The job of the pilot is to establish a show’s premise and characters. I feel this pilot did a fantastic job.
The episode kicks off with Alexa Crowe (Lucy Lawless) on the phone to an escort, while looking at his website, and asking him to help her fix her bread maker.
The episode goes back one day earlier.
After her first attempt to fix her German-made bread maker accompanied by a stray cat that keeps coming into her home, Alexa meets up with Detective Inspector Kieran Hussey (Bernard Curry) for coffee. He gives her the case file of Jennifer Chi, a woman who fell from an apartment building in Parklands. While there’s no evidence of foul play, Kieran asks her to look into it, especially as the apartment belonged to a male escort, Dylan Giroux. Alexa initially refuses, as she has retired, but is drawn in by Jennifer’s love of Crowded House, which they apparently have in common.
Kieran has Alexa work with data analyst, Madison (Ebony Vagulans), a young woman with bold outfits, an obsession with finding a Schmilford vacuum cleaner, and admiration for Alexa. The episode goes back to the phone call Alexa was on at the beginning of the episode.
Alexa ends up meeting Dylan and finds out how he became an escort, and later goes to his apartment building. She tries to pry without drawing too much suspicion and leaves, noticing the security camera pointed above Dylan’s door. Alexa goes downstairs and meets Robert, the building manager, who is reluctant to let Alexa see the security footage, when she asks him about it under the guise of wanting to buy an apartment in the building.
Alexa finds out that Robert is, in her words, “a convicted sex pest”, and she also believes that Dylan is from Perth not Melbourne. Kieran later tells her that Jennifer gave Dylan $40,000. He asks Alexa about Dylan, and she lies to him, although Kieran knows better, as he stays outside of Alexa’s flat in his car and sees Dylan arrive.
Alexa asks Dylan about the money and he tells her that he ended up becoming friends with Jennifer and that she gave him the money so he could start his own agency, in which she would be a silent partner. Alexa later finds out from Madison that the money and what it was for was legitimate. After Alexa gets off the phone to Madison, she finds Dylan in her bedroom, having made herself comfortable and notices one of her drawers open. Dylan admits to going through her drawers and knows she is a former cop, something he already suspected when she asked him about Jennifer, however he tells her he is up for a good time with her. She asks him to leave.
Later Alexa finds out from Madison that there are no past records of Dylan Giroux. Alexa then asks her to pretend to be her girlfriend, so they can view an available apartment to find out exactly how good the security is. When she asks Robert about the malfunctioning light on the balcony, Alexa realises that Robert isn’t Jennifer’s murderer due to his obvious fear of heights that stopped him from going out to the balcony. Alexa goes to the parking lot and discovers that the security cameras are clearly there for show and makes a deal with Robert to put in working cameras.
She then breaks into Dylan’s apartment and in the process finds out he was from Perth and finds out his real name is David Gazzara and his girlfriend in Perth, Nadia Tate, was killed the same way as Jennifer, and he was the only witness. While she is investigating, Madison is trying to go a charity event Dylan is meant to be at, only to be refused entry and she tells Alexa that Dylan didn’t show up. She hears the door open and Dylan walks in to see her. Unlike most scenes written like this, Alexa doesn’t try to hide from him, in fact she confronts him.
She confronts him about Nadia, about him pledging Jennifer’s money to Lillian Kolarov instead of investing it like he promised, and about killing Jennifer. Although he tries to deny it, he attacks Alexa, puts a knife to her throat and takes her down to the parking lot. Although he gets caught as the parking lot now has working cameras.
Overall I felt that this was a solid pilot, perfectly balancing the murder mystery with comedic moments. In terms of what kind of crime or murder mystery show it is, I found Alexa’s methods, especially her confrontation of Dylan/David to be reminiscent of Columbo. Australian crime and murder mystery shows are generally not as action-packed or gory as American shows, they are generally more of a slow burn and pieces of the puzzles are revealed over a long period of time. This show does stay away from the gore, but the Columbo-based elements are a breath of fresh air.
I’m looking forward to reviewing the rest of the season.
-The reason why Madison was looking specifically for a Schmilford vacuum is revealed at the end of the episode. She and her grandfather use to wash his car together, using a Schmilford to vacuum the inside.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “She liked margaritas, Crowded House and watching Roger Federer.” (Kieran to Alexa on Jennifer)
- “To the living we owe respect, to the dead we owe the truth.” (Kieran to Jennifer)
- “It’s the Rolls Royce of portable vacuum cleaners.” (Madison to Alexa on the Schmilford vacuum cleaner)
- “Allergic to compliments.” (Alexa to Dylan when he is describing her qualities)
- “If you ever call me ‘poochie’ again, I quit!” (Madison to Alexa when they are pretending to be a couple in front of Robert)