TV Review: ‘Murder in the First,’ Season 2

Murder in the First TNT TV
Courtesy of TNT

How time flies. “Murder One,” which followed a single trial over an entire season, felt enormously ambitious when Steven Bochco introduced the series 20 years ago. Now the show plucked from its rib, “Murder in the First,” returns to TNT for a second season as a solidly crafted if mostly undemanding piece of summer entertainment, shifting to a new high-profile case with a ripped-from-the-headlines quality. Fast-paced and tense, the serialized construct isn’t a bad viewing option, even if it’s unlikely to rank first on many must-watch lists.

Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson are back as intrepid Bay Area detectives English and Mulligan, who almost immediately stumble upon a stop-the-presses case: Two teenagers shoot up a school bus, with one taking flight and triggering a massive manhunt, as questions of what motivated the pair slowly come into focus.

Morbid echoes of Columbine notwithstanding, there are new twists to the search, starting with the fact that the kid’s hacking skills lead one frustrated cop to describe him as “a homicidal Edward Snowden.” On top of that, Mulligan still faces nettlesome domestic issues, like her colossal screw-up of an ex-husband and what to do in overtime situations when her young daughter is left at school.

The premiere, written by co-creator Eric Lodal (who subsequently left the series), doesn’t exactly bring much nuance to the material, with the teen mastermind described as a sociopath — and that’s by his parents. The cast, meanwhile, welcomes several new members, among them “Entourage” alum Emmanuelle Chriqui, who somehow manages to look distractingly gorgeous, even by TV standards, in those unflattering uniform blues.

Notably, the first season — which dealt with murders linked to a young Silicon Valley mogul — labored a bit to keep dishing out red herrings, and after events in the second hour here, there are few clues as to how Bochco (whose son, Jesse, directed the first two installments) and company will extend this latest premise for another 10 episodes. Still, the beauty of centering on one case is that it offers the promise of closure, bringing serialized urgency to TNT’s meat-and-potatoes procedural formula.

There’s also some benefit, as well as an inherent limitation, in the continuity of casting. Unlike, say, “True Detective,” having Diggs and Robertson reprise these fairly nuts-and-bolts roles — focused on the crimes at hand, with the occasional nod to their work-life issues — spares the producers from the anthology format that requires basically creating an entirely new world under the same banner.

How well that meshes with the strategy TNT intends to pursue under new management remains unclear. But if the second run of this utility player mirrors the performance of the first, English and Mulligan should be prepared to patrol the streets of San Francisco a while longer.

TV Review: 'Murder in the First,' Season 2

(Series; TNT, Mon. June 8, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles and San Francisco by Steven Bochco Prods. and TNT.

Crew

Executive producers, Steven Bochco, Eric Lodal; co-executive producers, Jesse Bochco, Jonathan Abrahams, Robert Munic; producers, Caroline James, Daniele Nathanson; director, Jesse Bochco; writer, Lodal; camera, Michael Mayers; production designer, Bruce Robert Hill; editor, Tim Tommasino; music, H. Scott Salinas; casting, Junie Lowry Johnson. 60 MIN.

Cast

Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson, A.J. Buckley, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Laila Robins, Mo McRae, Mateus Ward, John Cothran, Raphael Sbarge, Lombardo Boyar, Ian Anthony Dale, Currie Graham, Mimi Kirkland

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 7

Leave a Reply

7 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. serievf says:

    wow j’ai Bien suivé cette serie Murder In The First vraiment biographiede cette serie qu’est A San Francisco, deux enquêteurs de la criminelle, Terry English et Hildy Mulligan, cherchent à élucider le meurtre d’un drogué lié à une étoile montante de la technologie de pointe, quand un second crime est découvert… A chaque saison, la série suit les différentes étapes de la résolution d’un meurtre, depuis le moment où le crime est commis jusqu’au moment où se déroule le procès… Merci de bien partager cette article :)

  2. Delirious says:

    Marcus Hopson is in Murder in the first in season 2 he’s a famous hip-hop artist delirious

  3. Joan Marie Cataudella says:

    Who is Sarah Tram on Murder in the First?

  4. Andra says:

    I thought the profanity was bad but I refuse to watch lesbians. This show was good until you brought your agenda into it. I will be scratching this program from my list of tv shows. I will be erasing this problem from my recordings.

  5. Rachel Armstrong says:

    Two cops sitting there pointing their guns at the two kids who are killing people literally left and right…and the cops don’t fire. Well into the shooting they say they have the green light….as though they have to wait for a green light to take down the shooters.
    Ugh. It was awful. It looked like they had a very clear shoot at the shooters…. It didn’t make clear they didn’t have a clear shot or anything.
    In real life they would have saved lives. At least it proves what happens when cops don’t take down the bad guys.
    (Oh, and they don’t aim at weapons, arms or legs…they aim at head and center chest. If you’ve ever seen a target used for practice or have done any type of research you’d know this.)
    The writing/directing are filled with wishful thinking in what was intended to be a dramatic opening, but ignorance really ruined it for me.
    LOVED the first season and was really looking forward to this one, but it was so very weak in critical areas.
    Again, it proves why cops don’t/can’t hesitate when they have a clear shot. They endanger everyone, themselves included.

  6. Susan Goldberg says:

    Well I for one loved every bloody moment of this show. It’s great, different from last year, but that’s always a good thing.

  7. Katherine Ryan says:

    Such a disappointment! Season one was a mystery until the end. This is obvious from the first five minutes who committed the crime. I hate season two.

More TV News from Variety

Loading