Is The Lincoln Lawyer Based on a True Story? Is Mickey Haller a Real Person?

Image Credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix

‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ brings attorney Mickey Haller back into action after recovering from a painkiller-induced drug habit. Known for his practice of working on the move — generally in the back of his Lincoln — Mickey picks defendants with notoriously unfavorable cases and somehow manages to spin them.

Season 1 of the Netflix series focuses on the high-profile murder of a wealthy tech tycoon’s wife. Despite the narrative’s frequent plot twists, the story remains grounded enough to feel believable. We dug around to see just how much of ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ is based on a true story and whether the prolific Mickey Haller is based on a real person.

Is The Lincoln Lawyer Based on a True Story?

No, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ is not based on a true story. Created by David E. Kelley, the series draws from the 2008 novel titled ‘The Brass Verdict’ by author Michael Connelly. The book is part of a series of crime-based novels by the author centered around LAPD detective Harry Bosch and attorney Michael “Mickey” Haller. The author’s 16th novel, which introduces Haller and is titled ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ was made into the 2011 movie of the same name with Matthew McConaughey.

Image Credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix

Despite the fictional nature of the stories, Connelly also draws from substantial real-world sources for inspiration. The author spent over a decade as a cops reporter, spending some of that time with the Los Angeles Times. Thus, his earlier novels focused more on Detective Bosch and police-centric stories. However, the author also has a long-standing fascination with attorneys putting themselves at risk for the sake of justice. While writing the Harry Bosch novels, Connelly began researching the legal and courtroom side of things.

An old reporter friend, Dan Daly, who had since delved into criminal defense law, gave Connelly extensive insights into how the legal world functioned. Daly and his acquaintance, Roger Mills, gave the author many gritty stories about cases, lawyers, and the intriguing happenings in the world of criminal law, which subsequently inspired many of the fictional attorney Michael Haller’s stories. After three years of research, Connelly published the first one centered around the attorney.

In fact, one of Daly’s quotes — “There is no client as scary as an innocent man” — became the epigraph of the book. Thus, Connelly draws from some very real sources that have spent years covering criminal defense, giving his stories ample realism. However, the plots and characters are fictional. The subsequent Netflix show that draws from the novels is also, therefore, fictional. Now, the show’s central character has an intriguing origin that’s worth taking a closer look at.

Is Mickey Haller a Real Person?

Mickey Haller is partially based on a real person. Talking about ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ which introduces Haller, Connelly said, “I kind of learned a lesson with The Lincoln Lawyer. I had wanted to write about a criminal defense lawyer, but a lot of people do that, and I’m not a lawyer, so I kind of bided my time until I had something interesting then I met a lawyer who worked out of the back seat of his car, and I suddenly had it, I had that book.”

That’s right, the central character of the fictional series is inspired by an actual lawyer that the author met — one that actually worked out of his car, much like our hero, Mickey Haller. Connelly was introduced to David Ogden through a mutual friend and got intrigued when the latter mentioned that he worked in his car. In fact, one of the cars that Ogden drove (and worked) in was a Lincoln Towncar. The similarities between the fictional Haller and his real-life inspiration, David Ogden, don’t end there. Much like how the former is driven around by a former client, Ogden was also chauffeured by Lonnie Henderson, a former client who had done time. Connelly, therefore, picked up some distinctive real-world details to embellish his lawyer character.

Thus, ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ series, like the books it is based on, is a work of fiction that draws key details from real-life people and situations. The significant time Connelly spent as a reporter seeps into his novel-writing, resulting in well-placed real-life-inspired aspects in his crime stories. Like the stories, the central character, Mickey Haller, also borrows details from the actual attorney David Ogden, most notably, the latter’s habit of working out of his car.

Read More: Where Was The Lincoln Lawyer TV Series Filmed?