Looking for your next binge watch and love crime thrillers? Run, dont walk to Apple TV+'s DEFENDING JACOB, a powerful 8-part adaption of the hit crime novel by William Landay.
Chris Evans (Captain America) is Boston assistant DA Andy Barber. He's a respected attorney, with a terrific wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) and teenage son Jacob.
When a classmate of Jacob's is found brutally murdered in the park near their high school, their son is soon implicated and charged with the crime.
Evans is terrific as a father torn between his passion for the law and his sudden confusion on being on the on the other side of the charges. He's had ample opportunity in the Marvel movies to show his range. Between his role in "Knives Out" last year and his performance here, he rises to another level.
Dockery (The Gentlemen, Downton Abbey) delivers a tightly wound, painful performance as a mother who begins to question everything about her son.
Martell (young Bill in "IT") is an impenetrable mystery as an awkward teen dealing with bullying, the pressures of social media and being thrust into the media spotlight.
Cherry Jones (Signs, 24) is fantastic as Jacob's defense attorney Joanna Klein. Tamara and I were fortunate enough to see her on Broadway in "Doubt" and she's one of the best actresses on the planet. She's jaw-dropping as a brilliant attorney torn between her friendship with Andy and the family torn apart by increasingly ugly truths.
JK Simmons (Whiplash) is excellent as well as Andy's estranged father. The less you know going in the better on the elder Billy Barber, the better, so I'll all say is Simmons disappears into the character, he's reliably great.
Pablo Schreiber (Den of Thieves) is also very good as Andy's fellow attorney Neal. He's featured in a story framing device that weaves through all eight hours so cleverly that you only realize its true purpose in the final episode.
Creator/Director Mark Bomback manages to adapt the novel with more than a few twists that will surprise the millions that read the novel. The 8 hour structure gives him a lot of room to breathe and the space to present a lot of characters, suspects, tragic figures and red herrings into the mix, but he always maintains focus.
The final episode is a roller coaster for the Barber family and for any viewer that's flown through episodes 1-7 to find out whodunit.
It's a clever, smart and emotional ending that I never saw coming.
DEFENDING JACOB should be your next binge watch and gets an A.