by Kathleen Costa
What better way to fill the “stay home” hours than by streaming clever and fun murder mysteries! AcornTV has an excellent library of vintage, iconic, and contemporary mysteries, dramas, and police procedurals. Get your Sherlock on with lots of Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple, then Pie in the Sky, Above Suspicion, and Deadwater Fell. But your reasonable monthly or annual membership also includes comedies (French Fields, Trivia), documentaries (The Family Farm, Bollywood), and feature films (The Return, The Scapegoat). My Anglophile passion is often satiated with programs from Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and there’s always a surprise or three like Canada’s WWII Bomb Girls, Britain’s Victorian era Jericho, and Australia’s contemporary gem Mr. and Mrs. Murder.
Clean Up on Aisle…Murder!
Mr. and Mrs. Murder is married couple Nicola and Charlie Buchanan. They run ToxiClean, Your Mess is Our Life, an industrial cleaning service specializing in crime scene mop ups, and a perfect opportunity for a “curious cat” and an accommodating husband to be enticed into investigating the what, why, and who of a tragic mess. “Mrs. Murder” (Kat Stewart), nicknamed “Fizzy” by her husband, is more than curious; she’s impulsive and a bit obsessed to understand what happened at the scenes they clean. Sometimes she’s confronted by an innocent plea or just a desire to be in the know. “Mr. Murder” (Shaun Micallef), nicknamed “Chaka Kahn” by his wife, is a neat freak, perfect to ensure a cleaning job is completed, and he notices things..everything, and opines, ”It’s my curse!” He also acts the expert with a semester here, a third of this, almost to the end of that, and he’s a wiz with languages and accents. Jess Chalmers (Lucy Honigman) is their niece and unsure about finishing up her MBA. She seems to be the go-to when a new face is needed to get information, a sidekick to divert attention, and in a big job, she’s an extra mop. Detective Peter Vinetti (Jonny Pasvolsky) has gained the most from Nicola’s brilliant amateur detective work. Her previous successes have been officially on his record, so now he’s the full-time detective. Of course, he is aware how much help he receives from the Buchanan’s involvement and may have them on speed dial when another murder requires a clean up. He also seems very taken with Nicola, reminding him of his ex-wife, but despite this being common knowledge, there is no romantic triangle. The team is often confused as being part of the police, but they’re “just the cleaners,” so suspects, witnesses, and ultimately the killer tend to confide in them easily. Although, the team skirts legalities and search warrants as any respecting “snoop” would, what the detective doesn’t know will be easy to deny. “Don’t tell me you broke in and stole evidence!” is often met with “Ok, I won’t.”
Another Aussie Gem!
Mr. and Mrs. Murder first aired in 2013 with thirteen episodes (45 minutes each), but unfortunately ended after the one season. Why? Why! I don’t get it. Filmed in and around the beautiful Melbourne, it was clever with varied felonious incidents, witty banter, ingenious investigative techniques, a loving couple, comic generational misunderstandings, and Aussie accents! The crime starts right off which makes the investigation the main focus. I love the opening credits colorful comic book style and light, catchy soundtrack that adds to the comedic side of the drama. Both main characters fit in style, manner, and appearance as a married couple offering unconditional support as a sounding board, validating each other’s strengths, and finding faults endearing. The supporting cast is a perfect compliment, their occasional book club group offers insights or extra tech support, and many guest stars are, for me, recognizable Aussie favorites. I loved the series!
Whether in books or movies or television shows, I am fascinated by even the smallest detail, fact, or tidbit, unique setting, or seeing an actor I recognize from another show. Here are just a few fun discoveries…In case you missed it.
Ep. 1–“Early Checkout” Hugo Johnston-Burt (Miss Fisher’s Constable Collins) makes an appearance as a distraught person of interest. Bell Tea? New Zealand’s oldest tea company and member of the Ethical Tea Partnership.
Ep 2–“A Dog’s Life” Interesting reference to “playing mother” or “playing mom” means you pour the tea. Everyone seems to have a full tea set with a short stubby pot and matching cups. I feel a philistine with my eclectic collection of mugs.
Ep 3–“En Vogue” Charlie is full of fascinating facts, including his extensive floriography, the language of flowers. Did you know…“Lettuce means cold-hearted?” Nicola’s retort, “Does that go double for ‘iceberg lettuce’?” wins a silent belly laugh!
Ep 4–“Atlas Drugged” A good way to check one is of sound mind is to ask their “favorite movie.” Charlie: Blade Runner. Which version? The one without the voiceover. Not me!
Ep 5–“Lost Soul” Tunnels under Melbourne? Fascinating topic to google…built after the rebellion in the gold fields. Rebellion? Hey, Siri!
Ep 6–“The Next Best Man” Ahh! Koalas! Koala fingerprints are indistinguishable from human prints. They have loops and whorls. Fascinating fact again from Charlie.
Ep 7–“Thoroughly Dead Thoroughbred” Licorice magic tree. Google? Licorice is not a cure-all, but it is a natural, medicinal gift for horses and humans. My dad’s favorite candy was all things black licorice. Have you tried licorice ice cream?
Ep 8–“A Flare for Murder” Robert Taylor (Longmire) makes an appearance as, what else…the number one suspect! Interesting to hear his native Aussie accent which makes you appreciate his ability to do “American.”
Ep 9–“The Art of Murder” Along with their cleaning skill, they both have extraordinary “olfactory” senses. Cinnamon buns reminded them of “cleaning out the roof of Captain Cook’s Cottage.” Funny…I visited that place on my trip to Melbourne, Australia. Duck! The doorways and stairs are closer to the ceiling.
Ep 10–“Little Boxes” Beach Box! The “box,” a colorful one room beach hut, sits perfectly on the beach with views to die for. Here it might be a crime scene, but what a marvelous getaway!
Ep 11–“Keeping Up Appearances” First, gents, “Lavanya is Sanskrit for beautiful woman.” Good nickname for a wife or girlfriend. And in highlighting a plastic surgery clinic, isn’t it interesting to know as early as 600 BC a Hindu surgeon, Hudafta Fasanpat, wrote about his rhinoplasty techniques?
Ep 12–“Zootopia” Charlie’s not a zoologist, although he’d done two semesters. A hippo breaks wind through its mouth. Giraffes sleep only five minutes a day. Tigers have a pulse sensor in their canine teeth. Two semesters were well worth it. Ooh, left-handed scissors were banned in sixteenth century Salem?
Ep 13–“The Course Whisperer” Ok…”Pig meat is especially receptive to its diet; you can get pork to taste like anything depending on what you’re feeding it.” What if you feed a pig…Apples. Pecans. Chocolate?
And that was the end…too bad. I’ll definitely put this in my Favorite file and watch again and again.
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