Oline H. Cogdill

William Landay’s 2012 novel Defending Jacob began as a typical legal thriller, then matured into a suspense-laden insider’s view of the law, ethics, and familial bonds. The end was a shocking twist that was as believable as it was surprising.

That is how I described Defending Jacob in my review of the novel that I compared to Scott Turow’s 1987 Presumed Innocent.

Defending Jacob made such an impact on me that I included it in my annual best-of-the-year list.

And I am pleased to know that Defending Jacob is getting a reboot by no less than Captain America.

Chris Evans is set to star and executive-produce Defending Jacob, which will be a limited drama series on Apple. The Imitation Game‘s Oscar-winning filmmaker Morten Tyldum will direct the series, according to several reports. No air date, though, has been set.

Defending Jacob will be Evans’ first major television role since 2000’s The Opposite of Sex miniseries. Evans will be appearing as Captain America in the fourth Avengers film, scheduled to come out next year.

Defending Jacob revolves around Andy Barber, whose priorities are his family—his psychologist wife, Laurie, and their 14-year-old son, Jacob—and the law. He is the first assistant district attorney in Newton, Massachusetts. But Andy’s worlds collide when Jacob is arrested for the murder of a classmate.

Andy refuses to believe that his quiet son could be a killer, insisting that the culprit is a local child molester. Andy firmly believes in his child, but also fears that Jacob may have inherited a family background that he’s kept secret.

In my review I said, “Landay intersects the past and the present with aplomb as Andy grapples with who he is as well as who his child is. Andy is stunned to learn, through social media, how little he knows Jacob, whose psychologist says the teenager has a ‘heart two sizes too small.’ But a lack of empathy doesn’t mean Jacob is a killer. Defending Jacob soars as Landay’s rich plot weaves in parenting skills, unconditional love, and the law.”

Apple is poised to be a competitor of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and basic cable networks. According to reports, Evans is the latest to join Apple’s growing original series roster, joining Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Octavia Spencer, Jason Momoa, and Oprah, according to Entertainment Weekly.

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