The Canadian import Frankie Drake Mysteries is set to launch in the U.S. August 20, 2018 streaming exclusively on PBS’s PBS Masterpiece Prime Video channel and its PBS Passport streaming service. This sassy gumshoe series set in the 1920s revolves around the titular female character Frankie Drake who runs a detective agency out of Toronto with her assistant Trudy Clarke (Chantel Riley). Kudos straight off for Canadian multiculturalism for casting a black actress as Frankie Drake’s assistant, and apart from one mildly confused person who mistakes Trudy for the maid, it’s business as usual.
The first episode of Frankie Drake Mysteries, which I had the pleasure of screening early, introduces us to Frankie, the world she inhabits and the characters who surround her. She’s a typical forward thinking 1920s woman. She wears pants, she rides a motorcycle and she takes to guff. We also find out, after she and Trudy become embroiled in the investigation of the theft of a pearl necklace stolen from the room of a Pittsburgh steel baron and his wife’s hotel room, that she has a colorful family past. Frankie’s father was an infamous burglar whose calling card was a feather he left at the scene. He is most notorious for a heist of gold that was headed for the Bank of Toronto.
While the series has that 1920s glamour in its sets and costume design, there’s still a bit of a low-budget feel to it all and the acting, perhaps because it was one episode in, felt a little camp – as if the cast wasn’t quite melding. One could tell they were going more for a mixture of mystery and comedy/drama than straight drama, however.
The series is not without precedent, however. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, also set in the 1920s, but in Melbourne, Australia, and arguably captures the glamour and juxtaposition of the conservative mores and forward-thinking female sleuth more convincingly than Frankie Drake Mysteries.
Frankie Drake Mysteries Begins Streaming in the U.S. Exclusively on PBS Passport and PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel August 20, 2018
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