- The ending of The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 tied up loose ends but left intriguing threads for future seasons to explore, such as why Jerry Vincent was killed and why Lankford set up Jesus Menendez.
- The true identity of the killer, known as the Man with the Tattoo, was revealed in the finale, setting up a new storyline for season 2 as the killer targets protagonist Mickey Haller.
- The season 1 ending explored themes of corruption and justice, showcasing how characters outside of the legal system delivered justice when the system failed. The show is not solely about law and order, as season 1’s “The Brass Verdict” episode demonstrated.
Warning: Contains spoilers for The Lincoln Lawyer season 2.
Here’s Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, and what the ending means for future seasons. The adaptation of Michael Connelly’s popular The Lincoln Lawyer book series tied up a lot of loose ends but left open some intriguing threads for future seasons to explore. Why Jerry Vincent was killed, why Lankford set up Jesus Menendez, and what is a brass verdict are some of the most important questions answered by The Lincoln Lawyer episode 10. Still, there’s more that The Lincoln Lawyer season 1’s ending leaves open. The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 is based on The Brass Verdict, the second book in Connelly’s series.
“The Brass Verdict” is also the title of The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 finale, which saw the exoneration of Jesus Menendez, an innocent man wrongly accused of a crime. As a former client of protagonist, Mickey Haller (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo of Michael Bay’s 6 Underground), Menendez’s conviction had haunted Haller for years. Several key revelations about how and why Menendez was set up by corrupt LAPD detective Lee Lankford (Jamie McShane) and the identity of the true guilty party were revealed as The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained. But the finale set up further threads that feature prominently in season 2.
Why Lankford Set Up Jesus Menendez
As The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, after defense attorney (and Haller’s ex-wife) Maggie McPherson (Neve Campbell) put Detective Perez on the stand, Perez revealed that Detective Lankford was the one who ordered her to prevent key witness Gloria Dayton from testifying in Menendez’s defense, and was therefore responsible for his conviction. The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending didn’t make it entirely clear why Lankford set Menendez up, but the novel The Brass Verdict gives further clues to fill in the blanks.
In Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer books, Lankford was primarily interested in securing a conviction and less concerned with convicting the actual guilty party. He plays a larger role in later books, and his decision to set up Menendez, largely unexplored in season 1, may bear out in further seasons. The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained little of this, causing audiences to reach for the novels, and season 2 also didn’t do much to elaborate on this plot thread, instead seeing Mickey searching for and finding the Man with the Tattoo.
Why Jerry Vincent Was Killed
As The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, Vincent was killed for interfering with a jury-rigging conspiracy. In their final meeting, Haller suggested to Judge Holder that she had a lucrative side hustle rigging juries and that she had Vincent killed because he “threw a wrench in it.” Vincent discovered that Juror Number 7 was rigged. His decision to file for a continuance against his client’s wishes without informing his client was a giveaway that he knew about Holder’s scheme since it would have been a breach of ethics. The continuance would have required a second jury selection, excluding Judge Holder’s planted juror, and it cost Vincent his life.
What Is Cisco Doing For the Road Saints Motorcycle Club?
In The Lincoln Lawyer‘s cast of characters, Dennis “Cisco” Wojciechowski (Angus Sampson) was an ex-member of the Road Saints motorcycle club. As The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, he realized that Haller had compromised his reputation by trying to settle Cisco’s debt with the Road Saints, so Cisco paid them a visit, insisting to their leader, Teddy, that his debts were his own. Teddy made an offer, which Cisco presumably accepted. However, the terms of Teddy’s offer were never revealed.
The books don’t explicitly offer an answer, but they do provide key clues. Although Cisco was a member of the Road Saints, he had a clear record, and the Road Saints were openly engaged in criminal activity. This suggests a darker storyline in the future for Cisco involving illegal activity. The end of the episode sees Cisco riding away on his motorcycle to begin his work for Teddy, which leaves open a thread for The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 to pick up, following Cisco on his new assignment.
Why Does Bob Cardone Remove Maggie McPherson?
The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained that Bob Cardone removed Maggie McPherson from her position to safeguard his reputation. McPherson believed that Cardone was less ambitious than his political rival Janelle Simmons. In turn, he revealed his own ambition when he ordered Maggie to drop her case against human trafficker and murderer Angelo Soto and then removed her from her position, explaining that he ran on a platform of exposing corrupt cops and detectives.
As The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, McPherson’s case rested on testimony from Lankford, with whom she’d worked closely, and who Haller had revealed to be corrupt. For Cardone, McPherson’s proximity to and association with Lankford made her a political liability, to the point that even continuing the case or her remaining in the office would have compromised his reputation.
Who Was The Man at the End of the Lincoln Lawyer Finale?
The tattooed man shown in The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending was the real killer who committed the murder for which Jesus Menendez (Saul Huezo, The Mule) was convicted. Gloria Dayton, the key witness who Detective Lankford had prevented from testifying in Menendez’s case, held the only clue to the true identity of the killer: a distinctive tattoo, which is revealed on his left forearm in the final moments of the season 1 finale. The closing image reveals a huge thread to look for in season 2 as a killer with a motive to retaliate against Haller is stalking him, and may have been all along.
As The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained, Haller’s failure to secure an acquittal for Menendez years ago had thrown his life off track and shaken his confidence in his ability to practice law. The Lincoln Lawyer episode 1’s early moments featured a tortured Haller staring into the surf, unable to dive back in, distraught over the accident that led to his painkiller addiction and more over the Menendez case, as he later revealed.
The finale ended, fittingly, with a mirror image of Haller at the surf’s edge, diving confidently into the water. However, in this crucial moment in The Lincoln Lawyer finale, the tattooed man was watching Haller from the shore, inviting the question whether he was being watched all along, or whether the stalking began after Menendez was exonerated. Now that Menendez’s name has been cleared, the killer is at risk again, and Haller’s zealous pursuit of justice for Menendez makes him a target.
Why Trevor Elliot Is Killed & What Is A Brass Verdict?
The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained that Trevor Elliott was killed because the justice system failed to convict him of the double homicide he committed, the target of a brass verdict. Detective Griggs explained to Haller that a brass verdict is when a jury returns a verdict of not guilty, but vigilante justice is later delivered to a guilty party. Carol DuBois (Heather Mazur of Night of the Living Dead), who shot Elliott, couldn’t have known that Elliott was guilty based on anything other than a gut feeling, as the smoking gun evidence was revealed by Haller only to Elliott after the trial ended.
But DuBois was convinced of his guilt from the beginning of the trial, and she had a deep emotional connection to one of the victims. By law, DuBois would be guilty of some degree of intentional homicide, as without justification, she intentionally shot Elliott with the intent to kill him. But under the informal theory of the brass verdict, Elliott’s death is justified in an “ends justify the means” sense, because the failure of the justice system to convict him created a second injustice that was corrected with his death: the brass verdict.
What Does the Ending Really Mean?
The ending of Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ties together themes of corruption and what justice looks like within and outside of the system. Through season 1, the system fails. Elliott is guilty, but is acquitted. Menendez is innocent, but initially convicted. Soto is guilty, but the case is dropped. People at every level of the justice system are revealed to be complicit in the miscarriage of justice. Thus, the justice that was denied through the judicial system was delivered in the series outside of the system, as The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained.
DuBois attained justice for Rilz by killing Elliott. McPherson achieved justice for her witness by assuring that Soto was tried by the FBI. Haller employed Cisco and Lorna to use unconventional means to finally secure justice for Jesus Menendez. The Lincoln Lawyer is a show about justice featuring a lawyer, but it’s not about justice via law and order, and season 1’s “The Brass Verdict” episode makes that clear.
How Lincoln Lawyer Season 2 Followed Up On The Season 1 Ending
The Lincoln Lawyer season 1 ending explained many of its plot threads, however, it did leave the identity of the true perpetrator (known only as the Man with the Tattoo) for season 2 to follow up on. The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 primarily focused on the murder trial of chef Lisa Trammel. Trammel was accused of murdering real estate developer Mitchell Bondurant, and the question of her innocence is the sophomore season’s biggest mystery as the evidence stacks up neatly, but there are still nagging questions. The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 decides to tackle the Man with the Tattoo mystery early on.
As Mickey is meant to defend a man named Russell from burglary charges in The Lincoln Lawyer season 2 premiere, Russell reveals that he is the Man with the Tattoo. Unable to help Jésus because of attorney-client privilege, Mickey sets up an elaborate trap that sees Russell attempting to attack Glory Days and being caught in the process, clearing Jésus of all suspicion. Many felt that The Lincoln Lawyer season 2’s Man with the Tattoo reveal was relatively downplayed, as the arc only lasted two episodes. However, this was necessary in order to delve into Mickey’s case with Lisa and move The Lincoln Lawyer story forward.