Search - Murder One - The Complete First Season on DVD

Murder One - The Complete First Season
Murder One - The Complete First Season
Actors: Daniel Benzali, Mary McCormack, Michael Hayden, Grace Phillips, J.C. MacKenzie
Directors: Charles Haid, Donna Deitch, Elodie Keene, James Hayman, Jim Charleston
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2005     17hr 15min

Sex. Lies. Murder. One day at a time until justice is served. From the creator of NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and LA Law and in the same fashion as 24 - each episode of Murder One represents one day of a single sensation...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Daniel Benzali, Mary McCormack, Michael Hayden, Grace Phillips, J.C. MacKenzie
Directors: Charles Haid, Donna Deitch, Elodie Keene, James Hayman, Jim Charleston
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 02/08/2005
Original Release Date: 09/19/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 09/19/1995
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 17hr 15min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Kelly T. (KellyT) from SOUTHFIELD, MI
Reviewed on 12/14/2010...
This was a unique take when it came out. The acting is superb, the storyline is engrossing and Stanley Tucci is awesome. There are a couple slow parts, but overall this show was really a great show, and only Season 1 did it justice.
Joseph S. (hamsterdad)
Reviewed on 7/27/2009...
WOW! Not a show you want to miss! If you are a fan of TV courtroom dramas, they don't get any better than this. The whole first season of Murder One covers only one case. This allows you to get to know all the characters in a much more intimate way than the one case per show dramas. You get a long hard look at all the characters good and bad, and all the everyday happenings that make them who they are. The casting was done amazingly well, and features soem very well known faces and names from the late eighties and early ninties. A great watcg from start to finish.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect - The Little Seen "Murder One" | Venice, CA United States | 06/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's something I don't get about television shows on DVD. I fully understand why they release so many different series. Two of the benchmarks of the evolution of TV shows on DVD occurred when they started to release "Star Trek' (in its many permutations) and "The Simpsons" on DVD. Selling phenomenally well, they created a new revenue stream for these shows. Considering that both play consistently and constantly in syndication, it seems all the more remarkable that someone would pay $35 (and up) for a boxed set of a complete season. But pay it they do. "The Simpsons - Season 1" is still one of the top selling DVD sets ever, followed by the other seasons. Fox quickly ramped up production on these DVD sets and started to include more and more extras for subsequent releases. "The Simpsons - Season 6" is due to be released on DVD on August 16, 2005. The cancelled series "Family Guy" sold so many DVDs Fox decided to bring it back, creating new shows. So, I get the reason they release TV series on DVD. Some of them are a cash cow.

What I don't get is why people are willing to buy anything released. I can see the reason behind watching something that was, say, cancelled ("Firefly", "The Lone Gunmen"), on cable ("The Sopranos", "Deadwood") or is no longer in syndication. But why would someone buy a DVD box set of "Survivor"? Once you've seen it, why do you need to see it again? You know who won. Or "The Mole"? Or "Too Close For Comfort"? "The Dukes of Hazard"? And many more. There is a place for classic comedies like "I Love Lucy", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", "The Simpsons" or "Seinfeld". These are classics and consistently make us laugh. "Alf"? Come on. Who needs that?

A recent DVD release, falling into the "Cancelled" category, is Steven Bochco's "Murder One". Premiering on ABC in 1995, Bochco was riding the wave of success created by "NYPD Blue" and "LA Law". He, along with David Milch ("Deadwood"), created an intense, fascinating, richly detailed show about a high powered law firm in Los Angeles as they defend a movie star for murder. Wait, am I talking about "LA Law" or "Murder One"? There is a key difference between the two.

Ted Hoffman (Daniel Benzali) is one of the highest profile attorneys in Los Angeles. Think a Caucasian Johnnie Cochran. The clients who visit his Century City law firm on a regular basis include billionaires, foreign dignitaries, movie stars, entertainment personalities and more. One of his associates, Chris Docknovich (Michael Hayden), whispers in his ear that he heard about a high profile arrest the night before. A young woman was murdered in her Hollywood apartment. Billionaire Richard Cross (Stanley Tucci) was arrested for the crime. Cross is one of Hoffman's clients. Quickly becoming immersed in his client's trial, Hoffman realizes everything is not as it seems and eventually agrees to represent Neil Avedon (Jason Gedrick) when he is eventually arrested for the same crime.

The key difference between "LA Law" and "Murder One" is the concept. "Murder One" was created as a vehicle to follow one case over the course of an entire season. An interesting concept, but, unfortunately ahead of it's time. Today, "24" (which is also available on DVD), borrows the same sort of idea. But in 1995, it was too much for an audience with MTV-induced attention deficit disorder. Watching the six DVD set of the first season of "Murder One", they have included the "Previously On..." bits which preceded all of the episodes. This isn't out of the norm, but in this case, they are interesting. It quickly became apparent that the viewers were getting lost in the labyrinth story. The show was `relaunched' a few times by the network. As these efforts became more desperate, the "Previously On..." bits became longer and more elaborate, giving new viewers (hopefully), enough information to catch up. It didn't work. Clearly, the only reason the show lasted the two seasons it lasted was because of Bochco's other hits. More on the second season later.

"Murder One" is memorable for many reasons. The show featured some early, and very good, work by Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson, both of whom have since gone on to appear in many good films. Tucci, in particular, is very memorable as billionaire Richard Cross. His character is very difficult to figure out. Tucci brings many layers to the role, creating a richly detailed character for television. One minute, he is supportive; the next he is working angles behind the scene to make sure he gets what he wants. Clarkson plays Annie Hoffman, Ted's wife. In the initial episodes, she is supportive and a sounding board for her husband. She would frequently appear at the end of the episode, when her husband returns home. Their exchanges were believable. As the Avedon case progresses, she begins to feel left out of Ted's life and the character develops in a way that I didn't entirely believe. She seems a little too "New Age-y" for my liking.

Daniel Benzali is a unique personality. In remembering the show, all I could think of was his gruff demeanor. While watching the show again, I was also surprised by the range of emotion. At times, he is a hard ass, at others, an extremely caring man. To some people, he is nice, supportive, caring. To others, he is hell; a perfectionist, manipulative when it suits him, bossy. The character is very, very complicated and multi-faceted. You simply don't find that level on television today. Barbara Bosson, Bochco's ex-wife, appears as Miriam Grasso, the District Attorney who prosecutes the Avedon case. Hoffman and Grasso have worked on opposite sides of many cases before and they have a relationship. They are not beyond caring for each other, helping each other in their personal lives, exchanging friendly words. But when it comes to the case they are currently working on, they are ready to tear one another apart. Bosson's character is equally complex and richly nuanced. Much of the joy of "Murder One" comes from watching these two characters face off against one another.

The premise of following one case over the course of a television season is unique and interesting. Devoting twenty-three episodes to one story is a lot. Because of this, the case had to be involving, interesting and well-plotted. In "Murder One", the case of the People vs. Neil Avedon was all of these things. I don't recall ever watching a legal drama go into the same depth concerning jury selection, or witness preparation, or any of the many other aspects covered for the trial. Because we follow the trial for so many shows, the trial is presented in more depth than we have ever seen on television before.

In the beginning of the season, before the Avedon trial gets going full speed, someone decided that the remaining members of Hoffman's team needed to be kept busy. Before the many aspects of working on a high profile trial kick in, we had to meet Arnold Spivak (J. C. MacKenzie), Chris Docknovich (Hayden), Justine Appleton (Mary McCormack) and Lisa Gillespie (Grace Phillips). To do this, each of them, one per episode, is assigned to a secondary case. In television drama terms, this is called a `B Story'. Some of these work, some don't. In one case, two neighbors go to court over a yapping dog. In another, the younger brother of a `gangsta rapper' is convicted of murdering a rival gang member. Both are a little insulting and nowhere near on the par of the rest of the show.

As the trial gets going, and we become aware of the level of machinations going on in the background, we realize how well-written, how well-acted, how tightly plotted the show is. We realize how good the show was.

It is my understanding that when the show was picked up for a second season, Benzali began making a lot of demands, convinced he was a star. He was let go. Also abandoned, was the idea of following a single case for an entire season. At the beginning of the second season, Anthony LaPaglia joined the cast as the new owner of the law firm. Of course, Stanley Tucci and Jason Gedrick didn't return. In the second season, the idea was that the show would follow three high profile cases, one at a time, in order to allow people to watch more casually. The first case involved a basketball player convicted of murder. It didn't work and the show didn't last its second season. The handful of loyal fans didn't like the change in the show's format and it was cancelled.

Thankfully, "Murder One - Season One" is now available on DVD and you have the opportunity to watch one of the best television shows ever to grace the small screen.
The Best Show You Didn't Watch
Erana Zeitler | Long Island, New York | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"TV Guide hailed Murder One as 'The Best Show You're Not Watching' mid first-season, and, believe me, they were right.

The premise of Murder One is simple enough; to take you, step by step, through a sensational murder trial. A series of twists and turns within the first four episodes leads to the arrest of drug-addicted movie star Neil Avadon who turns to his former lawyer Ted Hoffman for help.

The show takes you through the entire trial, from jury selection to the verdict and beyond. Each episode reveals more about the case itself, about the young victim Jessica Costello, and the tragic life she led up until her murder. The defendent, Neil, has no memory of the night she died and doesn't even know himself if he's innocent or guilty.

Ted Hoffman and Associates, the law firm at the center of the trial, is staffed with brilliant attorneys who passionately fight for Neil and their other clients with an exuberance and passion seldom seen in present-day law shows. They actually *care*, and through them you will, too. I'd love to tell you more, to detail the fascinating and brilliant plot twists and revelations that you'll journey through watching this show, but to do so would spoil the incredible experience of seeing it yourself, from episode one to the end.

This show first aired when I was eleven years old. Ten years later I still vividly remember it as one of the best, most well-written and riveting dramas I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.

An Overlooked Masterpiece
Michael J. Ellis | Weymouth, MA USA | 12/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had given up all hope of seeing this show on DVD. Murder One is one of a number of shows that was killed by inept network executives. It seemed to change timeslots on a monthly basis, got preempted by ABC frequently, and finally disappeared for weeks before the network decided to air the final slate of season one episodes. As a result, most of America missed this fantastic show.
Muder One's hook was the fact that, unlike most legal dramas that do a case or two a week, the entire season dealt with a single sensational Hollywood murder trial. Jason Gedrick, late of the also excellent and abandoned Boomtown, starred as Neil Avadon, a Hollywood celebrity accused of murder. Daniel Benzali does fantastic work as the lead defense attorney (he got so fed up with the network's interference that he left the show after this season) but the real powerhouse performance is from Stanley Tucci as the shady and manipulative Richard Cross.
The final handful of episodes, dealing with the resolution of the trial, got enough ratings to warrant the network's renewal of the show for a second year, but pressure from the executives forced a change in the show's one-story-per-season format.
This is an overlooked gem of a show that deserves a second life on home video. You won't be sorry if you give it a chance."