Defending Jacob (miniseries)
|Created by||Mark Bomback|
|Based on||Defending Jacob|
by William Landay
|Written by||Mark Bomback|
|Directed by||Morten Tyldum|
|Theme music composer||Olafur Arnalds|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||45–53 minutes|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Original release||April 24, 2020 –|
Defending Jacob is an American crime drama web television miniseries, based on the novel of the same name by William Landay, produced by Apple TV+. The series was created and written by Mark Bomback and directed by Morten Tyldum. It stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel, Sakina Jaffrey and J.K. Simmons. It premiered on April 24, 2020. The final episode airs on Friday, May 29, 2020.
Defending Jacob tells the story of a family dealing with the accusation that their 14-year-old son may be a murderer.
- Chris Evans as Andy Barber
- Michelle Dockery as Laurie Barber
- Jaeden Martell as Jacob Barber
- Cherry Jones as Joanna Klein
- Pablo Schreiber as Neal Logiudice
- Betty Gabriel as Pam Duffy
- Sakina Jaffrey as Lynn Canavan
- Poorna Jagannathan as Dr. Vogel
- J. K. Simmons as Billy Barber
- Christopher Buckner as young Billy Barber (flashbacks)
- Lizzie Short as Marianne Barber (flashbacks)
- Evan Risser as young Andy Barber (flashbacks)
- William Xifaras as Father O’Leary
|No.||Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original release date |
|1||"Pilot"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||April 24, 2020|
|Andy Barber is a respected assistant district attorney in Newton, Massachusetts, who lives a content, suburban life with his wife Laurie and their 14-year old son Jacob. Andy is assigned to prosecute the murder of Ben Rifkin, a classmate of Jacob's, who is found stabbed to death in the park near their middle school. Andy and Detective Paula Duffy question students at the school, but are unable to discern a motive for the murder. While questioning Jacob privately about Ben, Jacob tells Andy and Laurie that Ben was unlikable and later expresses frustration to Andy over the exaggerated false sympathy from his classmates over Ben's death. Duffy discovers a possible suspect, Leonard Patz, a convicted sexual predator, but Andy is advised against bringing him in until they find solid evidence. That night, Andy discovers an online message board memorializing Ben and becomes disturbed after reading a series of comments, including one from Jacob's friend Derek, accusing Jacob of murdering Ben. Andy searches Jacob's room and finds a knife fitting the description of the murder weapon hidden in his drawer.|
|2||"Everything Is Cool"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||April 24, 2020|
|3||"Poker Faces"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||April 24, 2020|
|4||"Damage Control"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||April 30, 2020|
|5||"Visitors"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||May 8, 2020|
|6||"Wishful Thinking"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||May 15, 2020|
|7||"Job"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||May 22, 2020|
|8||"After"||Morten Tyldum||Mark Bomback||May 29, 2020|
On September 20, 2018, it was announced that Apple had given a straight-to-series order consisting of eight episodes to a television miniseries adaptation of William Landay's 2012 novel Defending Jacob. The series was created by Mark Bomback who also wrote the series and executive produced alongside Chris Evans, Morten Tyldum, Rosalie Swedlin, and Adam Shulman. Tyldum also directed the series as well. Production companies involved with the series consist of Paramount Television and Anonymous Content.
Alongside the series order announcement, it was confirmed that Chris Evans had been cast in the series' lead role. In March 2019, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell joined the cast of the series. In April 2019, Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel and Sakina Jaffrey joined the cast of the series. J. K. Simmons was revealed as part of the cast in a March 2020 trailer.
Filming was confirmed to commence in Newton, Massachusetts––the city in which the novel takes place––in April 2019. Three locations have been confirmed for filming thus far: Cold Spring Park, the village of Newton Highlands, and the UMass Amherst Mount Ida Campus. Additional filming has begun in Belmont, Massachusetts. Filming also began in Salem, Massachusetts, on June 15, 2019, as well as at MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole, Massachusetts, on June 17, 2019, and in Lowell, Massachusetts, by the UMass Lowell Tsongas Arena on June 19, 2019. Filming took place at River's Edge in Medford, Massachusetts, on June 21, 2019. Filming also commenced on June 28, 2019, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and on July 8, 2019, in Watertown, Massachusetts, where the facade of the old Watertown Police Station will appear as the Newton Police Station in the series. Filming took place on July 9, 2019 at the Town Diner in Watertown. On July 18, 2019, they filmed at C&M Pizza in Leominster, Massachusetts. Neighborhood scenes were filmed in Needham, Massachusetts.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series' approval rating is 70% based on reviews from 54 critics. The website's critical consensus is, "Despite outstanding work from Michelle Dockery and Chris Evans, Defending Jacob stretches its source material too thin, undermining its own rich tension with too much melodramatic padding."
On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "generally favourable reviews". The series has reportedly become the second most popular Apple TV+ show.
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