Take a Trip to “Murderville” with a Star-Studded Police Precinct


“Murderville” is a bingeworthy comedic Netflix original. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Maribelle Gordon, Contributing Writer

Although it seems like every possible cop show has already been made and remade, the Netflix original “Murderville” is a chaotic, satirical spin on detective workplace dramas. Based on the U.K. series “Murder in Successville,” this show has impressive levels of irony that turn an overly-done television trope into a bingeworthy comedy. 

Will Arnett stars as Detective Terry Seattle, a senior detective with misplaced confidence and comedic timing reminiscent of the beloved Michael Scott. In each episode, Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle, the police chief and Seattle’s soon-to-be ex-wife, assigns him a murder case and a different celebrity guest as a partner. The A-list status isn’t the only unique aspect of these homicide detective trainees — they’re also scriptless, having to improvise off of Seattle’s unpredictable humor. While the explicit main goal in each episode is to solve a murder, there also seems to be an implicit goal to push each celebrity guest to new improvisational boundaries as Seattle’s absurd behavior ensues.

Each guest is tasked with a case and must work with Seattle to interrogate three suspects, be on guard for clues and finally determine which of the suspects is guilty. At the end of each episode, Seattle and Jenkins-Seattle put the celebrity on the spot to announce who the killer is and why. These endings have something of a gameshow set-up, and Jenkins-Seattle acts as the host, naming the real killer and revealing whether or not the guest detective had truly honed in on their sleuthing skills.

Conan O’Brien is the first celebrity to partner up with Seattle. This pilot episode does a great job showing just what kind of ridiculous humor and nonsensical storylines are to come in the rest of the series. O’Brien and Seattle are tasked with finding out who is responsible for a magic act gone horribly wrong, and throughout their interrogations, one can already see the lengths Seattle will go to in order to make his co-star break character. 

In episode two, notoriously hilarious former NFL player Marshawn Lynch is Seattle’s new sidekick. Despite having very different senses of humor and personalities, the duo is actually a perfect match. The two stumble their way through a family homicide, interrogating a set of eccentric triplets. It’s an unexpected pairing, but arguably the funniest in the series as it results in perfectly timed chaos.  

Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani is the third trainee to pay a visit to Murderville. Out of all six guests, Nanjiani is definitely the most prepared to fire back at Seattle’s unexpected antics, as he goes along with everything Seattle throws at him. He breaks character just enough to make this episode feel like an SNL skit, but his dedication to the jokes makes for a hilarious episode as they try to bust a killer at Seattle’s high school reunion. 

The fourth celebrity detective is Annie Murphy, known to many as Alexis Rose from the TV show “Schitt’s Creek.” Her appearance definitely showed a different side of her comedy than most are used to, as her natural personality is much more relaxed and understated than that of her most famous character. However, her casual personality actually works phenomenally with Seattle’s as they decipher who killed the city’s health inspector. She takes on all of the weird tasks Seattle finds for her, from making pastries for a crazed chef to going undercover for a city mobster. 

Sharon Stone guest stars for the fifth episode, and it is an awkward, albeit  amusing, mystery. Although Seattle and Murphyhave noticeably less chemistry than in the previous episodes, the plotline of this episode is weird and gory enough to remain entertaining. Seattle and Stone are tasked with a murder among the hospital staff, and the results of their tomfoolery in this medical environment add a bit of needed shock value. 

The final guest star is Ken Jeong, and although he is an extremely successful and seasoned comedian, you might not be able to tell from this episode. While the episode as a whole definitely still packs a comedic punch, Seattle is able to break Jeong several times. The improvisational aspect does not hold up in this finale, though the episode is still worth watching. 

It may not be a perfect show –– storylines become repetitive and clues become increasingly obvious –– but the unique, and Arnett’s immense comedic talent, make it worth a watch.