|Index||2 reviews in total|
Murder One, season one, was a brilliant piece of television, but
probably a bit ahead of its time. Telling one story over 23 episodes it
demanded you followed it from the beginning, and didn't miss episodes
along the way. While that kind of television has become accepted now,
through series like "24", it was new at the time. But it worked, and
told a gripping and dramatic story in a stellar way. Central to its
success was the brilliant performance by Daniel Benzali as Ted Hoffman,
the lead lawyer of the firm.
But some executives obviously felt that he wasn't charismatic enough, and that expanding a story to 23 episodes was too much. So, come season 2, Daniel Benzali was out the door, and in came Anthony LaPaglia. And the stories told were limited to 6-7 episodes a piece. While LaPaglia managed to make his character his own, and the series still worked quite well, ratings dropped, and after 12 episodes they called it quits.
A couple of months went by, and they decided to give it another go, and this mini-series is it. The story is one of the most tantalizing of the whole show, where Wyler (LaPaglia) and associates take on the case of an admitted serial killer, played by Pruitt Taylor Vince. Vince's performance is spot on, making the viewer very uneasy and uncomfortable, yet showing a lot of humanity at the same time. The performance was so good, in fact, that it earned him an Emmy Award.
His story was given 6 episodes, which unfortunately is at least one episode too few. The story is gripping an tantalizing, has brilliant performances along the way, a lot of drama, and always keeps you at the edge of the seat. It is obvious that the creators envisioned a few more episodes to give the story its full potential, but at some point the producers decided to pull the plug for good, resulting in the last episode having to rush the events to give the show some kind of closure. At the end there are still unanswered questions, though, and keeps you wanting for more even more than you did when the show ended mid-season after 12 episodes.
Had this been an 8-part mini-series I'm quite sure it could have been a 10/10, but the rushed conclusion leaves a bit to be desired. It is still a brilliant piece of television, and anyone interested in courtroom dramas and law shows should give both this and the series - especially season one - a chance. I really miss this show!
I have never seen Murder One Season 1 so I have to own up to the fact that the only reason I bought the second season was to catch up with another of Anthony LaPaglia's screen roles. I believe that the series was dropped because viewing figures fell off sharply towards the end of the run. I think that this may have been in part due to a rather long-winded and fairly boring third story within the season about an unpleasant defendant who admits to being a killer from the outset (no spoilers here please note). The interviews with the actors at the end of the boxed set is pointed in not including any comments from Mr LaPaglia himself, though he is referred to on a great number of occasions. One wonders if the making of this series was not a totally happy experience for him. As a viewer Season 2 is eminently watchable for the first half dozen episodes not only to watch Mr LaPaglia creating a charismatic character in front of your eyes, but also the story line is interesting and has some depth. Certainly if the other two story lines had been as good as this one I suspect the makers and the actors involved would have been picking up awards rather than being dropped at the end of the series. Any LaPaglia fans will love it of course, but as a crime series it does rather peter out. However it's great to iron to!!!
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