Prominent Los Angeles defence attorney Theodore Hoffman has
taken on the biggest case of his career. Hoffman is defending
bad-boy TV & movie star Neil Avedon against the charge of
murdering teenager Jessica Costello. Jessica was discovered
strangled in a building owned by wealthy businessman Richard
Cross who was originally charged with the murder, but successfully
defended by Hoffman. As the case twists and turns, it transpires
that Jessica was involved in lurid affairs with numerous prominent
men, who have now all been cast into suspicion...
first season of Murder One makes for powerful viewing.
It was also a risky gamble on the part of the producers. Would
viewers tune in week after week to watch a single court case
as it unravelled? While there are parallels to be drawn with
the O. J. Simpson trial, which was also unfolding around the
same time Murder One was being screened, the fact that
it was screened once a week - not to mention that it was aired
at the same time as ER was being broadcast on NBC -
meant that the viewing figures were never quite what they
should have been.
one sees the discovery of fifteen-year-old Jessica Costello's
body in an apartment block owned by wealthy businessman Richard
Cross. Cross is arrested in connection with the murder, but
released when it becomes clear that actor Neil Avedon, who
was dating Costello, is now the primary suspect. With a history
of alleged violence against women and a serious cocaine problem,
Avedon protests his innocence and defence attorney Theodore
Hoffman promises him he will do everything in his power to
prove his innocence - and attempts to do just that for the
shows 23 episodes.
that, in a nutshell, is the plot for the first season of Murder
One. When you strip the narrative down to the bare bones
it sounds extremely dull. Thankfully there is much more to
it and the writers drag the storyline out, (although it never
feels like the material is being stretched to the limit) neatly
padded with plenty of story threads concerning the partners
of Hoffman's company and those who were involved in Costello's
And, as you'd expect, the writers keep you guessing as to
who is the killer right up until the last episode.
Benzali is not your average leading man. Slightly overweight,
bald and well over the usually acceptable 30 years of age,
he seems an odd choice for the man of the moment. But it works
- his acting is outstanding. Other notable roles include Stanley
Tucci as Hoffman's friend, and murder suspect, Richard Cross
and Barbara Bosson as Hoffman's Nemesis in court, Miriam Grasso.
But in all honesty there isn't one bad actor in the whole
of this show.
are also plenty of actors in cameo roles who you'll probably
recognise from their sci-fi roles. Stanley
Kamel, who plays psychiatrist Graham Lester, also played Kosinski
in the season one Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Where No One Has Gone Before. Gregory Itzin, who plays
Roger Garfield, has also guest starred in Star Trek: Deep
Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise
and Joss Whedon's failed space show Firefly. And John
de Lancie, who played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation,
also turns in a nice cameo.
collection is a little light on extras. There are audio commentaries
on two of the episodes, a retrospective featurette that interviews
the main characters and a mini featurette on the third season
of 24. I also had a problem with the design of the
DVD menus. For each DVD, the menu plays a selection of clips
that show all the important plot developments that unfold
on that disc. Not only does this spoil some of the plot twists,
but the quality of the footage is also quite poor - the clips
is drama at it's most outstanding. The only crime here is
that the show's second season changed the format, and the
majority of the cast, and what was a promising series then
managed to vanish without a trace.
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