‘Murderville’ pilot episode combines comfort with comical chaos

1 season | Sitcom/Comedies | 6 episodes
Starring: Will Arnett, Haneefah Wood, Lilan Bowden
Aired: February 2022 to present
Network: Netflix

     The pilot of “Murderville” depicts a homicide detective solving a murder case while poorly and hilariously training a new recruit. I started episode one expecting a corny sitcom but instead realized I had discovered an eccentric new comfort show. 

     Will Arnett plays detective Terry Seattle in this comical “whodunit” murder mystery. Seattle must investigate the case of a magician’s assistant who was accidentally sawed in half while simultaneously training the new recruit Conan O’Brien, who stars as himself.  

     The plot itself came across as a little too cheesy for my liking, but I agree with the description “clever enough” from CNN’s Brian Tallerico on Rotten Tomatoes. It does not seem like the intended main source of entertainment for the show. What kept me intrigued, and what led me to watch the show in the first place, was an added twist in the form of improvisation.  

     Arnett and the rest of the actors performing in the scene know almost everything that will occur. O’Brien does not as he was not given a script and must navigate the scene with improv. 

     At the end of it all, O’Brien has to guess who murdered the magician’s assistant based on the scene he participated in. He accompanies Arnett to interrogate other magicians and an anti-magician alliance. Their goal is to find out who switched the magician’s fake blade with a real one, causing the assistant to get sawed in half.  

     The best improv moments are during these interrogations. Watching O’Brien choke on a sandwich that Arnett drenched in hot sauce while interrogating a sobbing waitress is honestly the kind of content I live for.  

     I also took pleasure in watching the comedian-detective duo break character after Terry Seattle’s extreme excitement over a suspect’s simple magic tricks.  

     I found myself laughing hard at scenes I normally would have found discomforting. One scene of this nature contained the victim of the crime drenched in an absurdly fake and gory blood bath. Watching O’Brien struggle to explain to a little girl why the magician could not use magic to put his assistant back together was an amusing distraction.   

     As far as the game aspect of the show goes, the concept is not clear from the beginning. It was sort of disappointing to realize at the end of the episode that O’Brien was actually playing a “Clue” inspired game that I could have participated in as well. This proves that appreciating the humorous aspects and plot does not require participation in the game. Viewers have more of a personalized experience this way.  

     This chaotic Netflix comedy series has improv and amusing quips throughout that made this first episode most enjoyable and recommendable to anyone looking for a good laugh. I will definitely consider watching more of this series.