Frankie Drake Mysteries
After the runaway “success” of the Murdock Mysteries the Canadian Broadcast Corporation decided to try to see if lightning could strike twice. These two shows are made by the same production company, Shaftesbury Films, based in Toronto. And therefore it seems only appropriate that both of these shows feature Toronto as it was in earlier times of its history.
Frankie Drake Mysteries is mid-to-late 1920’s “flapper” times. That makes it suitable to show female detectives running around in colourful dresses (and even trousers, on occasion).
The main character, Frankie, whose father named her after Sir Francis Drake, is an adventurer, and her detecting work hints at a life as a female spy in the Great War. Officially, she was a messenger working for the military (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). She is very physical in her actions, and a little gun-shy with her pistol. She is enigmatic, to say the least.
Her cohorts include: Trudy Clarke, a beautiful black woman; Mary Shaw, a morality officer with the Toronto Police (yes, they did have such roles in those days); and Flo Chakowitz, an assistant coroner. They cover the gamut of feminine wiles and wisdom.
Season One was a hoot. Season Two looks a little strained. I don’t think Lauren Lee Smith, who plays Frankie, is enjoying it as much as she previously did. Also her hair is longer, and she appears tired most of the time.
However, it still is a lot of fun, and the introduction of famous people to the show keeps it interesting. Foster Hewitt as a radio announcer was a nice touch, for example.
Whether the show lasts beyond its second season will be interesting to see. If not, it was a great flash in the pan.