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The two series have no meaningful connection, and are so different that
they should have their own entries on IMDb. The DVD sets were sold
separately. The first episodes of series two were so forgettable that I
felt I could live without the rest.
Series One was so very good that one gets the impression that some of the minor roles pushed themselves up the quality ladder in order to stay with the main portrayals. This was the first time I came across Stanley Tucci, and whereas he's always been an asset in everything thereafter, this was his finest hour. Daniel Benzali seemed to move faultlessly into a well-oiled parenthesis of TV perfection in the lead role. The mysterious storyline didn't seem that important compared to these and other performances.
The downside was the quality was too high for the domestic market, even during its first broadcast, and I got he impression there was desperate last-minute changes to the final episodes, to their detriment, in a futile attempt improve the ratings.
OK, not 24 hours, but 23 weeks? An entire season devoted to a single
case? I'd certainly never seen anything like it before.
Let me say right off the bat that unless you're prepared for 23 hours of drama where nobody answers a question directly (one wonders if lawyers actually have normal conversations), almost everyone has their own agenda, everybody talks in whispers, and everything is grey, this'll be tough viewing. But if, like me, you like writing that doesn't talk down to you, and plots with more twists than a plate of spaghetti, this is your show.
It should be added that the cast is top-notch so good that they manage to cover most of the, admittedly minor, shortcomings in the script. Daniel Benzali takes on the persona of Ted Hoffman like an old coat, despite the fact that such a single-minded and ruthless guy not to mention, lawyer being a paragon of morality is a bit difficult to swallow. I'd like to have known a bit more about what makes him tick, because he's clearly driven, but the writers decided to leave it out. Notwithstanding, Benzali makes the character his own, and he IS compelling. And he's ably supported by fine actors (notably Barabara Bosson and Stanley Tucci), many of whom have gone on to other good things.
The great thing about having so much time spent on a single case is that we get to see some of the details that are often missed in other lawyer-based shows: the conflicts of interest; the interaction between people on opposite sides of the fence; jury selection; and the sheer waiting around for the 19th century wheels of justice to clank around in a twentieth century world. I have no doubt that it's been sanitized and simplified for TV, but I suspect also that there are some grains of truth in there.
I watched some episodes when it originally came out, and remember being intrigued at the time. Now I've got to see it all the way through, I can heartily recommend it. Thoughtful, riveting and _intelligent_ TV.
Oh, and brilliant theme tune. :-)
I recently started watching this show over again from the beginning.
The early episodes are great. I still remember a line from an episode I
haven't re-watched yet. Somebody offers Teddy Hoffman (Daniel Benzali)
a deal and Teddy walks away from it. The offerer expresses surprise
because the deal is "good for you and good for me." Teddy agrees, but
notes: "It isn't good for my client." That sums up Teddy Hoffman. He
never forgets his obligation to his client. Yes, he'd get a guilty man
off, but only because he really believes that that is his duty. This
causes an inner conflict for him, because he doesn't like many of his
clients, but he won't let that stop him from doing his job on their
Stanley Tucci adds spice as an unpredictable character who really propels the plot and keeps us guessing, but the best part of watching "Murder One" is Benzali who is one of the least appreciated actors. (IMDb doesn't even pick him as one of the top two actors associated with this show, instead naming Mary McCormack and Michael Hayden, and I confess to not even knowing who Hayden is--possibly because he is better known for his live theater work.)
Looking back years later, "Murder One" gives the added pleasure of showing us younger versions of actors we have also enjoyed in subsequent shows. For example, Mary McCormack ("In Plain Sight") is a regular as one of Teddy's ambitious junior attorneys. Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad") shows up as a deliciously bad girl who tries to blackmail Teddy and one of his clients.
"Murder One" - season 1 is definitely the best court drama I have ever seen and trust me, I saw a lot cause I like this genre. In season 1 a very complicated yet coherent and told in a thrilling way story goes hand in hand with superb acting. I absolutely loved every bit of this show. What about the second season? Well, that's probably a bit 'unprofessional' of me but I simply refuse to admit it exists. Not after the formula was changed and quite a few characters dropped. I like to imagine what could have happened after closing the case presented in season 1. I recommend this show to everybody. I first watched season 1 on TV when I was maybe 15 years old. I've re-watched it recently on DVD (I had to import it because God knows why it's not available in Poland) when I'm nearly 30 and loved it exactly the same.
Murder One only came to my attention because my professor mentioned it in class. It was quite a smart series but I think it lost my interest after the first season. It was based solely on one case. I thought Mary McCormack was brilliant as Justine Appleton, the young promising lawyer. Daniel Benzali was magnificent as the balding lead attorney and Patricia Clarkson was also splendid to watch as his understanding wife. The second season followed with Anthony LaPaglia in the leading attorney role and Oscar Winner Eileen Heckart as his mother. The story was not much different about proving the innocence of the client. The show had Bochco's prints all over it like trying to revive L.A. Law's claim in the legal drama. The show did not gain the same appeal and apparently it was canceled after 2 seasons by the network which seemed focused on other shows rather than the quality of this show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Objection! Overruled! Can we take a sidebar? I love American courtroom dramas. Just rewatching the first series on DVD - at last. The show would never be made this way today. No hand-held cam? No high speed editing? No rushing down corridors? What we've lost! I love the way Daniel Benzali sits on a leather sofa, his head in the middle of the shot, against those Venetian blinds (it was their best work), and sits there utterly unmoving - and TALKS! Sidney Greenstreet in the Maltese Falcon? Just a touch. Then I'm the only one in the wide, sweet world... The "cell door slams shut" noises were stolen by the BBC's recent Bleak House. And if you don't have your head silhouetted against the blinds, they cast their shadow on the floor. Like prison bars, don't you know. I love it! I love it! I love them all, especially the gay secretary.
I watched this on T.V years ago and it has only been shown once in the U.K. I loved every minute and couldn't wait for the next episode every week. I was addicted to it. I only wish as many others do that they release it on D.V.D or even VHS. I have checked amazon regularly and would appreciate it if anybody knows where its possible to purchase it. They released the soundtrack but not the series. I have many friends searching for it.I was a fan of LA LAW the first series and as with Murder one I think they ruined it with the rest of them. Murder one part two was not as good as Daniel Benzali was not the main character. You didn't have the dark and dodgy wealthy business man in the form of Richard Cross. His part was amazing and was acted brilliantly. I also didn't realize that Anthony Laplaglia was in it. Another great show with A.Laplaglia was and is Without a trace by "Bruckheimer" (sorry if the spellings wrong) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE release the show on DVD or VHS thankyou.
The first series was fantastic, and the second series series still pretty
good. Unfortunately despite great talent it seems they could not replicate
the immense suspense and talent from Daniel Benzali and Stanley Tucci that
was in the first show.Don't get me wrong, I think Anthony LaPaglia, was
good - and is a great actor - but unfortunately the second series did not
live up to the sheer jaw-droppingness of the first.
It is an utter shame that great TV series such of this get cancelled, and even now with the medium of DVDs are not being released for fans to keep.
As miniseries go (I think this is how this is technically listed), this has to be one of the best - personally rating the original V and first series of 24 up there as well (have not seen second yet); both of which are available on DVD.
Definitely worth a watch if you can find somewhere repeating it, or can convince a studio to release a dvd version :)
This show was one of the BEST of the 90s, along with Law And Order. It's
shame that ABC put it up against ER on NBC. Also, the cast change in
two seemed to hurt.
If the reruns ever come back to A & E....DON'T miss it.
This series has to be one of the best series that has ever been created for television. Yet it was cancelled. Why? Too intelligent for most people i guess. It took 24 episodes to tell a story and what a great story it told. The characters were amazing and so real. And the second season wasnt far behind the great heights that season one assended too. If there is any justice in TV land (and i dont think there is) then people will beg on there hands and knees to Steven Bochco's office for another series of Murder One. And the sooner it comes out in some nicely packaged DVD box set, the sooner i shall smile.
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