Having watched the first 7 in the "McBride" series of made for TV movies I approached the eighth movie for former cop turned lawyer Mike McBride knowing exactly what to expect and I got exactly what I expected. In fact I would say the only thing in "McBride: Semper Fi" was a scene in the courtroom where McBride is visibly angered by the prosecution lawyer, something I don't remember seeing in any of those previous movies. Now for some the fact "McBride: Semper Fi" uses the same formula will be a disappointment but in truth it is one of the reasons to watch, that familiarity which means you can just enjoy the gentle humour of Mike and partner Phil defending a wrong accused man and dealing with the occasional quirky character.
Mike McBride (John Larroquette) is approached by his old friend Claire Whitman (Barbara Niven), from his days as cop, to represent her brother Tom (Liam Waite) who has been accused of murdering his pregnant wife. Whilst Mike and Phil set about building a case discovering that Tom had been having an affair with the pretty Kaia Rourke (Katie Walder) they find Roberta (Marta DuBois) less than helpful due to her less than friendly history with Claire.
So as already mentioned "McBride: Semper Fi" uses the same formula which has been the basis for all the previous movies, so we have the opening irrelevant court case, Mike talking to the accused, the talking to various suspects and witnesses as the case is built and of course the big courtroom ending where McBride pulls a rabbit out of the hat to save the day. As such "McBride: Semper Fi" is what I would call easy watching because you know very well how things are going to play out and you can just watch the fun, be it Phil talking with a nosy neighbour who may have witnessed something to the tension between Roberta and Claire. Of course it does mean that we are not talking gritty drama here but then anything more than the surprise of seeing McBride get angry in the courtroom would be out of place in a movie which relies heavily on the charm of John Larroquette and comedy of Matt Lutz.
Having said all of that the actual storyline to "McBride: Semper Fi" strangely impressed because we do have a bit of a tangled web which leads us to a few possible suspects for the murder of Tom's wife. It does make the fateful mistake of being less than subtle when it delivers a hint to who the real guilty party is but in a way that adds to the easy going charm because with the seed sewn you try and think how are they going to get to the ending. The only negative is that the ongoing elements of the earlier movies such as the house McBride was renovating and his semi romance with Roberta seems to have fallen by the wayside.
As for the acting well other than delivering a moment of anger John Larroquette delivers his usual easy going charm whilst Matt Lutz has the pick of the comedy moments especially when talking to the nosy neighbour Glynnis Jackson brilliantly played by Esther Scott. Aside from that Marta DuBois as Roberta again gets to do tough and attractive with Barbara Niven as Claire Whitman delivering the same and between them delivering some enjoyably catty scenes.
What this all boils down to is that with the exception of a moment of anger from McBride "McBride: Semper Fi" is another typical and enjoyable entry in this made for TV series. It doesn't do anything new but in an easy going way is still entertaining.