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Mr. & Mrs. Murder: Series 1

Acorn Media // Unrated // March 4, 2014
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted November 5, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Produced by FremantleMedia Australia, the company behind numerous insanely popular programs, including The X-Factor, Australia's got Talent, and Project Runway, comes Mr. & Mrs. Murder is an Australian crime comedy television series about a married couple whom run ancleaning business that specializes in crime scenes. Using their experience, the couple become amateur detectives that help solve cases.

The plot of the show is pretty simple, the series centers around the day to day life in the career of the Nicola and Charlie Buchanan (the oddly mismatched but perfect together, Kat Stewart and Shaun Micallef, respectively.) The couple run an industrial cleaning service called ToxiClean, that despite being a cleaning service company for any and all businesses, typically end up working crime scenes for the police.

Each of the series' thirteen episodes follows the exact same formula. Every episode begins with the initial crime, which is followed by lead Detective Peter Vinetti (played by Jonny Pasvolsky) calling in ToxiClean after the crime scene is analyzed, either Charlie or Nicola find a clue which inadvertently leads them to solving the case. You are probably thinking that this sounds like your standard run of the mill show, you'd be mistaken. Thankfully, Mr. and Mrs. Murder works due to the witty scripts and the exceptional cast. Despite the series being quite grisly sometimes, This is the type of show where the couple will argue with one another over the proper term for a hooker (escort? Lady of the night? etc) or playing rock, paper, scissors with one another to decide who cleans up what while wading through a murder victims possessions. Despite the show's plot revolving around murder, the writers keep it quite light hearted with the playful banter between Micallef and Stewart.

The main drawback of the show is it's abilities to wrap up the stories. The writers of Mr. and Mrs. Murder like to focus on the dialogue with the lead characters, instead of also taking the time with the climax of the episode. The episodes typically wrap up when one of the characters simply stumble upon something in pure coincidental fashion, and pretty much guessing the killer, effectively solving the case. Everything in the show is typically well written but it just feels like the writers don't know how to tie up mysteries, too much of the time they just jump from point A to point C without much emphasis on point B.

The 13 episodes are spread across 4 discs and are broken down as followed...

1. "Early Checkout" - Charlie and Nicola clean up and investigate the crime scene of a celebrity at a hotel.

2. "A Dog's Life" - A dispute occurs between a dog walking group and local golf course members after which a golf champion is mauled to death by a dog. Charlie must investigate alone due to Nicola's irrational fear of any breed of dog (including poodle's.)

3. "En Vogue" - Charlie and Nicola investigate the likely murder of a top Fashion designer whom is killed by a falling mirror during the finale of his runway show.

4. "Atlas Drugged" - Charlie and Nicola suspect foul play when a body builder is found dead in a tanning bed, seemingly overdosed after winning a strong man competition.

5. "Lost Soul" - Charlie and Nicola are called in to clean up the crime scene at the local production of Cabaret.

6. "The Next Best Man" - Things get complicated for Charlie and Nicola as they work a case involving a lavish wedding in which the best man turns up dead on the bride's family estate, whom Detective Vinetti's has personal ties to.

7. "Thoroughly Dead Thoroughbred" - Charlie and Nicola must investigate the murder of a vet, whom has been killed by an overdose of horse tranquilizer at stables that house champion racehorses.

8. "A Flare for Murder" - Charlie and Nicola are taken out to sea to clean up a sail boat, where a young woman whom was returning from an around-the-world trip has been shot to death with a flare gun.

9. "The Art of Murder" - Nicola and Charlie's latest contract is to clean up at a local art gallery after a homeless man was crushed to death when a sculpture fell on him. It doesn't end there, as the pair seem to suspect that the homeless man was murdered by the gallery!

10. "Little Boxes" - A young couple find a dead man whom has been impaled with a dart from a spear enclosed in their beach cabana in a wealthy seaside community, prompting Charlie and Nicola to be called in. As Charlie and Nicola get deeper and deeper into the investigation, they find hidden affairs that may lead to the killer.

11. "Keeping Up Appearances" - A beautiful young woman obsessed with cosmetic surgery falls from the second story of an esteemed clinic, an apparent suicide. Nicola and Charlie suspect foul play as they investigate.

12. "Zootopia" - Charlie and Nicola investigate the murder of a zookeeper and the disappearance of another.

13. "The Course Whisperer" - Series finale. Nicola and Charlie investigate the murder of the master chef of a restaurant.

- Positives:

+ Great chemistry between the two leads, Kat Stewart and Shaun Micallef. The two simply pour with eclectic chemistry and are absolutely stellar together. Seeing these two work on screen with one another just depresses me that there will not be more.

+ Each episode is a fun and unique story.

+ A fresh take on the episodic television format.

- Negatives:

- Only one season. Don't get invested if you can't handle the fact that this is all you'll ever get.

- Some episodes are wrapped up a bit too conveniently.

- We don't really get to know the characters outside of their work life.

Video and Audio:
The series is presented in a 16:9 Anamorphic widescreen, and for the most part. the transfer is solid. The only real problem with the video is that there is a bit of grain.

As for audio, the series has a Dolby Stereo track with optional English subtitles. Mr. & Mrs. Murder utilizes a great soundtrack that really makes the show standout. The series is a bit more upbeat so the soundtrack typically compliments that appropriately. The occasional emotional moment are also well balanced with the music never overpowering any scene. Their were no signs of any form of dropout or distortions throughout the set.

Extras: - Trailers for other Acorn media series'

- A 7 minute making of featurette.

- A 3 minute interview with the cast.

- 7 minutes of deleted scenes.

- Photo gallery.

Mr. and Mrs. Murder ends up being an above average series with all of the standard clich├ęs but somehow makes them their own. The cast work exceptional together and each episode is unique and fun.

Sadly due to middling ratings and the fact that the lead actor didn't have much of a desire in wanting to continue the show due to the hectic schedule, this is all of the Mr. and Mrs. Murder we'll ever see, falling into the category of "cancelled too soon."

Mr. and Mrs. Murder is recommended.

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