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Mr. and Mrs. Murder Series 1 never fully coalesces

Mr. and Mrs. Murder Series 1 never fully coalesces

Mr. and Mrs. Murder

Though the series opens like any murder mystery show, with a bloody corpse and a fleeing woman, Mr. and Mrs. Murder quickly reveals itself to be aiming for something slightly different. With its jazzy opening theme, played over a comic book-style credits sequence, and its introduction of our heroes, husband and wife Charlie (Shaun Micallef) and Nicola (Kat Stewart) Buchanan, the series is something of a riff on the Thin Man series, offering up a Nick and Nora Charles for the modern age.

The Buchanans are crime scene cleaners that double as detectives, sussing out murders wherever they are called to clean up a death. They are underdogs, the guys that show up after police and forensics have had their shot and still manage to solve the case first. With the help of their niece Jess (Lucy Honigman), they use the evidence, and their way with suspects, to catch the bad guys.

Though the show aims to be fleet and funny in the style of the films it clearly owes a huge debt to, it never finds the right balance of wit and winsomeness to be a true heir to the Thin Man movies. And while it mixes husband and wife banter with murder mysteries, those mysteries are almost always fairly tame, as if Mr. and Mrs. Murder couldn’t decide whether to be a family show with a huge body count or a mystery show with a cute couple who really like each other at its center. In its efforts to be a “light-hearted murder mystery show” it has failed to fully become either. The mysteries lose something for the lack of effort that goes into filling them out, and the laughs the show goes for are usually more in the neighborhood of gentle chuckles.

Another in a long series of murder mystery shows that are perfectly watchable without ever achieving anything beyond that, it is hard to recommend Mr. and Mrs. Murder, but also difficult to warn people away. The show’s aims are clearly modest—it hopes to provide a few chuckles and tie a neat bow around everything before the end credits roll—and it achieves them every episode. If it aimed a bit higher, in either its mystery or its comedy, this could be a great series, and provide something we don’t see enough of on television currently. Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Murder is inoffensive fare, a light comedy that is light on comedy and a murder mystery series without much to offer in the way of mysteries. It’s a fine way to pass a Sunday afternoon, but it’s hard not to think it could have been so much more.