Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Mr. and Mrs. Murder

(Australia, 2013)

The best way to think of this is as Nick and Nora Charles for the 21st century. But where Nick was a boozing ex-P.I. and Nora was a wealthy socialite, Charlie and Nicola Buchanan are sole proprietors of a Melbourne toxic cleaning service, ToxiClean. Where N&N are full of sophisticated banter, C&N are more than a bit goofy. In a very endearing way.

While I assume they would also clean things like oil spills or bio hazards, these stories focus on the least pleasant aspect of their job, cleaning up after violent deaths. These sort of companies have become common now, I hear, as shown in a nice little movie called Sunshine Cleaning. This being primarily a comedy, the gore we see is limited to big spills of blood, with the corpse long gone. And since it is a light, frothy entertainment, all their cases turn out to be murders, their innate nosiness leads to the solution to the crimes, and the ham-fisted police always screw it up. The one thing you can count on is that whoever the cops arrest as the obvious killer will not be the killer in the end.

The show lives or dies on the performances of the two leads, Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart, and they nail it. They are madly, totally in love with each other. He calls her “Fizzy,” for no reason I can see. Nic can’t resist hugging people even when they don’t want it. No matter what the subject is, it will turn out that Charlie knows some obscure things about it. “So, are you a geologist?” “No, but I took two semesters.” He must have spent most of his life taking a few semesters of every subject there is. They have a reluctant sidekick and dogsbody in the form of her niece, who they are always dragooning into doing something weird and/or embarrassing, when all the young girl wants to do is study for her exams.

This is clearly not everybody’s cuppa, but if you do go for light stuff like this, you can hardly do better.