“Murder One,” or downloading politics and justice

June 17, 2008 at 4:38 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

My taste in television programming is eclectic and can border on the obsessed, if there’s a particular program I love…when vhs was the rage I had too many taking up too much space…I now have about 40 DVD’s and there are more television episodes among them than movies.

One of the online book/entertainment vendors now lets you pay for and download either whole series or just individual episodes (and not just present shows, but one season wonders, and cult favorites past.)

I don’t lose them, they don’t get dusty or scratched or mislabled…. you don’t ‘tape over’ something important by mistake…and they remain ‘organized.’ Thank God.

My current treat: “Murder One” a Stephen Bocho legal drama with a really addicting opening sequence, and complex characters and great to greater writing that ran on ABC from 1995-1997. My sticking point is great dialogue writing and exposition, so it’s no supprise I also like shows by David E Kelley (“The Practice”) and Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”)

Season two of “Murder One” was a bust, since the amazing Daniel Benzali (as attorney Theodore Hoffmann) did not sign on for it. But season one?

It was a show where you had to be patient, and the pacing did drag sometimes, since a whole season was devoted to a single case….

and, an odd bit of history:

Bocho had the hit “LA Law, in the eigties; when he left that show, David E Kelley brought his brand of bizzare plot twists to the show….

Bocho did “Murder One, and actor J.C. McKenzie played a nerdish attorney in Hoffman’s firm, and when David E Kelley began his phenomenally well written and successful “The Practice, for the same network, JC Mackenzie would play the same sort of character.

Mary MacCormak would go on to a nuanced performance in the post 9/11 years of “The West Wing,”

Patricia Clarkson had come off an unremarkable turn in the Untouchables in 1987, but she did an amazing job for “Murder One” as Mrs. Theodore Hoffman, and went on to do wonderful things with little screen time in “The Green Mile.”

After “Murder One” Dylan Baker (Detective Paulsen) had guest shots on “The Practice,” and “The West Wing, (as a pain in the *** Attorney General)

And Stanley Tucci could have done nothing else on TV. His Richard Cross is all the more scary because he’s deceptively soft spoken, articulate, cultured, polished or amoral, manipulative powerful….genteel, with steel.

There are two missteps in casting that I wish they would have just killed off by episode three.

Jason Gedrick as a coked up movie star, playing pretty and empty and two dimensional.

And whomever played the hooker, sister to the murder victim. The camera tried to love on her, to make her motivations complex, but the actress just couldn’t cut it.

But it is great fun, and seems to have been a proving ground for actors who needed a wider audience and in some cases got one.

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2 Comments

  1. bridgett said,

    Whee! Thanks for the present. I’ve never seen so much as an episode, so it will be fun catching up — everyone’s been raving about it for years, so I’m eager to see what the big deal is.

  2. Attila the Mom said,

    Hubby and I caught a few episodes on reruns, and then just rented the whole thing and watched it start to finish.

    We have a weird thing—whenever we watch an actor who imprints a performance in our heads, that’s how we refer to them when we see them in something else or talk about them.

    ie; Keanu Reeves will always be “Ted” (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) to us.

    Tim Matheson will always be “Otter”.

    Calista Flockhart will always be “Ally McMeal”.

    and Daniel Benzali will forever be “Teddy”. LOL

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