Netflix Offers First Look at New Crime Comedy With a Twist

If there's one thing audiences can't get enough of, it's crime shows! With twists and turns at every corner, the genre has long been a staple among fans across various networks. But Netflix is kicking it up another level with its newest murder-mystery, a comedy called Murderville out next month. Starring Will Arnett as Senior Detective Terry Seattle of the Homicide Division, Murderville isn't your run-of-the-mill crime show. The series has a unique twist to it — namely, that it's largely improvised.

Based on the award-winning BBC3 series Murder in Successville, the six-episode procedural comedy premiering Feb. 3 finds Arnett's Detective Seattle meeting a new partner every day, played by a celebrity guest. But to keep things fun and surprising, none of the show's visitors are given a script nor know what is about to happen to them. Together, the guest star and Detective Seattle must solve the murder and improvise their way through the case. However, it is up to the guest star alone to name the killer.

(Photo: Netflix)

Of the guest detectives in training, Murderville will recruit Conan O'Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Annie Murphy, Sharon Stone and Ken Jeong for its six-episode run. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Arnett admitted his pitch to the prospective talent was a bit daunting but came down to it most simply as "making Law & Order without a script." Sharing how "Conan really understood the game of it," his episode involving an "absurd magic show murder case" entails Arnett's Seattle irritated in welcoming O'Brien — who like the other guests — will play themselves. "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—."

Not everyone involved in Murderville came in without any knowledge though. Eight of the writers alongside Arnett mapped out every episode, including who would be the victim, the culprit and suspects each time. Not to mention, each script was written loosely and featured sizable holes for the guest stars to improvise and work off the cuff with their own guesses. "And if it all goes sideways, I'd have to go sideways too," Arnett said. The Canadian actor, known for his time on Arrested Development, is also joined in every episode by actors Haneefah Wood (Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle), Lilan Bowden (medical examiner Amber Kang) and Philip Smithey (Detective Darren "Daz" Phillips).

Murderville will begin streaming on Feb. 3 and while there are only six episodes in the first season, Arnett is hopeful for more. Yet, also practical. "I'd love to do more if it works and people respond to it and if people kind of shrug and go, 'Yeah, fine,' then great, we had a lot of fun."