Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Talks Mickey Haller

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to The Lincoln Lawyer star Manuel Garcia-Rulfo about Mickey Haller’s exes, the character’s demons, and getting to explore him thoroughly. All 10 episodes of Netflix’s series adaptation of Michael Connelly’s bestselling crime novel will be available for streaming on May 13.

“When his former law partner is killed, Mickey Haller is left to take over the firm, including a high-profile murder trial,” says the synopsis. “With the biggest case he’s ever had to tackle out of the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car, Mickey discovers there may be more at stake than he thought.”

 Tyler Treese: Mickey has this whole crew of ex-wives in the series and he even has a second ex that he works with. How refreshing was this dynamic where he’s not at odds constantly with his exes?

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo: I think it’s so cool. Mickey Haller, he sees the best in people, you know what I mean? He simplifies things instead of going into the drama, he’s like, “Okay, Lorna is amazing at what she does and we have great chemistry, let’s work together.” You know? “Let’s just forget about our past as a couple.” I find that very complicated, but very, very cool to have. To have two ex-wives and, you know, dealing with them at the same time and one is like a motor for him, for his work and the other one makes him be a good man and makes him grounded.

There’s so much to Mickey to play with, for you. Rehab, failed relationships, he’s such a talented lawyer, and he’s kind of looking for redemption. What was so rewarding about having 10 episodes to thoroughly explore this character?

It was a pleasure, you know? First, you’re dealing with the whole arc, you can see it. We find him at the beginning in the lowest part of his life, and then he’s climbing. I can’t say much, but yeah, it was such a pleasure playing Mickey Haller, a character that is loved by so many. To be part of Michael Connelly’s world. It was such a pleasure. I mean, Mickey Haller is one of those characters that … he’s larger than life. So lots of collars and very complex, and vulnerable. So it was beautiful. It was really cool to play him.

You have this great scene where you mention that addiction never stops. It’s a constant battle for anybody with those demons. Can you speak to just the preparation that went into covering such sensitive subject matter?

Yeah. The preparation was … I have some friends that have dealt with that, with addiction, and I don’t know, it’s really painful. I really wanted to portray that to have that vulnerability when I was playing him, I really focused on that, on having him not being just this swagger guy that’s dealing with two ex-wives and being really good at what he does, but to have that heaviness of the addiction, plus the accident plus ex-wives, plus the case. I did a lot of research on that. I did a lot of research on trials. I watched a lot of hours of real footage of O.J. Simpson’s trial and all that.

I think for every surfer that I’ve met, it’s like a way of life if you surf, I guess. So I wanted to feel that as well. So I went to Mexico, stayed there for a couple of days, and learned how to surf to have that sense of what’s written on the page on the scripts, and the talks with the producers and everybody of what the character was. But yeah, I definitely wanted to feel that heaviness of, especially, like you said, of the addiction. It’s just a place where you’re very vulnerable and you feel apart, from what I’ve experienced with friends that I have, that you feel apart from everybody else. There’s like a rejection that you put in your mind. You feel lower than the rest of civilization, I guess. So I really wanted to have that there.