As we continue trying out new TV shows in the hope of finding something bingeable, we came upon “Defending Jacob” on Apple TV+. It’s based on a novel by William Landay, which Martha read, but it must not have made a great impression, because she doesn’t remember all of its details.
The plot revolves around a teenage boy accused of killing a man in a park while on the way to school in the upscale Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. The boy’s dad (Chris Evans) is the prosecutor assigned to the case, but quickly removed once his son is charged. The father and mother (Michelle Dockery) rally to unearth evidence of the kid’s innocence, with the help of a defense attorney played firmly by Cherry Jones. That’s a pretty solid lead cast, and the supporting actors are good, too.
We were sucked in by the first episode, then the second, then the third. The Apple TV+ information screen said there were six chapters, and we watched all of them over two days. But at the end of number six, the boy’s trial had still not begun and most of the other plot points hadn’t been resolved. We were pissed, wondering why the creators would stop telling the story there. Martha couldn’t remember how the book ended, but went online to find out what was going on.
It turns out that “Defending Jacob” lasts eight episodes, not six. This is not apparent from anything on the show’s information screen on Apple TV+. In fact, it lists episodes as “1 of 6,” “2 of 6,” etc. — when it should have said “1 of 8,” “2 of 8,” and so on.
As it had done with two other shows we’d binged and enjoyed (“The Morning Show” and “For All Mankind”), we’d forgotten that Apple doesn’t release any of its shows in their entireties, unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime. For some reason, probably in an effort to keep you subscribed, the service puts out a single new episode each Friday. Without realizing it, we’d started watching “Defending Jacob” when only three-fourths of it had been made public.
Okay, Apple, you got us. We’ll check out episode seven today, and number eight next week. BUT… you’d better bring this whole thing to a satisfying conclusion!