Murder in the First: Family Matters

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Episode recaps


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Warning: Spoiler Alert

After last week’s reveal, we find the free Erich Blunt doing Larry King Live. And if that was all that I said, you could fill in the rest. Blunt seamlessly bounces from one cliché to another. Meanwhile each and every person from SFPD who had any part in the trial looks like they are one bad metaphor away from throwing up. As the camera moves from person to person while Erich speaks, one image sticks out. While he goes on about the importance that he run his company while the trial went on, Ivana West looks pissed.

English pauses the TV. And declares, Blunt killed Niers. Mulligan tries to get him to drop it, but English can’t allow Blunt to go free knowing what he told them last week. For a few reasons she mentions, Mulligan cannot get involved. At least not at this stage. Just after she leaves and just before the fade out, English stares at the TV screen. You can almost see the steam billowing out of his ears.

Koto escorts DA Perez to her car in a parking garage. He uses a metaphor to describe how they need to move on. Perez’ reply is so cheesy I will not repeat it. They begin making out. Simultaneously, Mulligan is riding in an elevator for the same parking garage. The door opens and she sees what she sees. She immediately hits a few buttons to get the door to close. The sound of which, is noticed by Koto and Perez. Could be problematic.

English shows up at a park. Conveniently the park where he finds ‘D-Hop’, the witness that pegged Chris Walton as the man who killed Kevin Niers. English questions the kids about them not actually seeing Walton there that night. D-Hop breaks first and his friend resists and tries to quiet D-Hop. The actual killer not only is not Walton, but is a little off. The kids told English of how the killer took them into the building, put a gun to their heads and forced them to watch as the blood left Niers’ head.

English and Mulligan walk down the street while English tries to convince her that his theory is real. English’ impression is that the actual killer was skilled. The kids said he was old but couldn’t discern if he was older than English. Blunt has motive based on his blaming Niers for the death of his mother. Am I crazy or does this not sound like they are building toward Jimmy Salter (former chief to English, current head of security for Blunt) as a potential suspect? I’ll be honest, if that’s the end game, I’ll be disappointed. They went on to question Salter, which was short. The result of which was not fruitful, as of yet.

Back at the precinct, Koto rips English and Mulligan a new one. Essentially giving them a verbal cease a desist order. At this point Mulligan is just taking everything in to see if there is anything to pursue. English on the other hand, is holding on tight with white knuckles on both hands. Mulligan enters the room English relocated to. Some small talk about dropping it passes and English has a theoretical breakthrough. “What if the killer had a motive of their own”. James Harbach, Erich Blunt’s grandfather and Blunt’s mother’s father.

It appears that his illness (that presumably is killing him) is getting worse. This we have all seen before. You find someone with a motive they otherwise would not act on. Share with them their own mortality. Offer some ridiculous reward for doing the deed that will exceed anything the dying person can do with the time that’s left. My only skepticism is that 24 minutes into a finale, and this feels to soon to be true.

As polite as English tries to be with his probing questions, James Harbach sees right through it from the jump. Betty Harbach seems more than willing to be as forthcoming as she possibly can be in her elder state. James is far less accommodating. After a series of questions, James first response on any importance is, “Why don’t you get off my property *******?” James does a decent job selling the idea that his morality wouldn’t allow him to kill anyone, even Niers.

Nice comedic break. English, while in Mulligan’s house gets the call that they need to report in, Mulligan goes to wake up her daughter. They need to get her overnight bag together because she has to go to work. To which the daughter replies still dead very sleepy, “Really…? These murders have got to stop.”

This new murder in question is at least from Koto’s view, a slump buster. A new thing to focus on to deviate their attention away from anything Blunt related. We have a woman allegedly drowned in the bathtub. The problem with that is Burnside tells Mulligan that since her body’s been submerged for a matter of days, it will look like she drowned even if she didn’t.

English slips away to pursue other leads in the Niers case that more directly have his attention. Koto, upon figuring this out, gets a little snippy with Mulligan. Mulligan asks to speak freely to Koto. When she almost drops the anvil that she saw Koto and Perez in the garage, but instead asks, “Are you a politician now or are you still a cop?”

English went to visit Walton in prison to try to find some clarity with what Walton may or may not know. He asked about Walton’s relationship with Niers, which we find out is your typical dealer to junkie relationship. The drug Walton delivered was not Niers’ drug of choice, which is curious. And even when English showed a picture of James Harbach, Walton had nothing.

Mulligan drives out to intercept D-Hop leaving school. She shows him the picture of James Harbach. He immediately resists saying he’s never seen the man before. After Mulligan adjusts her vantage point so she is eye to eye to D-Hop, he reluctantly and timidly admits that James Harbach is the man who held a gun to his head.

Back in the SFPD break room, Burnside breaks down the autopsy results on the woman in the tub with English and Mulligan. Long and short of it is that the woman died of a heroin overdose and just happened to be found in the tub. Also there are two punctures near her shoulder blades that she could not have possibly given herself.

English and Mulligan bounce their theory about Harbach back and forth to see if it seems workable. As Koto arrives, they quickly spit out at him everything they have on the overdose case. He is not there to talk about the overdose case. He asks, “when was the last time either of you spoke to James Harbach?” English avoids answering the question with another question, “why?” Koto says, “Because he just killed himself, bullet to the head”.

At the scene, the weapon of choice was an antique 357. English has a note sealed in an evidence bag that asserts that Harbach acted alone in the murder of Kevin Niers. Upon further investigation, Betty Harbach confirms that the letter is in her late husband’s handwriting.

Back at APPLSN, Herzberg interrupts Blunt wooing a young lady with his VR toys by saying, “We have a situation”. Clearly Blunt is tired of having situations. Ivana West and Jeremy Leonard have been working to create a new company. Ivana is very much the woman scorned by not getting the credit for running the company while Erich focused on the trial. And Blunt, in typical form, is showing just how maniacal he can be.

Wilkerson drives Blunt home. Upon their arrival, Wilkerson in a pathetic way, creates a need to go back to the office. Then Erich notices a gate was left open. If this was a mob movie, this would be the part where I’d say Erich Blunt is about to get wacked. Close, but instead of Vinny with a sawed off shotgun, its Detective English. This was a simple warning. English outlined that Erich had his grandfather kill his father.

Warren Daniels appears at the precinct and says one very conniving thing. “My client wishes to turn himself in.” Yeah, I gasped for air too, but pump the breaks. Erich Blunt is not Daniels’ only client. Daniels presented the husband of the overdosed woman. Hand delivered for no other reason than to establish the man’s alibi.

Ballistics came back from the James Harbach suicide. Confirms that it was the same gun used to kill Kevin Niers. Which should be enough to move this thing forward. Instead, Koto gives them the ‘order’ to take the Walton release as a victory and move on.

English went to meet Walton for his release and offer a ride home. A very anti climactic last few minutes. With or without the promo for next week’s finale, you had to know the wheels would fall off. Looking forward to it.

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