‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Ending Explained: Who Was the Man With the Tattoo?

Is The Lincoln Lawyer getting a season 2? The 10-episode debut season of Netflix’s new David E. Kelley legal drama dropped on May 13. As of now, there’s no word on whether the series – which is based on a book by Bosch writer Michael Connelly – will return. But an ominous moment at the end of the season finale offers a hint about where things might be headed in a possible sophomore season. 

[Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Lincoln Lawyer.

‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ ending: Mickey Haller cleared Jesus Menendez’s name

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The Lincoln Lawyer’s first season followed Mickey as he juggled multiple cases, including that of Jesus Menendez (Saul Huezo). Mickey knew that his client had been wrongfully convicted of killing a prostitute named Martha. The case had fallen apart a year earlier when a key witness went missing. Mickey had not pursued the matter further due to his drug problem, but now he was hoping to make things right.

Mickey managed to track down the missing witness, a prostitute named Gloria (Fiona Rene) who had been attacked by the same man. Eventually, she agreed to testify. On the stand, she explained that just before she was scheduled to appear as a witness in Jesus’s trial, a vice cop named Linda Perez paid her a visit. She told her to get out of town or she’d be arrested. Officer Perez eventually revealed that her superior officer, Detective Lankford (Jamie McShane), was the one who ordered her to pressure Gloria to not testify.  

The man with the tattoo is connected to the Jesus Menendez case 

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller talking on cell phone in courthouse hallway in Netflix's 'The Lincoln Lawyer'
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ | Lara Solanki/Netflix © 2022

Gloria and Officer Perez’s testimony was enough to clear Jesus Menendez’s name. But it had some unintended consequences. Detective Lankford was a key witness in a major human trafficking case that Haller’s ex-wife Maggie (Scream’s Neve Campbell), an L.A. district attorney, was working on. But once he was exposed as a corrupt cop, her case fell apart. 

There was also the lingering questions of who attacked Gloria and Martha. Gloria testified that he was left-handed and that he had a tattoo on his forearm with Japanese characters. Viewers saw the man’s arm in a brief flashback from Gloria’s point of view. They saw it again in the final moments of episode 10, when a man whose face wasn’t shown watched Haller as he surfed. The man’s tattoo was clearly visible, and there’s little question that he’s the person who attacked Gloria and killed Martha. But for now, his identity is a mystery. 

The tattooed man could play a role ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ Season 2

Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller sitting on beach in Netflix's 'The Lincoln Lawyer'
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ | Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

If Netflix renews The Lincoln Lawyer for season 2, it seems likely the show will address the fallout from the Jesus Menendez case. While Menendez has been clear of wrongdoing, the real killer is still out there. And based on that last scene, he knows who Mickey is and is keeping an eye on him. 

The Menendez case may also shift the dynamic between Mickey and his ex-wife. Toward the end of the season, he and Maggie seemed to be headed toward a reconciliation. But she was angry that he didn’t give her a heads up about Langford. When her case against trafficker Angelo Soto (Reggie Lee) fell apart, she was demoted. Though she was able to work with the U.S. Attorney to get Soto indicted on federal charges, her career – and her relationship with Mickey – took a major hit. Chances are, that will be explored in more depth if the show is renewed for another season. 

The Lincoln Lawyer is now streaming on Netflix. 

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