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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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I stumbled upon this show on Hulu. One of the best shows I've ever
seen. Sure wish Daniel Benzali was in the second season. Sure wish
there was a 3rd season.
I liked that the first season had a continuing story.
I've watched many a "law" show, and this one still surprised me.
Maybe this show was too advanced for its time. We have similar shows now, but this still is one of the best.
I see that a lot of the characters went on to be on other hit shows. I've watched both seasons in just a matter of weeks (I watch while I work on the computer). Not sure if they could pick up the show with the same quality today.
I just finished seeing it for the second time. Direction is great, the
story is great from the start to the end, the characters and the
humanity they express is amazing.
It is filled with unforgettable quotes. In fact, English is used at its best level. Dialogs are excellent.
I dare saying that season one is perfect. Seasdon two is almost at the same level. It was difficult to accept Daniel Bengali missing at first, but then you start empathizing with La Paglia too.
Murder One is simply great. Difficult is to explain how they didn't continued after the second series :(
Saw Murder One (Series One) on DVD and was blown away -- by the acting,
the plot, the consistency & the overall quality. Could this be the best
American drama series ever screened on TV? It has to be a contender.
Currently watching Series Two (with Anthony LaPaglia) and think that so
far it's also a great show. I like LaPaglia and have nothing against
him but it shows a total lack of backbone from the producers that they
saw fit to replace Daniel Benzali who was just terrific.
I just wish they'd made another series or two -- it is so much more believable than 24 for which, I believe, it paved the way.
Come on Mr Bochco, it's not too late to bring the show back to life...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Murder One was a truly innovative idea. A drama series following a
trial from start to finish, told from the point of view of all parties
involved. Never before had an entire season of a US TV drama followed a
This was essential viewing when it was first shown on UK TV by the BBC. It kept your interest throughout and did not belittle/patronise the viewing audience. The unique thing about this was the ease at which it held your interest. Not a moment of screen time was wasted.
A highly intelligent show with memorable characters and it really served as a sort of fore-runner to the inferior but still utterly engaging 24.
Featuring another standout performance from Daniel Benzali (Hoffman) as well as the excellent Stanley Tucci (Richard Cross), casting was a big part of this projects success.
Tucci was able to develop his characters' nasty streak and double dealing nature without deflecting attention from the defendant in the case (Neil Avedon). You really were unsure how far he would be willing to go.
Also the plot never becomes overly predictable. There are a few big surprises in the later episodes well worth waiting for.
This is one of those shows where I doubt the Network or the Studio really understood what a total gem they had here and the format was altered unsuccessfully for the lack-luster second season (starring Anthony LaPaglia as Wyler).
As for year two, without Daniel Benzali or the weekly sequential serial drama format which had worked so well the previous year, the result was an utterly forgettable mess.
Check out Murder One Year One on DVD if you want a change from the no-brainers that are broadcast today. It's the show 24 probably wishes it was!! At least comparable to 24 season one in terms of character development and a relentless pace, this is one drama you'll want to watch repeatedly.
I remembered the show from British TV in the '90s when I heard that the
show was to be released on DVD, other people of a similar age had
forgotten about this great series.
I managed to get hold of a review copy of season one and fell back in love with the series. It was like an old friend had returned from a long time away. The ups and downs of the case kept me riveted to the TV set for far too much time after a hard day at work!
I spent so long re-trying to figure out who the murderer was but we're not told until *RIGHT* at the end of the whole series.
One of the best episodes is the one with the jury "love triangle" and the bickering that that involved.
This is probably the finest TV series I have ever watched. The outstanding cast, and their superb acting was a joy to see. The plot and twists were great, and left me guessing right up until the end. I'm delighted that at long last the series is being released on DVD in September here, and I shall enjoy watching it all again through the autumn (fall!) This is TV as only the Americans can do it. We Brits are great at the period drama stuff (Sense and Sensibility etc), but you guys are the kings when it comes to this particular genre. The second series was good, but never quite recaptured the essence of series one. Does anyone know if they released the soundtrack as a separate entity??Thanks Mr Bochco et al, great stuff!!
The fact that no Americans watched this, and that it was only appreciated in Europe, is a crime in itself. It had originality and depth, great characters and gripping plot. The first series follows a single crime investigation over several months, with an additional smaller plotline each episode. The second, equally good, has a different main character and follows several large cases.
I completely disagree, or as Ted Hoffman would say "Objection your
Honour", with that comment the murder one season 1 is clearly the best
without a shadow of a doubt, and what makes this season so damn good is
the spectacular acting of the two front Daniel Benzali as Ted Hoffman
and Stanley Tucci as Richard Cross, and how you can think Anthony
LaPaglia is a better leading man bewilders me and on personal note i
thin you should be slapped with a wet fish for dissing Ted Hoffman. I
don't understand why he didn't carry on with the best leading man role
EVER! If someone could please enlighten me i would be sincerely
This Jim Hass guy has the right idea what has happened to television, it is meant to be a luxury, a place high quality programming but a one time gem like murder one was replaced by "X Factor", "Dancing On Ice", CSI which used to be great but now its the same thing every episode they have stretched every story to its utmost and its still crap! House is also shocking TV like come on its a doctors version of CSI and you know what is going to happen just wait till the 50th minute of the show then they will find the cure for their patient. Writers nowadays don't have the talent like Steven Bochco, now writers say they have an idea for a show when its actually the same as 100 other show on TV, most of the time its a CSI copy. What has happened to culture on television? WE SALUTE YOU MURDER ONE!
for anyone who loves legal thrillers and courtroom battles, this is the perfect choice. why perfect? Mainly because it is a whole season (23 episodes) dedicated to one big mysterious compelling case. Therefore there is not the rush and precipitation of a movie to wrap it up due to the time limit. this TV show , i guess , could be a great reference to the law students or anyone interested in understanding the American justice system , because it shows the process from the arrest until the verdict ( and even more , surprise surprise!!! ) it was intelligently written,beautifully produced , masterfully acted , and very very realistic.
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