My Life is Murder: Series 3
R0 - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (7th February 2024).
The Film

After moving from Australia back to her home in Auckland, New Zealand in the previous series, widowed former detective-turned-baker Alexa Crow (Xena: Warrior Princess's Lucy Lawless) found herself back on the job as a consultant to local detective Harry Henare (The Brokenwood Mysteries' Rawiri Jobe), with a roommate in a tech wiz Madison (The Furies' Ebony Vagulans), and a subtle flirtation with barista Ruben Wulf (Ghost in the Shell's Joseph Naufahu) whose shop she supplies daily with home-baked sourdough. With Madison telecommuting from Paris (ostensibly) for a few episodes, Alexa must adjust to the too-enthusiastic input of naval intelligence officer Beth (The Power of the Dog's Tatum Warren-Ngata) while also trying to keep her personal and professional lives separate after learning that her ex-con brother Will (The Ring's Martin Henderson) is on parole and may be getting into even more trouble as he tries to go straight and she learns of the existence of his daughter Olive (Evil Dead Rise's Nell Fisher) who thinks solving murders is cool.

Series three cases include:
- Henare earning the title "Detective Dimwit" by the media when the murder of an Argentinian tango dancer and daughter of a human rights attorney becomes an international incident, forcing Alexa and Ruben to get up close undercover in "It Takes Two" (44:14);
- the discovery of an opinionated crime author encased in a statue mysteriously installed in a local park in "Nothing Concrete" (44:19);
- clearing a thoroughbred horse as suspect in the murder of his trainer and finding the real culprit and their venal motives in "Bloodlines" (44:22);
- discovering how a clean-living former judge was found drowned in her bath with LSD in her system at a surprisingly swinging senior retirement community in "The Village" (44:25). Suspects include her younger new husband (Once Were Warriors' Temuera Morrison);
- the possibility of foul play when an ultra-competitive Christmas decoration enthusiast topples off his roof in full sight of his neighbors who detested him in "Silent Lights" (43:50);
- the death of a bride on her wedding day from anaphylaxis when the only bee found on her was bred without a stinger in "Bride to Be" (44:15);
- Alexa finding it even more difficult to get information from a pair of rival artisan bakers and ex-spouses when they discover that she poached one of their regular customers (Ruben) in "Breaking Bread" (43:43);
- the murder of a social media star with the most likely suspect practically handed to the police on a plate in "Gaslight Sonata" (44:18);
- Alexa discovering just how competitive and vicious private school parents can be when the suspect in the murder of a manny uses Olive's father's criminal past to make the little girl unpopular with her classmates in "Staying Mum" (44:20);
- and clashing with Harry when his model sister becomes chief suspect in the murder of another upcoming model in "Killer Fashion" (44:38).

This series more so than the second attempts to bring Alexa out of her solitary investigator mode with Madison pushing back more when Alexa dismisses her after providing relevant background information Madison also gets to carry out an investigation on her own when Alexa injures her ankle and tries to play backseat driver via Bluetooth with Beth coming across as a try-hard when she attempts to show how innovative and assertive she can be during the investigations. More so than the prior series, it does seem like Harry really does not do much investigation so much as present Alexa with a case and a possible suspect and then show up when she gets herself in legal trouble and then to arrest the culprit. This seems more obvious since this season does not push the romantic potential of the men in Alexa's life like the second series, and one almost wonders if Harry has been asked by his Australian colleague from the first series to fill Alexa's time despite her seeming to be content as a baker. Her brother Will and niece Olive also provide some drama and warmth but also seem poised to function as potential undercover informants in future cases. Of all the current attempts by Acorn to ape the cozy mystery series of the past, My Life is Murder is no less formulaic but a pleasant watch.
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Video

As with series two, Acorn Media's PAL version of the series squeezes ten episodes onto two dual-layer DVDs of just under four hours of content each while the American NTSC edition is a three-disc set. The show's bright and clean visuals including night scenes which were probably shot flat and graded darker look a bit soft with the additional compression but probably hold up about as well as the compressed HD stream but not as well as the show might look on Blu-ray with its Auckland vistas on display (this is, after all, an Australian production shot in New Zealand). A comparison to the less-compressed three-disc US edition might be in order.
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Audio

The sole audio option is a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track that gets the job done with clean dialogue, punchy scoring, and occasional directional sound effects. Optional English HoH subtitles are included for both the episodes and the extras.
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Extras

Extras start off with an interview with actress Lucy Lawless (8:42) who discusses how she was offered the show, her decision to do something less graphically violent and lighter in tone, and how Alexa is starting to form a "tribe" in the season.

The disc also includes an interview with actor Temuera Morrison (7:09) who discusses getting to sing in his guest role and getting to reunite with producer Mark Beesley along with Henderson from their days on the medical soap Shortland Street and Lawless from various television project.
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The disc also includes a photo gallery (0:38).

Overall

Of all the current attempts by Acorn to ape the cozy mystery series of the past, My Life is Murder is no less formulaic but a pleasant watch.

 


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