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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Frankie Drake Mysteries: Season 3'
(Lauren Lee Smith, Chantel Riley, Rebecca Liddiard, et al / 3-DVD / NR / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: In Toronto during the roaring 1920s, crime runs rampant. This is the age of flyboys, gangsters, rum-runners, and speakeasies, but these are no match for unflappable heroines Frankie Drake (Lauren Lee Smith) and her partner Trudy Clarke (Chantel Riley) of Drake Private Detectives the city's only all-female detective agency.

DVD Verdict: In truth, I'm very glad I gave this show a chance, because it's a lot of fun! I was concerned about other people I talked to about it, saying it was not as good as another favorite of mine, 'Murdoch Mysteries,' but I should not have feared for one second, for 'Frankie Drake Mysteries' is as great a show as I could ever have hoped for!

Oh, and continual comparisons to 'Miss Fisher Mysteries' are unfair as sure, they're both women in the 1920s solving mysteries, but the similarities end there. It's like saying Albert Campion is derivative of Lord Peter Wimsey because they're both male detectives in the 1930s!

That all said, sure, it did take a few episodes for everything to click, but right from the start the actresses were engaging and interesting.

Frankie is the calm center around which some lively characters spin. At times Lauren Lee Smith seems to underplay the part, but when Nora arrives, it makes for a stark and entertaining contrast in personalities.

And here in the wondrous third season, the writing just gets better with each episode and, for me, the highlight episode is the second episode in, "Counterpunch," where Frankie goes undercover as a boxer as part of a plan to take down a corrupt cop.

I guess my only gripe would be the producers constant appeal in trying to shoe horn in real historical figures from their time into the (at times) zany narrative.

The guy who played Hemingway was terrible and boring and added nothing to the story. He should stick to print modeling. And the episode with Mack Sennett would have been better if it were a Mack Sennett type instead!

In my humble opinion, the real-life figures hamper the ability to tell the stories creatively. Otherwise, the plots are enjoyable fun and a good way to spend some time in Corona lockdown!

Other stand out season three episodes here for me are "A Brother in Arms," when Frankie is floored when a man claiming to be her half-brother shows up at the agency begging her to help with wrongly imprisoned friend, and the fun "Life on the Line," where when a toy store owner is the target of an harassment campaign, the gang goes undercover at a telephone exchange to nab the culprit.

Another is the season-ender "A Sunshine State of Mind," where when one of their close friends' mother invests in "Miami Springs" (which turns out to be a prime real estate scam) the team sets up a plan, with the help of an old friend of Frankie's to get her money back. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Feature of:

Girl Gang
Styling The Twenties

www.PBS.org





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