One can only feel so bleeding edge TV hip when watching shows from other countries when it turns out they’ve actually changed countries, and one—c’est moi—has no idea. This season of “My Life is Murder” takes place in Auckland, which is in New Zealand. Last season took place in Melbourne (Australia)—also, the whole “Mel-bin” pronunciation thing for Americans is just a white working-class “Barthelona”; rant over.
So now retired copper, widow, and artisan bread-baker Lucy Lawless is now in Auckland. She’s got a great apartment, she’s got her cat, she’s baking bread for a trendy eatery with a hot owner, all she needs now is some murder. Police detective Rawiri Jobe obliges, bringing Lawless a case to consult on.
Grieving recent widow and local shop-owner Robyn Malcolm gets up one morning and shoots her neighbor, Peter Feeney, five or six times during his morning run in front of witnesses. But something about the case just doesn’t sit right with Jobe, and he doesn’t want to put an innocent person in prison. New Zealand cops are such cucks, am I right? Just shoot her dead in her bed and be done with it.
Lawless can’t look into it on her own, so she calls up old assistant Ebony Vagulans for help. Vagulans flies over straightaway—wanting to escape her overbearing, omnipresent family—and starts inserting herself into Lawless’s life. But together, they’ll figure out what’s really going on and make sure the right people are punished. Because it’s a cozy mystery show with an edge, though that edge is just Lawless. Without her—and maybe some of the setting’s trendiness—“Murder” would barely have a pulse. Conventionally attractive or appealing white people with accents get into trouble and end up turning to murder because otherwise, there wouldn’t be a story. But thanks to Lawless, there’s a bite to it. Even though she’s not actually mean or even short-tempered. In fact, she’s full of empathy.
She just finds Vagulans cloying, which is fine; Vagulans being a little cloying—even if it’s justified cloying because Lawless is so cool—is just part of the show’s charm. Vagulans and Lawless don’t exactly banter. Instead, they argue, Lawless wins the argument, Vagulans gets in a final zinger, then Lawless waits a bit and acquiesces because they’re actually a good team. Even if Lawless doesn’t want to be a mentor.
The mystery resolve is a stretch, but it doesn’t really matter. Besides Malcolm, the victim’s wife, Hannah Marshall, and flirty neighbor, David de Lautour, figure into the mix. Besides hot shopkeep Joe Naufahu and detective Jobe, everyone in this episode’s New Zealand is white. Murder amongst the colonizers is actually the standard for the mystery genre going back to Sherlock Holmes.
It’s engaging enough, and Lawless is an excellent lead. She doesn’t constantly try her hardest—especially when flirting with dudes—but she’s a great lead.