ByAlan Mehanna, writer at
Lebanese American. Screenwriting MFA. Teacher. Writer. Actor. Dreamer.
Alan Mehanna
Erich: I'm going to take you to court and I'm going to kill you.

I am a huge fan of cop/lawyer drama series, and TNT's Murder in the First was definitely a good series to follow. The cast consists of some very talented actors including Taye Diggs, Kathleen Robertson, Tom Felton, James Cromwell to name a few, all delivered in their roles.

Running a total of ten episodes, the show's first and second act (episodes one through seven) were concise, suspenseful, and complex. They delved into the characters' psyche and offered twists and turns in every episode. The season's final three episodes were dull, boring, and felt forced.

What happened to lead to this fumble in the story-telling process?

The show struggled in its ratings and for a while the consensus was that the show would be cancelled - could that have affected how the writers decided to conclude their first season? It is known in the industry, the writing aspect of it anyway, that the final act is one of the hardest to write. To offer an audience a satisfying conclusion is quite a feat. And yet in the case of Murder in the First, the conclusion felt rushed, coincidental, and fabricated.


Warren: How do you let the victim blow you the night of the murder?

The show's pilot episode set the stage up perfectly, in my opinion, and delivered what a well-written pilot should. It introduced just enough of the characters without being heavy handed and placed them in their roles and trajectories for the remaining episodes of the season. The story begins when an old man's dead corpse is found by the police which leads them to Erich (Tom Felton) and the ripples continue from there.

Hildy: It wasn't a butter knife if that's what you mean.

As the story progresses, the police go from theory to theory, clue to clue, failed attempt after failed attempt to arrest Erich and it goes downhill from there...literally. When the events finally reach the court room the pace of the entire series slows down.

The pace gets slower than a Law and Order episode (no offense to any Law and Order fans). The dialogue also reaches an all time cliche with the lawyers and of the many law shows I have seen, this felt the most contrived and fake. The well experienced couldn't even bring the court room to life with the dialogue they were given. This is quite unfortunate because the events that occur outside of the courtroom are quite intriguing.

Murder in the First is currently in its second season and I will watch (more like binge) it when it is completed. I hope that it does not crumble like its first season.


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