In a land of dark dramas, we might all wish we lived in Frankie Drake’s world.
That’s 1920s Toronto, where even the the crooks are neat and well-spoken. In this detective drama, Frankie is a sleek redhead, zooming around on a red motorcycle. It seems like fun, but …
“The bane of my existence for Season One was trying to operate the cars and the motorcycle,” said Lauren Lee Smith, who stars.
Especially that motorcycle: “It lit on fire at one point. (And) when you’re supposed to be going forward, it would reverse.”
Still it looks nice, which is what “Frankie Drake Mysteries” does. A companion to the eternal “Murdoch Mysteries,” it’s a relentlessly pleasant show. It’s had two Canadian seasons (11 and 10 episodes), with a third ordered; in the U.S., the first two will be back-to-back Saturdays on Ovation.
The show begins around 1920, said David Wideroe, Ovation’s marketing chief. “The city’s only female private detectives take on cases others won’t touch.”
That’s Frankie and Trudy (Chantel Riley); they’re shown here, right to left. As Smith tells it, they’re “doing things the women at that time weren’t necessarily doing, like working and riding motorcycles and solving crimes and shooting guns.”
Well, there is a tad of shooting, but these are mostly low-key Canadians. Like “Murdoch Mysteries” (set two decades earlier), “Frankie” has gentle tales that look nice.
At the Canadian TV awards, it was nominated for best drama series and won for costume design.
It captures a great-looking era, Riley said, as shown at the premiere party. “Everybody (was) dressed up in their 1920s garb, which was really cool. You had the flapper dresses and the feathers in the hair.”
Those are appealing clothes. And unlike the motorcycle, they never go backward or start on fire.
— “Frankie Drake Mysteries,” Saturdays, Ovation, via cable or satellite
— Opener, 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) Feb. 15, after the two-hour “Murdoch Mysteries” season-finale
— Then 7 and 8 p.m. ET (4 and 5 p.m. PT); the second season is July 27 to Aug. 24
— Ovation generally focuses on the arts, but has scripted, international shows on Saturdays