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Murder One: Season 2 (15)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: 'Final Verdict' featurette (22 mins).

THE second season of Steven Bochco's compulsive court-room drama, Murder One, rang the changes in a bid to up the glamour.

Out went bald-headed, yet charismatic, legal-eagle, Theodore ‘Teddy’ Hoffman (Daniel Benzali), and in came Anthony LaPaglia as high-powered attorney, James Wyler.

The series also took on a more ambitious outlook, focusing on three cases and beginning with a political assassination that has a major impact on Wyler's personal and professional life.

Prosecuting attorney, Miriam Grasso, also gets a more prominent role, as do the various legal execs working under Wyler, including a new recruit to the office.

Season two successfully built on all of the characteristics that helped to make its predecessor so highly-acclaimed, throwing in plenty of twists and turns on the way to its nail-biting finale.

And while the loss of Benzali did seem like a shame at the time, given the presence he brought to the role (especially in his court-room exchanges), LaPaglia proved an able successor.

The Australian actor has long been considered a terrific character actor and quickly made the role of Wyler his own, so that audiences could quickly begin to root for him as he struggled to overcome personal demons, as well as the intricacies of the case.

It is a role which capably paved the way for his equally commanding central performance in current series, Without A Trace, as well as several prominent movie roles, the most notable of which was Lantana.

For those who remember the series, the season two box set provides a welcome reminder of a former television classic (pre-24), while for the uninitiated, this is another case of American TV at its finest.

Fans of series of the calibre of NYPD Blue, ER, 24 and Without A Trace shouldn't fail to be impressed.

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