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Theodore Hoffman is a prominent defense attorney in a prestigious Los Angeles law firm. After successfully defending the wealthy but suspicious Richard Cross in a lurid murder trial, he is now involved in the defense of Neil Avedon. Neil is a famous young actor who has had severe drug and alcohol problems and was subsequently charged with the murder, after Cross was acquitted. This single case will run an entire television season (interspersed with bits from other cases that the firm is involved in). Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
I have just finished watching the second season of "Murder One" on DVD. A friend of mine had been talking about this show like it was the pinnacle of TV-suspense for a very long time before finally ordering both seasons on DVD. Now i have finished watching both and it was a very mixed experience.
First of all it's difficult to review this show without mentioning the great differences between the two seasons. The way is see it there were three major differences that made the first season superior to the second.
The first season had one major trial that it covered in 22 episodes. The second season covered three different trials in 18 episodes. So the format was quite different. Personally i very much preferred the format of the first season. Of course i had the advantage of watching the show on DVD so that i could see several episodes a day sometimes and never risk losing track of the story. I thought it was a nice touch to have a single case throughout the season, it made the show stand out from typical court-room dramas that deal with a new case every time.
The second big difference between the two seasons was the departure of Daniel Benzali and the entry of Anthony LaPaglia. Changing leads between seasons is never easy and filling Benzali's shoes is very difficult. However i feel that this didn't present the major drawback that i thought it would. LaPaglia is a very competent TV-actor which he has displayed again and again. He doesn't have the commanding presence of Benzali, nor does he have that complexity in his character that Benzali had. One of the biggest points of the first season in my opinion was the fact that Benzali's character was one that gave me very mixed feelings. He was undeniably an absolute bastard in many ways, but also fair and a man of principles. So there is something missing when Benzali left the show, although i would put it down to a lot less quality in the script rather than a worse actor in the lead.
The third difference i would say is the fact that the second season lacked a villain or adversary worthy of the name. Stanley Tucci's character Richard Cross was perhaps one of the best characters i've seen in TV-drama. The kind of character you never knew what to expect from and that you never really knew whether you should love or hate. In the second season they tried to add some crooked politicians and the likes but without much success.
To sum things up i really liked the first season. It was good suspense and it especially had very well written characters. Benzali and Tucci had a nice duel-thing going that i appreciated very much and the case was interesting. The second season lost Benzali, lost the interesting villain and had three rather uninteresting (and rather disappointingly solved) cases. LaPaglia holds his own but the script is so much worse than in the first season that it doesn't really matter. My recommendation would be to definitely watch the first season. And if you feel up to it you could also watch the second since it's at least decent entertainment. But only the first season is required viewing.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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