The Murdoch Mysteries sidecar spinoff, The Frankie Drake Mysteries, is coming to an end here in the U.S. The Canadian-produced period piece featuring a fictionalized take on the first female-run detective agency in Toronto in the 1920s was a cult favorite among the Murdoch fandom. But after four successful seasons, the CBC decided it was time to wrap up the series, announcing back in February 2021 that the network would not renew it for a fifth round. However, Americans can still enjoy new episodes as the fourth season, which aired in Canada back in January, will finally make its way south in September.
Though the show is Canadian and not British, The Frankie Drake Mysteries was a fan-favorite among the U.K. detective show crowd. The series starred Lauren Lee Smith as the titular Frankie Drake and Chantel Riley as her business partner and BFF Trudy Clarke. Rebecca Liddiard and Sharron Matthews rounded out the main roster as morality officer Mary Shaw and morgue attendant Flo Chakowitz, who would regularly assist on cases due to their inside connections in the Toronto police force and access to bodies.
Frankie Drake was something of a real groundbreaker among the police procedural set. It was one of the few shows with an all-female lead cast and a diverse one at that. Riley was one of the few Black female stars in detective period pieces as Trudy on PBS and Matthews as the openly Jewish Flo. Series creators Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci were former writers on Murdoch Mysteries. They continued as producers on both shows, leading fans to assume the two existed in the same universe. (The series later confirmed this via a few inside references.)
With one more batch of ten episodes headed stateside, fans will be delighted to know that the series will be available in multiple places, with Ovation TV also picking up the final season along with it streaming on PBS Passport. Here's the show's synopsis for the last season:
Season four of Frankie Drake Mysteries opens with our intrepid detectives and their best gal pals, Mary Shaw and Flo Chakowitz, traipsing through the woods on a scavenger hunt that quickly turns deadly. From the wilderness to the world of high society, from an underground cabaret to a candy factory, Frankie and Trudy investigate murders, kidnappings, heists, and poisonings. Using her position as a morality officer, Mary's able to snoop through police files and be privy to non-civilian discussions, while Flo lends a hand with autopsy reports, science experiments, and her newly acquired medical skills.
Further, for those who get Ovation, there's a musical special also on the way. Frankie Drake Mysteries: Music at Midnight is an Ovation TV co-production with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) Shaftesbury. The concert event takes place on the Frankie Drake Mysteries set and features performances by both Riley and Matthews.
Though the series is canceled, the story will live on, as the CBC has commissioned Mary & Flo: On The Go, an animated children's series starring Frankie Drake's beloved sidekicks.
All ten episodes of the fourth and final season of The Frankie Drake Mysteries arrive on PBS Passport starting Sept. 3, 2021. The season will begin broadcasting weekly on Ovation TV on Saturday, Oct. 2. The first three seasons of The Frankie Drake Mysteries are streaming on PBS Passport.