Defending Jacob series premiere recap: Who killed Benjamin Rifkin?

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Defending Jacob

Photo: Defending Jacob Season 1 – Courtesy of Apple TV+

In the first episode of Apple TV+’s new series Defending Jacob, Andy Barber begins investigating the murder of Benjamin Rifkin.

Based on the book of the same name by William Landay, Defending Jacob is a gripping new crime drama from Apple TV+. The series follows Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber and the difficult decision he has to make between protecting his son at all costs and upholding the law.

The episode begins in the present, with Andy being grilled by another attorney, who we’ll later learn isn’t a fan of Andy’s whatsoever. The ADA is being questioned on the handling of his son’s trial. But before we can discover anything else about it, the episode transports us back to ten months prior, when the murder of Benjamin Rifkin first occurred.

Ten months earlier

We’re led to believe that the Barbers are a good old-fashioned nuclear family with a happy wife and a happy life mentality. Andy is a successful, big-shot attorney, Jacob cares enough to study for his vocabulary test, and both Andy and his wife Laurie still kiss each other before leaving for work. It’s a married couple that genuinely likes each other!

Of course, that happy bubble splits open a few minutes later when Jacob’s school goes into lockdown. But before that, we get to see a glimpse of Andy in action. At the courthouse, he argues against a continuance on one of his cases and succeeds in getting it denied by being thorough and prepared, Andy is good at his job, that’s important to know.

Before he can get on with his day, Andy is called away to an active crime scene by an officer named Duffy. This is the point where our story begins.

Andy sees the bloodied body of Benjamin Rifkin at the bottom of a ditch. The cops don’t know anything except that Ben had been stabbed to death. Andy recognizes the last name, though. He’s familiar with Ben’s parents, and Ben was one of Jacob’s classmates at Newton High.

The whole town is rattled by Ben’s death.

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