Review of: Defending Jacob
Limited Series:
Apple TV+
Version:
April 24, 2020
Price:
Included with Apple TV+

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On June 1, 2020
Last modified:June 1, 2020

Summary:

The story of Defending Jacob follows the Barber family as their son goes to trial for allegedly killing a classmate. Chris Evans leads the series along with Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell. All performances are award-worthy. This show succeeds as an example of the modern mini-series with cinematic qualities that uses a television structure to its advantage to tell a novelistic story.

There is no back to normal, there is just before and after. The story of Defending Jacob follows the Barber family as their son goes to trial for allegedly killing a classmate. Andy Barber, played brilliantly by Chris Evans, works as an Assistant District Attorney initially involved in the murder investigation. Yet, when his son has accused his perspective changes to the other side of the courtroom to defend his son.

Chris Evans in Defending Jacob (2020)
Chris Evans in Defending Jacob (2020)

The Crime

The strength of the show is that it strays from the conventional trial show drama. Defending Jacob doesn’t spend much time on the details of the case, but more about how to build a defense. The twists and turns in the story will not surprise fans of the book, but there are a few changes. To those coming in fresh, there are many surprises that will leave you wondering what happens next.

The ending of the series is not identical to the novel. Without giving away the ending, but the audience is asked to think for themselves about the Barber family and who they have become. It is refreshing for a show not to tie up all loose strings and answer every question.

The Defendants

The show is a heavy drama and the actors are ready for it. The role of Andy Barber feels like Chris Evans’ most mature role to date. This is also his first major TV role. Unlike Evans, Michelle Dockery is no stranger to TV as a veteran of Downton Abbey, but she too takes on a role we haven’t seen from her as Jacob’s conflicted mother. Jacob is played by seasoned teenage actor, Jaeden Martell, who moves from regular teen too creepy all too smoothly to create an eerie performance.

The show’s cinematography, music, writing, and direction are also excellent. The pacing of the storytelling is precise, giving just enough information to keep everything moving without being too expository.

Chris Evans, Shawn Fitzgibbon, and Betty Gabriel in Defending Jacob (2020)
Chris Evans, Shawn Fitzgibbon, and Betty Gabriel in Defending Jacob (2020)

A Limited Series

Limited series has become a happy home for books as they can present their story as chapters, more true to a book’s narrative flow. This show succeeds as an example of the modern mini-series with cinematic qualities that uses a television structure to its advantage to tell a novelistic story. The limited series categories at many award shows have become increasingly crowded in recent years as content creators have used this medium in a new way. This show, along with The Morning Show, sets Apple TV+ as a new home for compelling drama at a quality and price only Apple can deliver.


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What did you think of Defending Jacob, share in the comments!

The story of Defending Jacob follows the Barber family as their son goes to trial for allegedly killing a classmate. Chris Evans leads the series along with Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell. All performances are award-worthy. This show succeeds as an example of the modern mini-series with cinematic qualities that uses a television structure to its advantage to tell a novelistic story.

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