Murder in the First: Season Three Episode Three – Black and Blue

TNT’s Murder in the First aired its 3rd episode of Season Three last night. And once again series creators and writers Steven Bochco and Eric Lodal gave us a lackluster and misguided episode complete with another god-awful bait and switch.

You know what I mean by the terms bait & switch don’t you? Strictly speaking, bait and switch is primarily a tactic used by advertisers or in a sales offer to lure you to the store or sales site by making an offer that looks too good to resist, then when you show up, either the offer has been discontinued, or they will say the product has sold out – would you be interested in this instead.

In a television series, a bait and switch basically plays out like this – a problem is created for one or more characters in a specific week. Then, the following week, the so-called serious problem is miraculously or quickly (and unexpectedly) solved. So there’s no more problem.

This season, Murder in the First gave us their first bait and switch issue in week one. Detective Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) is told she has breast cancer. Her doctor told her to ‘get her affairs in order’.

Then early in Episode Two, Hildy is contacted by the same doctor. It seems that at the lab, the biopsy tissues got mixed up. You don’t have cancer. It was just a mistake at the lab.

Really?

How creative!

Not at all. What we have here is a straight forward manipulation. The intent was to get Detectives English (Taye Diggs) and Mulligan in bed together. Which they did. In a simpler term than manipulation it was just a ‘ploy’.

Then later in episode Two, they get a lead on the location of Billy James, the former friend of the slain quarterback Normandy Parker, who has quickly become a lead suspect.

Mulligan and English and a SWAT team don their Kevlar vests, and saddle up to capture this guy. Of course they knock down the door of an apartment and rush in. English heads down a hall way and hears something in a bedroom. This guy is escaping through a window. English gives chase.

Ultimately, the fleeing suspect runs himself into a dead-end, and is cornered. English sees him reach behind him for a weapon. Before the suspect can get off a shot, English puts 4 bullets in the guy’s chest. He’s dead before he hits the ground.

Only the dead guy had no weapon that the police could find.

Now Terry is in the crosshairs of being a policeman who killed an unarmed man. A story line ripped right from the front pages of today’s newspapers across this land.

Then early in Episode Three, after English had been grilled by I.A. and he told them he saw the gun tucked into the waistband of the man’s pants as he was going out the window. And after Detective Mulligan had lied to the I.A. investigators by saying that she too had seen the weapon. She was lying to back up her partner.

Then, a youngish black woman shows up at police HQ with her 10-year-old son. They hand over a handgun. The boy says he found the gun in the area of the tree mural on the wall of a building. The very place where Detective English had rushed past while in pursuit of the fleeing suspect.

Later, the crime unit forensics tests had found the dead guy’s finger prints on the gun’s magazine.

So case closed. The Police Commissioner told the media that Detective English had been cleared. So, so long to Detective English’s problem and Detective Mulligan’s lie. It was that easy.

Of course there is a kicker. The dead guy wasn’t Billy James after all.

So the story of the investigation of the quarterback’s murder is still ongoing. The quarterback is still dead, and the possible shooter, one Billy James is still in the wind.

Of course, he will be captured and hauled in for questioning by the end of Episode Three. And you do know what that will result in, right?

Of course. While the police lay out all the options to the silent Billy James, like get ahead of the curve and tell us who hired you, and make it easy on yourself – tell us who paid you.

All Billy James would say is – I want a lawyer.

But what really rankles me is the story that just won’t go away. That would be DA Mario Siletti’s DUI and Vehicular homicide case. Siletti remained an asshat well into this, the third episode. First he waited for ADA Melissa Danson in the park where she jogged every day. She said – what are you doing stalking me? Which of course he was doing.

Then Siletti managed to corner the State Attorney General to ask for his help. The State AG listened and then told Siletti the case is in the hands of ADA Danson and you will not be getting any preferential treatment.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Murder in the First: Season 3 Episode 2 – Tropic of Cancer

Half a lifetime ago, in 1964, Bob Dylan wrote, recorded, and performed a song called The Times They Are A-Changin’. Fast forward to tonight July 3rd, and I’m the one singing about The Times They Are A-Wastin’.

That’s because I just watched the second episode of the TNT Series Murder in the First. ***SPOILER WARNING***

So they start off with a stick up at a liquor store which is later described by Detectives Molk and Navarro as located at Geary & Polk.  Well according to the street photos, there is no bodega, convenience store, liquor store, or even a corner newsstand at that intersection. But no matter. This robbery is one in which the perp didn’t even take out his hand gun. He merely showed it, tucked into his waistband, to the guy behind the counter, who calmly took out his own gun and blew the perp away.

There was nothing to this attempted robbery but it served to set up some excellent police work when they reviewed the security cam footage of the inside of store. More on that later.

The second bait and switched involved Detective Hildy Mulligan and indirectly Detective Terry English. Last week we learned that Hildy had been told by her doctor that she had breast cancer. Get your affairs in order was the advice from the doctor.

With that in mind, Terry tells Hildy that he’d like to care for her, watch over her, and simply be there for her because things would get worse. English knew this because his own wife had succumbed to cancer in the first season.

That led to a night of heavy breathing and rumpled sheets at Hildy’s apartment with Hildy and Terry as the players. Louise, Hildy’s daughter had conveniently been granted permission to stay over at a friend’s house for that night. Terry was astounded – On a school night? , he asked.

How convenient!

As for the murder of Normandy Parker, the All-Pro QB, the party had 350+ guests and no one was able to make an ID of the shooter. But the police caught a break. Parker’s gf, the blonde,

Murder in the First -season 3- Trailer TNT[(000063)2016-06-27-18-17-29]

comes in to the police station (with her lawyer) only after the twitter universe exploded with the news that she was being difficult. Also arriving somewhat awkwardly was Parker ex-wife. These two should have never crossed paths in a police hallway.

But the ex-wife had plenty to say – she did have a one-night stand with Parker’ best friend Billy James, and she did know about Parker wanting to re-configure the prenup.

Speaking of Billy James, he was spotted Detective Navarro in the liquor store security cam footage in the liquor store just prior to the failed holdup. And per the security cam footage from the bank across the street, James did not drive away; rather he walked away – meaning he was staying in the nabe.

Again – how convenient.

Then there was a tip that James was staying in apartment in that area. Hildy, Terry and the SWAT team bust in. The guy, possibly James leaps out of a window with Terry in pursuit. After a short pursuit, the guy has run  himself into a dead-end alley. When he reaches for something – English places 4 kill shots dead center into the guy’s chest.

Only it is not Billy James, and what’s more there was no gun found.

English is in hot water. The town is up in arms. Demonstrations all over. Black Lives Matter indeed. As they have been known to do before, the writers then give us another bait and switch. We see English in Koto’s office. Terry is handing over his gun. Has he been suspended pending an investigation? That’s what I first thought about.

Continue reading

Murder in the First: Season 3 -Episode 1- Normandy Bitch

TNT’s Murder in the First began its third season last night (Sunday June 26th). The seasonal opener  was supposed to have aired the previous Sunday, but due to the mass-shootings in Orlando, the network wisely pushed the start date  to this weekend. ****SPOILERS AHEAD****

The opening sequence ran about 6 minutes, and was crammed with the introductions to two separate story lines. Then  as the credits rolled, we got two more story lines. A bit too cramped for my taste, especially so since at least two of the story lines have zero bearing on the true subject matter of the series which is, murder in the first degree.

The two leads are Detective Terry English (Taye Diggs) and Detective Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson). It is a no-brainer to have them appear on the series poster for this the third season. But I think the poster is poorly executed.  That said, the first character of the series that we meet in this episode is DA Mario Siletti.

It is a birthday party for Mario. He’s just turned 50. And within seconds, he, with his wife sitting right next to him, is strongly eyeing a pretty blonde, ADA Melissa Danson played by Amanda Schull . In full view of the whole table, they are are making eyes at each other. Seconds later, a colleague of Mr. Silletti has risen to her feet and is making a toast. The camera pans over to show us that the Danson’s seat is now vacant.

Mario gets a text message on his phone. I’m in the lobby is what he reads. Then he excuses himself telling his wife he has to make a call.

Moments later, after a brief flirtation, Danson unzips the front of her dress and heads into the Ladies Room. Mario follows.

We then pan to another Ladies Room where a slinky blonde in pink is doing a line of Coke.

This, as it turns out is another birthday party – this time for Normandy Parker, who is the top quarterback in the NFL.

As the blonde sings a Monroe-esque version of the Happy Birthday song, a man in a dark hoodie comes up from behind Parker and then puts two rounds into his head. In the ensuing chaos, the shooter is able to flee the party.

There’s your opening. I never really much cared for Mario Siletti as the ADA then DA. In season one, the trial of murderer Erich Blunt, I thought Siletti made some egregious errors. The actor who has the role of Siletti, one Currie Graham does an effective job in his portrayal. But the character is hard to like. We are tasked with watching Siletti and his wife discuss his infidelities, or hear the Siletti family work through their problems with their son Michael, who is soon to be off to college in Corvallis, Oregon, but it is not all that interesting.

At the Mulligan home front, Hildy is having issues with her 11-year-old daughter Louise who resents that Hildy, her Mom, went through her bag and found something objectionable. So when Hildy gets the call from English to meet him at the scene of the quarterback’s murder, Hildy isn’t at the place where she should be – that is to say – focused on her job.

Continue reading

Animal Kingdom – New Series on TNT

There are no secrets within this family….

Animal Kingdom is a new TV series that will begin airing on TNT on June 14th. However, the network is offering the pilot episode right now via Amazon Prime. Of course this series appears to be misnamed as it deals chiefly with people rather than four-footed creatures who are a part of the real animal kingdom.

Yes, it is true – that some people are more animal-like than we might expect or even like. But hey, that’s life. This series begins with a tragedy as in the pilot’s first minute. A young man sits on a couch and next to him is a woman, his mother, who has apparently OD’ed on heroin. He’s waiting for the EMS to arrive.

The young man is called J, which is short for Josh Cody. He is played by Finn Cole. You may have seen him in the series called Peaky Blinders. J now has no choice but to contact his maternal grandmother, even though his mother had been estranged from her own mother, and they hadn’t seen each other in years, in the hopes that she will be able to take him in.

So J is going to live with his grandmother and his uncles. The setting is Oceanside, CA, which is about 2/3’s of the way south from Los Angeles to San Diego. Oceanside is south of San Clemente, south of the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton, and just north of Carlsbad, CA. This is So-Cal to a T. So what can we expect?

Surfing, smoking, sex, snorting, and of course – stealing. This isn’t your standard issue So-Cal family nor is ‘Grandma’ anything like what you have seen on TV or the movies. In Animal Kingdom, she’s called Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, and Ellen Barkin has the role. In short, she’s the matriarch of a free-wheeling criminal enterprise.

Welcome to the family, Josh

Welcome to the family, Josh

It doesn’t take J very long after greeting his relatives to notice his surroundings. Lots of new cars and trucks, huge flat screen TV’s, boats, jet skis, and even big wads of money are present and in plain sight. J is assigned to Pope’s room.

‘Pope’ whose real name is Andrew Cody,  is the eldest of J’s uncles, and he’s somewhere, but we aren’t told where. That is until Pope shows up the next day. Pope is played by Shawn Hatosy (Fear the Walking Dead, Bosch, and Southland).  He’s just been released from prison. And for sure he is a scary presence.

Let’s meet J’s other uncles: First there’s Craig Cody played by Ben Robson. He’s big and brawny, and on J’s first night at Grandma Cody’s, we find that Craig has spent the night with not one but two bimbos.

The second uncle is Deron Cody played by Jake Weary. He’s the youngest of the siblings, and he’s really just a younger and smaller version of his older brother Craig.

Continue reading