Netflix’s latest procedural crime show has a pretty unique twist: improv comedy. Murderville stars Will Arnett as veteran Homicide Detective Terry Seattle. Every day he is faced with a new murder to solve and a new celebrity guest star as his partner. The catch: the guest stars don’t have a script and have to improvise, as they and Terry discover new clues and in the end, the celebrity alone has to solve the crime.
Murderville is based on the award-winning UK series Murder in Successville which ran from 2015 to 2017 on BBC Three. While Murder in Successville featured celebrity impressions, Murderville will have the actual celebrities. Arnett—who also executive produces—first approached Conan O’Brien to guest star. O’Brien is not only a comedy legend, but Arnett figured that if he agreed, others certainly would—and he was right!
Season one also features Annie Murphy, Ken Jeong, Kumail Nanjiani, Sharon Stone, and former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who has also appeared on shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Westworld. Arnett explained why the show appealed to the guest stars to the Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Although the comedy of the show is mostly based on improv, Murderville does have a staff of eight writers to map out each episode’s mystery from the backstory of the victim to planting the clues that lead to the culprit. The episodes do have a script, but they usually have sizable holes to accommodate wherever the improv takes the investigation. In addition to Detective Seattle, other recurring characters include Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle (Haneefah Wood), medical examiner Amber Kang (Lilian Bowden), and Detective Darren “Daz” Phillips (Philip Smithey). All six episodes of Murderville will premiere on February 3, 2022.
Check out the trailer for Murderville below!
Featured still from "Murderville" via Netflix.