by Kathleen Costa
AcornTV has been my go-to entertainment for over two years and in that time I’ve enjoyed dozens and dozens of classic and contemporary mysteries, dramas, comedies, and some fascinating documentaries at a very reasonable monthly or annual fee. But, they’re not just British shows like Kingdom and Ackley Bridge, they come from all over the Commonwealth. From Canada, I am eager for all Murdoch Mysteries and Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mystery; from Ireland I found the gritty Jack Taylor and the delightful The Clinic; from Scotland I rewatch Hamish MacBeth and Shetland; from India I couldn’t pass up The Good Karma Hospital; and from down-under I get Kiwi favorite 800 Words and Aussie gems like The Brokenwood Mysteries and my new find…My Life is Murder. AcornTV offers so much for more than the typical Anglophile.
My Life is Murder first aired in August 2019 with ten engaging 45-minute episodes. The series, set in Melbourne, goes well beyond the idea of a police procedural-style drama with a clever sense of humor, friendships-not-friendships banter, a wayward cat, and bread baking. It took me awhile to actually start watching because back in the day I wasn’t really a fan of Xena: Warrior Princess, but I am a fan of the “G’day, mate” attitude, Aussie accent, and down-under setting, so I clicked on episode one “The Boyfriend Experience.” The hot present day meeting with a hunky male escort, flashback to the beginning and a plea from a handsome detective to investigate a suspicious death, quirky tech wiz who has a portable vacuum cleaner fetish, and Lawless’s passion for baking bread…WOW! I’m hooked!
Alexa Crowe (Lucy Lawless) is a retired homicide detective frustrated with the problems she’s encountered with her Loobenschwegen, an industrial bread processor, struggling with a product guide, repair video, and lackluster assistance from the service department. It may all be in German, but she’s fluent, Italian, too. She is approached by ex-colleague and long-time friend DI Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry) asking her to consult on a cold case he finds suspicious where alibis are questionable and money trail is substantial. His official look hit a roadblock, but as a PI consultant, she would have a bit more freedom asking questions, gaining access, and even a bit of trespassing. Her tech skills are average, so she’s provided with “smart kid” Madison Feliciano (Ebony Vagulans) who has a serious passion herself with a Schmilford, the Rolls-Royce of portable vacuum cleaners; she’s also very eager to be working with and mentored by Alexa, even though Alexa is more of a taskmaster. The “experience” leads her to Dylan Giroux, male escort, who had a “professional” relationship with the victim, accepted thousands from the victim, and has a dialect more from Perth than the Sydney he says he’s from. All of this makes him a person of interest and the target of Alexa’s undercover work…or is it the reverse?
“To the living we owe respect, to the dead, the truth”
Alexa Crowe is a widow; her early retirement seems tied to her detective husband’s death and subsequent “inheritance;” details are sketchy. She is an insomniac, under a doctors care, finding comfort in wearing his vintage gold watch and baking artisan breads at all hours of the morning and night. Renewing her PI status, she has become a reluctant mentor, roommate to a cat not allowed in her condo, obsessive about how her bread is received at her friend’s café, and runs afoul of her neighbor and head of the condo board. She may not have an official badge anymore, she is, however, eager to accept the “mission” of uncovering the truth behind several cold cases; from an old nemesis to a suspicious bike accident to undercover in a cooking school, from a social media nightmare to a true crime podcaster to a former high-school teacher, from gamblers to clairvoyants to plastic surgeons, Alexa runs into all forms of misdemeanors and felonies, often murder, and too often it’s punctuated by some personal peril.
My Life is Murder earns 5+/5 Artisan Multi-grains! The stories are clever and engaging using contemporary issues of hate crimes, corporate and family conflicts, and social media with well-written banter and snarky fun and always a surprise twist at the end. The acting is entertaining with a delightful dynamic between Alexa and Madison and a hint of more-than-friends with DI Hussey I hope to see explored. Lucy Lawless has made me a fan. She surprised me with a performance that was endearing, realistic, and my kind of snarky humor. One fun observation is the way the series title My Life is Murder pops up in the opening credits…clever! I love it!
Season Two! Reports say that actress Lucy Lawless has been contracted for five seasons. It appears season 2 just may air this summer, and not long after that, it may hit AcornTV. Fingers crossed!
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