blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

My Life Is Murder (2019) s03e04 – The Village

I think this “My Life is Murder” is the most empathetic episode ever. When Lucy Lawless gets to the solution to her murder mystery, there’s a lot she doesn’t like about it and has feels. She also has feels because her brother, Martin Henderson, has gotten out of prison and hasn’t contacted her. He’s the gardener at her latest investigation, a suspicious drug overdose in an elite retirement community. The victim’s a former judge, introducing assassination potential, and her son, Kelson Henderson, is an entitled prick.

Luckily, Kelson Henderson’s only got the one scene. Lawless is really investigating because Rawiri Jobe gave her the case, promising an interesting mystery—the victim died of a heart attack while on LSD. Tatum Warren-Ngata is back helping Lawless out, but like last episode’s teaser promised, Ebony Vagulans makes her return. Vagulans doesn’t have time to help out with the case; really, it’s mostly wrapped up by the time she arrives from Paris (which the show seems not to be explaining). Having Martin Henderson participate in the investigation—Lawless’s reluctant man on the inside–also changes the chemistry.

It’s a more ensemble “My Life is Murder,” which is fine; the cast is more than enough fun to sustain it. Though Jobe doesn’t get much to do—he and Lawless are apparently on the outs, she won’t even go for coffee with him as the show continues to shroud their extra-professional relationship in bemused secrecy. The revelation of previously unknown brother Martin Henderson also causes some relationship bumps.

However, there’s a weird scene with Joseph Naufahu and Warren-Ngata in his café; he pesters her to buy something or stop using his WiFi. I sort of assumed if you worked with Lawless, you got to hang out at Naufahu’s. It just seems like an excuse to give Naufahu a scene, but he’s setting a weird boundary with Warren-Ngata.

All of the suspects are good. There’s husband Temuera Morrison (in a charming, brief cameo—they got him for an afternoon, it looks like), next-door neighbor Elizabeth Hawthorne, drug-dealing nurse Jessie Lawrence, and bent community manager Blair Strang. Any of them could have a motive, but having Henderson on site—doing more than gardening, it turns out—complicates Lawless’s investigation when he’s found out.

Lots of good acting. Strang’s hilariously put out once he realizes Lawless is a cop, and then Hawthorne’s fantastic. She and Lawless have a nice character arc. Lawless handles the more emotional stuff well—her scenes with brother Henderson, for instance; it’s probably her best performance this season.

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