'The Lincoln Lawyer' TV Series From David E. Kelley Lands Big CBS Commitment

The drama, based on the Michael Connelly novels and subsequent feature film, has received a sizable commitment from the network.
Courtesy of Photofest; Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Matthew McConaughey in the 2011 feature film adaptation of 'The Lincoln Lawyer' (Inset: David E. Kelley)

David E. Kelley is returning to broadcast.

The Emmy-winning creator of Big Little Lies and Mr. Mercedes has signed on to write and executive produce a CBS adaptation of Michael Connelly's best-seller The Lincoln Lawyer.

The drama, which is currently in development, comes with a series production commitment attached. That means if CBS does not pick up The Lincoln Lawyer to series, the team behind the project will be paid a sizable penalty fee.

The CBS drama, like Connelly's series of novels and the subsequent 2011 feature film starring Matthew McConaughey, revolves around Mickey Haller, an iconoclastic idealist who runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln town car as he takes on cases big and small across Los Angeles. Connelly is attached as an executive producer alongside Ross Fineman, who previously worked with Kelley on Amazon's Goliath. The project hails from A+E Studios and CBS TV Studios.

The Lincoln Lawyer brings Kelley back to CBS and to broadcast for his first project since the network's comedy The Crazy Ones, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robin Williams and was canceled after one season in 2014. His broadcast credits include CBS' Chicago Hope and Picket Fences; NBC's L.A. Law and Harry's Law; ABC's Boston Legal and The Practice; and Fox's Boston Public and Ally McBeal.

Kelley currently exec produces HBO's Big Little Lies, Audience Network's Mr. Mercedes, Amazon's Goliath and HBO's upcoming Nicole Kidman limited series The Undoing.

The Lincoln Lawyer is Connelly's second TV series, joining Amazon's Bosch.

This is CBS' first major development deal for the 2019-2020 season. In the midst of the ongoing feud between writers and agents over packaging fees and affiliated studios, all eyes are on how networks and studios will handle the massive volume of script buys, as each of the Big Four broadcast networks typically picks up 300 comedies and dramas per season.