How Defending Jacob brought its twisty murder mystery to the screen
Defending Jacob (TV series)
Most parents will readily admit that they'd do anything to protect their child — but as the protagonists of Defending Jacob learn, sometimes that promise can lead down a dark path.
Apple TV+'s new miniseries debuts today, and EW has an exclusive look at how writer Mark Bomback and director Morten Tyldum brought William Landay's 2012 best-selling novel to the screen. Landay himself spent several years working as an assistant district attorney, and his protagonist Andy Barber (played in the show by Chris Evans) is also an ADA, investigating the murder of a local boy. However, Andy's involvement in the case shifts when his own 14-year-old son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) is charged with the murder.
Like any good murder mystery, the eight-episode series has plenty of shocking reveals and detective work, but for the show's creative team, the real crux of the story is how the case weighs on the Barber family — including Jacob, Andy, and mom Laurie (Michelle Dockery). At first, Andy and Laurie ferociously vow to protect their son, but as new details emerge they find themselves wondering how well they really know each other.
"Once you are confronted with the realization that someone is not who they presented, [that’s something] I think a lot of people have probably experienced in their lives," Evans tells EW. "But typically, it’s someone that you can shed, whether it’s an associate or an ex or something like that. When it’s your family, when it’s your blood, it’s someone that you’ve invested time and love into, and your identity has become entangled with this idea of who they are."
Watch the exclusive look at Defending Jacob above.