Murder in the First aired its 7th episode tonight. The title was Suck My Alibi, which was a bit too obvious for me, like a writer’s gimmick rather than something someone might actually say to the police. Aside from an intriguing turn by Bess Rous as Ivana West, and Kathleen Robertson as Inspector Hildy Mulligan, this wasn’t much of an episode as it offered little in the way of great writing, or suspense, yet it was a distinct improvement over the previous week’s debacle, and that was due to the actors.
While this episode again featured some egregiously stupid courtroom scenes, this episode was more about evidence. As in no evidence, or made up evidence, or disappearing evidence. It’s not often you have a show where the cops break the rules,
and the DA spins her way out of an awkward situation, and the ADA is a bungler. Beyond that, tell me when you have seen a show about a murder trial and in one of the episodes, the defendant does not speak even a single word.
ADA Mario Siletti twice broke a cardinal rule in courtroom behavior. I mean even Tom Cruise as the lawyer in A Few Good Men knew enough to NOT show disappointment when something didn’t go his way. But Siletti looked forlorn after Warren Daniels hung Wilkerson out to dry in cross. That was the first time.
As long as I mentioned Wilkinson, I have to ask – why did Siletti put Wilkinson on the stand? To introduce into evidence an SMS message that Wilkinson received at 9:02 purportedly sent by the deceased Cindy Strauss? This after Siletti’s forensic specialist had stated the time of death was 8:30 PM.
Warren Daniels jumped all over that. Daniels also was smart enough to bring forth the argument between Wilkinson and his wife at the attorney’s office. Why didn’t Siletti see that coming? He offered an objection to the Daniels line of questioning but was over-ruled by the judge.
Siletti introduced a witness who claimed she had been drugged and raped by the defendant Blunt, and that backfired too. Daniels was able to bring out that the woman had not filed a complaint with the police, and as such, there was no physical evidence to support her story – other than Blunt had paid her to go away quietly, after she signed a non-disclosure agreement. Daniels seem to make even this sordid story work to his benefit. Siletti again looked beaten after this witness was excused.
Siletti’s witnesses haven’t fared very well at all. I think he’s doing a lousy job. But we haven’t seen him called in on the carpet by his boss DA Perez. But it gets a little tricky. I think we can all agree that Siletti has so far pitched a stinker of a prosecution at Blunt and Daniels.The crafty old codger Daniels has somehow exposed every one of Siletti’s witnesses except English and Mulligan.
Mulligan swatted away every one of Daniels forays. She was cool and every thing she said placed her beyond reproach.
But back to the tricky part. If Siletti is failing at proving his case, then why is Blunt going to be put on the witness stand. Okay, maybe he isn’t, but in the brief teaser for the next episode we see him exhorting Daniels to put him on the stand. So obviously he feels he needs to make his appeals to the jurors. And isn’t that usually a sign of desperation?
Back to Bess Rous as the slippery Ivana West. We know she slept with Blunt, and we know she’s acting CEO, meaning in command, while Blunt is dealing with the trial. She has a nice round of Q & A with English. He doesn’t Mirandize her, nor does he charge her, and finally he doesn’t stop questioning her when she requests her attorney. Actually he does stop – but it is only a ploy, as later he talks to her knowing full well, that whatever she tells him, is inadmissible.
Which brings up another question. Since forensics had provided evidence like West’s hair, and West’s finger print, and they even mentioned a video surveillance tape that placed her at Mark Strauss’s place, why didn’t they Mirandize her, and allow her to get her lawyer.
Then we have DA Perez spinning the case, saying there was no evidence of a suicide, or foul play in the Strauss death, as it was a simple case of an overdose. Technically she didn’t lie, but it’s not as if she didn’t withhold some facts.
Which brings us back to Mark Strauss’s supposed suicide note. It was penned (on the laptop) by Ivana West – she admitted that to English, but he can’t use it. She also told English that she had gone with Strauss to his apartment to kill him, but she didn’t have to as he OD’ed. But English can’t use that either.
So that leaves us with the Strauss laptop. English had a way of erasing the hard drive that Mulligan hadn’t thought of. First you smash the lap top with a fire extinguisher, then you pull the hard drive out of the lap top and smash it with the same extinguisher.
So that’s my take on this episode which was the 7th. Just three more. Will the State of California make their case despite the bungling of Mario Siletti? Will Inspector English get caught for destroying evidence? Will the boy wonder, Erich Blunt do something to convict himself, and most importantly – will we see Inspector Mulligan and Blunt someplace else, away from the police station, the courtroom, or his office for a final denouement.
Personally, I think it is too early to predict the outcome. Yes, we’d all love Blunt to be guilty. But if he didn’t do it – who did. Wilkinson, Mrs Wilkinson, Jimmy Salter, Ivana West, or someone you’d never expect.