Here is a series where the refined performances transcend the subject matter: Chris Evans is spectacular as assistant district attorney “Andy Barber” fighting to clear his fourteen-year-old son “Jacob” (prodigious Jaeden Martell) of murdering his classmate; Michelle Dockery as Jacob’s mother “Laurie” is categorically impressive as she analyzes her son’s behavior from infancy to the present; Cherry Jones, as Jacob’s lawyer “Joanna Klein” anchors, with intelligence, Jacob’s defense; Pablo Schreiber, prosecuting attorney “Neal Loguidice”, pointedly, blatantly aims and oftentimes hits the jugular; unparalleled, J.K. Simmons, scores perfectly as Andy’s incarcerated father “William “Bloody Billy” Barber”, his scenes reverberate with deep-rooted evil and awe-inspiring cunning.
“Defending Jacob” achieves on a myriad of psychological levels: does unconditional love outstrip reality? How well does any parent know their child? The credibility of a psychological profile? Unlike William Landay’s 2012 novel of the same name, viewers are involved in the decision-making process of Jacob’s guilt or innocence, which instead of frustrating, is satisfying, tantalizing; a comfortable saga, in an uncomfortable era.
THREE & ½ STARS!!!