The death of a fifteen-year-old girl in an apartment building owned by prominent
businessman Richard Cross (Tucci) makes Dt. Polson (Baker) look into his connection
to the case. Before the police have even spoken to him, Cross engages the
services of renowned attorney Ted Hoffman (Benzali). What Hoffman and his
firm don't realise is that their client isn't as forthcoming with the truth
as they would like, as Dt. Polson arrives in his office to arrest Richard
Cross, charging him with murder one. It is now up to Hoffman and his associates
to look into the case and prove that their client isn't the man that the police
are looking for.
Once in a while a TV show comes along that is truly revolutionary
and turns a genre on its head. Murder One was one of those shows.
Dramatically restructuring the way we viewed a courtroom drama,
this programme concentrated on one murder and the repercussions of the resulting
court case. Like a televisual novel, the show was split into twenty-three
forty-five minute chapters, each advancing the story of that single case.
While other legal shows did have multiple episode story arcs, Murder One's
approach was very different but compulsive viewing. Series creator Steven
Bochco (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues and L.A. Law) pored his entire award
winning experience into creating a show that would grip you from the first
chapter and hold you until its riveting conclusion. This unique approach was
what made the show so good but it was also what led to its downfall.
American audiences, back in 1995 and in some cases now, do not
watch every episode of a season. Networks like shows that viewers can dip
in and out of, so if someone tells them that a show is good they can start
watching halfway through and understand what is going on. With Murder One
however, you had to have watched it from the beginning to get the most out
of the continual plot revelations and twists, meaning it was near on impossible
to just watch a single episode. (Fortunately times have changed and series
long story arcs are becoming more common e.g. 24, Star Trek Enterprise (Season
What pulled you into Murder One was the compelling storyline.
This is edge of your seat material as twists and revelations are thrown at
you from every direction. Because of this the show almost becomes addictive,
as you long to know what they are going to throw at you next and what repercussions
the latest revelations are going to have. With episodic cliffhangers throughout
the season, Murder One becomes compulsive viewing.
Bringing the compelling scripts to live is an excellent ensemble
cast. Daniel Benzali leads from the front as top lawyer Ted Hoffman. Not your
obvious as a leading man, Benzali is an actor that commands you attention
every time he graces screen, those making you respect the character even more.
This is the role that made and broke his career, as he couldn't cope with
all the attention that he received from the show and therefore didn't return
for the second season. For Mary McCormack, the role of Justine Appleton launched
her career proving what a talented, character actress she is. The same can
be said of J.C. MacKenzie, whose Arnold Spivak brings the comedic element
into a tense show but he can also excel in the more dramatic parts of the
script. Stanley Tucci has always been a first rate actor and Murder One shows
what a real talent he actually is. As Richard Cross, he plays the sleazy tycoon
perfectly as you instantly dislike him from the first episode. Jason Gedrick
is an actor who deserves more recognition as he plays Hollywood bad boy Neil
Avedon perfectly. Add to this the excellent performances of Barbara Bosson,
Patricia Clarkson, Dylan Baker, Grace Phillips and the gorgeous Bobbie Phillips
and you have one of the best ensemble casts for a TV series.
Murder One was one of the best and most innovative courtroom
drama series to hit television. While the fashions might date the program
slightly, the storylines are still very relevant and extremely riveting. This
is a show that you just can't stop watching until its conclusion and it defines
the words "must see television".
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in full frame 4:3 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, the
transfer is very good. Even though the series was made in 1995 the picture
quality of the transfer is very good. Murder One's visual style, utilising
a lot of shadows, looks superb throughout. For a stereo track, the sound quality
is also good. It really emphasises the dialogue, which you need in a character
Chapter 8 commentary by star Jason Gedrick
Neil Avedon himself, Jason Gedrick reflects on Murder One and breathing life
into the troublesome character. The actor spends a lot of his time talking
about working with his fellow actors and the great amount of respect he has
for Daniel Benzali. He also discusses what it was like to work with series
creator Steven Bochco and he reveals the fact that once you have worked with
him and he respects your work, you become part of the Bochco family of actors
and crew he uses throughout his series. Gedrick also reveal some interesting
information about the fun and practical jokes played on set, especially during
the courtroom scenes.
Chapter 15 commentary by director Randall Zisk
Reflecting on his first of three episodes that he directed for Murder One,
Randall Zisk provides an informative insight into the making of a television
show. He reveals that each episode has a fifteen-day schedule of which seven
days are for preparation including casting, locations, script and department
meetings. The director also discusses what it was like working with the cast
and his great respect for them, especially for Stanley Tucci. He also talks
about the increased sexual tension in this episode, most noticeably between
J.C. MacKenzie and Bobbie Phillips.
Making the Case: Season One (24.20 mins)
Director Randy Zisk, producer Marc Buckland and stars Daniel Benzali, Jason
Gedrick, Mary McCormack, J.C. MacKenzie and Barbara Bosson reflect on the
television phenomenon that was Murder One. They discuss the unique style and
approach of the show and the creativeness that series producer/writer/creator
Steven Bochco brought to the courtroom drama genre. Each of the characters
and the actors that played them are discussed with the actors complementing
the work of Stanley Tucci, Dylan Baker and Bobbie Phillips. The actors also
remember how hard it was remembering all of the legal language used in the
Inside Look (6.33 mins)
Director/Producer John Cassar takes you behind the scenes of episodes 5 and
6 of season 3 of the hit show 24.
Previews of Alien vs. Predator, The Clearing, The X-Files and 24: Season 3.
Fox has brought another televisual classic to DVD and done the series proud.
Murder One: Case 1 is nicely packaged at a reasonable price for twenty-three
episodes and a splash of extras. The bonus features themselves are slight
but very good all the same. The featurette is informative and allows fans
to see the actors now and see their feelings for the show. The two episode
commentaries are also good, especially the one by director Randall Zisk, adding
to the value of the package. Murder One is a great series and well worth catching
for those of you who missed it first time around but for fans this is a must
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