Earlier in the year, the Chris Evans legal drama “Defending Jacob” announced a prime Emmy qualifying release date of April 24. And in spite of the current public health crisis that has seen television production shut down and the Emmy FYC schedule go out the window, the splashy Apple TV+ series is dropped its first trailer today.
Based on the 2012 bestselling crime novel of the same name by William Landay, “Defending Jacob” tells the story of Massachusetts assistant district attorney Andy Barber (Evans) and what his family undergoes when his son, Jacob (Jaeden Martell) is accused of murdering a classmate. Michelle Dockery plays Evans’ wife, Laurie, who endures her own isolation and trauma in the wake of Jacob’s accusation.
The first trailer doesn’t give much away but does introduce the initial story that will pan out over eight episodes and the intense feelings within. Filmed in a muted, almost black-and-white color stock (particularly during the courtroom scenes) there’s a heavy emphasis on the emotions from all the characters. The various storylines are touched on, from Laurie’s fear and growing distance from her husband as their new normal treats them like prisoners; “Get Out” scene stealer Betty Gabriel is highlighted in a few sequences as a cop investigating the murder — and possibly aiding Evans’ Andy. There are also glimpses at co-stars Pablo Schreiber and J.K. Simmons.
But it’s not surprising that the one who dominates the trailer is Captain America himself, Chris Evans. As he tries to figure out what makes a good man versus a good father, his own personal boundaries and code of ethics appears to get blurry — and no doubt the Emmy campaign will be focusing on him a lot.
The series comes from showrunner Mark Bomback with “Imitation Game” director Morton Tyldum directing the series and “Harry Potter” scribe Steve Kloves working on the script.
It’ll be interesting to see how the series shakes out from the initial trailer. Apple TV+ is holding the series close to the chest, only screening the first three episodes for press. The original novel takes some dark paths, most of which are just hinted at within the trailer itself.
“Defending Jacob” airs on Apple TV+ starting April 24 with subsequent airing every Friday.