by Doward Wilson
& Lorie Lewis Hamn
This week, as big fans of the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, we are excited to not only have a review of the second Darrow and Darrow mystery movie The Key of Murder, but we also have an interview with one of the creators of the series, Phoef Sutton!
Darrow and Darrow 2: The Key of Murder
Review by Doward Wilson
The Key of Murder is another great entry in Hallmark’s Movies & Mysteries Darrow & Darrow Series! Meet Claire Darrow a small town attorney who really believes in “Justice For All,” even if they can’t pay full price fees. Joanna Darrow is Claire’s mother who has just returned from life at a big law firm. When the firm needs a scapegoat for an iffy scheme that went wrong, Joanna took the fall. Trying to convince Claire to let her back into Darrow and Darrow, that she had helped found, isn’t going the way either of them wants. Joanna is all about making the money to keep the firm afloat, but Claire wants a combination of pro-bono and income-producing clients. Can these two hard headed, intelligent and independent women work it out?
Claire’s new love interest, District Attorney Miles Strasberg, asks her to take his younger half-sister’s case. Phoebe has just finished her first record and is fighting her ex-producer for control of it. When the producer is found murdered, after threatening to destroy all copies of the record, the evidence all points to Phoebe. Can Claire prove her innocence and get back control of the record or will Phoebe pay the price for her artistic temperament?
Kimberly Williams-Paisley plays Claire and Wendie Malick plays her mother Joanna. Tom Cavanagh plays District Attorney Miles. The three main actors work well together, and the movie is well plotted. Hallmark is doing a wonderful job of taking several different book series and turning them into entertaining Cozy Mystery Movie Series on their Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel and this original series is wonderful too. For a relaxing and enjoyable weekend tune into this and all their other mystery movies.
Interview with Darrow and Darrow creator Phoef Sutton:
KRL: When and how did you first get involved in writing for TV?
Phoef: My first television job was freelance episode of Cheers. I was very lucky to begin my career on such prestigious show. I’d been a playwright and my work came to the attention of Glen and Les Charles, the creators of Cheers.
KRL: What shows have you written for?
Phoef: I’ve written by Cheers, Newhart, Bob (with Bob Newhart), Thanks, Boston Legal Terriers for FX, and Defiance for the SyFy Channel) among other shows.
KRL: How did it come about for you to create and write the Darrow and Darrow movies for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries?
Phoef: Jonathan Axelrod, the producer, and I came up the idea for the movie series and pitched to Hallmark.
KRL: Did they provide you with a premise they wanted, or did they just ask you to create a movie mystery series?
Phoef: Neither. We came up with the idea and pitched it to Michelle Vickery and Randy Pope at Hallmark. They liked the idea and bought it.
KRL: How did you come up with the idea for the series of movies? What sparked the idea? And did you come up with it with the intention of pitching it to Hallmark?
Phoef: Jonathan Axelrod had the idea of “a modern-day Clarence Darrow.” We talked about it, and I added the idea of the mother and mother conflict. We always thought Hallmark would be the right home for it.
KRL: When did you start working on the first movie?
Phoef: I believe it was early in 2016.
KRL: Have you ever worked with Hallmark before?
Phoef: No, this was my first job with the network.
KRL: What do you like best about writing these movies?
Phoef: The characters! I just love them.
KRL: What has been the hardest?
Phoef: Getting the story right. Mysteries are hard work!
KRL: What was different about writing the second one? Was it easier the second time around?
Phoef: It was easier. I knew the characters by then. The more I write them, the more I get to know them. They’re like old friends now.
KRL: Can you share any fun behind the scenes stories?
Phoef: Just that Wendy and Kim are delightful to work with. It was freezing and raining when we shot the baseball scenes in the second one. They were real troopers!
KRL: Do you know if there will be more movies?
Phoef: We go into production on the third one next month! (this interview took place in May)
KRL: Anything else you would like to share about the movies?
Phoef: Just that we have a great time making them and hope to keep doing it!
KRL: I know you also write mystery novels-how long have you been doing that, and which came first-TV or books?
Phoef: TV came first. I’ve been writing for television for thirty years now. I’ve been writing novels for about five years.
KRL: How are they (writing for TV or writing novels) different from one another?
Phoef: Writing novels is a very solitary affair. Writing for TV is very collaborative, but I like doing both.
KRL: Can you give us the name of some of your books?
Phoef: I have a series of books about bodyguard/nightclub bouncer in LA who’s called Crush. The books are Crush, Heart Attach and Vine, and Colorado Boulevard. They are what they call “hard-boiled mysteries.” I’ve also written a psychological thriller, 15 Minutes to Live and a romantic ghost story, From Away. In addition to this, I’ve written two novels in collaboration with Janet Evanovich, Curious Minds and Wicked Charms.
KRL: Please tell us about your latest book?
Phoef: From Away is a very personal book about family and ghosts. It’s not a horror story, per se, though it does involve spirits and communication with those who have passed over. It’s about a man who tries to deny his mediumistic powers. It’s set on an island off the coast of Maine. Published by Prospect Park Books, it’s available through Amazon. I think your readers will like it.
KRL: Where can people find you online?
Phoef: Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. All under “Phoef Sutton.” I also have a website, phoefsutton.com. I’m not hard to find!
Thanks to Phoef Sutton for taking the time to chat with us!
You can check out KRL’s reviews of other mystery movies on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel in our mystery section. You can also check out the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel website to learn more and check out their schedule for more new movies coming this summer which KRL will also be reviewing. And be sure to check out our new mystery podcast which launches its first episode on June 5!