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Series / Murder in the First

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A US detective drama airing on TNT from 2014 to 2016. It primarily follows San Francisco Police Inspectors Terry English (Taye Diggs) and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson), partners who work homicide cases. Unlike many such dramas, court proceedings are shown as well.


This series provides examples of:

  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Averted with Raffi Veracruz, who appears to be Sephardic judging by her name.
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  • Boom, Headshot!: Alfie Rentman dies this way, after holding a girl hostage and then threatening Hildy, at the hands of a police sniper.
  • Broken Pedestal: Police captain Ernie Knubbins, whom Terry had respected and looked up to, is revealed to be the "head man" of the corrupt police group called the Union.
  • Dirty Cop: Season two reveals an entire group of them called "the Union" that runs drugs, loan sharking, money laundering and prostitution rackets.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The school bus shooters in season two bear a strong resemblance to the killers at Columbine.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Erich Blunt is finally nailed at the end of the first season, he hangs himself in his jail cell rather than accept life imprisonment. His maternal grandfather had done the same thing, dying of cancer and facing arrest himself, which Blunt praised previously.
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  • False Flag Operation: Someone murders gangster Sugar Cascade's sister, making it look to him like a Chinese gang was guilty. The head of the Chinese gang convinces him he wasn't behind it however, and that someone tried to get them into a war with each other.
  • Frame-Up: Ernie Knubbins plants evidence making one of his subordinates appear to be behind the murder of an undercover cop, then has him murdered while in custody so he can't say otherwise.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dustin Maker's defense attorney tries to use severe abuse he suffered in childhood as a mitigating factor when he's facing the death sentence for eighteen murders.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Jamie Nelson is obviously attracted to a pretty female bartender, and thus visibly disappointed when she's revealed to be straight, with a boyfriend.
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  • Klingon Promotion: Sugar Cascade's second in command tries to take control of his gang this way.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Jamie Nelson, who is going through an acrimonious split with her wife.
  • Off on a Technicality: Ivana confesses in full to her crimes, but it can't be used against her as she asked for a lawyer, who hasn't come yet.
  • Ominous Legal Phrase Title: From "murder in the first degree."
  • Professional Killer: Bruja Blanca (White Witch, in Spanish), a woman who works for a Mexican cartel and murders a dirty police captain in custody by pretending to be his lawyer.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Erich Blunt has his own father murdered (by his maternal grandfather, no less).
  • The Social Darwinist: Erich Blunt goes on a rant along this line, claiming the murder of a few people doesn't matter as the world is overpopulated and they must "cull the herd".
  • The Sociopath:
    • In the first season, Erich Blunt shows every sign of being one, expressing no empathy or remorse for anything, and with an interest in other people only so far as they please him or he can manipulate them to do what he wants. His PA/girlfriend Ivana shows much the same traits as well.
    • The second season has Alfred "Alfie" Rentman, leader in a mass murder on a school bus, whose own father (a neurologist) had diagnosed him. There was nothing he could really do about it though, since it's an incurable and untreatable condition.
  • Suicide by Cop: Dustin Maker seems to have participated in the school bus massacre mostly as a means of getting himself killed by the police, but his accomplice had other ideas and left him. He was caught the police instead.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Terry and Hilda get this for the first two seasons. Finally they get involved with the third, though it's only briefly because they're threatened with being split up by their lieutenant when he finds out.

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