My Life is Murder

3 out of 5

Directed by: various

covers season 1

Star power is a definite thing. You can have a completely generic murder-mystery show like My Life is Murder, and make it a compellingly good time by casting Lucy Lawless as the lead, and letting her inject a lot of attitude and personality in the role. And the weight doesn’t solely fall on her, as her odd-couple partner-in-mystery-solving, Ebony Vagulans, is just as charming, and provides for perfect banter and cutaway moments when the procedural chores of the show dip.

…Which they tend to. Lawless plays a P.I., Alexa Crowe, who’s rather inexplicably drawn in to solve crimes alarmingly frequently by copper Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry), and that “inexplicable” is one part of the series’ pretty bog-standard wash, in which it doesn’t feel like clues are detected and things solved, so much as Crowe just attitudes everyone around her and then points a finger at the culprit. To be fair, the wide majority of whodunnit procedurals can’t be said to ever be very complex or tricksy, but simply from a scripting and character perspective, My Life is Murder is lacking the personality that would normally differentiate it from any other show of its type, and that makes its lack of details a bit easier to spot. It’s even more kudos to Lawless and Vagulans, then, that the series is still wholly enjoyable. If there is a shtick to MLiM’s setups, it’s that it generally requires Alexa to go undercover in some way, allowing her to put up a fresh and funny spin on her character, and then interact with some spot-the-Aussie guest stars; rather humorously aligning with the way the mysteries are rarely ever all that mysterious, though, Crowe normally gives up her disguisery halfway through the case.

There are some funny recurring gags concerning Lawless’ homelife, and vague attempts at weaving in a backstory, but the only reasons these things remotely work is… yeah, Lucy, and Ebony. That said, the extent to which these bits, and the meat of the episodes, end up working is absolutely enough to merit adding it to your list of weekly, mindless viewing. I can’t really tell you the ins and outs of any particular episode, ephemeral as they are, but my eyes are glued whenever these two actresses are working their magic on screen, together and separately.