While Covid-19 doesn’t exist in “My Life Is Murder”—seriously, how long does it have to go on before someone might think they should address it even for reruns; we had to deal with flag pins for a decade—Zoom has still become a thing. Unclear how Zoom became ubiquitous in a world without lockdown, but since one of the show’s central conceits is Lucy Lawless’s four loaves of sourdough bread are all Joe Naufahu ever needs for his restaurant… there’s some obvious willful suspension of disbelief.
Zoom figures in a lot this episode, both in the case and not in the case, with first season regular Bernard Curry popping in to remind how one can simultaneously be affable and lack charm. There’s even bad timing from Curry. It’s not a bad cameo—and much better than I expected when they showed his name pop up on Lawless’s phone—but this season is such a joyful success; why remind of the wanting first season.
This episode has a complex—no pun intended—vineyard mystery. Young vintner Tatum Warren-Ngata dies in a horrible accident, but there might be something corked—pun intended—about it, so copper Rawiri Jobe sends Lawless to investigate. The vineyard’s on an island, which requires a sleepover at a bed and breakfast, so Ebony Vagulans tags along. There’s (presumably) free wine. And studly master vintner Jay Ryan running the show. Ryan’s got such a phony-looking mustache it seems like it’s going to be a Scooby-Doo reveal at the end, but based on a quick IMDb search, it might be real. It’s not important.
Because he quickly because a prime suspect just for the suspicious creep factor. Even if he’s not a killer—he’s got the best alibi, and it’s not even a homicide for sure—there’s something shady about his wine. The solution to the mystery is going to involve a whole bunch of wine talk. “My Life Is Murder” has been very comfortable being repetitive with exposition to keep viewers caught up, but this episode—writing credit to Shoshana McCallum—demands they pay attention to winemaking minutiae. They sort of simplify it for the finish, but it’s still full of… ahem… complexities.
While the vineyard’s away from the city and presumably the cast besides Lawless and Vagulans, Jobe and Naufahu do manage to keep showing up. Lawless and Vagulans are either in the apartment, baking bread and thinking through the investigation—the episode does an excellent job with the thinking through process, and both Lawless and Vagulans are getting really good at having eureka moments—harassing one of the suspects, or just hanging out with Jobe and Naufahu. At one point, they all have a glass of champagne together, with Naufahu naturally joining in even though he’s kind of just their favorite barista.
It does actually set up a later scene in the mystery solution, so well done, episode.
Also, Jobe appears to drink on the job a lot. And Vagulans now regularly teases him about a romance with Lawless, so I wasn’t the only one who saw the chemistry.
Good supporting performances from everyone at the vineyard—Ryan, Britain Swarbrick, Nicola Kawana, Graham Vincent. Not Warren-Ngata in her social media footage (seriously, vlogging has entirely changed flashback devices), but, well, it doesn’t really matter. It all works out.
“My Life Is Murder” definitely seems to have found its formula.