As the audio faded right before the verdict was read, I was prepared to roll my eyes and groan at what could have been such a major tease.
Erich Blunt is found… cut to credits. Boo.
But it didn’t end, and I found the use of pure expression from Warren Daniels, from the prosecutors, from Hildy and Terry was the perfect way to reveal Erich’s victory or defeat. Even he seemed a bit stunned as Warren stuck out his hand.
Frankly, as much as Erich has unfortunately been rather unlikable, the prosecution really didn’t have the proof to put him away for Cindy or the baby’s murder.
Or maybe I like James Cromwell. Plus the way he commands his scenes as the power lawyer, I can’t help but hang on his every word.
I was a bit surprised that Murder in the First Season 1 Episode 8 was the conclusion of the trial, especially with two episodes to go. It definitely made me think of the direction the season was headed.
After all, is the story about finding Erich guilty? Is about a murder case and its trial from beginning to end? Do the good guys have to win?
Certainly, the trial proceedings were spot on captivating, because in a way, we too didn’t have all the answers. We didn’t know who the killer was, only the few details and circumstantial evidence laid out before the jury.
And its true that there were plenty of other suspects with far better motives.
But I’ve enjoyed how that’s been the case throughout Murder in the First Season 1. It hasn’t been so clear cut.
It makes for watching witnesses get on the stand to be engrossing, especially with the prospect of Erich putting himself in the crosshairs of the prosecution. And it was a dangerous move, one that proved so with his little comment about smiling at the end. You just kept waiting for him to explode and break under the heavy questioning.
Unfortunately, the scenes that were meant to focus specifically on the characters' lives outside of the trial, as much as I like them and would like to see more depth involved, felt like they got in the way here.
Sure, you get a sex scene with Terry and his realtor, who gets clingy super fast, and a quiet moment between the police officer and the girl who said Erich raped her. But they just didn’t have the same gravitas as the case itself.
Certainly, it’s good to try and make the characters more than just cop 1 and bad guy 1, but with respects to the main characters, I’ve gotten a pretty good sense of who they are over the course of the episodes. And with the close of the season at hand, it feels like the focus should be more on finishing the Erich Blunt chapter.
Because with his confession to Terry and Hildy that he “did” kill Cindy, and with the pretentious click of his tongue and exclamation about double jeopardy, the not guilty verdict doesn’t end that story. And man, what a great close up of his reveal before walking away. That's the right way to end the hour.
The two inspectors are going to go full force on bringing him down.
And if Erich did actually kill her, and it wasn’t just bravado to gloat in front of the police that had been trying to take him down this whole time, then he is one cold and nasty guy.
I’ve got a feeling though that Erich’s anonymous email for Bill’s wife to see the sex video is going to come back to bite him. Sure, Erich may be escaping jail, but might he not live beyond the finale? Just saying… Murder in the First might find karma for Erich in other ways.
I can only imagine what’s going to happen next, but like Terry and Hildy, iIve become so invested that I’m looking forward to seeing how it all ends. This has definitely been one of the top new shows of the summer, and I just hope it finds a way to close things out so we all want a season two.
Were you surprised the jury found Erich not guilty?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.