Since “My Life is Murder” started as a relatively straight Melbourne-based mystery procedural, I don’t know if they would’ve done a horseback riding episode first season. I don’t think they did one last season. But they have so much fun with it this time; I imagine it has to be because star and executive producer Lucy Lawless wanted to ride horses against a beautiful New Zealand backdrop. This episode’s mystery involves a stud farm—of the equestrian variety—which provides lots of opportunities for breathtaking scenery and beautiful horses.
The show’s either an advertisement for New Zealand to the point they ought to suggest B&Bs, or it’s all a humble brag about how much better things are there than everywhere else. Except for the murdering, of course. There’s lots of murdering about.
Lawless’s regular sidekick, Ebony Vagulans, is still pretending to be in Paris this episode, so Lawless again has new sidekick Tatum Warren-Ngata. Not sure how they’re going to handle having both of them around (the teaser spoils Vagulans’s return). Lawless and Warren-Ngata continue to make a good team. Lawless has a fine foil in most of the episode with old curmudgeon Roy Billing, leading to Warren-Ngata getting into trouble. Warren-Ngata’s on leave from the Navy; I guess she can come in and out as needed.
Billing sort of runs the stud farm because new owner Te Kobe Tuhaka is a sharp dresser but not a horse studder. Tuhaka’s dad started the business, and Billing worked for him. The dad also semi-adopted Steel Strang, whose murder kicks off the episode. It looks like a horse done it, but Ramiri Jobe found some contradictory evidence. It’s contradictory enough that it’s unclear why he’s having Lawless do the case off the books since it’s like, you know, evidence.
There are several suspects—the horse, obviously, Billing, Tuhaka, Tuhaka’s estranged sister, Miriam McDowell, stud farm human stud Jono Kenyon (who immediately cozies up to Lawless), and studding scientist Jessica Grace Smith. The solution will involve almost all of them; very intricate plotting; Stacy Gregg gets the writer credit.
Overall, it’s another solid episode. Lawless and Billing have a great time together (so do Lawless and Kenyon). There are a couple character reveals for Lawless; one secret she’s keeping from Warren-Ngata (and the audience), then another secret she’s keeping from everyone (but the audience).