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Steven Bochco takes it one day at a time

BOOKS BOCHCOBack in 1995, Steven Bochco produced the series “Murder One” for ABC. What made the crime/legal drama different was that unlike a “Law & Order,” where a case began and ended in one episode, the entire season of “Murder One” was spent dealing with one case. The series had trouble hanging on to viewers in the middle who drifted away but came back for the finale.

The big difference with Bochco’s new series, “Murder in the First,” that also covers one case over one season, is that instead of trying to keep the viewer interested for 23 episodes, there will only be 10 episodes in the new TNT series that launches June 9. That reduced numbers a blessing as when Bochco was halfway through the season of “Murder One,” he wasn’t sure how the season was going to end.

“You do get to the point where, over that many episodes, you are really struggling to make every hour sustain itself in the service of a single story line. Ten episodes or 12 episodes seems to me to be an ideal length for this format,” Bochco says. “It really eliminates the necessity of filler.

“You can really serve the story, serve the characters, and it also gives us much more time to think about what we are doing and to craft our script.”

Months before filming started on “Murder in the First,” most of the scripts had been written.

Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson star in the series. They are two of the homicide detectives investigating two seemingly unrelated murders. The mystery deepens, however, when they find both murders have a common denominator in a Silicon Valley wunderkind.

Responses to "Steven Bochco takes it one day at a time"

Larry Patten says:


Glad I found this online . . . after today’s print article on “Murder in the First,” I was wondering if you’d made Bochco connections to “Murder One.” I recall being intrigued with the 1995 series and then feeling as if it failed because it didn’t do what it promised. My recollection is that it started showing everyone’s views/clues about whodunnit. Instead of following “one” legal team trying to plow through the “mess,” the multiple narratives just got messy. Was it because the show was too long for a regular season or Bochco and his writers got scared that viewers wanted “more?” So I’m curious about this re-jiggering of the idea. Bochco’s an interesting writer; even his failures are fun. Have you seen any of “Murder in the First” episodes yet?

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