TNT‘s new Steven Bochco drama Murder In The First will follow a single case across an entire season. So too did Bochco’s short-lived mid-1990s drama Murder One for ABC. “When we did Murder One, we were halfway through [the first season of 23 episodes] and I didn’t know how it was going to end, which was a little intense,” Bochco told TV critics today at the TCA Winter Press Tour. He also noted: “And over that many episodes you really struggling to make every hour sustain itself in the service of a single storyline. Twelve episodes seems to me to be an ideal length for this format and it really eliminates the necessity of filler. It also gives us much more time to think about what we’re doing and to craft our scripts…It’s all around a much nicer way to work.”
The new drama centers on San Francisco homicide detectives Terry English (Taye Diggs) and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson) as they investigate an apparent drug-related murder with a connection to a celebrated Silicon Valley CEO. One TV critic noted Bochco has not been active in TV drama development of late. “I’m just old…hanging around,” Bochco joked. “I’m older and I don’t have the drive to work the way I used to work, and so working with these people in this kind of an environment really suits me very well.”
Inevitably, Bochco was asked to reminisce about Hill Street Blues, his groundbreaking NBC drama that debuted in 1981 and ran seven seasons. “What we did with Hill Street Blues, in the early ’80s…it became very clear to us, when we survived the first year of that show, that we were showing the audience of viewers a different way to watch and appreciate television.”
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