Comeback king Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) will ride again. Netflix has renewed The Lincoln Lawyer for a third season. The show, based on Michael Connelly’s book series about a top L.A. defense attorney who does his best thinking in the backseat of his car, has cracked the streamer’s Top 10 in 81 countries thanks in part to its juicy cases.
In season 1, recovering opioid addict Mickey inherits a slain colleague’s clients, including a video game mogul (Christopher Gorham) accused of killing his wife and her lover, while season 2 finds him representing his new flame (Lana Parrilla), a chef and community advocate charged with murdering a real estate developer. But you can also credit Garcia-Rulfo’s innate good-guy charm and chemistry with the supporting cast: Neve Campbell co-stars as Mickey’s first ex-wife, prosecutor Maggie, and Becki Newton steals scenes as his second ex-wife, Lorna, who’s also his assistant.
While you wait for Mickey to log more billable hours and miles, here are other shows like The Lincoln Lawyer that may rev your engine.
As a defense attorney, Mickey is part detective; if he wants a jury to believe his client may be innocent, he needs to give them an alternative suspect. He could learn a trick or two from Special Agent Will Trent (Ramón Rodríguez), who reads crime scenes better than anyone else at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in this ABC hit. In return, Mickey could teach Will how to better navigate the overlap of his professional and personal lives.
Will is in an on-and-off-again relationship with Atlanta PD Det. Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen), a recovering addict and fellow survivor of an abusive foster care system, and his new partner, Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson), is the daughter of a high-ranking cop he got tossed for corruption. Before the end of Season 1’s 13 episodes we (and Will) find out he has heartbreaking ties to his boss, Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn).
Based on Karin Slaughter’s bestselling book series, the show is a bit darker than The Lincoln Lawyer, but there is still plenty of light. Will’s rescue Chihuahua, Betty, gets considerably more screen time than Lorna’s pug, Winston. And there’s a joy in watching Will, who’s always preferred to work alone so he could hide his dyslexia, warm to Faith as they end up sharing an office and lip-synching Hall & Oates. Broadcast procedurals get a bad rap, but this one has enough of the characters’ complicated backstories woven into their cases to warrant a binge before season 2 arrives.
Watch on Hulu
So Help Me Todd
In this CBS drama, also worthy of streaming ahead of its sophomore season, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden stars as polished Portland, Oregon law partner Margaret Wright. She second-guesses her black sheep son Todd’s (Skylar Astin) choice of profession until the disgraced private detective comes to her rescue when her husband goes missing in the series premiere. Impressed by his results — and determined to see him grow up, like his ER doctor sister Allison (Madeline Wise) and governor’s chief of staff brother Lawrence (Matthew Wilkas) — Margaret hires Todd to be an in-house investigator at her firm.
Does she occasionally regret it? Yes, when Todd weasels his way onto a sensitive case she’d rather have the more buttoned-up investigator Lyle (Tristen J. Winger) handle. But Todd usually has a method to his enthusiastic madness (he loves going undercover), and their bickering is so fun, you’ll be happy Margaret somehow finds the time to accompany him into the field. Plus, Harden is just so good, she can give weight to the family’s dysfunctional dynamic and her heavier cases, like when a walk-in appointment turns out to have a bomb strapped to her chest and demands Margaret reverse her efforts to stay an execution.
The real TV breakout of 2023 is actually this 2011-19 USA drama, which smashed a Nielsen streaming record for the most-watched acquired title (then did it again). Anyone who’s been totally flabbergasted by its success must not recall that star Patrick J. Adams nabbed a SAG nomination his first season playing Mike Ross, whose photographic memory earns him an associate position alongside New York City’s top closer, Gabriel Macht’s eternally cool Harvey Specter.
The catch: The firm only hires Harvard Law alums and, after making some bad choices for mostly noble reasons, Mike doesn’t have a college or law degree. Disbelievers must also be unaware of how hard fans shipped Mike and paralegal Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle), and Harvey and his all-knowing secretary Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty), and that people bought official “You just got Litt Up!” mugs in honor of Rick Hoffman’s eccentric frenemy Louis Litt and drooled over the wardrobe of fierce boss Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres). All that is to say, Suits has always been addictive to those who gave it a chance.
A heads-up for when you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon: There are nine seasons — only eight of which are available on Netflix. Peacock has the full run, along with the short-lived spinoff Pearson.
The Good Fight
You don’t need to have watched CBS’s The Good Wife to jump straight into its lauded 2017-22 spinoff. Like Mickey, Diane Lockhart (the incomparable Christine Baranski) is forced to make a comeback in her accomplished career, only her fall stems from a friend and client’s Ponzi scheme wiping out her savings right as she plans to retire to a villa in France. Diane accepts a job offer from Adrian Boseman (Delroy Lindo) to join Chicago’s preeminent Black law firm, known for the police brutality cases it handles. She brings on an associate, her goddaughter Maia Rindell (Rose Leslie), who’s in danger of being swallowed by her father’s Madoff-style scandal, and a resourceful assistant, Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele). At the same time, liberal Diane is also reeling from Donald Trump’s election and deciding whether to save her marriage to Republican ballistics expert Kurt McVeigh (Gary Cole).
Shepherded by Robert and Michelle King, the series is fearless when it comes to addressing the dangerous absurdity of America’s political landscape and how it might exhaust — then incite — people like Diane (and, joining the firm in Season 2, Audra McDonald’s Liz Reddick). Fans of The Good Wife will recognize Cush Jumbo as ambitious associate Lucca Quinn, and a slew of guests reprising memorable roles including Dylan Baker, Denis O’Hare, Matthew Perry, Margo Martindale, John Benjamin Hickey, Mike Colter, Wallace Shawn, Mamie Gummer, and Alan Cumming. Carrie Preston, who returns as exceptionally skilled and quirky outside counsel Elsbeth Tascioni, is set to headline her own spinoff on CBS.
Watch on Paramount Plus
How to Get Away with Murder
If you like hearing Mickey outline his legal strategy to his client turned driver Izzy (Jazz Raycole), then you’ll want to take notes from Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis, in an Emmy-winning turn). At the start of this 2014-20 ABC drama created by Peter Nowalk and exec-produced by Shonda Rhimes, we see four of her criminal law students debating whether to bury a dead body or leave it where it is. Then we flashback to three months earlier, when the badass defense attorney has her class assisting on her latest murder trial and competing to earn coveted internships with her firm. By the end of the premiere, the identity of the victim is revealed —a jaw-dropper guaranteed to make you click “next episode” — and another body, that of a missing co-ed, has been found. How the two deaths are connected, and who is responsible for each murder, is a season-long arc.
As you’d expect from a Shondaland production, there’s biting dialogue, questionable ethics, steamy sex scenes, and truly shocking twists. Season 2 reveals more of Annalise’s trauma-filled backstory, and Season 3 bids farewell to one of the original Keating 5 interns (played by Alfred Enoch, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, and Karla Souza). The series’ six-season run concludes with Annalise on trial and a satisfying flash-forward for viewers who like to know what happens to characters in the future.
Watch on Netflix
It’s easy to imagine Mickey and Jax Stewart (Emayatzy Corinealdi), the L.A. defense attorney at the heart of this sudsy drama created by Scandal alum Raamla Mohamed, running in the same circles. If Mickey can keep up, that is. The premiere, directed by fellow exec producer Kerry Washington, opens with Jax tied to a chair and begging for her life before a gunshot rings out.
You’ll have to wait nine episodes to learn who’s kidnapped her and why, since we immediately flashback to six months earlier when Jax has other problems to deal with: The mother of two is separated from her husband, Lewis (McKinley Freeman), who thinks she prioritizes work over everything else. A wrongly convicted client from her public defender days, Damon Cooke (Michael Ealy), is eligible for parole after serving 16 years and wants to show remorse for the murder he didn’t commit so he can have a future — possibly with Jax. And she’s about to take on the high-profile case of budding billionaire Brayden Miller (Sean Patrick Thomas), who’s charged with murdering a former colleague who’d accused him of sexual assault, knew secrets that could threaten a huge deal, and refused to sign an NDA.
Expect Jax’s personal life to stay thorny (and TV-MA horny), and for flashbacks to explain the lawyer and woman she became. Then look forward to season 2, which will welcome Morris Chestnut as a charismatic, media-savvy attorney who offers Jax assistance and headaches.
Watch on Hulu
The Lincoln Lawyer creator David E. Kelley has a long list of Emmy-winning credits, including L.A. Law, The Practice and Ally McBeal. But The Practice spinoff Boston Legal (2004-08) is a show you really need to see to believe. Set at the wildly inappropriate offices of Crane, Pool & Schmidt, the series centers on the relationship between the brilliant, blissfully smarmy, liberal Alan Shore (James Spader) and the conservative legend that is Denny Crane (William Shatner).
Amidst the boundary-pushing cases that give Alan some of the best (and longest) closing arguments in TV history — and office drama that starts with Denny having a gun pulled on him by a colleague and only gets more audacious — you can always count on the duo ending up on the balcony smoking cigars, drinking Scotch and having a conversation that you’d watch for the full hour if given the chance. That Denny is showing signs of Alzheimer’s adds a poignancy to Alan’s loyalty and admiration, their shared desire to protect Denny’s legacy, and Denny’s love for Alan (which leads to one of the most unexpected TV finales ever).
The show ups the ante when Candice Bergen joins the cast in the eleventh episode as much-desired founding partner Shirley Schmidt, and by having characters break the fourth wall. Spader and Shatner won Emmys for their efforts, as did guest turned regular Christian Clemenson (colleague Jerry Espenson), who deserved one just for his humming performance of the series theme song in season 3’s “Guantanamo by the Bay.”