best known for his courtroom dramas, this “Lawyer” goes beyond being just a courtroom drama.
“It’s hard to say what it is, it deals with so many issues,” Garcia-Rulfo acknowledged.
“Some involve characters where the stakes are really high all the time. Mickey is dealing with several cases, two ex-wives” — that’s Neve Campbell of the “Scream” series and Becki Newton of “How I Met Your Mother” — a daughter and addiction. It’s a show that just keeps you guessing.”
As for that emerald green Lincoln — do they actually let Garcia-Rulfo drive it? Emphatically yes!
“It’s such a (expletive) cool car! So beautiful. So yeah, I did that.”