Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.
Creator: Mark Bomback
Cast: Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell
Where to Watch: Apple TV+
Review: Alfred Hitchcock worked the theme of suspicion between a man and a woman in “Suspicion”; “Defending Jacob” moves that theme to the even more deeply seated bond between parents and their beloved child. Whether or not Jacob is a killer, the uncertainty that strikes his parents is in itself a tragedy, and “Defending Jacob” drives that home effectively.
It’s a mixture of courtroom drama, murder mystery, and psychological thriller, and if it sometimes falls back on familiar genre-ish cliches, the show can boast some fine performances and possesses the critical ingredient of watchability.
You’ve seen it before, perhaps, but don’t let that stop you. “Defending Jacob,” based on the 2012 novel by Boston author William Landay, is gripping enough in its own way, despite some of the familiar moves.
Verdict: Worth the Popcorn