Murder in the First: Burning Woman

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Warning: Spoiler Alert

This time last week Erich Blunt was being escorted to jail on an arrest warrant for “Murder in the First” degree. This week’s episode picks up with Blunt curled up in the corner of a holding cell, orange jumper and all. Not out of fear, just in that awkward genius sort of way. The next series is interesting. The creators went through the trouble to show Blunt getting completely chained up (Hannibal Lecter style) as if he would do anything other than walk anywhere they tell him to. His willingness to do whatever they say without emotion or a response of any kind may prove to be telling.

In the courtroom Blunt is lifeless. Not stoic so much as devoid of feeling. Zoned out. Oblivious to his surroundings. The prosecution and defense exchange their typical jargon. The judge at this point asks Erich Blunt whether he is entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. By this point, they have all but muted the audio in an effort to illustrate that Blunt has not been paying attention for some time. He eventually says, “not guilty”.

Then the bail portion of the proceedings was fun. Daniels (defense lawyer) thought he’d get cute with the lead counsel for the state and flash some paper that we don’t see. Before Daniels gets to the bench, the state drops the hammer. That at the time of death, the victim was with child. This changes the game a little. Bail is set at 10 million, 8 more than Mr. Daniels’ little preemptive ploy would have netted.

Mulligan grabs a cup of coffee waiting for English prior to her hearing as a result of the shooting last week. Brace yourself, Mulligan and English have their first on-screen tissy. Which is worrisome for me. I am what the fandom community refers to as a ‘shipper’. I am often inclined to want to lead characters that seem compatible on some level to become an item. English’ wife has passed. Mulligan’s ex is a questionable human being (or so we’re lead to believe). All the criteria I need. Going back to last week, Mulligan is irked that English was short with her on the phone when they (excluding Mulligan) went to arrest Blunt. Both standing firm, neither willing to concede.

I will do my best to say you from reading a lengthy paragraph on the details of what happens next. Suffice it to say, Mulligan answers condescending questions while the interviewers resist from an angle of guilty until proven innocent. In another room, the police reps interview the beaten wife and kid. The wife is clearly delusional or out for a settlement. And sadly, the kid has clearly been coached if not threatened. In a situation where everyone except the wife’s delusions are essentially happy with the result, it disheartening that this is how the officers of the law are treated.

In Mr. Daniels office, there are Daniels, Blunt, Herzberg, Jimmy, and associate council under Daniels. In this gathering, Daniels outlines a story in which Blunt is not the murderer. Then if that doesn’t work, there will be a different story outlining how Blunt is not the murderer. Yet again, we have a moment between Daniels and Blunt. A standoff of rhetoric.

Daniels: Find out everything the SFPD knows. We have to be a lot smarter than they are.
Blunt: You’re a lot better paid than they are.
Daniels: Don’t get smug son, it’s dangerous.

Maybe this is something, maybe it’s nothing. But this is at the very least the 3rd time that Blunt has been short with or outright challenged Daniels authority in this particular avenue of life. The natural hypothesis is that Blunt is every bit the conniving S.O.B. we think him to be. He’s guilty and that he wants to manipulate everyone involved because he’s smarter than everyone involved. However, could be smoke and mirrors.

English has set up a time to interview Jeremy Leonard. The would be blackmailer from episode 1. Jeremy claims he’s responsible for the algorithms that made Blunt who he is today. This interview serves as little more than an indication of how both men in the room are out to prove that Blunt is something. A genius tech entrepreneur is not one of them.

Jeremy: I want to show that he’s a fraud.
English: I want to show that he’s a murderer.

There was one helpful tidbit (only because I saw the teaser for this week’s episode). Jeremy is headed to a techie version of hedonism meets Woodstock. The fact that he mentions both that the code came to him there and that it’s a big deal for techies, rest assured, Blunt will be there.
English sets up a drug deal with Milan (the small time drug pusher that got pinched last week). Idea being, get Blunt caught in a drug deal and it paints him into a corner. Alas, Jimmy shows up instead. Cover’s blown and it is clear that English and this Jimmy have a history. A previous relationship of some kind.

Back at Blunt’s place we get a lovely classic scene of what will eventually become classic Blunt.

Jimmy: If I hadn’t been your hero this morning…
Blunt: I don’t see my dope Jimmy.
Jimmy: You’re lying on your own couch, not a county bunk with your head next to the toilet.
… …
Jimmy: Don’t do anything stupid while I’m gone.
Blunt: Don’t treat me like a child.
… …
Jimmy: This department, they’re like a dog with a bone. And you’re the bone. They tried to set you up with a drug bust today. They are going to keep coming at you until they get you or they run out of time. So if you have any will power inside you, use it. Behave. And if you can’t do that, you better get the hell out of dodge. Because you’re a bug under a magnifying glass. One wrong move and you’re fried.

And the wheels in Blunt’s head start spinning. Not taking the advice seriously. Not considering that there is probably decades of experience behind what Jimmy said, but another line of thinking altogether. We’ll get back to that later.

Mulligan and English reconcile their little fit from earlier. Ship temporarily intact.

Later, despite Lt. Koto’s explicit instructions for English to stay away from D-Hop (the kid informant whose mother is suing Det. Mulligan), English ventures out to where D-Hop plays basketball. My inner sense of how this goes down is screaming, No. After some soft conversation, English is able to portray not only what is right, but the scope of how truly bad D-Hop’s lying could be.

Blunt meets Wilkerson (his personal pilot) on the airstrip. But instead of the streamline private jet, they are about to board a single prop Cessna. Apparently this trip will violate the terms of his bail. The entitled cannot help from acting on their own arrogance. And as predicted, they jumped state lines in order to attend the techie Woodstock (minus the all time great musical lineup).

In their drugged spiritual stupor, Ivana (work associate) suggest Blunt conquer one of the strange women here. Instead of an actual living breathing one, opts for a virtual one. This is a nod to a technology they’ve been working on the entire way. Virtual reality. For just about anything. This one is sexual in nature. Entertaining enough. Ivana claims she gave him options. Which also was entertaining until the fourth option. Detective Hildy Mulligan. The experience goes south in a hurry when the next option is Cindy, the dead flight attendant that Blunt is charged with murdering.

Afterwards, we find Blunt and Ivana down with the rest of the crazies taking it all in. What that means I haven’t the foggiest. Bunch of body painted people dancing with glow sticks. But Jeremy happens to be in the crowd and Jeremy is packing a very decent digital camera. Danger Erich Blunt.

Mulligan gets a phone call while getting her daughter ready for school. We find that it’s actually D-Hops mother. They agree to meet. She is actually there to convince Mulligan to get to D-Hop and convince him to change his story back from the truth to the lie. And in a stunning display of selfish d-baggery, the mother contemplates what that would mean and still insists that Mulligan’s career and potential time in prison, her son lying to the authorities, and everything else that comes with it is worth it, if she gets her money. Mulligan does get off a nice shot though. “I’m not worried about D-Hop, he’s more adult than you’ll ever be. He’s honest.”

At this point I think it’s pretty clear to all who watch that Blunt has broken each of Daniels’ 3 rules at least once each. This time around Daniels drops in Blunt’s lap (so to speak) the reality of the transgression. We’ll try to keep this family rated and I’ll leave the CSI descriptions out. Basically, Blunt’s not as smart as he thinks he is all of the time. DNA was left and now it looks like he’s lied to Daniels and the police. Daniels describes the prosecution’s next move. To eviscerate him in the media, pollute the jury pool long before the trial begins. Blunt responds, “you have a counter move, right?”

“Your Honor, Mr. Blunt will waive his right to a preliminary hearing at this time. The sooner this case is taken out of the hands of the politicians and into the hands of an impartial jury of reasonable citizens, the sooner my client will be exonerated. And any action that speeds up this process, even waiving a hearing, is in the best interest of justice.”-Warren Daniels

Just around the time that Blunt and his law team are starting to feel comfortable, Jeremy’s effort surface. The prosecution moves to request revocation for bail in light of Blunt’s most recent trip out of the state. For the first time, Blunt appears physically shaken by a new concept. He is not going to be ahead of everyone all of the time. No bail and Daniels didn’t look particularly eager to do anything about the new housing situation.

Mulligan along with her union rep, sit waiting to meet her fate. Well that was anti-climactic. Short story made shorter, cleared on all charges relating to the internal investigation. Lt. Koto was all to pleased to inform her that since their last meeting Mrs. Ramos (D-Hop’s mother) not only rescinded her suits, but that she gave a statement confirming Mulligan’s story and even called her a hero…on video.

From one high to another low. Donned in orange again, Daniels is calmly yet angrily giving it to Blunt. Daniels is removing himself from the case. Which isn’t surprising considering that Blunt has been the poster child for a difficult client. Dark times for ahead for Mr. Blunt.

Back at Mulligan’s house they are just messing with me. After dinner, Louise goes upstairs to finish her homework. Mulligan and English share stories about the risk of the job. And while doing so are clearly and voluntarily violating each others respective personal space. And now there’s touching. Wine, violation of personal space, touching of any kind, oh this is going down! And just like that, it’s over. Damage has been done. And between the kitchen and the front door it almost happened again. What on earth is going on? There’s no summer sweeps.

Needless to say there is no question about the anticipation of the next episode. Blunt is screwing up, needs a new lawyer which will reflect horribly, and now the ‘ship’ has begun even if it’s only temporary. The Mulligan/English thing is less critical to the plot, but absolutely will play out beyond next week’s episode.

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