Murder One-Case Two, Part 1 (1996)

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Released 7-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 522:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Marc Buckland
Jim Charleston
Donna Deitch
Joe Ann Fogle
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Clayton Rohner
Anthony LaPaglia
Mary McCormack
Michael Hayden
Jack Kehler
J.C. MacKenzie
D.B. Woodside
John Fleck
Barbara Bosson
Case ?
RPI $44.95 Music Mike Post


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I recently reviewed the first (and best) season of this impressive mid-1990s legal show. You can find the review here. Of course, in the great tradition of US television, when you make a great show which rates really well, the first thing you should do is change it. For this second season, three major changes occurred which probably go some way to explaining why only two seasons were made. The changes were:

    These three major changes probably make it sound like I thought Murder One - Case 2 was very ordinary and not worth watching. On the contrary - it is interesting and well made television. If it had not been preceded by the truly excellent Series One it would have looked much better and probably had a better run. I think its relative failure was due to the disappointment which people felt rather than it not being worthwhile television.

    For some reason, this series has been split into two box sets, one containing the first three discs and the other the final two discs. Accordingly, this set (Part 1) contains discs 1 to 3. Strangely, the review discs which I received are numbered 1 to 5 and all say Murder One - Case 2. I do not know if the discs were renumbered in the retail release. Accordingly, this set covers the first two cases.

    It is really impossible for me to give you episode synopses for each episode without spoiling the stories, so I won't. Instead I will give you a rundown of the crime, the lawyers and their significant allies and the protagonists in the cases themselves. Annoyingly, each and every episode is preceded by a 10 second warning about copyright which you cannot skip, even though there is a warning as the disc loads. Seems a bit over the top to me. Episodes 11 & 12 are packaged as a double episode. I assume they were originally shown that way.

The Crimes

    Case 1 - The Governor of California, Tom Van Allen, is found shot to death in bed with a young woman, Marlee Donovan, in a beachside house owned by an actor friend of his.

    Case 2 - A basketball coach, Sandy Fortis, is found dead after a meeting over a salary dispute with his star player, Ricky Latrell.

The Lawyers, Police and other investigators

    The important characters who at least start the show on the right side of the law are:

The Protagonists in the crime itself and related characters

    These characters all play an important part in the story of the crimes:

Case 1

Case 2

    This is good quality television which would have been so much better if only the original format had been maintained. It's still good quality viewing, however. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is better than Series One but still has some issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and distinctly better than Series One. It was affected by some light grain. The shadow detail was fine but nothing special.

    The colour is certainly better than the first series but still has some issues. Cross colouration was common but not as obvious as in Series One. It was especially prevalent on shirt collars and striped suits. The skin tones were a little pale.

    Artefacts are also improved in this series. Aliasing is still about but again not as bad as Series One. This occurs on buildings, Venetian blinds and the other usual suspects. There was also some mild edge enhancement and some white specks here and there.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The subtitles were clear and easy to read but slightly different to the spoken word.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is fine but nothing special.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. The original show was in surround sound.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The award winning score of this series by Mike Post is excellent and the theme tune is very effective and memorable.

    The surround speakers added some mild atmosphere only despite the encoding.

     The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    None. The only extra is in the second box set.

Menu

    The menu included an intro, scenes, music and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This set has been released in Region 2 as one set for the whole series rather than the two sets being released here. Otherwise it is the same. It does not seem to have yet been released in Region 1. If you want the whole series, you should probably consider the region 2 set, otherwise you can choose to buy one or both locally.

Summary

    A disappointing second series following a great first series. Unfortunately the producers did not stick with the formula which made the first series successful.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is decent but nothing special.

    The set has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, June 24, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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