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.

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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.

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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.

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Murder in the First Season 2 Episode 2 – Schizofrenzy

Murder in the First aired the second episode of its Second Season tonight. The episode title was called Schizofrenzy. Being honest and truthful, I’ll say that much like the word schizophrenic or frenzy – this episode was all over the place.

*****SPOILERS AHEAD*****THIS IS A RECAP*****

From the streets of San Francisco to the subterranean tunnels beneath those very streets to hot storeroom sex is what we saw. There was a nearly complete absence of stress or tension for the majority of the show. It’s not like they didn’t try; rather it simply didn’t work. Read on.

. The show opened with the death of one of the uniformed cops who was a part of the ground team searching for the remaining shooter from last week. Yes it was tragic, and we see as much from most of the faces of the police on the scene.

Then we followed Raffi (played by Emmanuelle Chriqui) into one of the tunnels. She was sent into a narrow crawl space because she was small and had some experience in similar tunnels in Gaza or Israel. Yeah, it was spooky and she nearly went over the edge of an abyss. But she didn’t – after all this is just the second episode. You don’t hire a performer like Chriqui for a smidgen more than one episode and then kill her off.

From there we found out that Lieutenant Koto, who had been shot in the Season’s opening episode was okay and out of surgery but he would be hors de combat for the time being. Since Koto would be unable to perform his duties for a while, The Chief of Police promoted Detective Terry English to Lieutenant and named him acting head of the detectives.

Pointedly the Chief asks English, When was the last time you slept or had something to eat? English had no answer for the Chief – who then said – do something about that.

Meanwhile the shooting suspect, Alfie Rentman is showing up on various surveillance equipment as he flit around the city. It wasn’t like he was hiding, you know, holed up somewhere – it seemed almost seemed like a game – as he seemed to be hiding in plain sight – as if to taunt the police. The ‘gaming’ aspect was confirmed by the boy’s parents,

Hildy: Help us get inside his head...

Hildy: Help us get inside his head…

as well as the police techie, Kami Keefer, who had hacked into Alfie’s game records and notes on his laptop.

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Murder in the First: Season Two Begins

Murder In the First opened its Second Season on TNT last night.

*****SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*****

Lieutenant Koto (Ian Anthony Dain) is back as the Supervisor for Homicide Detectives Terry English (Taye Diggs) and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson). Also returning are some of the other detectives. There are multiple newcomers this season which would be the natural outcome of a new crime and a new case; among the new cast members are Emmanuelle Chriqui (Sloan in Entourage) as Raffi Veracruz,

who is a plain clothes detective in the Gang Unit (according to Chriqui) who is on hand for English and Mulligan’s cases. Laila Robbins who played the Ambassador in the most recent season of Homeland is also in the series this year, but she didn’t appear in this first episode that was called Twenty-Fifteen.

As you know, this is a police procedural show with a single case arching over the season. So Twenty Fifteen began with a school bus filled with high schoolers. And before you can say ‘filled with high schoolers’ twice, one guy takes out a gun and shoots one student. Then a second student brings out an automatic weapon and the bus explodes in gunfire. There’s your opening.

While the idea of mass killings by students seems like it is ripped from the news headlines, this opening episode was quite less than scintillating. Probably this is due to the fact that though the police got one of the shooters – as Detective English would later say – Shooter 2 is in the wind.

And he got away because of the multiple smoke canisters that the perps released – the day was wind free and he managed to get away in the chaos – despite the fact that the police had cordoned off the area before either of the shooters had even gotten off the bus. That seemed somewhat far-fetched to me.

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Murder in the First: Season Finale – Blunt the Edge

So Murder in the First wrapped the cases and the season tonight. The final episode was called Blunt the Edge. I’ve got two questions – did you notice that the po-po interviewed Salter (once) and Mrs. Harbach (twice) in this episode, but they did not show us any interview with Bill Wilkerson. That’s the first question. The second question is bit easier to answer. The phone that was used to capture Blunt’s confession to Wilkerson, belonged to who?

I’ll answer that one myself – Wilkerson. But considering that we did not see Wilkerson hand the phone off to the police, it seemed a bit underhanded. Enjoyable? Of course. But still it was a bit of dramatic sleight of hand. Conceived in such a way, that we could not have seen it coming, whereas the fake bug in Wilkerson watch was easy to expect. Of course that woman standing on the steps as Blunt walked in to police HQ had the phone. If they hadn’t had made a point of showing her to us, I wouldn’t have wondered who she was. That is, until she handed the phone to Hildy Mulligan. Then again maybe it was simply a micro-recorder as there is a likelihood that the voice recording could have been overheard, captured and then downloaded to a recorder rather than a cell phone. Then again, the warrant did specify that a cell-phone would be in play.

Okay, we already knew that a) Blunt killed Strauss as he had admitted it to English and Mulligan. We also knew that English had told Blunt that he would get him for the Nyers murder. As I watched the dominoes marched in like a processional, it was clear that the script would end with Blunt in the police lockup. If any one was going to kill him it would have happened early on.

Right off the bat, the episode opened with Blunt and the lawyer Hertzberg giving Mrs. Harbach the half million. So I knew that would be one of the fatal flaws. I just didn’t expect the police to get on to that so fast. And talk about dollar wise and penny foolish. Blunt is giving Mrs. Harbach a half million – did they have to make the Harbachs pay for the medication (and the entry was dated before the Nyers murder) and well before Mrs. Harbach got the money.

Second – the business about the gun. Didn’t that seem far too easy? The gun was traced back to a detective who gave it to Salter who gave it to Blunt who gave it to Wilkerson who gave it to old man Harbach. I can hear the dominoes falling.

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Murder in the First: S1 E9 – Family Matters

Only one episode remains in the San Francisco murder cases on Murder in the First on TNT. As I surmised at the end of the previous episode’s write-up – that even though Erich Blunt walked free on the charges of murdering the Strauss woman and the unborn fetus

Blunt: Still think I did it? Mulligan: Yeah. We do. Blunt: Well, you are right. I did kill that dumb bitch.

Blunt: Still think I did it?
Mulligan: Yeah. We do.
Blunt: Well, you are right. I did kill that dumb bitch.

– the police (Inspectors English and Mulligan) had heard with their own ears – You were right, I killed the dumb bitch, words that should never have been spoken, were spoken by Mr. Blunt.

I also gave my thoughts on who might be gunning for Mr. Blunt. I was wrong about Ivana West. I had said that she might be peeved because Blunt might fire her. Rather than having that happen, West and the nerdy programmer that Blunt had taken advantage of – founded their own competing company. West looked rather pleased with her self as she gave Blunt the news. Blunt told his Corporate Counsel David Hertzberg to immediately prepare a law suit. On what charge?, the lawyer said. I don’t know, think of something, was Blunt’s snarled reply.

My second choice was Bill Wilkerson, the pilot of the Blunt jet, and also a former lover of Ms Strauss. His motive would likely come from the fact that Blunt had a hand in destroying his marriage. He may have cheated on his wife, but he still loved her. From all appearances, he is none too pleased with Blunt.

My third choice was Lt. Kono. I picked him because he didn’t seem that obvious and he had a relationship with DA Perez.As I said last week, that fact has remained pretty submerged. Until this week, when we saw Hildy Mulligan who was coming down in an elevator to the parking garage. What she saw when the doors opened was Kono and Perez kissing deeply. She stayed in the elevator, without being seen, and kept the fact to herself.

Okay that’s where I am. The show opened with Blunt being interviewed by Larry King, and we clearly saw that West was displeased about what Blunt said – he claimed to have run the company even while he was in jail. Wilkinson was angry as well. And so was DA Perez. So the show set them up as aggrieved parties.

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Murder in the First: Episode Seven – Suck My Alibi

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.

Bess Rous as Ivana West

Bess Rous as Ivana West

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,

This is Captain Kono - who said - There was no laptop

This is Captain Kono – who said – There was no laptop

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.

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Murder in the First: Episode Six – Punch Drunk

Murder in the First had Episode Six called Punch Drunk on Monday Night. It was easily the worst episode of the show so far. Let me count the ways.

Not enough Hildy Mulligan. We all know that Mulligan, played by Kathleen Robertson is the glue that holds the show together. She appeared in just three quick scenes and one longer scene. The first two quick scenes were with Inspector English in the homicide inspectors coffee-room, then with Inspector English in a bar. The longer scene was with her ex-husband, then she appeared briefly when she and English answered a radio call for a DOA, who turned out to be Mark Strauss, who at one time they believed was a person of interest as he was the husband of the murdered Cindy Strauss.

Not enough Erich Blunt. Aside from the drive to the courthouse, in which Blunt was a nervous Nelly, and got a dressing down by his attorney Warren Daniels, for the rest of the episode, Blunt sat silent in the courtroom. And how did he get away with wearing a striped jersey to court on the second day of the trial?

You think Mr. Blunt had something to do with both deaths?

You think Mr. Blunt had something to do with both deaths?

Speaking of which, I didn’t much care for Daniels opening statement. ADA Mario Siletti’s remarks were better but not by much. Blunt asked his attorney about his choice of a suit – a rather dull brown, but I understood that. Daniels didn’t want to turn the jury off by appearing in a flashy and expensive suit. We got a good look at Daniels when he crossed examined Inspector English, the arresting officer.

Mr. Blunt is the common denominator in both deaths

Mr. Blunt is the common denominator in both deaths

Once again, I felt manipulated.

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