The Women’s Murder Club, a new crime thriller series based on the best selling novels of author James Patterson, premiered Friday, October 12, 2007. The series centers around four successful career women – – a homicide inspector, an assistant district attorney, a medical examiner, and a crime reporter. They ladies all join together to solve murder cases and eventually dub themselves the women’s murder club.
In the opener, Lindsay Boxer, played by the incomparable Angie Harmon, has a body literally drop into her lap, so to speak. She, of course, is right there ready to solve the murder as quickly as possible. However, she keeps running into a nosy reporter by the name of Cindy Thomas, played by Aubrey Dollar. It seems that Cindy is also hot on the investigative trail. Although not yet a part of the group, she will eventually become its fourth member.
As is often true in real crimes, the obvious suspect, Walton James, an old “friend” of the victim, turns out to be a dead end and both Lindsay and Cindy are back to square one. While she is loathe to admit it, Lindsay is taken with Cindy’s ability to cut through the bull and get to the heart of the matter.
The case takes yet another wrong turn when it appears that local restaurateur, Miles Van Aiken, was having an affair with the murder victim. Further investigation shows that it wasn’t his first. But after questioning him, Lindsay isn’t convinced that he is the killer either.
When the original suspect Walton James also turns up dead, Cindy does some investigative work and finds an interesting tie to a particular homeless gentleman, the restaurant, and a local free clinic, which as it happens is run by the wife of the restaurateur. The problem is, the records recordered at the clinic for the homeless man appear to be forged; a matter uncovered by the murder victim.
With both the detective and reporter on the job, it doesn’t take either of them long to connect the dots and uncover that Dr Raine Van Aiken (played by Judith Hoag) was doctoring the records to obtain government funds that she could use to support her husband’s failing restaurant. She confesses to the crime when Lindsay makes it appear that the police intend to charge her beloved husband.
If the rest of the six initial episodes ordered are as promising as this one, I think it is safe to say that ABC has yet another winning series on its hands. The writing is tight, the direction is clever, and the cast appears to be making all the right moves.
Angie Harmon, of course, is best known for her television role on Law and Order. She is an exceptional actress that easily combines her charm and wit with her obvious intelligence and determination. It doesn’t hurt that she is also easy on the eyes; a definite plus for the male audience members.
Paula Newsome plays medical examiner Claire Washburn. She co-starred in the recently released to DVD film Reign Over Me and in last year’s movie hit Little Miss Sunshine. She seems perfectly suited for her role in this series and appears to be the stabilizing influence for her other partners in crime.
Laura Harris plays ADA Jill Bernhardt. She is best known for her roles on 24 and The Dead Zone. I would not have pegged this pixy like blond as capable of handling this heavy of a role. I would have been wrong. Although the character still requires development, it appears that she will more than rise to the task.
Aubrey Dollar as crime reporter Cindy Thomas is the youngster of the group. Although perhaps a little more naive in some respects, she brings a whole different dimension to the group. Dollar, best known for soap opera style roles on The Guiding Light and the short lived Point Pleasant seems more than capable of holding her own.
In short, the chemistry between these four women appears to be pitch perfect. But the men of the cast bring a lot to the picture as well.
First is Rob Estes, who is more than familiar with playing a cop. He cut his teeth on such roles in Silk Stalkings and The Evidence. As Lindsay’s ex-husband and new boss, he throws in the sexual tension monkey wrench that so many series feel is necessary to keep viewers glued to the screen.
It is also delightful to see veteran actor Tyrees Allen, of Alias fame, back front and center. He plays Lindsay’s role model and mentor, Warren Jacobi; the man everyone assumed would be promoted to the job that Estes fills. He brings strength of character, level headedness, and quiet pride to the precinct.
As a big fan of Patterson’s writing and having a real familiarity with the characters represented here, I was thoroughly prepared to have my high hopes for this series dashed against the rocks. I’m so delighted that they were not. I’ll be back for more next week. This series definitely ranks at least four out of five stars and I predict that by the end of the season it will get all five.