Kathleen Robertson and Taye Diggs talk new series “Murder in the First”

TNT has a busy summer ahead — the network will be rolling out 10 original series over the next few months, a mix of returning and new dramas. The first new series, Murder in the First, debuts following the Season 3 premiere of the hit Major Crimes on June 9. Like the show that leads into it, Murder in the First is a police drama; however, it stands apart in that it follows a single murder investigation over the course of an entire season.

Murder in the First

“The series is not a procedural,” star Kathleen Robertson, who plays San Francisco homicide detective Hildy Mulligan, tells us, “not the sort of cop show where every week there’s a new body. It sort of takes place over the course of a time period where two murders are dissected, and you follow all the different components of what it involves. The first few episodes focus on the actual murders, and then the middle section focuses more on the trial, and then the last section of the first season focuses on the aftermath.”

Robertson somewhat agrees that this setup — one mystery per season — seems to follow a trend begun with American Horror Story, and she suggests what would happen should Murder in the First be renewed for another season.

“It would be like [costar] Taye Diggs and I will always be the center of the show, and the regulars from the first season would not be back. It would be new people in the second season except for us.”

Speaking of Diggs, the actor, who costars as Mulligan’s partner, Detective Terry English, tells us he was enthused to be working with the legendary Steven Bochco, who serves as co-creator and executive producer of the series, and who certainly is no stranger to the genre, having been a force behind classics like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue.

“I’m proud to be working with someone of his stature,” Diggs says, “and to find out he’s so great. He’s like papa bear. He’s so giving and generous and kind and positive and encouraging. It’s a great situation.”

Robertson agrees, saying, “Obviously, Steven Bochco kind of created this genre, and nobody’s done it better than he does.”

One thing Bochco’s previous cop dramas did well was create memorable characters, and Robertson and Diggs were partly drawn to Murder in the First by its fascinating characters, as well.

“He’s always looking for as much control as possible,” Diggs says of his character, who must deal with his wife’s terminal illness, “[and] having to give up that control to his emotions, it makes for very uncomfortable moments. … [There] are going to be ways in which death is going to affect him, and the choices he makes, and the pressures he’s under. It’s going to affect his partner; there are times when [Terry] falters and [Hildy] has to pick up the slack.”

For Robertson’s part, she says, “I really felt like there’s been so many cop shows, and so many shows that sort of explore this territory, but it was the first time I read a female character where I was like, ‘Oh, this actually sort of delved into what it really would be like to be a woman doing this job.’ She’s also a single mom, has a young daughter. So, it’s very sort of true to what that experience would be like, in a way I felt like I hadn’t really seen before.”

Murder in the First airs Mondays at 10pm ET on TNT, beginning June 9.

Barb Oates contributed to this reporting


Trae Patton/TNT