Murder in the First
Airing On: TNT
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
What attracted me to Murder in the First, a new police drama airing on Monday nights on TNT? First, the actors Ė I love Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson. They are both great actors in their own right and extremely enjoyable to look at as well. Second, Steven Bochco, co-creator of Murder in the First, created some of my favorite series like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. These were the reasons I found myself seated in front of the television at 10pm EST on Monday night watching Murder in the First.
The show centers on two San Francisco homicide detectives and their lives both on and off the job. Inspector Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) is a divorced mother struggling to balance time with her six-year-old daughter (Mimi Kirkland) and time spent on the job. Inspector Terry English (Taye Diggs) is a devoted and loving husband struggling with the reality that his wife (Anne-Marie Johnson) is finally succumbing to fourth stage pancreatic cancer.
In this first episode, the two detectives find themselves in the Tenderloin District investigating the murder of a drug addict that is anything but simple. While investigating their victimís life, they discover that he has a rather interesting connection Ė an email written by the victim to Silicon Valley superstar Erich Blunt (Tom Felton). Digging deeper reveals that their victim is actually Bluntís real father and was blackmailing him, threatening to reveal his true parentage.
At first, the officers rule out Blunt as the killer, focusing instead on a drug dealer with a violent history placed in the Tenderloin District at the time of the murder. But as the investigation moves forward, Blunt begins to look more appealing, especially when another individual ends up dead, someone with especially close ties to one Erich Blunt. And, as if the case wasnít complicated enough, Inspector English receives news that seriously affects his ability to separate his home life and his life on the job.
What I found interesting about Murder in the First is that it is different from other TNT crime dramas. Most of these series feature one case per episode, but this show features one case, investigated, solved and put through trial through several episodes in its first season. Quite a different dynamic for Bochco. What isnít different is his formula for success Ė believable actors, put through the wringer while balancing their professional lives with the emotional baggage plaguing their home lives.
Diggs and Robertson have a quite a believable chemistry together and they play well off each other as a team. I also enjoyed seeing Tom Felton again. Most would remember him as Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter movie series and this new role isnít much of a difference. Erich Blunt is a self-absorbed, haughty, holier than thou sort of character that makes the viewer hate him from minute one. However, in Murder in the First, I doubt we are going to see any redeeming characteristics in this character. That being said, I donít think this case is cut and dried Ė another factor about this show I like. There is more to this case than meets the eye and one murder may not have anything to do with the other. It will be interesting to see where this case goes. It will also be interesting to see where the series will take the personal lives of the characters.
I was quite intrigued by the first episode of Murder in the First and have every intention of watching further episodes Monday nights on TNT. The show is well-written, the characters intriguing and the situations believable. Iím quite interested in seeing how things pan out for Inspectors Mulligan and English in the future.