Lucy Lawless Crow(e)s About ‘My Life is Murder's Fourth Season

Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe with Zeppelin as Chowder the Cat in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe with Zeppelin as Chowder the Cat in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

With its fourth season premiering stateside in mid-June 2024, Acorn TV’s hit series My Life Is Murder is back for another round of cozy crimes down under. The series stars Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) as retired police detective Alexa Crowe, a whip-smart and fearless powerhouse who assists the Auckland police with cases that often don’t at first seem suspicious. At her side since the first season is former hacker Madison (Ebony Vagulans), who has also been Alexa’s roommate since Season 2. 

Together, the ladies have a sibling-like synergy with a knack for uncovering hidden details and solving impossible cases. Alexa collects evidence boldly, often barely escaping discovery, and is particularly relentless in confronting the culprit once she knows she’s uncovered the truth. Season 4 also sees the return of Alexa’s ex-con brother Will (Martin Henderson), who is trying to remain on the right side of the law for once, allowing him and Alexa to team up in a much more fun and unrestrained way. (The actors have great familial chemistry.) Rounding out the regulars in Alexa’s life, there's police detective Harry (Rawiri Jobe), who gives her each case, and café owner Reuben (Joseph Naufahu), who often gets dragged along to help.

Lawless generously sat with Telly Visions to talk about Alexa Crowe in the fourth season, her co-stars, and who the real diva is on the set of My Life is Murder

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Rawiri Jobe as Detective Harry Henare, Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe, Ebony Vagulans as Madison Feliciano, and Joe Naufahu as Reuben Wulf mucking around on the beach in 'My Life is Murder' Season 4

Rawiri Jobe as Detective Harry Henare, Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe, Ebony Vagulans as Madison Feliciano, and Joe Naufahu as Reuben Wulf in 'My Life is Murder' Season 4

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

Telly Visions: You have played warriors and wives, Cylons and witches. What is it about Alexa Crowe that you love as an actor?

Lucy Lawless: I love acting in my own accent for a change; there's a freedom in it. There's more of me in this character than any other I've played; I wonder if that's because of the accent. Plus: modern clothing. Oh, I love it! I don't think people understand what a blessing elastic and zippers are because I spent a lot of my career wearing corsets (and they suck!). And comfortable shoes.

TV: The relationship between Alexa and Madison sometimes adopts a sibling quality. What's your take on their partnership?

LL: Alexa was most reluctant to let Madison into her home and life. But those tables turned. When Madison was threatening to go out on her own, and get her own space to have a bit of privacy, Alexa was a bit chagrined about that and realized that Madison was her family. It is all about found family. So the four of them with Joe (Naufahu) and Ra (Jobe), they're a lovely little family. That's how you want to end the show every week, so people know that the world is going to be set to rights and have a little psychic holiday from a world that doesn't seem all that just.

TV: We are cat people at Telly Visions and we're obsessed that Alexa is a cat mom. Are you an animal person? And how do you get on with Chowder, your kitty co-star?

LL: Well, he's magnificent. Even though he's the biggest diva on the show. His (real) name is Zeppelin. He's named after my former cat, Chowder, who got co-opted by the lady across the road. When my boys went off to university, she still had two boys, and we got a dog. The cat said, “Bugger this for a game of soldiers!” and moved next door. So Chowder lives across the road, and we named the show cat after him. And I get on great with him! I am naturally a cat person, but now I have a dog, and no cat would want to live with this dog.

Zeppelin as Chowder the Cat gets a full head rub from Martin Henderson as Will Crowe in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Zeppelin as Chowder the Cat gets a full head rub from Martin Henderson as Will Crowe in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

TV: Speaking of family, Martin Henderson plays your brother, Will. Can you talk about the evolution of that relationship?

LL: So divine! Before Martin came on, the character was written to be my father. We were all really scratching our heads to find who could play my dad. Then it was Claire [Tonkin, the series originator and Executive Producer] who said, “What if it's a brother?” And we went, “Ooh, that's good!” That's a more enduring relationship in some ways. There's growth in it, whereas a father, it may evolve a little but doesn't necessarily grow. That was a stroke of genius from Claire. 

The luck of having the incredible Martin Henderson come down. And that he would deign to do it, to guest on somebody else's show! He doesn't need to do that. He’s just such a beautiful human being, the most excellent, most caring man I think I've ever met. And very funny, and very dear. To get Marty to come on board and play my brother on screen, we really have a very naturally sibling-like relationship. It's an amazing fit.

TV: The two-part finale reveals some critical pieces of Alexa’s backstory. Did the writers clue you in ahead of time?

LL: Yes, they don't keep secrets. There's no reason to keep secrets from me; I'm the EP, babe. I thought (her backstory) was cool too. You don't want to evolve your lead character too much, because then the audience doesn't know where they are. Hercule Poirot doesn't change his spots and suddenly becomes an alcoholic. Miss Marple didn't suddenly turn around and pinch a child or something cruel. You gotta keep the lead characters (steady)…they really don't grow that much. But they can evolve slightly. It's about her coming to terms with the guy she blamed (for her husband’s death).

Ebony Vagulans as Madison Feliciano and Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe arrive at the crime scene in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Ebony Vagulans as Madison Feliciano and Lucy Lawless as Alexa Crowe in 'My Life Is Murder' Season 4

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

TV: Speaking of the cases, did you have a favorite one this season?

LL: I love that one under the house (Episode 3, “Location Location Location”). I haven't seen the finished product because I’ve been overseas, but I love the crazy murders.

TV: The complex and perplexing ones.

LL: That other horrible one in the series opener where the woman gets drowned to death by champagne. Thinking about the reality of somebody doing that is so cruel. And so offensive -- wasting champagne like that. I'm kidding! But it's such a brutal, violent, and entirely plausible way to kill somebody. If you got them in the right state you really could do that and it's so horrifying. (I like the) unexpected murderers in unexpected places. Really cool. 

TV: Do you still make music? And if so, did you write anything for the show? 

LL: No, I haven't for a while; my career's just gone in such a different direction. I haven't even sung anything in a long time. But it may come again. I like to do it as a role; I'm not really a singer or musician. I'm an actor, so it kind of works out best that way. 

TV: So it probably won't be worked into Season 5, then?

LL: No, I don't think so.

TV: Do we get a Season 5?

LL: I believe that's in the cards but not officially greenlit. Who knows? They could change their minds. All I can tell you is that it won't be me who kills the show. Because I love it! I believe if something's working, you don't kill it. People need jobs, and it would be a dick move to stop people having jobs in this day and age. You’ve gotta respect that.

TV: I’d love to know more about the documentary you directed, Never Look Away. How did that come about? What made you want to tell the story about journalist Margaret Moth?

LL: I swear to God I was possessed when I got this email saying, “Do you want to make a film about Margaret Moth?” I leaped at the chance! We didn’t even have the money. I was the first person on so I had to find the producers. Together, we had to find the money, we got turned down, had to go back, sharpen our pencils to make another presentation and find other money, put in some money ourselves…All these things that you do to get things made. Two and a half years later, we opened Sundance and SXSW and went to Hot Docs in Toronto. It’s blowing my mind. I didn’t envisage this. I just wanted to make a little movie for New Zealanders, about a New Zealander, by New Zealanders, and the rest of the world has grabbed it before New Zealand’s even looked at it. I long to bring it home. 

I’m very thrilled that it’s been embraced by the rest of the world, and will have a theatrical release, I think, in October. I don’t know what that means in terms of documentaries. In the meantime, I’m just hustling and bustling for a couple of other projects I want to get going because now, of course, I’m addicted. But that will work around My Life Is Murder because I don’t kill a good thing.

My Life Is Murder’s fourth season kicks off with a two-episode premiere on Monday, June 17, streaming on Acorn TV and airing on BBC America at 10 p.m. ET. The series will continue with one episode weekly and conclude with a two-episode finale on July 22, 2024. Seasons 1 through 3 are available on Acorn TV.

Season 1 is also streaming on select local PBS Passports for members. Check your local listings/streaming services.

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A writer since her childhood introduction to Shel Silverstein, Marni adores film, cats, Brits, and the Oxford comma. She studied screenwriting at UARTS and has written movie, TV, and pop culture reviews for, and Wizards and Whatnot. You can usually catch her watching Hot Fuzz for the thousandth time. Find her very sparse social media presence on Twitter: @CeriseMarni

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