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Murder in the First - Let's Make a Deal & Daddy Dearest - Double Review: "Siletti's Trial"

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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 - Review!
3.08. Daddy Dearest - Review!
3.09. Rise of the Phoenix - Airs August 28
3.10. Kat's Meow - Airs September 4

Murder in the First 3.07 "Let's Make a Deal - Review:
Directed by Allison Anders & Written by Corinne Marrinan

After all the building up towards Siletti's trial it was great to finally get it even if the show still kept up with its painfully slow pacing throughout the season. Yet despite the slow paced drama, Let's Make a Deal was possibly one of the best episodes of Murder in the First yet as it switched its focus to what is probably the most interesting of the two storylines here, and put Siletti in the spotlight as it gave us some great courtroom drama.

It turns out that nobody, not even Koto, is spared from a happy romance on this show as his budding relationship with news reporter Serena Parish led to her death this episode, Koto's interest growing in her whereabouts when she didn't respond to his texts after missing lunch. It turns out that the first suspect may, for once actually have been the right one as Koto's suspicions led them to Luke, who was the target of his domestic violence arrest which would potentially end any of his chances at signing with a new football team. This leads to his eventual arrest during a high school football practice, and Luke is able to confess that he was responsible for killing Serena, but by accident and not on purpose. But things spiraled out of control, and now Koto is angry. But unfortunately for this Koto and Serena's relationship was never really that developed enough for us to really care about her loss, and it was so predictable that it was going to happen kind of robbed us of any suspense, especially as Koto's over-emotional response doesn't really feel earned after just a one night stand.

Melissa Danson began her trial with the intention of persecuting Siletti, as Arkin decides that it would be a good idea to shift the blame of the dead woman's death from Siletti to her, and say that it was her fault and not his. This isn't anything new here but the actors do sell the trial convincingly, with Michael Gaston proving to be a more than welcome addition to this show after his performances in NBC's Blindspot. It turns out that Siletti isn't willing to accept a plea bargain, which whilst would mean he would avoid jail, it would end up hurting his career. It's good news for him though because the witness of the murder is unable to testify due to being on drugs, leading for a recess to be called.

It was kind of troubling to see that the key witness for the persecution was brought in when clearly on drugs. It was something that should have been investigated before they entered the courtroom in the first place, but apart from that, the trial was pulled off effectively and for the most part had pretty solid results.

Siletti's trial was not the only courtroom drama to be had in this episode however as the current D.A. wants to pin the murder of Normandy Parker on Andy Lippman. But Andy decides that he didn't do it and suggests that Paul Barnes has the motive and the personality to be able to kill Parker and that he had nothing to do with it, and upon being interviewed Paul reveals that he has an alibi, being at Alicia's hospital bedside on the day that Parker was killed, although it was possible that he could have been away for a brief amount of time. Paul's ex-wife Kat reveals that she hasn't interacted with Alicia at all since she suspected a sexual relationship.

Speaking of relationships, Hildy and Terry also aren't on the best of terms right now. Despite cutting her dating with the corner short, Terry shouldn't think that's because she's interested in him again. That doesn't stop him from buying Louise a birthday present however, which leaves the episode with the two Detectives not on the best of terms.

Overall Episode Verdict: C+
+Courtroom drama.
-Forced relationships.

Murder in the First 3.08 "Daddy Dearest - Review:
Directed by Mark-Paul Gosselaar & Alison Cross

After a Siletti heavy episode we now get the focus pushed to Paul Barnes who is now suspect number one in Normandy Parker's murder. It turns out that Alicia, Paul's daughter, was in an incestuous relationship with him but admits during a confidential interview with Mulligan, which was secretly recorded, that it was consensual and not forced. However there is no evidence to implicate Paul Barnes, and even though he's the only one left with a reasonable motive (Normandy forced Alicia to make a choice between him or Paul) and has the means of killing Normandy, they can't bring him in just yet. It's kind of disappointing to see such a promising complex case unravel like this, but did give us an interesting revelation about Hildy's past that may or may not have been a lie.

It turns out that Hildy could have been molested as an eleven year old by her brother, which is equally as disgusting as the relationship between Alicia and Paul. She denies it of course to Terry, saying that it was a lie to get her on speaking terms with Alicia, but there's a lingering doubt there that leaves it to the audience to decide whether or not it's actually true. But this comes at a testing time for both Hildy and Terry though, who are going back and forth on each other with their relationship leading to unease in their professional lives. It's enough for Terry to go back to his Therapist and tell her that he's fallen in love with Hildy and is willing to even transfer out of Homicide for her.

It remains to be seen how Paul will end up getting busted as he's too smart to fall for Terry's interrogation tricks, but for now, the Normandy Parker side of the episode was solid enough even if Paul being the possible ultimate suspect is a bit underwhelming. Does Murder in the First have another twist left to tell us or is this it?

Either way, as usual with this show now, the far more interesting side of things happens with Siletti's trial. It turns out that Arkin proved to be the right man for Siletti, painting the now-sober witness Skyler as someone who's only testifying because she wants favorable treatment in regards to her own charges. Skyler is no longer a credible witness and the persecution's case is falling around them. An expert in accident reconstruction is also robbed of any credibility when he admits that there was no way of knowing how dark it could have been at the time of the incident. If you took this into account with a change of heart of the acting D.A. Martin, who is claiming that Siletti wasn't visibly drunk despite knowing that he will return to his old job if Siletti is cleared of his charges and lose his power, as well as information that nobody was visibly intoxicated at the actual party from a witness, Siletti and Arkin already have formed a reasonably decent case.

However, Arkin doesn't stay good for long and questions the victim's husband. To the jury it looks like Arkin was hounding an innocent and grieving man who now has two small children to look after without a mother, but Arkin does have a point. It does look a bit suspicious that a mere two hours after the incident, the husband contacted a lawyer to file a lawsuit worth $15mil against Siletti. And when Cassie goes to the stand to testify things all go sideways as she reveals that Siletti was sleeping with Melissa and they were having an argument about it on the night. Melissa of course denies the affair when a judge calls the three into his quarters,but that is pushed aside by proof from Siletti of a photo of the two together on his birthday. Arkin asked why Melissa didn't get out while she could due to a conflict of interest, but Melissa took the case because it was positive that he was a guilty man.

And the trial for now at least, is postponed when the judge calls a mistrial much to the anger of the victim's family. However it's clear that the charges can be refilled by the Attonery General and Siletti isn't out of the woods yet. It's almost inevitable that with two episodes to go we'll be dragged back into the courtroom for another confrontation but now to make things worse Siletti will have to make do without Arkin, as he refuses to be his lawyer again after the most recent revelation.

Interesting times ahead, and now that we're well and truly in the end game of Season 3, despite a few disappointing revelations, it'll be fun to see how the show wraps things up with both the Normandy Parker case and the trial. Be sure to look out for tonight's episode on TNT and let me know what you thought of these two in the comments section below.

Overall Episode Verdict: C+
+Courtroom drama, again.
+Hildy telling the truth? Or a lie?
-Normandy Parker case not so complex?

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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