On May 13th, Netflix will premiere its original series The Lincoln Lawyer. If that title sounds familiar it should. First, the series is based on the Michael Connelly book The Brass Verdict. Second, there was a successful 2011 film with Matthew McConaughey as the lead character.
Now, the series stars Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and he is joined by well-known actor Christopher Gorham. To say Christopher has had an incredible career so far in Hollywood would be an understatement. On the small screen, you may know him from his extensive roles on Covert Affairs, Ugly Betty, Jake 2.0, Harper’s Island and the teen drama Popular.
He’s also made guest appearances on series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Felicity, Once Upon a Time, Major Crimes and The Magicians to name a few. On the big screen, he’s appeared in the critically acclaimed One Night in Miami directed by Regina King among others.
We had the chance to sit down with Christopher to talk about his new series and his role, what it was like to work with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and what viewers can expect with the first season of The Lincoln Lawyer.
Pop Culture Principle – When you were first approached about the Lincoln Lawyer series, what made you decide to sign on to the project?
Christopher Gorman – Well, there were a couple of things when it first came to my attention. The first thing was the title. I was aware of the Lincoln Lawyer film that Matthew McConaughey did almost ten years ago or so. I also have friends and relatives who have read all the Michael Connelly books and are big fans.
The second thing that I noticed was that it was a David E. Kelly production. I have been a fan of his work since Ally McBeal and the guy just knows what he’s doing. And then, I saw that the pilot was written by Ted Humphrey who was a showrunner over at The Good Wife which is a show that I love. Also, I read the script and the script was great and the part was great. It’s a challenging role in a good way and I was thrilled when they asked me to join the team.
Pop Culture Principle – The series is based on the second book from Michael Connelly entitled The Brass Verdict. Did you get a chance to read the book in preparing for your role?
Christopher Gorham – Well you know, I asked them and because my character is not in that book because it’s a different character, I decided to just stay away from it and just deal with what I was given with the script.
Pop Culture Principle – You play Trevor Elliott in the series. What can you tell us about your character?
Christopher Gorham – So, this is a guy who is a very high profile and very successful video game designer. He’s a guy that people recognize his face, and he has been accused of murdering his wife and her lover. So, he’s fighting for his life, and he needs a lawyer who is going to be able to give him the best defense possible. The lawyer that he hired was murdered and so now, just two weeks before going into court, he has to interview this new lawyer whom he has never heard of in Mickey Haller and decide whether or not he can put his trust in him.
Pop Culture Principle – Manuel Garcia-Rulfo takes on the lead role in the series. How was it working with him in the series?
Christopher Gorham – It was great! Manuel is such a good actor and thankfully, just a great dude. We got along really well in real life because on screen, our characters did not get along. Our two characters really butted heads because you have two alpha males, and they need to be able to trust each other and they both have a hard time with that.
Mickey doesn’t know whether or not he can trust Trevor because at the beginning of the first episode, the evidence doesn’t look great for him. Also, Trevor doesn’t know if he can trust Mickey because this is a guy who has been completely off the legal radar for an entire year and Trevor doesn’t know if he is up to the task. So, you’ve got a real tug of war going on throughout the season.
Christopher Gorman – Again, it was great. We just had one day that we were on set together. It was really nice to see a familiar face and reconnect with her. The familiar face that I do know very well is Becki Newton from Ugly Betty, so we had a good time.
Pop Culture Principle – Many people will compare the series to the 2011 movie starring Matthew McConaughey. Do you see that as somewhat of a double-edged sword?
Christopher Gorman – Audiences are smart and there may be people coming to the show expecting to see that film, but Matthew McConaughey isn’t in the show. This show has Manuel in it and tells a different story in a different way. Instead of ninety minutes, we’ve got ten full episodes to tell this story, so we are going to get a lot more of Michael Connelly’s book into this storytelling compared to what you would get with a film.
Also, this show stays closer to the books then the film did. Mickey Haller is a Latino in the books, so it was a solid and important choice in hiring Manuel to play Mickey because he’s much closer to the character that’s in the books then the film.
Pop Culture Principle – Is there a scene or a moment while filming the first season that you can’t wait for the viewers to see?
Christopher Gorham – There is plenty of my character and Manuel’s character going toe to toe this season. In the first episode for me personally, there are two great scenes. One, where you really see Trevor asserting himself and asserting his dominance. In the second scene, you really get to see him be vulnerable and reveal his emotional truth which you don’t often get to do, particularly in one episode. The series starts off with a bang!
Christopher Gorham – It’s just a great legal drama and so much fun. The case is so interesting in the tradition of the best legal dramas. You start the first episode being 100 percent confident how this is going to play out and by the end of the first episode, you have no idea how this is going to play out and you are questioning everything you started the episode with.
We are going to play with your emotions, and we are going to play with your expectations. It’s a really fun ride! It’s all the good stuff that Ted Humphrey brought to The Good Wife and all the great stuff that David E. Kelley brings to all his shows mixed in with a wonderful cast. Also, it’s on Netflix, so you can binge the entire season in a weekend if you want.
Pop Culture Principle – What is so amazing about your career is that you have played such a diversity of characters in film and television. Do you specifically look for characters that you haven’t played before, or you take a job because it’s a job?
Christopher Gorham – It’s more of the latter. 😊 I wish I could say that I have this brilliant control over my career, but with few exceptions, you audition for whatever comes in. These days, most of the stuff that comes in is good and there isn’t a lot of garbage floating around. So, you shoot your shot and every once in a while it works out.
I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to bounce around in between genres and types of people. I’ve played good guys; I’ve played bad guys and everything in between in just about every genre. This is my very first law series which I am kind of excited about. So, this was a lot of fun.
Christopher Gorham – Well honestly, I truly think that the quality of television has continued to grow with diversity. The more diverse storytellers that are being given an opportunity to tell their stories is making the storytelling better across the board. It’s making everyone better. There is more competition as well. The more diverse that it gets, the better the stories get. Granted, there is a long way to go, but the amount of diversity on television has definitely changed.
Pop Culture Principle – What advice would you give to someone who wants to act or be an actor?
Christopher Gorham – Well, more than I really want to get into acting, you have to ask yourself do you need to get into acting because I think it’s two different things. So, for someone who wants to just act, there is nothing stopping you from doing it. You can act as a hobby and have a stable career and have a stable life and have a family and go on vacations and save for college and do all the things that a more stable career can give you, do local theater, and just act.
You should only go into this as a career if you need to do it because it’s really challenging. It’s physically challenging, financially challenging, and emotionally challenging and the longer you go, it doesn’t get any easier for most people. That being said, it’s important. What we do as actors and artists is important. It’s important to give people stories that they can lose themselves in and see themselves in and think about things differently and sometimes just laugh or have a good cry.
We would like to thank Christopher Gorham for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us! You can catch The Lincoln Lawyer exclusively on Netflix when it premieres May 13th!
**The Lincoln Lawyer photos courtesy of Lara Solanki/Netflix © 2022**