Murder in the First: Episode Five – Pants on Fire

***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****

Murder in the First rolled out Episode 5, called Pants on Fire, a few nights ago. While I enjoyed the episode, I got the distinct feeling of being manipulated. Which is not unheard of for television. I equated it to something like being in a restaurant, and the dish prepared is not to your liking; so you send it back.

Only in this case, it worked in the reverse. The would-be chef or in this case, the TV writers, prepared, or started the episode one way and then came out and reversed fields as in offering something opposite of what they’d just served. Again and again and again,

To wit: at the close of Episode Four entitled Who’s Your Daddy, we watched as Attorney Warren Daniels, who is played brilliantly by James Cromwell, made a big show of resigning as Blunt’s attorney. He claimed he didn’t like being lied to, or not having his instructions followed, and he especially didn’t like being made to look foolish in court. So he exits.

As this week begins, there’s Blunt and his house counsel David Hertzberg (played by Richard Schiff) in court for Blunt’s Bail Revocation hearing. No sign of Daniels. Later, Blunt (his bail reinstated) and Hertzberg are again at Daniel’s office. They want Daniels back on the case. Blunt wants it so badly he offers to double Daniels fee plus expenses. No deal. Blunt, playing his last card, or maybe it is his last hope, now offers 10 million (paid up front). This is an offer Daniels cannot refuse. But Daniels stipulates that Blunt must undergo a lie detector test. The result of said tests are admissible in CA.

Then while the lie detector examination is going on, the SFPD homicide cops – Mulligan and English, get a lead about the husband of the murdered woman (the cabin attendant on Blunt’s plane). He had earlier told the cops that he was at a bar drinking at the time of the murder. The new evidence is a surveillance video that shows him exiting the bar and then returning two hours later. This gives him plenty of time to have left the bar, driven to her apartment, killed her, and subsequently, returned to the bar. The so-called window of opportunity.

Meanwhile Daniels goes public that Blunt has passed a polygraph test. It’s called a stunt by the DA. In a meeting with Kono, Mulligan, and English – she tells them it is their shit – but it has landed on her desk. So she wants it fixed.

So the cops go to round-up the husband, named Strauss, who offers a paper-thin alibi. So immediately we switch our thinking – maybe Blunt is innocent after all. And the husband is now a prime time suspect.

The alibi was a married woman who Strauss claimed he was having a fling with in the back of her car,. She denies it as well – even though the police have her signature on the bar tab. Only after the police threaten to impound her car, and take her downtown for further questioning does she relent, admitting to the fling. So now, after we thought that Strauss maybe was guilty, he now is cleared as his alibi has checked out.

But wait, we aren’t done yet with the switches. Last week English and Mulligan shared a kiss. I even wrote that we will have to see where it leads. This week, after a bit of inconvenient timing then a some slight awkwardness, Mulligan came out and said that it wouldn’t be happening again. There was some small disagreement about who started it – but finally then each agreed over and done with and no need to bring it up again.

Kaput, over and done with, right?

Then Mulligan says – Okay? Let’s kiss and make up. English was a bit stunned. ‘Just kidding’, she said. They were all gathered at a karaoke bar for another officer’s birthday party. When one of the cops said that it was Detective English’s turn to sing a song, he tried to demur. But the crowd egged him on. He wasn’t very good, and did nothing for the famous Etta James song At Last.

But the way they shot the scene, with English looking at Mulligan, and Mulligan looking at English, there was something intense beneath the lyrics. Just when you thought the fires would rekindle, Mulligan ups and leaves. Now I wasn’t expecting that.

Nor was I expecting that when Mulligan arrived home, she would find Blunt sitting on her front steps. It seems he hasn’t forgotten their dinner, and the kiss. He said after everything was over, he like to take her dinner again. Mulligan said, It wasn’t a date. Now get off my property, and I never want to see you or talk to you again.

Now I call that a definite NO! In capital letters and WITH an exclamation point. Can you spell emphatic? But this is Murder in the First. So you know what that means don’t you? Right, don’t count on it. Especially since Blunt leaves with this parting shot – To be continued….

By now, we are five episodes in, and I am definitely hooked on this show. I like the actors, the San Francisco setting, the case is interesting, and the casting is terrific. In all honesty, I feel Blunt is the killer, but the cops still have to make their case for murder. So in all likelihood, there’s bound to be some more red herrings tossed our way to distract us.

If I learned one thing, going forward, it will be to expect the unexpected at all times, and not believe anything they say because you know it wasn’t written into concrete.

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