cartoon picture of a "Defending Jacob" character
An all-star cast will bring "Defending Jacob" to life soon. (Illustration by Enacio Diaz, California State University Long Beach)

‘Defending Jacob’ Finds Chris Evans Caught Between Law and His Son

The Apple TV+ adaptation of the William Landay novel has the MCU actor playing an assistant district attorney — whose son is being investigated for murder.

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cartoon picture of a "Defending Jacob" character

The Apple TV+ adaptation of the William Landay novel has the MCU actor playing an assistant district attorney — whose son is being investigated for murder.

Based on William Landay’s bestselling 2012 crime drama novel of the same name, “Defending Jacob” is one of the latest projects coming to Apple TV+. Like the novel, the limited series will revolve around the story of an assistant district attorney doing what he can, along with his wife, to defend his teenage son — the titular Jacob — after being accused of murdering a fellow classmate.

The series is set to be released on the streaming channel on April 24 and will star “Captain America” actor Chris Evans as the assistant district attorney and father, Andy Barber; Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey” as his wife, Laurie; and “It” actor Jaeden Martell as their 14-year-old son and the prime suspect of a gruesome murder.

Landay’s book can be considered both a crime drama and a family drama because of the way the parents do all they can to uphold the law while still trying to protect their boy. The subject matter of “Defending Jacob” is intense while surprisingly real at the same time due to its handling of court cases and procedures.

Not only is it realistic in terms of legal procedures, but life as well. The ending, especially with its sudden twist, is big enough to surprise readers but still subtle enough to make it seem believable, all while emphasizing the theme of a parent’s unconditional love for their child.

If the plot of “Defending Jacob” does not have Apple TV+ viewers rapt with anticipation, the cast just might. Chris Evans — known for his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is a big draw as the father and assistant district attorney who has to put his job on the line for the sake of proving his son’s innocence.

Evans is known for his knack for playing intense and complex characters, as seen in his role in the aforementioned MCU films  and movies like “Snowpiercer” and “Knives Out” that showcase his range.  Anyone familiar with his filmography will know that this will be the actor’s first time playing a father, which will likely bring a new level of depth that he is not used to, but will be necessary to raise the stakes and make the story of “Defending Jacob” the interesting tale it is.

Evans will also be reuniting with his “Knives Out” co-star Jaeden Martell, who has also made a name for himself since his contribution in 2017’s “It” and its sequel, bringing his own brand of dramatic range. He will be playing Jacob Barber himself and will have the chance to show off more of his extraordinary acting skills.

Opposite of Evans and Martell will be actress Michelle Dockery as the wife and mother. Dockery has garnered recognition for her Emmy-nominated role as Lady Mary Crawley in the historical drama series “Downton Abbey.” These three talented actors should be enough to have audiences wanting to take a look at this gripping and character-driven series.

Not much else has been said about this upcoming project, and like with past adaptations of other books, “Defending Jacob” will most likely make a few changes to the narrative to better fit the medium. But hopefully what will remain are the relatable characters, the fascinating premise and the careful plotting that knows the right time to catch viewers off guard with great, well-known actors helping to provide the elements needed for a compelling drama.

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