blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

My Life Is Murder (2019) s03e01 – It Takes Two

Between “My Life Is Murder” season one and season two, lead Lucy Lawless moved the production from Australia to New Zealand, which meant significant life changes for her character. Her sidekick, Ebony Vagulans, came over to help her out, and the show’s second season had a gentle plot about Lawless moving back home.

And then the overarching mystery became whether Lawless was knocking boots with police department contact Rawiri Jobe, something last season’s finale seemed to answer in the affirmative. But it might be possible they have slumber parties when Vagulans is out of town (she and Lawless are still living together). This episode makes their status no clearer, though they do get some charming sequences together.

Without a hook, “Murder”’s new season feels like another episode of the procedural, same as it ever was. No discernable time has passed; “Murder”’s one of those shows of the early twenties set in an alternate universe without Covid-19.

Or is New Zealand just over it because they took it seriously.

The mystery this episode—besides whether or not Jobe and Lawless are canoodling—involves murdered dance instructor Mikaela Rüegg. Jobe’s supposed to arrest local computer programmer and weird nerd Daniel Musgrove, but he thinks there’s something up with the dance school. Lawless, bringing hunky but also seemingly platonic pal Joseph Naufahu along as her dance partner, discovers the dance students are a high drama lot.

There’s sexy instructor Adam Fiorentino, his star student, Kimberley Crossman, a skeevy married guy, Mike Mongue, and then Fiorentino’s mysterious mom, Jennifer Ward-Lealand. The episode neatly lays out the suspects and paces Lawless’s various discoveries quite well. It’s a tidy mystery, script credit to Malinna Liang.

There are some excellent dance sequences, whether the stars or their doubles and the eventual solution’s both a stretch and not. The episode lays the foundation; it just does it subtly as opposed to everything else.

Lawless is still an excellent lead, Vagulans a fine Watson (who gets very little to do other than hack every computer in Auckland). Musgrove ends up being good, and it’s nice having more Naufahu.

“Murder” might be familiar, but it’s a very sturdy familiar.

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