I’m a bit disappointed, there’s no denying it. As I said in my review of the first episode, I thought season 2 of Murder in the First was going to be about the massacre on the bus. But that was shuffled off to one side, in favour of… what? Cop-shooting-cop; the death of another undercover cop; The Union; Hildy’s brother; Molk and the stripper; Raffi and Terry; Suger (sic) and the gang wars; Bruja Blanca… Plots were picked up and put down again without really going anywhere – Koto, Navarro, and Siletti, among others, all suffered from this.
It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the midseason defenestration of co-creator and exec producer Eric Lodal had something to do with this; I have no idea about the rights and wrongs of that, I should say, but the show never really felt as if it knew where it was going. I suspect it was all supposed to cohere into one Grand Narrative, but instead it was a bit of a mess, and I’m not ashamed to admit that around halfway through the season I didn’t really know what was going on. Perhaps it’s my failure, although I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only viewer to have the same problem.
Anyway, it all led to the exposition-heavy but ultimately pointless (“HYPOTHETICALLY!”) conclusion of this episode, in which, having taken care of Dustin Maker, the surviving mass killer from the first episode, the writers suddenly seemed to realise that they only had a few minutes to try and make sense of the plot. Even James Cromwell’s 11th-hour reappearance as Warren Daniels, dazzling though it was, served as a reminder of just how good the underrated first season was. No word, as yet, on whether there’s going to be a third.