FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES. “Mother of Pearl.” CBC, 06 November 2017 (Season 1, Episode 1.) Lauren Lee Smith as Frankie Drake, Toronto’s first female private detective (in the 1920s) and the owner of Drake Private Detectives, Chantel Riley as Trudy Clarke, Frankie’s partner; Rebecca Liddiard as Mary Shaw, a morality officer in Toronto’s police force who often helps Frankie; Sharron Matthews as Flo Chakowitz, a pathologist at the Toronto City Morgue. Recurring: Wendy Crewson as Nora Amory, Frankie’s mother and a con artist; Steve Lund as Ernest Hemingway, a reporter for the Toronto Star. Director: Ruba Nadda.
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, especially when there are as many players as this. Thanks go to Wikipedia for providing all the names above and who they are. This first episode shows exactly how a pilot should be done: introduce the characters while at the same time building a story around them doing just that and managing to be entertaining on its own.
In this case, the story begins with a valuable diamond necklace being stolen from the hotel room of a wealthy steel magnate visiting from Pittsburgh. Curiously the thief leaves in its place a single duck’s feather – or more specifically, a drake’s feather – somehow bringing suspicion directly to Frankie’s door.
This may be more than I’d usually tell you in a review, but things do get complicated from this point on. It seems that the steel man’s wife is none other than Frankie’s mother, who abandoned her and her father when she was but a child. As the story progresses, Frankie Drake (a shortened version of Francis Drake) learns more about her father as well.
The tone is definitely light-hearted. I don’t believe that “dark streets” is anything close to what the producers of the show have in mind. The reception to the series has been such (quite favorable) that it is scheduled to start its fourth season next year. The ambience is everything it should be, the acting, so far, is adequate. Frankie herself seems, unfortunately, rather plain and and ordinary, especially compared to her flamboyant mother and her young sassy assistant.
I’d have to see another episode, one that involves a much more ordinary, less personal case, to be able to say more. Based on this, the first installment, I found it entertaining enough to say that I will.