Murder in the First s2 ep 1

1983685035The second season of Murder in the First opens with a breathtaking but harrowing scene: Terry and Hildy happen to be in the vicinity when two youths on a school bus pull out guns and open fire on their classmates. I can’t imagine that it comes close to reproducing what it would actually be like, but in fairness the writer (Eric Lodal) and director (Jesse Bochco) do a pretty good job of simulating terror and hellish confusion: kids pleading for their lives, desperately trying to get off the bus, that sort of thing, while the shooters, Dustin Maker and Alfie Rentman, detonate smoke bombs to facilitate their escape.

SFPD attends in force and Maker is captured, but Rentman manages to get away, suggesting that the perimeter was nowhere near hard enough. The show saves its hardest punch for the end of the sequence: the bodies of the dead kids are concealed by sheets outside the bus, and as mobile phone networks are unjammed, and calls to the deceased start to get through, their phones light up under the sheets.

If the first season is a guide this won’t just be a manhunt: we’ll see the case through to trial, at which point Alfie Rentman’s psychiatrist father, who seems to have been treating Alfie with drugs for sociopathy, will presumably be pivotal. He’s already given Kathleen Robertson the opportunity for her best line reading of the episode: during an interview, he allows that his son is dangerous. “Dr Rentman”, Hildy replies, deadpan. “No shit”.

There’s another storyline, as yet deliberately underplayed, and apparently unconnected: the disappearance of undercover cop Sarah Tran. Sarah was on the prostitution beat, so in the grand tradition of procedurals I’m guessing that means someone else is going to have to go undercover (i.e. dressed like a hooker) to solve the mystery. In season 1 that would have been an open goal for Hildy, but this time around there’s competition, as Lorelei Martins from The Mentalist has appeared as part of the team, joining the returning Walter Mashburn on MitF’s roster of Mentalist alums. Adam Noshimuri from H50 is back as well, although it looks as if his DA lover has been written out.

So we’re set up nicely for season 2. The unknown variable this time around is the departure of co-creator/showrunner Eric Lodal halfway through filming, in circumstances which don’t appear to have been wholly amicable, leaving Steven Bochco in sole command. Given how long it is since Bochco had a hit show on his own, that might or might not be a good thing. In any event, I’m not planning weekly reviews, but I’ll definitely keep watching.


3 thoughts on “Murder in the First s2 ep 1

  1. CJ Cregg June 19, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    I was really surprised by how good this was. I was completely unimpressed by the first season – I thought it was bland, old-fashioned tv-by-numbers – and I might have skipped this one had it not been summertime and the schedules light on stuff I want to watch. But I tuned in, and was glad I did – I thought this first ep was fantastic. Powerful, harrowing, genuinely compelling. It felt like the show had suddenly stepped up several gears and moved into the 21st century at last. Whether that’ll last or not, I don’t know but I’m much more interested in finding out than I was before I saw this.

    A couple of things bugged me, though. Number one: the sub-plot with Hildy having to pick up her kid really just dragged things down. I don’t care about Hildy’s kid. I don’t care about Hildy’s kid’s school. And if they’re setting Hildy’s kid up to be the offspring equivalent of the Unhappy Cop’s Wife trope, I will care about her even less.

    Number two: There have to be subtler ways of showing Capt. Nosh is a bit of a lothario than that shot of him slowly and ostentatiously turning round to stare at that random woman’s behind and his friend then getting all “Woo hoo! Checking out the chicks, yaas!” about it. Having him wear a giant badge marked “PLAYER” would probably have been less heavy-handed.

  2. Jed Bartlet June 19, 2015 / 5:39 pm

    Yes, I liked it too. As you know I was entirely on board with the old-fashioned-ness of the first season, but if they can keep that sensibility while giving us a properly hot-button crime then I’ll be delighted.

    I thought the subplot with Hildy and her kid actually worked quite well: she’s desperately trying to cope with a huge crime, but her domestic circumstances mean that she can’t quite devote her full attention to it. It may, of course, have just been a way of writing her loser ex-husband out of the show. Leaving us with more Tildy (which not even the writers are pretending is a thing at the moment).

    The Nosh has moved on, yo. Ladies, form an orderly queue.

  3. Snoskred June 20, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    I just saw this, plus, episode 2, in one sitting almost like a movie. I really enjoyed the first season and this one has promising signs.

    I have to say I have always loved Currie Graham. The fact that he was in NYPD Blue and also in this is kind of a lovely symmetry. 🙂

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