The 1996 John Grisham adaptation A Time To Kill was a major milestone in the career of Matthew McConaughey (even if, ultimately, his role as crusading attorney Jake Brigance was overshadowed by an also-ascendant Samuel L. Jackson). Before A Time To Kill, McConaughey was primarily known for playing Dazed And Confused’s statutorily skeevy Wooderson, but Joel Schumacher’s legal drama opened the door to any number of charismatic lawyer roles, Lincoln or otherwise, for the its young star, helping to jumpstart a now Oscar-winning, thoroughly alright career.
Now, McConaughey is set to reprise the role that helped launch that early rise, with Variety reporting that the True Detective star is returning to HBO for a TV adaptation of Grisham’s third Brigance novel A Time For Mercy. As with A Time To Kill, Mercy (published last year) focuses on a legal case that’s less about revealing a complicated criminal mystery, and much more about the circumstances of the victims, and the ways that they’re perceived by the legal apparatus. In this case, that means focusing on a young man who shot and killed his mother’s deputy sheriff boyfriend, on the grounds that the man was abusing his mother, his teenage sister, and himself. To quote the Grisham-ese of the book’s own synopsis: “With clients and friends alike abandoning Jake, he sees his practice slipping away. Can he save his young client...against all odds?” (Probably.)
No word yet on who’ll be writing or producing the series, but we have to imagine McConaughey’s presence will likely drive plenty of interest toward the project.