Netflix’s legal thriller series ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ follows the story of a lawyer who defends criminals while trying not to compromise his morals. In the first season, Mickey Haller represents Trevor Elliot, a wealthy video game developer accused of killing his wife and her lover. This is a huge case for Haller that can bring his career back on track. When he is not working on Trevor’s case, Haller keeps thinking about how to save his previous client Jesus Menendez, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering Martha Renteria.
Haller feels guilty for not doing his best in representing Menendez and making him take a plea deal even though he was innocent. He always knew that Menendez didn’t commit the crime. However, he couldn’t get his hands on the real killer. He meets a breakthrough in the second season. If you are wondering who is the real killer of Martha Renteria, here’s what you should know. SPOILERS AHEAD
Who Killed Martha Renteria?
Martha Renteria was a sex worker who was brutally killed by one of her clients. She was stabbed multiple times, but the cops never found the murder weapon. Menendez was the last known person seen with her before she died, which makes him an obvious suspect. Because Menendez already had a criminal record, the cops leaned on him to close the case. There was some evidence against him, but it was all circumstantial. Still, it was enough for the prosecution to lead the jury to see Menendez’s guilt.
Menendez maintained his innocence, and Haller tried to prove it in court. Only one thing he had could get the whole case thrown out and give Menendez his freedom. Haller was contacted by Gloria Dayton, aka Glory Days, a sex worker who was friends with Martha Renteria. Gloria told Haller that Menendez was not the real killer because she had crossed paths with him.
During one of her jobs, Gloria met an unknown man who tried to kill her the same way Martha was killed. He had a flip-open knife and used it with his left hand. Gloria noticed that the man had a tattoo of a Japanese character on his hand. When the man attacked Gloria, he told her he had murdered Martha and gotten away with it. When Gloria saw Jesus Menendez on trial for Gloria’s murder, she called Haller to clear the air.
Gloria’s testimony in court would have saved Menendez, but on the day of the hearing, she didn’t show. It turns out she was threatened by a police officer who wanted to advance their own career. Gloria’s sudden disappearance tore down Haller’s defense, and Menendez went to prison. Due to his accident and other struggles, Haller abandoned his efforts to find Gloria but resumed the search once he was back in action.
Who is the Man With the Tattoo?
In the second season of ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ Mickey Haller gets a client who is arrested for getting drunk, breaking into someone else’s house, and sleeping there. The client, Russell Lawson, claims he was too drunk to remember anything. A quick look at the case reveals that Russell made an honest mistake. His house and the house he broke into looked the same. At night, intoxicated out of his wits, Russell misidentified the house. Haller gets the case thrown out of court, ending his and Russell’s relationships as client and attorney. However, Russell pays him to be on a retainer and later shows up at Haller’s house.
Russell reveals that he is the one who killed Martha Renteria. It is proven by the fact that he has the same Japanese tattoo on his hand. It would have been great news for Haller to have finally found the real killer and get Menendez exonerated. However, because Russell has Haller on a retained, the latter is still his lawyer, which means he cannot violate attorney-client privilege. Even though he knows the truth, he cannot tell anyone because it would ruin him.
Russell reveals that he had been with Martha after Menendez left. He doesn’t show any remorse for the crime, and his demeanor proves he has no intentions of stopping. He would have also killed Gloria, but she fought back and ran away. Ever since Menendez was arrested and put on trial, Russell knew that Haller had been looking for him. He tricked Haller into representing him because he knew that once he had the attorney-client privilege, he could tell Haller anything, and the lawyer wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
In the end, Russell is bested at his own game when Haller tricks him into attacking Gloria, who was being kept under watch by the cops after she agreed to testify against a cartel leader. By now, the retainer has run its course because Haller helped Russell get rid of the parking ticket he’d previously received. With Russell no longer his client, Haller returns to representing Menendez, who is given a clean cheat because the real killer is caught.