Stay on the edge of your seat, because Steven Bochco is back with a dramatic TV series, Murder in the First.
Veteran TV producer and writer Steven Bochco is responsible for some of the most iconic police and legal dramas on television: Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue. He continues that lineage with his new TNT series, Murder in the First, premiering this month, with a single storyline that comprises 10 episodes.
The story arc focuses on San Francisco homicide detectives Terry English (Taye Diggs), whose wife dies from cancer in the premiere episode, and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson), who must balance her job with single motherhood as they investigate a murder that may be linked to a cold, calculating CEO (Harry Potter alumnus Tom Felton).
“The general mandate was to create a show that, through the exposure of that single storyline, exposes every facet of the criminal-justice system,” Bochco says. Along the way, intimate stories about English and Mulligan unfold. “I’ve always liked the procedural aspects of these things because it’s fun to solve a puzzle and a mystery. But if that’s all you’re doing, it doesn’t hold a lot of fascination for me. I always think it’s interesting to look past the events of a story and contextualize those events with the personal lives of these cops. Here, you have a guy who’s a homicide investigator whose wife is dying, so I thought the contrast between death experienced and death observed would be very interesting and humanizing.”
A previous Bochco production with direct relevance to Murder in the First is 1995’s Murder One, which ran a single storyline over a network-length season, a concept he trimmed down now to a more palatable cable season with his new series. “It was probably too much and certainly a lot to ask of an audience to withhold satisfaction for an entire 22-episode run,” he says. “But we didn’t have the technology then where you could bundle a half a dozen episodes and watch them one after the other, which really makes that kind of storytelling much more satisfying.”
In other words, you may likely binge watch Murder in the First and love it that way. And Bochco heartily approves.