Murder in the First Season 2 Episodes 10 & 11 Review: “Nothing But The Truth”/”Down Time”

Murder in the First

We are winding down the sophomore season of TNT’s Murder in the FirstSo far, the season has brought a large but comprehensive main arc, and put forth some other interesting stories as well. Since I missed my review last week due to my (much needed) vacation, I’m bringing a review of both the antepenultimate and penultimate installments of the show’s second season. The two were really quite different in terms of approach, but they both had strong elements to them.

In the last two weeks on Murder in the First: The trial of Dustin Maker drags on. The DA pleads his case for the death penalty, while the defense attorneys use an abusive past to claim that Dustin’s life should be spared. Meanwhile, Terry and Hildy work with Junior to try and bring down the union. In the second episode, the money trail leads Terry and Hildy to some interesting places as they work to stop the union. Molk can no longer avoid mixing business with pleasure. Suger’s men have lost faith in him.

I’ve reached this point in the second season, and I’m not sure what to think. On the one hand, there is a really great, well-acted drama series here. I love the characters, and they all feel so real and grounded. There are no caricatures in this show. On the other hand, I feel like the series could be wasting potential by being so straightforward. Last season, I thought the answers were good because everything else came to feel like intentional misdirection. It was clever.  This season feels like they may be headed down the same road, but the multiple plot threads are weighing it down a little bit. It would be a really nice touch if they’re all connected, but that feels less and less like the case. The finale seems as if it’s going to contain three separate resolutions, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I think this show might do better to be binged. If it were on Netflix or some streaming site, I think it would be easier to swallow and enjoy the straightforward, serialized storytelling style that Murder in the First presents. Maybe even some kind of arrangement like the one NBC did with Aquarius? Who knows. I don’t prefer to watch every series that way, but at times this show seems like it could benefit from it. Don’t get me wrong at all, because I think this is a great show with a (mostly) compelling story, but waiting week to week for the plot to advance just a little can be a bit aggravating. I’ve been thinking about that this whole time, but these two episodes actually did a pretty good job of separating the different plot threads, making for a more interesting viewing experience when going week to week.

All told, however, “Nothing But The Truth” and “Down Time” were well-constructed as part of a whole. One focused on the trial and the other police corruption, but it still managed to intertwine its different sequences just enough. Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson get stronger each time out, and their excellent acting combined with chemistry makes things quite a bit easier to watch. I also appreciate these two episodes starting to twist and turn a little more. I’m holding out hope that there will be a bigger twist or two in the finale, but given the straightforward nature of this show, well…who knows?

This might’ve been a complainey review, but I know a good show when I see it. I only critique things that are worth critiquing, meaning I am invested and would like them to show continued improvement. Serialized cop shows aren’t something that come around too often, but Murder in the First is a compelling one.

What did you guys think of these episodes? Let us know in the comments!

The season two finale of Murder in the First airs Monday, August 24th, at 10/9c on TNT.

[Photo via TNT]

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