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Murder In The First - State Of The Union - Review: "Another Dead Cop"



The seventh episode of Murder in the First, State of the Union, continues to develop its plots whilst giving time for the pace to slow down slightly to explore Hildy's home life with her family, adding a dysfunctional group into the mix that's unfortunately, nothing we haven't seen before. We have a family meal with Junior and Hildy along with her father, who it turns out, was part of a group called the Police Union (which would be why the title of the episode is called what it is), which is kind of like Person Of Interest's HR, only in San Francisco. We also get the revelation that Junior was part of the Union as well, as we saw him get some money from a safe to pay off his own debts. It's not exactly what the cops need right now, especially with Sugar being ever present in the background, and with the Nazis still after Navarro. At this rate, Murder in the First is so jam-packed with content it's going to be interesting to see how it all comes together, even if some things may be more predictable than others.

Once again, by far the most interesting thing about State of the Union was Sugar's story, who's determined to avenge the murder of his sister even if it means him going head to head with Andy Chan, the rival who supposedly sent the package. However, Sugar, after killing one of Chan's men, found out that not only did Chan not send the package, he also has no intention of starting a gang war (or lack thereof), which I'll admit, I was kind of disappointed by as I wanted to see two rival gangs go head to head and the SFPD caught in the middle. However, this did offer the revelation that someone else was in fact behind the packaging the body, hinting at a greater conflict to come. We could be looking at an entirely new threat (which is admittedly unlikely at this stage of the season), the Nazis or even the newly introduced Union, so it'll be interesting to see what happens and how things play out over the course of the remaining episodes of the series. There's plenty of potential there for some very exciting things in store as we've already seen what Sugar's capable of. Chan is the unknown however, even if we do know that he's capable of handling his business more quietly than sending bodies of mob leaders' sisters to their door. So things could still get messy real soon, and this is the story that as a result I'm the most invested in.

Onto a plot that I'm slightly less invested in, and that's Dustin Maker's case, which continues to drag out and doesn't look as though it's going to slow down any time soon, taking a fairly predictable twist as we learnt that Dustin did in fact get abused by his Uncle (we also got more revelations about where he and Alfie got their guns from), but I kind of wish this was wrapped up by now. Of course Jamie was going to find Dustin's Uncle during her investigations, there was always going to be something more sinister than first met the eye, after all, how could there not be? She followed Dustin's anti-authoritan cousin, who was part of Dustin's bullying, and escaped the abuse that Dustin received from his Uncle. Where this plot goes from here only really has two outcomes, the death of Dustin or him being locked in prison, so at the moment it's just taking a while to get there. Hopefully they'll give us a bit more to get invested in at the moment, out of the three storylines - Kaleb's murder, the gang war and Dustin Maker's death, this is arguably the most predictable and as a result, as mentioned above, the one that's not as captivating.

The mystery concerning Navarro's involvement in Kaleb's death also got resolved in this episode. After Navarro was busted returning from dropping off his brother in Mexico by Hildy and English, who had gone to the border to track him down, we were informed of his alibi, because he was helping with Walt's funeral preparations with the deceased officer's mother at the same time Kaleb was killed. As a result, this cleared all of the SFPD Detectives of Kaleb's murder and the case was handled over the officers who deal with the cold cases. So for now, is the Case Closed? With the attention shifting elsewhere, it appears to be, at least for now, however we're almost certainly going to find out who's responsible for Kaleb's death by the end of the season, so you can expect this to come back around further down the line.

Going back to Junior and the Union that we were informed of in this episode, it's clear that Junior wants out, and he's talking to his father, Martin (Josh Clark), about doing so. This causes Martin to confront Criolla (Billy Monroe) about his link with the Union. However, Criolla countered, saying that if Martin moved on him, it would not only expose Martin's involvement but also mean that there would be a less chance of anyone being safe. So the ball's in Martin's court now, and his actions could determine the course of the cop on cop conflict in the rest of the series. It's also interesting to note that Navarro had been talking with Kaleb about joining the Union together, or at least that's what we learnt from Kaleb's sister, so we may not quite be done with Navarro just yet - it just depends on where the show wants to go next. We also have to consider that Raffi is starting to get suspicious about Criolla after the fake house tip that resulted in her unit's faces being revealed to gang members which you may remember from earlier in the seasn, so it may not even be up to Martin to make the Union public, as Raffi may get the chance to do that for him.

And then to round out the episode, the corpse of Sarah Tran (the undercover cop who has been name dropped a couple of times), was found, making a startling revelation that she was long dead when somebody left her husband a message on the phone. The question is now, who killed Sarah? Who left the message? With Kaleb's murder no closer to being solved, things are starting to get even more interesting as another case moves the forefront, as no doubt the investigations into Sarah's death will take up most of next week's episode, so there's lots of potential for some greater things to come as we continue to enter the second half of the season.

On a final note, feel free to let me know what you thought of this week's episode in the comments below. Did you enjoy this week's episode or did you find it not quite as good as you'd hoped?

Overall Episode Verdict: C+
Positives:
+The cast, as usual, putting in good performances. Another good week for Lombardo Moyar and Mo McRae
+The introduction of the Police Union.
+Junior and his father's involvement in the Union.
Weaknesses:
-Dustin Maker Case as per usual. Predictable and dull.
-STILL too many disjointed storylines. No clear focus, keeps shifting back and forth each week.

Catch the next episode of Murder in the First on TNT next Monday at 10/9c.

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, Murder in the First and Veep 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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