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Literature / Mickey Haller

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Mickey Haller is the main character of a series of mystery novels by Michael Connelly. He is a lawyer with a reputation for defending the obviously guilty.

The novels share a setting with those featuring LAPD detective (and half-brother) Harry Bosch, protagonist of about two-thirds of Connelly's novels, who also appears in this series as a supporting character.

Novels featuring Mickey Haller:

Short stories featuring Mickey Haller: "Burnt Matches", "The Perfect Triangle".

Mickey Haller also appears as a character in several Harry Bosch novels, such as 9 Dragons, The Crossing, The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Two Kinds of Truth, The Night Fire, and Desert Star.

Haller is also the protagonist of an ongoing series adaptation on Netflix, where he is played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.

Other novels in this series contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: shortened from "Mickey" to "Mick" in the film version of The Lincoln Lawyer.
  • Alliterative Name: Upon learning Mickey Haller's daughter's name, a cop commented that "Hayley Haller" was a nice alliteration.
  • Amicably Divorced: Mickey Haller can't seem to quit dating his first ex-wife, and his second ex-wife works for him.
  • Amoral Attorney: Mickey Haller skirts the edge of this, and feels bad about it. He often deals with more unambiguously Amoral Attorneys.
  • Badass Biker: Mickey Haller's investigator Dennis "Cisco" Wojciechowski, introduced in The Brass Verdict. He has connections and an informal affiliation with the fictional Road Saints biker gang, but is not a full member of the club.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mickey has this with his ex-wife, Maggie.
  • Broken Ace: Despite being a crack defense attorney with a well-known reputation for his veracity in defending his clients (especially in later books), he is full of self-loathing for defending the guilty and the strain his work puts on his relationship between his first ex-wife and their daughter. Doesn't help that his personal life is somewhat of a trainwreck - something always seems to knock him down when things start to go well.
  • Clear My Name: Mickey Haller gets this from his clients in every novel, which makes it a bummer when they turn out to be guilty.
  • Continuity Nod: Fictional film company Archway Studios pops up in The Brass Verdict and The Fifth Witness, as well as the Harry Bosch novels Trunk Music, A Darkness More Than Night, Lost Light, and The Drop.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Maggie McPherson, Haller's fiercely idealistic ex-wife and prosecuting attorney, who disapproves of his work as a criminal defense lawyer.
  • Defictionalization: Zig-zagged in-universe; in the Harry Bosch novel The Wrong Side of Goodbye it's revealed that The Lincoln Lawyer was a nonfiction docudrama and Matthew McConaughey had not approached Haller about a sequel just yet.
  • Hidden Depths: If you only read the Harry Bosch novels, Mickey Haller would come off as brash, gregarious, and confident to the point of cockiness. You have to read the novels where he's the protagonist to find out about his addictions, his ethical dilemmas and crises of conscience, and his anxieties about the failure of his marriage and his relationship with his daughter.
  • I Won't Say I'm Guilty: EVERY one of Mickey's defense clients in the books. All of them refuse plea deals, and all firmly state that they will never say they're guilty, even though they risk a huge sentence if their trial is lost.
  • It's All My Fault: Mickey feels this way every time someone is killed in a case he's involved in. It happens multiple times.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Mickey Haller novels tend to end with the bad guy getting killed before there's a verdict. One time he gets a client acquitted, only for the client to be guilty and to get Justice By Other Means; another time he gets an innocent client off but the bad guy still gets Justice By Other Means.
  • Knuckle Tattoos: The murder suspect in The Reversal has tattoos that read FUCK THIS.
  • Loophole Abuse: One of Mickey Haller's many Unconventional Courtroom Tactics. He always ensures that he is acting within the letter of the law, but definitely ignores the spirit of it when he's trying to get something done. For example, in order to influence witnesses he has:
    • Used a former client of his to plant some testimony with a witness that was in the same drug program.
    • Brought in a former associate of a current witness into the court room. This causes the lying witness to stop answering questions as he thought his former associate could impeach him and his testimony (though this was not the case).
    • Managed to subpoena a witness to the stand, only to force him to take the fifth in front of the jury in order to bolster his case.
    • Faked a fight in a courtroom, forcing a mistrial and ensuring that the witness who was there would be too scared to come to a retrail.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Mickey is one to some degree, praying up on witnesses', juries' and opposing council's emotional weaknesses in order to influence them and catch them off guard. He gathers as much information as possible and uses it to manipulate witnesses and prosecutors to bend his way. However, it is implied In-Universe that any lawyer worth their salt uses these techniques to some degree, on both sides of the courtroom, though prosecutors tend to think they are above these kind of underhanded tactics.
    • While Mickey uses all of this, he will never do something that could give the Bar a reason to kick him out. He's meticulous with his finances, will refuse client suggestions to do something outright illegal or objectively immoral (such as pay someone in exchange for evidence), or do anything else that could have him kicked out of the profession.
    • Some of Mickey's clients are even MORE of a Manipulative Bastard than he is, and sometimes he's outmanuevered by them.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In The Reversal, Jason Jessup's defense attorney complained to the judge about the prosecution only releasing part of the data they intend to use against Jessup. Prosecutor Margaret McPherson (nicknamed Maggie McFierce) replied they were still within the deadline and suggested the defender believed no good deed should go unpunished.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Mickey will whip out some Unconventional Courtroom Tactics or Manipulative Bastard moves, or anything else within the scope of the law to give his client the best defense possible. His personal view is that the law is malleable, and his job is to beat the hell out of it. He also believes that the system is rigged in favor of the prosecution, and that, if they get to cheat, so does he. It's seldom shown in the book that the prosecution outright breaks the rules, but it's heavily implied that they do so, and part of Mickey's strategy is pointing out every case of withheld evidence, "sudden discoveries" that were actually found months before and should have been turned over, and the like, even while he does this himself.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: The Brass Verdict.
  • Real-Person Cameo: Dennis "Cisco" Wojciechowski, a recurring character who works as Mickey Haller's private investigator, is based on a real-life person of that name who works as a researcher for Michael Connelly.
  • Title Drop: Every single novel mentions the title at some point in the narrative.
  • Unconventional Courtroom Tactics: Mickey sometimes stoops unorthodox methods in order to get the outcome he wants. His favorite variation, which he whips out about a dozen times per book, is asking a witness something that forces the judge to tell the jury to Disregard That Statement.
  • The Unreveal: In The Reversal, Bosch develops a theory that murder suspect Jason Jessup is actually a Serial Killer, but we never find out if Bosch is right.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Mickey basically says this to clients he finds out to be guilty after he gets them off.
  • Vanity License Plate: Mickey Haller has several on the Lincoln Town Cars that are his trademark: "IWALKEM" and "NTGUILTY" are prominent.