Murder in the First – Season 02 Episode 03 – Blue on Blue


TNT’s Murder in the First aired the 3rd episode of the current season tonight. They called this one Blue on Blue, which apparently is a kind of euphemism for cop killed by cop.

If you recall, last week I made an issue of pointing out that one cop, the short burly Hispanic detective, Edgar Navarro, seemed almost pleased that Walt Martin had been killed. So the I.A. cops interviewed the cops on duty that night, which turned up a list of 30 cops who were on scene in the North Tunnel.

Meanwhile Terry English met with the M.E. in the lab who told him that the bullet that killed Walt was a 40mm, and neither Alfie nor Dustin had used that kind of weapon. Point being, as that was the caliber used by the SFPD, it was a blue on blue shooting.

Okay fair enough. But soon after, Walt Martin’s partner, Officer Kaleb Peat,  was told to take a vacation. As in leave the job behind for a while, find a beach somewhere, clear your head, and don’t come back until you’re ready. Again this is kind of standard.

But that caused a rotation within the detective ranks. As English had been promoted, Hildy needed a partner. You’d be right if you thought it would be Navarro.So far no lights have focused on him – other than the fact that he is now Hildy’s partner. Is that what we might call a misdirection?

Koto is back up on his feet although still in the hospital. The very hospital where Shooter 1 (Dustin Maker) is under heavy guard as he recuperates.

But there was another violent killing in one of the local ‘grow houses’. As in growing pot. What had been likely a robbery ended with a shooting. The vic was a Victor Chen, a Chinese émigré. There was a young kid in the vicinity, Jalil Thompson, and as he had blood on his shoes, he was brought in for questioning. As it turned out, Jalil was the ‘good’ kid in a family of known gang=bangers and hoodlums. We heard this from the boy’s mother who begged Hildy to not question him or keep him in the lockup.

But English wanted to press murder charges against the kid. Hildy told him not to, as it would basically ruin his life. Jalil was just 13.

But Jalil was not so innocent as his mother though he was. Jalil knew the local drug boss – one Sugar Cascade. As did English. And this Sugar Cascade also kept tabs on English whose career he had studiously followed. Sun Tzu anyone? Know your enemy…

Also in play was Mario Siletti, the acting DA, who made the TV news when he appeared at a vigil for the dead students, the ones killed by Alfie and Dustin in the first episode. His quote was newsworthy as he promised that those dead students deserved justice as did the city of San Francisco.

Which brings us to Laila Robins. She plays a retired defense attorney now teaching at Stanford Law School. Dustin’s attorneys seemed overwhelmed and they hadn’t the resources to fight the murder charges that Siletti would bring. One of these lawyers, Aaron Mazur, was a former student of this famed law professor. So he drives down to Palo Alto and asks her to get involved. She turns him down but agrees to look over the files.

One needn’t have a Stanford law degree to follow along . One look at the files and she’d be sitting as first chair defending Dustin Maker.

There were other developments as well. The cop who had been Walt Martin’s partner, one Kaleb Peat; he’s the one that had been told to take a vacation, was placed in the North Tunnel by Detective Molk, who felt that if he was on the list of cops working the North Tunnel that night – why wasn’t Kaleb Peat’s name on the list too?

So English and Hildy head over to Kaleb’s place to question him. They may have had questions for him, but no answers would be forthcoming, as Peat was dead. Apparently a self-inflicted gun shot to the head.

Not so fast.

We weren’t born yesterday. Or the day before that. If Peat had been Martin’s partner, and if he had whacked Martin, having him blow his own brains out, repeating as in an apparent suicide – it would be too easy. No Kaleb didn’t shoot Martin. This is a red herring which to me was D.O.A. There’s nothing to this. Move along folks.

What it means that who ever whacked Martin had attempted to close the deal off by faking a Kaleb suicide.  Sure enough, Kaleb was dead, and just as surely the gun that killed him was in his hand. There was no suicide note found. And what’s more there won’t be any GSR (gun shot residue) on his hand, the hand holding the gun that killed him. This was no suicide.

And speaking of GSR, the forensics team had determined that Walt Martin had been shot from a very close distance. This conclusion was reached by an analysis of the GSR spray pattern, which proved that this wasn’t a case of friendly fire – you know a stray bullet in the North Tunnel. No sir, Martin was assassinated.

But wait there’s more. Jalil suddenly confesses to killing Victor Chen. I believe that Jalil had learned that if he ratted out Sugar Cascade, then his whole family would be killed. Jalil figured that as a juvenile offender he’d been sent to some kind of Juvie Hall for youthful offenders rather than San Quentin.

Then the producers pulled out more TV angles. Jamie Nelson. the hot-shot Stanford professor who will defend the high school shooter Dustin Maker, is revealed to be gay and has a black lover. Detective Molk is accused of being gay too. Geez guys, do we really need these obvious twists.

Hildy’s daughter had one scene, as did Emannuelle Chriqui, as Raffi who originally questioned Jalil.

Summary: This was an episode that featured one cop funeral, 2 dead bodies besides Walt Martin’s, a drug lord called Sugar Cascade and his main adjutant Fatty B, and there was no action, or live gun shots or car chase scenes at all.

I can see three main story lines forming –

A) English has to solve the question of who murdered Walt Martin and who went to the trouble of killing Kaleb Peat and attempted to make it look like a suicide.

B) Hildy won’t buy into Jalil’s confessions and this will take her into the world of criminal drug activity. Likely she will have to deal with Sugar and Fatty B in the episodes ahead.

C) The Trial of Dustin Maker with Mario Siletti squaring off against Jamie Nelson. It will be easy to root for Jamie Nelson to get the best of Siletti. But Dustin Maker’s fate is set in stone. Can you spell Guilty?

At this point in time I’m nominating Navarro as the one who killed Martin. Why? English got the tip from the ME. He told Hildy in confidence while having dinner at Hildy’s home. She said she’d have to tell Navarro, her new partner. English told Hildy that she’d have to swear Navarro to secrecy. The investigation would work better if people did not know there was an ongoing investigation of a blue on blue killing. But Navarro gave it up to Molk with no reticence at all.

Of course if it is Navarro – it will fall into the category of who is the least likely suspect. It is usually someone you see plenty of, and it usually takes a few weeks before the writers reveal what we may already have figured out.

No guesswork needed. I’ll be back next week with episode Four called My Sugar Walls.


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