Murder City (TV series)

Murder City
Format Crime/Drama
Created by Robert Murphy (writer)
Starring Amanda Donohoe
Kris Marshall
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of episodes 10
Executive producer(s) Andy Harries
Running time 90 minutes
Original channel ITV (ITV1/STV/UTV)
Original run 18 March 2004 –
26 April 2006
External links

Murder City is a British police drama that centres on two mismatched detectives who scour London solving complex cases. Murder City premiered on 18 March 2004 on the ITV Network at 9pm. BBC America began airing the series on 17 August 2006.



Amanda Donohoe plays Detective Inspector Susan Alembic. While possibly one of the more talented DIs in her department, she partners with the arguably less experienced detective sergeant, Luke Stone. In season 1, the character seemingly contradicted the pattern of the single British female detective. Although Wire in the Blood, Prime Suspect, and Blue Murder provided well-developed female protagonists in DCI Carol Jordan, DCI Jane Tennison, and DCI Janine Lewis, the shows frequently focused on the leads' sexual relationships, difficulties, or lack thereof. However, Murder City, in season 1, rarely references Alembic's personal life and only at the conclusion of episode 3, Happy Families, does the audience learn the character is married with a child. Additionally, in episode 4 season 1, Mr. Right, she chastises DS Stone for his inability to balance his personal life with his work life. Although by the book, she frequently solved the cases she encountered for each episode. However, in season two, the character slightly shifted externally from the professional business-suited exterior of season 1 to a more business casual attire constituting jeans and t-shirts. Additionally, despite the hints of a solid marriage and congenial parent-child relationship in season 1, the writers hint at the possibility of her husband's infidelity in season 2, episode 1, Wives and Lovers.

Kris Marshall plays DS Luke Stone, DI Alembic's partner. Although initially used to provide comic relief in season 1 and viewed as impetuous by peers DI Adrian Dumfries and DCI Sebastian Turner due to his outrageous theories, he typically provides iron-clad theories. In season 1, DS Stone appears as the eccentric genius loner. Despite a strong connection with DI Alembic, he avoids long-term relationships and romantically interacting with women outside of sexual liaisons. A recurring joke in season 1 surrounds his inability to remember the names of his departmental conquests and his difficulty in dealing with Dr. Parvaz. In Mr. Right, season 1 episode 4, he becomes obsessed with a female murder victim. DI Alembic confronts his over dedication to the job, lack of emotional commitment, and usage of the job as a secondary home. Season 1 frames him as a type of a wild canon. DI Dumfrieds references him as Alembic's 'Monkey' and in episode 2, Turner 'punishes' him by assigning him to a loner case. However, Stone's 'inspiration' assists him in solving the perfect crime committed in episode 1. And his fascination with the 'throwaway' case of episode two brings to light the murder of a murderer. Despite his superiors' seeming disparagement towards his off-the-cusp methods, in episode 4, DI Alembic encourages DS Stone to follow his instincts regarding his obsession with the victim's diary/novel (after berating his lack of a social life). In episode 5, DI Dumfries assigns Stone's 'instincts' to create a diorama of a crime scene to identify a drive-by shooting's intended victim. In season 2, the character remains a strong crime-solver, despite coming on too strong, but the writers do not overtly emphasize his inspirational crime 'genius' personality.

Amber Agar plays Dr. Annie Parvez, a coroner in the same department as Susan and Luke. Although attracted to Luke, the recurring theme includes her grudge against him when he did not call her after a date. In season 2 episode 1, they slightly expand her role by using her as a profiler.

Geff Francis stars as DI Adrian Dumfries. He serves as the male counterpart of DI Alembic and her competitor in season 1. Although his race added diversity to the cast, his character portrayed a 'head boy' personality. He alternated between partnering with DI Alembic or competing against her for control of cases while barely disguising his disregard for DS Stone. Despite his grandstanding, he contributed to the solution of the mystery of the week. In season 1 episode three, Happy Families, he assists the DCI in shifting partial financial responsibility for an out-of-control budget onto the DCI from a competing precinct. Additionally, in episode four, Mr. Right, he separates a violent wholesaler from his family. However, for the final two episodes, his character's case contributions diminished. At the end of episode 5, he cedes Alembic the crown and steps back from competing with her for case control. In season 1 episode 6, Nothing Sacred, his character's ego increased, while his crime-solving capabilities decreased. He cared less about listening to a suspect than attempting to win the 'case-solver' of the week prize offered by the DCI. His character did not feature heavily in season 2.

Tim Woodward plays the hardass DCI Sebastian Turner. In season 1, he quietly oversees the covert competition between his two lead DIs. However, in season two, with the decrease of DI Dumfries' role, DCI Turner interacts increasingly with his team.

Season 1 continuously re-aligned character team-ups. Although DI Alembic and DS Stone were the lead characters and partners, the writers frequently separated them at the beginning of each episode, by providing them with their own case to solve. While Alembic typically partnered with Dumfries, Dumfries also possessed his own cases which the episodes followed. Additionally, character personality alignment frequently varied. Episodes either switched between Stone and Alembic uniting against Dumfries' head boy personality or Dumfries and Alembic conjoining to discourage Stone's wild theories. However, one episode showed all three sharing a laugh, despite their DCI's chagrin. Episodes 1-4, despite showing the personality failures of each character, did not overtly lampoon any character or favor one crime solving style over another. Both the 'out of the box' and the 'by the book' characters contribute to the solution of their individual cases through their unique approaches.


The following is a list and summary of the episodes that have aired the UK and in the US provided by

Series 1

# Title Original airdate Summary
1 The Critical Path 18 March 2004 (UK)
August 17, 2006 (US)
When a 16-year-old girl disappears from her home, leaving a blood-spattered bedroom behind, Susan and Luke start trying to track down the missing teenager, hoping that she may still be alive. Meanwhile, the mysterious death of a City trader who is shot in the neck with an arrow proves a tough case to crack.
2 Under the Skin 25 March 2004 (UK)
August 24, 2006 (US)
When an unearthed skull opens a murder investigation, Stone orders a facial reconstruction of the skull and the photographs go to press, prompting a woman to come forward claiming that the face in the photo belongs to a man who raped and strangled her sister several years earlier. When Dumfries informs them that a different man was convicted of that murder, Stone and Alembic dig further and unearth a web of lies surrounding the previous investigation.
3 Happy Families 1 April 2004 (UK)
August 31, 2006 (US)
The butchered body of a woman is found in a rubbish dump and the investigation into her murder leads Susan and Luke onto the trail of a baby-smuggling operation based in the Ukraine.
4 Mr. Right 8 April 2004 (UK)
September 21, 2006 (US)
A 25-year-old woman and her lover are found dead in a hotel room, shot through the head with the same single bullet. The man, Alan Scobie, is identified as a notorious criminal on remand for manslaughter, but it isn't clear which of the two was the original target.
5 Big City, Small World 15 April 2004 (UK)
September 14, 2006 (US)
A wealthy Turkish businessman killed in a drive-by shooting at first appears to have been an unlucky casualty of a turf war between Kurds and Turks, until a pathologist's report reveals that he had died of a heart attack before being shot and had also been poisoned.
6 Nothing Sacred 22 April 2004 (UK)
September 7, 2006 (US)
The owner of a gallery specialising in Islamic art is discovered in the boot of a submerged car. Armed with a clue found in the dead man's flat, Alembic and Stone head for a casino, but their investigation is destined to end in further tragedy.

Series 2

# Title Original airdate Summary
7 Wives and Lovers 5 April 2006 A teenage couple kiss one another goodnight when the dead body of a woman is thrown from the top of an apartment block, killing the young man. DC Bain links the dead woman to a dating agency for married people, and DI Alembic goes undercover as a client.
8 Just Seventeen 12 April 2006 A teenage girl is found dead in her school with her wrists slashed, while a man has been tied to a tree and shot dead in the woods nearby. Stone and Alembic lead separate investigations. Is there a connection?
9 Death of a Ladies' Man 19 April 2006 DI Susan Alembic and DS Luke Stone investigate the sniper-shooting of a young man in his flat, while DCs Alison Bain and Frank Craven deal with a hit-and-run killing.
10 Game Over 26 April 2006 (UK)
October 19, 2006 (US)
One young woman is strangled as she lets herself into her flat, while across town another wakes to find her boyfriend has been shot while she slept.

DVD release

On 14 August 2007, Murder City will be released on a four disc DVD box set by Image Entertainment.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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