Third-episode verdict: Murder In The First (TNT)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 10pm (ET/PT), TNT

You know, it’s one thing to get Steve Bochco in to make your latest TV show because he made a lot of good cop shows in the past. It’s quite another to get him to basically remake one of his best, Murder One. But that’s what TNT appears to have gone and done. Kudos on your chutzpah, guys.

Admittedly, there’s more than a hint of Law & Order to it, but ultimately this is starting to look like the same show, with a rich famous person who has dodgy sexual kinks being accused of killing a woman and a charismatic legal team set to defend him, all while the ‘case of the week’ is added in to give a little variety to the formula.

Still, there are much worse things you could remake than Murder One and Murder In The First has a few decent touches. Since the first episode, the investigating cops have started to grow personalities, James Cromwell and Richard Schiff are showing everyone else what top notch acting is like and we have the first forensic science team in a while to arrive that are happy to show that science – and budgets – aren’t what CSI would have you believe.

All the same, it still feels like the sort of crime show that you watch while drinking a warm cup of Horlicks, with the occasional bit of basic cable backside nudity and swearing to pep things up. Most of the cops’ lives revolve around dating – usually other cops – the female cop seems to be largely taking a back seat to the male cop (and even went on a date with the main suspect) while the other female characters are mostly just victims or potential love interests. And there are just no real surprises, beyond the occasional bit of sparky dialogue.

It’s not terrible and for a summer show, it’s actually pretty good. But there are better crime dramas out there, many of them written by Steve Bochco.

Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season, but probably not more than that.  


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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