“Women’s Murder Club”, a series based on the bestselling novels by James Patterson, was moved from its Friday night slot on ABC to Tuesday nights an hour later. The move was done in an apparent attempt to breathe life back into the flailing show. It came back from its Writer’s Strike initiated hiatus last Tuesday and I was able to catch it for the first time.
The show revolves around a small group of female friends who use their various fields of expertise, intelligence, and friendship to solve murders. The group consists of a San Francisco Police Department homicide investigator (Angie Harmon, “Lindsay Boxer”), a Medical Examiner (Paula Newsome, “Claire Washburn”), a Deputy District Attorney (Laura Harris, “Jill Bernhardt”) and a reporter (Aubrey Dollar, “Cindy Thomas”). The premise of the show works well in print, but is it working on screen?
I watched the show expecting to see an interesting twist on solving crimes. The airwaves are inundated with uber-smart detectives pairing up with lesser brained mortals, dark crime scenes and labs, and either overly cautious DAs or mavericks (no real middle ground there). The powerhouse franchises of “Law & Order” and “CSI” have paved the way for the way crime stories are told now. The concept of women working together to get to the end of the story was something I really wanted to see played out. Unfortunately, the only thing I noticed is that someone in the production crew wasn’t doing a good of job of something. Something was definitely missing and I just couldn’t get into the program.
Angie Harmon was one of my favorite Assistants to Jack McCoy on “Law & Order”. She’s definitely got talent, but the producers weren’t utilizing that in the best way. Her character, Lindsay Boxer, was made to be too much of an emotionally torn maverick. She wasn’t concerned with breaking the rules, but was nearly overwrought when her colleagues believed her actions were due to her relationship with her father. She challenged her superiors in an effort to get more cooperation, but seemed to dwell on the lack of attention a young office worker was giving her (“He might be gay”, one of her friends told her, “This is San Francisco.”). The scenes with her didn’t flow and didn’t really make sense. Sadly, her superiors seemed to deem her a loose cannon because they believed her emotionally unstable. At one point a narcotic officer instructed Tom Hogan (played by Rob Estes) to reel her in while Lindsay was standing behind him.
This particular episode didn’t focus much on the rest of the group, except in an effort to prop up Harmon’s character. However, there was some angst when the reporter (Cindy, played by Aubrey Dollar) wanted news on the murder victim’s real identity. Of course, the other three women couldn’t give her the scoop and that led to some hurt feelings. In the end, Lindsay allowed Cindy to help her bring kidnappers down, which mended some fences.
The show seemed to be all over the place, not really finding a foothold on what it wanted to be. Is it a crime drama with women solving the mysteries? Is it a feel-good “girl power” show that highlights the “real lives and problems” of certain career women? Are they strong women who support each other or weepy, emotional girls propping each other up? I felt really frustrated with the way the story was told and the way the characters were portrayed. I didn’t really get a “feel” for what was happening and the excessive use of back-story dialogue didn’t help at all. I ended up not really interested in the outcome of the “mystery”, because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be anticipating. I expected more of a “team” thing with the Club and was severely disappointed with the lack of cooperation and interaction. Ultimately, I was a little angry that I chose to watch this instead of “L&O: SUV”. I can only hope that this isn’t indicative of every episode of “Women’s Murder Club”.