PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Television

Womens Murder Club

Lesley Smith

Women's Murder Club represents network television production at its most cynical and most dismissive of viewers' intelligence.

Women's Murder Club

Airtime: Fridays, 9pm ET
Cast: Angie Harmon, Paula Newsome, Aubrey Dollar, Tyrees Allen, Laura, Harris, Rob Estes, Linda Park
Subtitle: Series Premiere
Network: ABC
US release date: 2007-10-12
Website
Trailer
Amazon

Women’s Murder Club borrows from the most popular genres -- traditional cop or lawyer shows and trendy forensics procedurals -- and adds in elements from the old-school investigative journalist saga, seemingly offering a little something for everybody. In theory, this structure provides four very different professions to plunder for insight, drama, and professional esoterica. In practice, every corner of the premiere reeked with cliché, raided from some locked cabinet of rejected juvenilia.

The problems begin with the cutout characters, defined by age, job, and marital status. Lindsay (Angie Harmon) is the workaholic, love-starved cop, staple of pretty much every cop show ever made. Her partner, Warren Jacobi (Tyrees Allen), is the kind of father figure every feisty, workaholic girl needs. Allen pumps some spirit into the role, but functions more as a foil for her flounces than have any substantial role in the homicide they were working.

In fact, judging from the premiere, work takes a backseat to the women's personal lives. Lindsay's unresolved relationship with her ex, fellow cop Tom (Rob Estes), formed a running theme throughout the episode. Sadly, she and her friends discussed it with all the sophistication of middle-schoolers, all breathless "Have you called him back?" and "You still love him," as if he were the star school quarterback and she had abandoned him in a fit of pique.

Her confidantes include a commitment-phobic D.A., Jill Bernhardt (Laura Harris) and the goofy youngster, tyro journalist Cindy (Aubrey Dollar). Medical examiner Claire (Paula Newsome) is happily married, black, and less glamorous than the others, an arrangement that goes back at least as far as Cagney & Lacey: if you aren't sensational-looking, you can settle for domestic bliss. The ladies' dialogue sounded as if it were lifted from a Nancy Drew novel, with a spot of soft-focus sexual innuendo thrown in to indicate the women do indeed live in the 21st century.

The plotting offered no compensatory pleasures. A journalist was murdered because her story would have revealed a crime (yawn). The good guy with seniority was passed over for promotion, Lindsay found herself working for her ex and forced to confront their contentious past every day, and the suspect who suicided turned out to have been murdered (all storylines we've seen before). Worse, though we knew what was going to happen at each step, the crime-solving crew acted as if they were surprised. Don't they watch TV?

The cop-show-by-numbers approach extends to the labored nods toward diversity. The show's two African American characters, but they might as well live on separate planets, so carefully are they kept apart. Each thus stands for the exceptional individual who has "made it" into a white world, reproducing wholesale the most common failing of the Law & Order franchise, for example. (It's hardly surprising but disappointing anyway, that the show features not one Hispanic or Asian lead, although the show is set in San Francisco.)

Women's Murder Club thus represents network television production at its most cynical and most dismissive of viewers' intelligence. It assumes that we'll watch anything with a good-looking lead or two, plus flashy transitions between scenes. The sooner the four women "solve" their last case, the better Friday night will look.

2

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.