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Murder in the First - Follow the Money & Sam I Am - Double Review: "Sam Rydell"

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Murder in the First Season 3 Episode Guide:
3.01. Normandy, Bitch - Review!
3.02. Tropic of Cancer - Review!
3.03. Black and Blue - Review!
3.04. The Barbers of Seville - Review!
3.05. Follow the Money - Review!
3.06. Sam I Am - Review!
3.07. Let's Make a Deal - Aired August 14
3.08. Daddy Dearest - Airs August 21
3.09. Rise of the Phoenix - Airs August 28
3.10. Kat's Meow - Airs September 4

Apologies in the delay it took to get these reviews written, I was away when the episodes aired so was unable to get the reviews up until now! 3.07 & 3.08 will be covered in a double review not long after 3.09 airs, so keep an eye out for that.

Murder in the First 3.05. Follow the Money - Review:
Directed by Martha Mitchell & Written by Ethan Kass

In a mostly slow moving episode of Murder in the First we saw the case progress with interesting and different new directions. A revelation was made concerning that most of Normandy Parker's money was in fact invested in Sam Rydell's sandwich shop enterprise, and the stock was shortened before Parker was killed which meant that someone might have known about his death before it even happened. This revelation sends the team to Parker's business manager.

It turns out that it was Parker's business manager who shortened the stock, not because he knew that Parker would be murdered but also because he knew that Rydell himself was in trouble, backing this up by providing a possible motive for Rydell because he was responsible for taking out a life insurance policy in Parker's name. This makes for an interesting development and possibly makes Rydell our new number on suspect, but somebody else has already found Rydell first, because when Hildy arrives at the Richmond bridge following an interruption in the middle of her date with a medical examiner, they learn that Rydell's car has been found, empty.

Rydell it turns out has been abducted and tortured by Chinese gang members who he owes a debt, leaving him in a difficult situation indeed going into the midway point of the season as the prime suspect, or at least apparently until episode six when a new element is introduced.

It turns out that Siletti also isn't having the best time of his life right now, despite getting back in the good books of his wife and son. His story continues to develop slowly on a separate tangent from the main narrative with Hildy and English, as both his wife and son like that they now have bargaining chips against him and are happy to use them. He doesn't have a choice, because he needs them on his side and behind him. But that might not matter because a new witness is presented in the case, a woman who was brought in on drug charges. This new twist puts Siletti in a difficult position indeed, and things are not looking good. He's in about as a difficult situation as Rydell, only instead of gang members he's dealing with his own family.

With four episodes to go hopefully the case picks up speed, but for now a couple of interesting developments made this a watchable episode. The scene at the bridge was a strong end to Follow the Money, even if we're still going through the usual suspects at this point without any real surprises thrown into the mix. But then, there's still plenty of twists and turns to be had in the second half of the season, even if it's still yet to reach its predecessor.

Overall Episode Verdict: C
+Siletti's family drama.
+Ending scene.

Murder in the First 3.06: Sam I Am - Review:
Directed by Nicole Rubio & Written by Daniele Nathanson

With Hildy and English now six episodes into the Normandy Parker case, we see further developments concerning Rydell's character. He's been spotted gambling under an alias in Reno when a heart attack takes him to hospital, but it's clear that Rydell was one step forward but two steps back for the SFPD. He's not likely to have commited the murder, but he does admit to fraud. It seems just when they're on the verge of getting closer to the suspect, they're shot back.

Luckily however a new lead has presented itself in the form of a ballistics report which reveals that the gun that killed Parker was registered to the housemate of Parker's girlfriend, Alicia, Andy Lippman, who also doubles as her manager and gives him motive to have committed the case. It says something about the slow-burn approach of this series was that the biggest revelation was the discovery of the weapon, and it's still too early to believe that Andy will be the final suspect in the series, so this seems like another pointless journey down the rabbit hole. Maybe if this season of Murder in the First had a few less episodes or another two-part opener like the previous season it would have felt like more progress was happening in this season, but we could have easily merged at least both fifth and sixth episodes into one and wouldn't have missed much.

Either way, we're still advancing forward with the show, and romance seems to be on the agenda for both Koto and Hildy. Koto ends up sleeping with the reporter has seemed like an inevitable development and a bit hypocritical of him given that earlier in the season he scolded Hildy and English for hooking up when he's been working with this reporter in the past. Hildy herself has a date with Burnside, which wasn't interrupted, but this doesn't stop her from texting English afterwards.

Siletti himself is also developing further problems when presented with a $15m lawsuit for wrongful death, and naturally begins coming up with a Plan B to counter this. He's willing to leave his current office in favour of entering private practice, but again, his story - much like the rest of the episode, doesn't take any significant leaps forward. It also means that Siletti is finally after all this time plunging headfirst into this case, treating it properly, and tells his son that he might not be getting that new car after all especially when he might lose the house considering that he was driving under an expired license which would lead to his insurance being denied.

It turns out that all Rydell wants to do is go to prison so he can be safe from the gang members looking for him and the police are more than happy to oblige with that request. Serena was also able to give Koto the heads up that another football player, Luke - also pulled a gun on Parker in the locker room, with an extreme reaction to Parker refusing to hand him the ball in a run in for a touchdown, which would have led to Luke's tenth touchdown of the season and a $2million bonus being activated as part of his contract. This also presents a promising lead, but again, the SFPD is thwarted when they learn that he has alibis for both murders.

And so we're pretty much back to square one aside from a brief development with Andy Lippman, but it remains to be seen going forward in the future. Will we see further developments with Rydell (unlikely)? or Luke the football player (maybe more likely?) will Siletti be able to talk his way out of this one? It's going to be interesting to see where this goes as for now over the past couple of episodes, Siletti's had the best storyline of the two here as he is backed into a corner once again.

Overall Episode Verdict: C
+Siletti backed into a corner.
+New suspect.
-Hypocritical Koto.
-Brief plot progression.

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, Hell on Wheels, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Roadies, Star Trek Discovery, The Shannara Chronicles 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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