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Murder in the First - The McCormack Mulligan - Review: "Secrets Within Secrets"



There's a killer in the middle of the San Francisco Police Department, or at least, that's what it seems, as following last week's cliffhanger with Caleb being a possible murder victim, only covered up as a suicide, things are about to get out of hand as English and Hildy start to dig into their fellow officers, looking for their alibis. One by one, the duo are slowly ticking off names, and then the slow reveal that it might be Junior responsible for the death of Caleb hits Hildy like a ton of bricks. The evidence certainly doesn't look good for her brother, after all, there's a blowtorch in his garage, and Caleb's murder was covered up with a blowtorch. Does everybody have blowtorches? Hildy hopes that's the case. However, then naturally, Junior reveals that he's got his own alibi, an alternate explanation for why he didn't kill Caleb. He was having an affair with someone else, not his significant other, Mary, who Hildy talked to after Junior stormed away from their initial confrontation.

As Hildy and English are starting to increase their investigations into the cop killer, Navarro reunites with his brother. It's a welcome break from the internal struggle that the SFPD is facing so far, and a chance to sit back and relax and have some fun. It also serves as a good way to flesh out Navarro's character a bit more, with Lombardo Boyar getting the chance to put out a solid performance, as we learn more about his family and a brother of his own. Even though the main focus at the event was on Hildy and English, who were naturally using this as an opportunity to continue to cross of names. However, Navarro wasn't interested. He'll have this conversation with English any other day, just not right now, which was understandable given the significance of the day. Regardless, there's enough material there for readers to become more invested in Navarro's character, such as why he hated Caleb. Hopefully this won't be the largest amount of screentime that he'll get this season.

The love triangle that has both Molk and Junior caught up over a girl that seems to be developing here is something that will no doubt have further repercussions down the line, as you don't introduce a triangle like that without one of the parties finding out at some point. Again, it served as a break to get away from the Hildy and English storylines, and flesh out Molk's character a bit more, but that's really the only thing that's happening in The McCormack Mulligan that could be advancing the plot in this episode. I could probably have skipped this episode and tuned in next week and not missed much, because there's not a lot of forward movement happening here. Where's the Murder in the First that kept the pace fast and the action intense at the start of the season? This feels a bit more like a slow burn to me, and hopefully the action will pick up next week, because at the moment, the show seems to be falling into the same trap that it did last season by having the episodes in the middle of the season drag out a little.

However, that said, the acting was pretty impressive this week, namely from Kathleen Robertson, who had to display a lot of different emotions in this episode that were all handled effectively, and the scene at the end of the end of the episode where she spoke with the mother of the dead 12 year old Jalil Thompson, was in my opinion the strongest scene of the week, as things ended on a pretty depressing note, with her holding Hildy responsible. Meanwhile, Raffi didn't get a lot of screentime this week with the attention mainly focused on English and Hildy. Now that her team has been made by Sugar, she's looking to try and make things right. However, things aren't shaping up too well for her, because it looks as though with the death of Jalil we're heading towards a gang war that should hopefully provide the spark to kick off the rest of this season's episodes.

The episode also spent some time on the Dustin Maker case, and we're not done with this just yet. After opening with Dustin being taken to jail, with several close up shots being used on the killer's face, we learn that he planned to die on the bus, going down in a blaze of glory, and doesn't want Lailia Robins' Jamie Nelson to defend him. He'd rather die than spend the rest of his life behind bars, and the issue of the death penalty was tackled well in this week's episode even if the main focus was clearly elsewhere.

So, what do you think of this week's episode, Murder in the First fans? With Junior now in the clear and the Sarah Tran cased closed, we got some impressive performances particularly from Robertson Boyar, who's still not entirely innocent. I felt that the stuff with Julian was wrapped up far too quickly, and it would have perhaps kept us in greater suspense if we were left to wonder which man, Navarro or Junior, was the killer until the last second. That would have certainly provided for some tense moments. But that's just my opinion. What about you? Did you enjoy this week's episode? It's probably the weakest one, primarily due to the lack of plot advancement, but it wasn't a bad one per se, as there was still plenty of interesting stuff going on here and there were some impressive performances, particularly from Kathleen Robertson. Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Overall Rating: C
Positives:
-Kathleen Robertson killed it this week.
-The ending scene with Jalil's mother and Hildy.
-Lobardo Boyar fleshing out Navarro's character more.
Negatives:
-Not enough happening.
-Don't really care about the love triangle just yet, nor the characters involved.
-Junior cleared too quickly?

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, Childhoods End, Da Vinci's Demons, Hell on Wheels, The Knick, Manhattan and Murder in the First for Spoiler TV as well as books, films and games for his own blog The Fictional Hangout and contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic.
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