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I can see why this show only went two seasons: it's smart, and it doesn't
give you a case of ADHD. You actually had to figure out who was who, and
follow characters over an entire year. The writing was good, smart and
funny; a lot of it took place in a courtroom. Sort of a truer and grittier
It, and many other worthwhile shows, had to move out of the way so we could all get to see "American Idol," "The Swan" and "The Apprentice." Yes, our culture is headed downhill, but not in the way conservatives ofter say. An appetite for the fast buck and a contempt for the audience go a very long way.
I remember that I watched the first episode of "Murder One" because I
saw a commercial for it which featured a woman (Bobbie Phillips) whom I
found simply gorgeous. After I watched the episode, though, I thought,
"This is the best television show I have ever seen!" I continued to
enjoy Bobbie's beauty, but she was just the icing.
The cake was the story and the acting--especially that of Daniel Benzali who, in my opinion, crafted the most fascinating television character ever. Intelligence, refinement, rectitude...Mr. Benzali portrayed Theodore Hoffman as a Howard Roark/James Bond composite that I had previously hoped to see but felt would never materialize in any form of fiction, especially via the medium of television.
The first season of "Murder One" was an absolute joy to watch, every single episode. It seemed bigger-than-life yet believable at every turn. My hope is that it will find its way to DVD. Hey, Teddy Hoffman became "real" despite my doubts; perhaps the story of his law firm will one day become "binary" despite my doubts.
(It eventually happened -- the DVD set, that is -- and I am grateful.)
Yet again another great show was canceled. Good thing shows like "Law & Order" & "The Practice" are still on the air. "Murder One" was an excellent show with great acting. The twists & turns on the show kept it riveting. I am a bit partial to Dylan Baker who's a very good actor. There won't be another good show like this again. If on the slim chance there is it will get canceled. Good shows always do.
I am glad to see that Murder One was a hit in Europe--it deserved every
success. Great acting--Daniel Benzali was outstanding. I guess
audiences couldn't handle a balding, smart actor. (He played a mafia
boss on NYPD Blue before this show, and he damn near stole the
episode.) Stanley Tucci is always good--Richard Cross was a villain you
could hate and have a great time. And it had one of my favorite
actresses, Barbara Bosson (Mrs. Bochco). Season two was not as good but
had some fine moments. Anthony LaPaglia was clearly hired because he
was younger and good looking, but he did a fine job. The peak of season
two were the final six episodes, which ABC packaged as a mini-series
called "Diary of a Serial Killer". The accused, Pruitt Taylor Vince,
was absolutely the most compelling criminal I have ever seen on any
show. Great casting is a strength of Bochco's shows, and Murder One is
no exception. I cleaned house and foolishly threw out my tape of the
serial killer episodes. Bad move.
Ironically, although the American public couldn't handle a season-long series that covered only one trial, a decade later it went nuts over "24", a show that took place in one day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was like a lot of you -- the first season of this show was absolutely
amazing. Daniel Benzali is a PHENOMENAL actor, although I am partial to
Stanley Tucci as Richard Cross. The style, pacing and storytelling were all
first rate, and seeing almost every episode on A&E only enhanced my memory
of the show.
I had almost forgotten there was a second season -- and with good reason, at first. The first case introduced in the second season was weak by comparison, although I really like Anthony LaPaglia as Jimmy Wyler.
But the show began to pick up steam with the "Ricky Latrell" case, and then they began showing the "Street Sweeper" episodes. WOW. Amazing stuff about a serial killer who only kills criminals. The killer is played by an actor I've only seen once or twice, Pruitt Taylor Vince. He is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. Vince plays the killer as walking a fine line between brilliant and unbalanced, and at times you feel very sympathetically toward him.
If you get the chance to see the "Street Sweeper" episodes, DO NOT pass it up! To see Vince and LaPaglia in scenes together is to see some of the strongest acting going.
That just about says it all. After this got cancelled, I stopped watching TV for almost 2 years.
Murder One has to go down as one of the best series on of the 90's. The
first series plot has you going one way and another spotting one red
herring after another, right up until the last episode.
Whilst I do remember the show well, I also remember is had a bit of a Scooby Doo ending to it, not entirely consistent with the previous 22 episodes.
According to the press, whilst it was a monster hit in the UK (and other parts of Europe) it died a death in the US. I'm not sure if that's purely academic propaganda, but the suggestion was that US audiences didn't like the idea of having to follow a series rather than encapsulated 60 minute stories. Who knows, all I do know is that the seconds series was a severe disappointment.
Clearly taking lead from some pressure state side, the trials became 3 episodes long, with little or no 'main plot'. UK audiences kept trying to piece together a bigger picture, only for there not to be one. As a result, it was widely criticised. Plus, the loss of Teddy Hoffman was a bitter blow. He'd become such a familiar feature of 23 episode run that when he wasn't there, it was never going to be the same.
Maybe it suffers a little from the X-Files factor. A second series was a mistake and it should have quit while it was ahead.
First series - Outstanding Second series - Fine for a rainy evening
I recently purchased the DVD of the first series. The very first
episode quickly reminded of how much I enjoyed all 23. It is truly
compelling television. All the characters, even the most minor are well
cast and played magnificently by all. I particularly enjoyed the
Machiavellian scheming of "Richard Cross", played by Stanley Tucci, the
smart comments of judge Beth Bornstein(I forget her real name) and
Miriam Grasso played by Barbara Bosson (with such aplomb!).
They don't make them like this any more, 24 does not cut it in comparison.
So I'm over visiting my Aunt in Italy in 2004. She is a stay at home mom and watched a lot of TV. While I was there I got to watch the last few episodes of the first season on Murder One. I fell in love with it and when I got home I looked it up and found out it was aired on TV in 95,96, and 97. In the summer I was at WalMart one day and I saw the first season on DVD. I figured me and my mom could watch it b/c she likes those kind of shows. Well we never ended up watching it so I took it to college with me and I watched it there. It became like my drug! I couldn't go a day w/o watching it! I was so drawn in it wasn't even funny. The lawyers are so hot and the women are beautiful. The last 3 episodes I watched like in a row. I couldn't wait to find out who the killer was because I left Italy before finding out. When I first started watching the second seasons I wasn't as impressed,but as the stories went on and thing heated up between Jimmy and Justine I began to love it just as much as the first season! I love all the office romances thrown in. It makes the show so realistic. The court room scenes are also awesome as those get heated up. All the supporting actors were outstanding as they each brought something different to the show. I was sad when I was done watched the DVDs. I just wish there was a way it could continue on with more seasons.
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.
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