What the Maid Saw
When someone tries to murder wealthy businessman Carl Harriman Sr. (Tom Howard) the finger of blame is focussed on his young wife, Claire (Paula Trickey - A Carol Christmas), who is unpopular with Carl's children. Represented by inexperienced public defender Phil Newberry (Matt Lutz - Murder Without Conviction), Claire looks destined to be found guilty of attempted murder. Except Mike McBride (John Larroquette - Wedding Daze) is on the jury and forces a miss-trial because he not only thinks Phil did a poor job but he doubts whether Claire is guilty. Deciding to take up her case himself Mike finds himself taking on Phil as an assistant when the young lawyer quits as a public defender and is determined to bring McBride into the 21st century.
"McBride: Murder Past Midnight" is the 2nd of the 10 McBride movies which ran from 2005 to 2008 and again sees former detective turned lawyer Mike McBride taking on a worthy case. But whilst we have this case we also have the story of McBride as we learn about the old house he owns and how former public defender Phil came to be working for him. And it works because we have that growing character back story whilst also the drama surrounding the court case.
Now when it comes to "McBride: Murder Past Midnight" it seems to me that this 2nd movie is not so much about the case of proving Claire Harriman innocent but more about establishing various things about McBride which we learned in "McBride: The Chameleon Murder". As such we learn about the old wreck of a house he has, Jess the dog and we also learn how he ended up with Phil as his assistant. It is nicely done in a fun manner so that you know, or at least hope, that come the next McBride movie we will learn a bit more about Mike, why he quit the force as well as his relationship to Det. Roberta.
As such whilst we have McBride getting under people's skin as he tries to prove Claire innocent of murder this side of the movie is a lot less interesting. Yes we see McBride slyly question Claire's step children whilst Phil ends up in trouble whilst trailing people but the final courtroom aspect suddenly creeps up on you and you wonder how we got there. Of course we have the courtroom scene where McBride cleverly solves the crime, clears Claire and points the finger of blame at the real criminal but whilst all of this is entertaining it's not brilliant.
What this really means it that "McBride: Murder Past Midnight" is very much about the actors and their characters with John Larroquette once again making us smile with that easy going confidence and an eye for a beautiful woman. But this time Matt Lutz has more to do as Phil and delivers just as much humour as Larroquette as he seems to bound around the scene with plenty of energy and enthusiasm.
What this all boils down to is that "McBride: Murder Past Midnight" is an entertaining 2nd movie in the series but more because of what we learn about McBride and Phil rather than the actual crime he ends up solving.