In the movie Nowhere Alaska (about 68'52" in), the policeman says something about murder in concert. It sounds like a legal term so I googled it. No relevant hit as far I could see - just a bunch of links on murders during a concert and some band called murder performing at a concert.

Do you know what murder in concert is?

I sense that there's something to that term in formally legal terms but can't find anything. Am I correct or sorowly mistaken?

  • 1
    If the phrase is "in concert with..." it likely means that there was a conspiracy to do murder; several individuals planned and/or executed the murder together. In most US states, the actual legal term is in fact "conspiracy". I don't know about Alaska specifically though! We might be able to answer with more certainly if you gave the full sentence or other use from the source material. Or, perhaps someone here will be familiar with the film and recall it.
    – BadZen
    Sep 8 '20 at 22:49
  • @BadZen I had a sense that it could be in conspiracy with but I prefer not to assume things, rather checking with a broader forum. As for the full sentence in the context, I doubt it'll give you much and there's not with in it (although it might be implicit). See the edit for the full statement. Sep 8 '20 at 23:05
  • There are some citations at least which use the term as a legal term, but they don't seem to refer to the US. I'm pretty sure anywhere in the US it would be legally equivalent to and tried as a "conspiracy to commit murder", but I'm not a lawyer. Sep 8 '20 at 23:17
  • @MaciejStachowski Maybe the cop was supposed to sound pretentiously fancy. I see no other reason using British nomenclature in that case. As far I know, Alaska isn't British territory nor has it ever been one. Sep 8 '20 at 23:40
  • @MicahWindsor Really? According to my historical education, Alaska was owned by Russians that sold it cheaply after a gamble to US thinking they were scamming Yankees giving them a crappy wasteland. Am I misinformed? Sep 9 '20 at 7:36

I am not a lawyer and I'll yield on this to anyone with relevant legal knowledge. Nor have I seen the movie so the quote as given above is all I have to go on. That said ...

I am not aware of "murder in concert" having any technical legal meaning. More likely, the movie is simply using "in concert" in the ordinary English sense. Not referring to a musical performance, but another definition of "concert" is "to act together". If you say that two people did something "in concert" you mean they co-operated with each other. They worked together or otherwise co-ordinated their actions. Or you can say that someone performed some action "in concert with" some other event or some idea or larger plan.

I'd have to see the full quote to know exactly what is meant. But it would be ordinary English to say, "Bob planned this murder in concert with George", meaning that the two of them planned the murder together. Or, "Bob planned this murder in concert with his scheme to scheme to embezzle the money", meaning it was part of this larger plan.

Tangential but potentially amusing side note inspired by @konradViltersten

When I say "ordinary English", I mean as opposed to technical legal language, not necessarily what ordinary English speakers would say in every day conversation.

It reminds me of a story I heard from a mathematician years ago. He went to a conference and attended a lecture where someone was presenting a mathematical proof. At one step in the proof he said, "And of course it's obvious that ..." and transformed the equation for the next step. Someone in the audience objected, "Wait a minute, I don't think that's obvious at all." The speaker started to reply, stopped, stepped back, looked at his proof, and then turned and walked out of the room. Everyone sat rather confused for a while but he didn't come back.

My friend happened to be in the same lecture room on the last day of the conference when this earlier speaker suddenly walked into the room. He looked like he hadn't slept or shaved for several days. This was in the days before PowerPoint so the room had blackboards filling 3 walls. Totally ignoring the current speaker, he walked up to the first blackboard and started writing, He filled all 3 blackboards with formulas and equations and when he got to the end, he threw down the chalk in triumph and declared, "There! It's obvious!"

  • I sense that you're confirming my original interpretation. Just a small remark to your epithet for the concert meaning. You're perfectly correct that con-cert is Latinish for together-wise performance (and adapted in musical context as there's a bunch of people playing, even if it's a bit "abused" by solo performers). However, characterizing it as ordinary English is perhaps not quite accurate. Unless you're running with a rather extraordinary crowd, where that usage of linguistic eloquence is ordinary. Sep 9 '20 at 7:30
  • It reminds me of my math teacher at the university when he wrote down an atrociously ungraspable proof on the blackboard. We asked about certain magical steps, upon which he replied ...but X is easily inferred from Y... not understanding our confusion. He was a bright man but waaaay to modest, not really realizing that easy is actually easy to him and perhaps a few super intelligent colleagues. Not us. Not me, at least. Sep 9 '20 at 7:34
  • @KonradViltersten By "ordinary English" I meant, "not the technical jargon of a particular field, in this case, law". Not necessarily "things the average guy you meet in a bar would say". :-)
    – Jay
    Sep 9 '20 at 15:00
  • I just read your amendment to the answer. It happens rather rarely but I do LOL on occasion. This was one of those. Literally, I laughed audibly. Twice. Such a story seems like a made up one until one visits a university and gets to know some people there. I'm amazed by them. And, also, both impressed and afraid. Mostly impressed. Sep 9 '20 at 22:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .