One of my favorite shows of the last 20 years was a failed series a decade or so ahead of its time, Murder One, created by Stephen Bochco. It took a murder case and followed it for the entire seasonall the way through from investigation to arrest and trial. When it premiered in 1995, TV shows didn't do that, telling one story for a whole year. The show flopped its first season, though was brought back for one more year, without star Daniel Benzali (a wonderful actor who looked less like a TV star than he did Daddy Warbucks) and without a full-year story. Instead, they had a bunch of mini-cases that lasted maybe half a dozen weeks, with B-story cases filling in each episode. It was better than most series, but paled compared to that first year.
There were a few issues with the show, one being that star Benzali likely never filled enough of the audience's expectation of what they wanted in a TV star -- a shame because he was great. But the biggest problem was that audiences just weren't ready for a one-story show. With the advent of later series like Lost, 24, Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and many more, the form not only developed into following a single story for a season, but often for the life of the series. And the shows became so accepted that it's to a series' advantage now to do such a thing.
It was therefore with much joy that I heard about a new series on TNT with a familiar-sounding name called, Murder in the First. It was promoted as following a single case throughout the season. Hmm, it began to sound even more familiar. And then came the topper -- it's created by...Stephen Bochco.
O joy! O huzzah! Yes, I know it's not officially Murder One. The main characters will be different, and I'm sure there will be other differences in tone and style. But I also have every confidence that -- almost 20 years later -- Murder One is essential back.
And it starts tonight on TNT at 10 PM, Los Angeles time. (It would be nice if at some point Daniel Benzali appears as a guest star -- either in his old Teddy Hoffman role, or any role. I don't expect it, but still...)
Anyway, all good things come to those who wait. And wait and wait.
Keep in mind, too, that I'm a Cubs fan...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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