Murder in the First review: The verdict is rendered

There are still two more episodes left in this season of Murder in the First, but tonight, the trial came to its conclusion.

There are a few things to be expected at this point in the show’s run. The first is that if there’s an opportunity to say something terrible about Dead Cindy, someone’s going to jump on it. It’s not enough that the DA describes one of Cindy’s vices as “men,” but tonight there came a point where Barbara Wilkerson (Paula Marshall), Bill’s estranged wife, actually sneered that Cindy had it coming, and though we’re not trying to beat a dead horse here: Really?

Cindy was a legal adult, a woman in her early 20s having mutually consensual, non-exclusive sex with Bill Wilkerson (Steven Weber) and Erich (Tom Felton). In 2014, is that really enough to qualify as a vice? The one upside to the trial finally reaching its conclusion is that it might mean an end to the constant victim-blaming.

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The second thing about Murder in the First is that even in a disjointed episode with too many unconnected parts, the last few minutes are always the best part.

Erich, against the advice of Daniels (James Cromwell), insists on being put on the witness stand. It doesn’t go well. He comes off as smug, arrogant and that famous Blunt temper we’ve seen since the pilot creeps in during his cross-examination. Afterward, Daniels rips into Erich for acting against his own best interests, but Erich, we know by now, has a little problem with self-control.

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This brings us to Erich’s second terrible decision of the evening in which he informs Bill Wilkerson that he is actually the one who leaked the video of Cindy and Wilkerson’s sexual escapades to Wilkerson’s wife. He claims he did it because he knew Bill wasn’t happy in his marriage. We’re suspecting more nefarious purposes… mostly that he wanted to shift the blame to make Bill look like a viable suspect in case the trial’s outcome didn’t look quite so sunny.

Still, maybe it’s not the greatest call in the world to tell a man you’re the one responsible for his wife discovering his extramarital activities. There are two more episodes to go, and it seems unlikely it’s the sort of thing Wilkerson will just forget.

Erich is either on a massively self-destructive spiral, or he’s just feeling insanely confident, because this wasn’t even the worst decision he made all night.

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Despite an impassioned plea from the DA and lots of solid police work, the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict on both counts of murder. Tears streamed down Erich’s face as he hugged his legal team, the very picture of relief and deserved exoneration.

Until he caught up with Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) and English (Taye Diggs) just outside the courtroom. Back to being the cocky, brilliant kid-billionaire, overflowing with arrogance and self-satisfaction, he grinned at the inspectors and gleefully told them how grateful he is for the double-jeopardy law… because now he can look them right in the eyes and inform them, “I killed that dumb b****.”

So much for no more victim-blaming. Still, with two weeks left in Season 1, there’s still time for a few more shake-ups. Maybe someone will finally slap Erich silly.

We can dream.

Murder in the First airs Mondays on TNT at 10/9c.