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Netflix is tackling the crime genre with a new spin on the police procedural in an upcoming comedy series premiering Feb. 3.
“Murderville,” a six-part series with actor and comedian Will Arnett at the helm, centers around Senior Detective Terry Seattle.
Seattle, played by Arnett, is tasked with investigating a murder with a different partner, played by a different guest star in each episode. But there’s a catch: Each guest star has no script in an otherwise scripted show, having no idea what’s about to happen next.
“We’re basically making ‘Law & Order’ without a script,” Arnett told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Murderville” features celebrity guest stars Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek), Conan O’Brien (Conan), Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Sharon Stone (Casino) and former NFL star Marshawn Lynch.
At the end of every episode, each guest must guess who they think committed the crime.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Arnett, who also acts as one of the show’s executive producers, in the Netflix media release.
“I do think people liked the idea that they could come in, they didn’t have to learn any dialogue, and they could be themselves and just go for a ride,” Arnett told THR. “And I have to give these people credit because it’s freakin’ scary as s---.”
One scene, for instance, has Detective Seattle demanding that Ken Jeong’s character position himself in a chalk outline at a crime scene.
“Get in the position and slowly be dying, too,” says Seattle, leading to Jeong breaking character and laughing from the ground.
In another episode, Arnett’s character introduces Sharon Stone as Eva Braun-finger, “From Germany (very thick accent),” forcing Stone into an impromptu German accent as she heedlessly cuts into a cadaver... and another character's hand.
Seattle seemingly has most partners go undercover during their investigations — sometimes in zany disguises — while he directs some of them through an earpiece rather than in asides like Stone.
Comedy legend Conan O’Brien can hardly keep his composure when, undercover, he introduces himself as “Todd Carring,” as Arnett directs O’Brien through his earpiece. Arnett keeps adding syllables to his surname until reaching “Todd Carringtonbergsonfield” before O’Brien begins laughing.
The main cast includes Haneefah Wood as Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle, Lilan Bowden as Medical Examiner Amber Kang, and Phillip Smithey as Detective Darren ‘Daz’ Phillips.
The show is based on the BAFTA award-winning BBC3 series “Murder in Successville,” produced by Tiger Aspect Productions and Shiny Button Productions. The British series ran from 2015 to 2017.
“Murderville” will have its global release on Feb. 3.
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