Defending Jacob premieres April 24th on Apple TV+.
By Ariba Bhuvad
I find myself rather conflicted over Apple TV+’s Defending Jacob. In the eight-episode limited series provided to critics, we were able to see the story unfold from start to finish. The first half of the season sets up the sinister mystery as a family comes together to prove their son’s innocence. However, the second half takes a quick turn downhill as the threads holding the series together completely unravel.
The series, starring Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, and Jaeden Martell, is based on a 2012 book by the same name, written by William Landay. Upon finishing the series, I immediately took a deep dive into the novel to see what stark differences stood out to me. And I was disheartened to see the changes made from book to television were ones that would have significantly improved how the series played out.
Having said that, the three main cast members do a wonderful job portraying their individual characters and working with what they had. Along with the stellar acting, the cinematography of the series brings you right into the mystery, suspense, and twists and turns of it all. They certainly had all the things to make this a spectacular series, but again the shift in narrative really worked against them.
Folks should give the series a shot, but if you’ve read the book or look up the book’s major plot points before watching, you will definitely see the key missing elements. But hey, perhaps that won’t matter because Chris Evans more than makes up for it. I promise.
I give Defending Jacob a C-.