Murder One

This show introduced a new way of portraying a legal process on TV – for a whole season viewers would get to follow just one case in order to show them what an American trial looks like in real life (albeit a sensational one). Everything was included, from selecting jurors to returning the verdict. The case was titillating enough, one was constantly reminded of the O.J. Simpson trial, but the proceedings became too protracted. When the show returned for its second season, Daniel Benzali was replaced with Anthony LaPaglia and three major murder trials were to be executed over the year. The cases were exciting and well written, but viewers still ignored the show. Stanley Tucci delivered a fine performance in the first season as Richard Cross, a murder suspect. 

1995-1997:U.S. Made for TV. 41 episodes. Color. Created by Steven Bochco, Channing Gibson, Charles H. Eglee. Theme: Mike Post. Cast: Daniel Benzali (Theo Hoffman, 95-96), Anthony LaPaglia (James Wyler, 96-97), Mary McCormack (Justine Appleton), Michael Hayden, J.C. MacKenzie, Barbara Bosson, Patricia Clarkson (95-96), Jason Gedrick (95-96), Stanley Tucci (95-96), Grace Phillips (95-96), D.B. Woodside (96-97), John Fleck.

Emmy: Outstanding Guest Actor (Pruitt Taylor Vince) 96-97.

Last word: “I think ‘Murder One,’ which is almost 10 years ago – oh, closer to 20 years ago – really was at the time innovative. People didn’t know how to watch it; American viewers in particular were not going to watch every episode of any hit show. I think I remember studies saying that the average viewer watched about six episodes a season of a hit show, and then they would maybe catch up with more of them in reruns. But the way the business has changed, the way technology has afforded us the opportunity to watch television in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined 20 years ago allows for shows to really track a single story, not just for one season, but for multiple seasons.” (Bochco, interview with Tavis Smiley in 2013)

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