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Murder Investigation Team: Series One


An effective, well-written police procedural

Rod Lott April 11th, 2011

Lest you think "MIT: Murder Investigation Team" sounds suspiciously like the UK’s answer to our “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” well, yeah, you’d be right.

murderinvestigationteam

But it’s also a spin-off to a series called “The Bill” that premiered nearly two decades before CBS started co-opting The Who catalog for its enormously successful franchise.

From 2003, “MIT” is not as successful, at least in terms of flashy visuals and absorbing storytelling (and it’s not like Britain can’t do that, if you’ve seen its recent, stellar reboot of “Sherlock”), yet it remains an effective, well-written police procedural, if only a little staid. Characters don’t stick out — that tends to happen when none looks as dynamite as Marg Helgenberger — but the stories do: a man gruesomely felled in a drive-by in the premiere’s opening moments, corpses of children discarded like literal garbage, dead celebs and more.

Of the eight hours here, episode seven is the most gripping, partly because it’s also the most gratuitous, dealing with the murder of a former “glamour model” and Page 3 girl. Sex sells anywhere, mitigating minor annoyances that don’t translate as well — insults like “grubby barrow boy.”

“MIT” distinguishes itself from American crime shows by doing that thing you may have seen on the BBC’s excellent “Luther,” where the footage is interrupted by stark bursts of silence as it shifts to white-on-black credits. It gets your attention, and without Roger Daltrey’s primal, wake-the-eff-up cry of “YEEEEEOWWWWWW!” (The closing theme, however, is a sore-thumb torch number that sounds swiped from some weepy montage on “Grey’s Anatomy.”) —Rod Lott



 
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