British TV Series – 2003.
A plant pathologist Rosemary Boxer teams up with a former constable Laura Thyme as two gardeners with a penchant for being around when dead bodies are found.
The season opens with Laura being dumped by her husband for a younger women and meeting Rosemary in a bed & breakfast where the two are staying. The two ladies hit it off and they uncover the culprits in each episode where dead bodies are uncovered.
Each episode has a new dead body and a new set of clues as to the culprit. Rosemary & Thyme have some far-fetched theories of the ultimate whodunnit but they do seem to stumble upon them in British fashion.
Diane Lane does a great job portraying Toni Mannix who helps the career of George Reeves (Ben Affleck). Seemingly unhappy in his role as Superman and the image he has to keep up, George looks for other roles while having an affair with Toni. Sounds like the tabloids of Hollywood.
A detective that is down on his luck, gets an inside scoop from the police that certain details of the apparent suicide don’t seem to add up and it’s nothing the law wants to uncover. Luis Simo (Adrien Brody) tries to find clues that the Adventures of Superman star’s death was other than suicide. One of his biggest theories is that Reeve’s new girlfriend, Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney) accidentally shot him. Or was it someone else that had him murdered?
Foreign TV Series – Canadian.
In Sherlock Holmes-ian style, amidst Murder, She Wrote and Ellery Queen whodunnit deductions make this Canadian TV series a fun one to watch.
Set in the 1890s where the horse and buggy is the preferred choice of transportation, Detective William Murdoch opts to ride his two-wheeler from the station to the murder scene. He utilizes radical forensic techniques to solve crimes much to the disbelief of his commanding officer, Inspector Brackenreid who doubts many of the contraptions Detective Murdoch employs.
I like the way Murdoch places himself in the murder scene via reviewing them in his head where he appears as an apparition whilst the murder is taking place. Of course once Detective Murdoch finds evidence, he relies on the beautiful Dr. Julia Ogden, the coroner, for proof positive he has the correct suspect. You can tell there are sparks between them but in season one nothing has developed. We shall see in subsequent seasons where this goes.
The glue that keeps this series tied together is the amiable Constable George Crabtree who assists Detective Murdoch in solving the crimes. You can’t help but like the character and he’s more than the proverbial Dr. Watson is to Sherlock Holmes. Detective Murdoch and Constable Crabtree complement each other while maintaining their own identities. If you like whodunnits, then this is a perfect match. I will be looking forward to watching seasons 2-4 when they eventually come to streaming.
Absolutely put butter on the popcorn and gather as many candy bars as you can muster as season one has a lot of episodes to watch. Each episode is around 45 minutes and you can easily take in 2 or 3 at a time. I really liked this series.
Foreign film – French (2009).
Gerard Depardieu plays Inspector Paul Bellamy in this Claud Chabrol film and it focuses more on the character than it does the murder, or should I say, alleged murder. Francoise (Marie Bunel) does an incredible job as Paul’s sounding board as she helps him along trying to solve the alleged murder.
The movie opens with Paul attempting to watch TV while doing a crossword puzzle but the opposite happens as the crossword puzzle and the TV end up watching Paul. Then his sleep is interrupted by Noel Gentil (Jacques Gamblin) who’s itching to reveal a secret.
This isn’t your typical whodunnit as it is more of a character study than a murder mystery. I don’t know why I enjoyed this as much as I did, maybe it was Chabrol’s directing style, or the acting between Paul and Francoise and Noel but nonetheless I did enjoy this even in the dry moments. And Jacques Gamblin does a great job playing Noel Gentil/Emile Luellet/Denis Leprince.
Go ahead, put some butter on the popcorn and gather up your favorite candies, sit back with a glass of wine and just take it all in.