'My Life is Murder's Fourth Season Excels at Celebrating Conventions

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

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

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

As lead actress Lucy Lawless noted in a recent interview with Telly Visions (coming later this week!), the draw of My Life Is Murder, its main character Alexa Crowe, and the cozy mystery genre as a whole is the sense that things will be “set to rights” by the end of each episode. The audience isn’t looking for sweeping changes in their favorite characters; they want to see Alexa and Madison (Ebony Vagulans) ferret out the truth, figure out the murderer, and then convene at Reuben’s Café to celebrate each week. In the fourth season, MLIM is happy to continue rewarding its viewers with this formula, and moreover, it works.

The core group of four – including police detective Harry (Rawiri Jobe) and café owner Reuben (Joseph Naufahu) – are more comfortable both with each other and themselves. In a grouping of two gals and two guys, it’s satisfying to see the relationships remain platonic and eschew stereotypical romantic pairings. In other throughlines, both Alexa and Madison persist in snooping for and collecting evidence recklessly, usually avoiding notice but getting caught red-handed at least once this season. (It’s about time – that was getting a bit implausible.) 

The show delivers a steady stream of mysteries with fun, interesting twists. In a genre that’s just about glutted, MLIM stands firm with quality storytelling and plots that feel fresh. Adding to the show’s atmosphere are the literal surroundings of beautiful, charming New Zealand. The show takes you on a sumptuous tour of Auckland’s culture, gorgeous waters, lush vegetation, and plentiful tourist attractions.

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

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

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

Ever reluctant, Alexa helps Harry with cases that seem cut and dry on the surface but always wind up more complicated. The season opener involves a woman who is found on the beach having “dry drowned” – champagne was in her lungs. Not only is she not a careless party girl, as the police have dismissed her, but she is also the victim of a close friend who felt betrayed. In what we have come to expect, Alexa provokes the murderer into a confession, endangering herself until the police arrive to arrest the culprit. As a special treat, the episode heavily features Cruz the cat, a “lucky floof” who inherits his owner’s vast estate after her unfortunate liquid death. Alexa’s cat is back for the season; long live Chowder!

Perhaps the most emotionally effective is the sixth episode, “The Good Oil,” which deals with the murder of a beloved Pasifika small businessman in a botched robbery. The final revelation is sad and tragic, involving a twisted motive of desperation to prevent losing one’s family. The crime is heinous, and the murderer is not exactly a surprise, but Alexa’s untangling of the pieces gives it a satisfying conclusion.

Rounding out the season is the two-parter “The Widows Club,” a sort of Real Housewives of Auckland involving three affluent, fashionable ladies at a country club and the exploding oxygen chamber that kills one of their husbands. Alexa enlists the help of her brother Will (Martin Henderson) to pose as potential new members so they are best positioned for investigating. Things get personal when Alexa recognizes one of the key suspects as a man from her past, then becomes the prime suspect when he, too, turns up dead.

Ebony Vagulans as Madison Feliciano and Lucy Lawless as PI Alexa Crowe are ready for a spot of tennis in 'My Life is Murder' Season 4

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

Matt Klitscher/AcornTV

There are a couple of minor quibbles that keep MLIM from being a guilt-free pleasure. When it comes down to it, Alexa and Madison commit criminal acts in each episode to collect crucial evidence, seemingly more than in similar shows: breaking and entering; theft – both digital and physical; witness badgering, intimidation, and more. Because both women are intelligent, quick-witted, and attractive, they get away with it, both in the show and with the audience. We want to see them solve the mystery, sometimes by illicit means, as long as no one gets hurt. The blatant disregard for law and individual rights is a problematic theme, though. 

The other nitpick is less show-specific and more of a critique of the modern crime genre: the amount of conveniently recorded footage borders on ludicrous. Granted, we live in a world of ever-expanding surveillance, and anyone with a smartphone can record at the tap of a finger. Still, the amount of incriminating video available to our crime-busting duo is a bit high.

Despite these minor missteps, My Life Is Murder is always entertaining, with a fun and heartwarming group of characters played by a great cast – not the least of which is Lawless herself. Alexa, the unrelenting, bread-baking, cat-loving sleuth, has a place in our hearts and our streaming queues.

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. 

Marni Cerise headshot

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 Ani-Izzy.com, 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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