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Murder in the First - Rise of the Phoenix - Review: "Billy James' Wallet"

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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 - Review!
3.10. Kat's Meow - Airs September 4

Murder in the First 3.09: Rise of the Phoenix - Review:
Directed by Allison Anders & Written by Ethan Kass

Silletti and Hildy are both having separate troubles of their own in the two storylines on this week's Murder in the First, the penultimate episode of a season that has been very much a slow burn from start to finish. Here the show potentially wrapped up the courtroom drama allowing to divert its focus to the Normandy Parker case. Hildy and Terry are still not on the best of terms, but things get worse for Hildy when it is revealed that Louise was caught shoplifting along with two of her friends. It seems that despite having a Detective for a mother, Louise can still be easily swayed. Terry admits to Hildy that his own mother was the only one that kept him on the straight and narrow path and Hildy can be a similiar influence on Louise and prevent her from spiraling down a darker path. It's an interesting development for Louise, even if this serves more as a way of bringing her into the romance between the two Detectives so that Louise can ask about their current situation. It was also something that I'm surprised was not introduced earlier in the season, but then it was good to see that even for a minor part, the writers are fleshing out Louise a bit more.

The Attorney General is furious about Mario and his affair, and is determined to put Silletti behind bars but Silletti has a cunning plan B to prevent this. He continues to pressure the victim's husband to drop the lawsuit with evidence that Reyes is in the country illegally due to his friends in high places, whilst the Attorney General forces Melissa to resign rather than fire her. He asks why Melissa took the case with her history with Silletti, but it's clear that she was looking for a massive career gain and now that has spectacularly backfired. It turns out that the Attorney General will also not refile Sillett's case after all when Silletti adds to the complicated nature of the case, saying that he will tell the jury that Cassie was driving and she will claim that he was driving in response. This works in favour of Silletti due to the fact that she has reason to lie after being cheated on. Not only is that his gameplan, but he's also going to leak sex scandals to the press, feeding them with stories and keeping eyes on them and the Attorney General. Not all publicity is good publicity, after all.

It all seems a bit too early for Silletti to be out of the woods just yet. This is something that you'd expect Murder in the First to wrap up in the final episode but no it's handled it in the penultimate, suggesting that there's more to come unless the writers intend to devote an entire episode to Normandy Parker's case. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens on Sunday.

The Normandy Parker case did make some developments this week though as Billy James' wallet was found. The cards and cash are missing suggesting that it could have been a robbery, or someone trying to make it look like it was one, but a key in a secret pocket leads to a safety deposit box that isn't in Billy James' normal bank. The information that they get from the IT expert, Keifer, whose ex, a locksmith, leads them to a vault storage company. Dominoes are falling and Terry is able to threaten the normally private company with information, which leads to an empty box that was accessed the night before Normandy's death.

It turns out that the contents have gone to James' lawyer who's not especially keen on the police due to events that happened earlier in the season, with Terry's shooting of an innocent teenager. Turns out that the show wasn't quite willing to let this go after all. So instead they turn to he lawyer's grandfather Hal Woodward, who was James' barber. Hal manages to talk to his son Nathan and get him to hand over the evidence, which leads them to a locked cell phone with a dead battery that is unable to be hacked into given the fact that they only have ten attempts to access the phone before its memory is wiped, and not even the two most common passwords, 123456 & 654321 will work.

But what Keifer is able to do tough is trace the serial number on the phone and they can work out where it was purchased leading them to it belonging to Alicia Barnes, who now looks like she has had some degree of involvement in Normandy's murder, but to what extent remains unclear. There's still an episode left to cover, and now after a significant and solid penultimate hour, I'm eagerly looking forward to Sunday's episode and can't wait to see where it goes. The show has been good at answering its mysteries and not leaving us on cliffhangers, so hopefully we can get a satisfying ending to the third season.

Overall Episode Verdict: B
+Normandy Parker case.
+Silletti's courtroom drama coming to a close.

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, Murder in the First, Narcos, Preacher, Roadies, Star Trek Discovery, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley 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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