Pros: Strong mystery, fun sub-plot
Cons: Higher than usual serving of Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Finch’s friend is shot
Good twists but high cheese
“I Have to Figure Out What Happened to Him. He’d Do the Same for Me.”
It’s May, and that means it is time for a different franchise to be featured at Hallmark Mysteries and Movies. This last Sunday brought us Death on Duty, the first of three new Hailey Dean Mysteries we are going to get this month.
Hailey (Kellie Martin) actually gets involved in this case thanks to her friend Finch (Viv Leacock), an investigator for the DA’s office. When Finch runs into his friend Kurt, he is thrilled to see him again. The two had been in the Marines together. Kurt is now stationed at a base a few hours away, but he spends some of his time in Atlanta doing inspections for the Marines. He and Finch are quick to get together to reconnect, but Kurt is distracted almost the entire time, constantly looking at his phone. Finch notices and offers to help Kurt any way he can.
When Kurt calls Finch to take him up on his offer, Finch has to put him off a couple of days. However, just a few hours later, Kurt is missing. Naturally, Hailey jumps in to help her friend, and that leads them to find Kurt’s body. With the military taking over the case, Hallie and Finch will have to work carefully to figure out what happened without getting into trouble. Can they do it?
Since Hailey has had a direct tie to every case in the franchise so far, it is nice to see one of the supporting characters get a chance to shine. Yes, Finch is always Hailey’s partner in investigation, but this still gave us a chance to see a different side of him. We also get a fun sub-plot with Hailey’s boyfriend, Jonas (Matthew MacCaull), posing for a fundraising calendar. I loved watching that play out. I did miss Danny Morgan. I hope he’s back in the other movies this month and they haven’t decided we don’t need his character any more.
The mystery itself was solid. There were enough elements that I wasn’t sure where things were going until Hailey started piecing them together at the end, yet things made sense once she did.
Unfortunately, I’ve long felt that this franchise suffers more than usual from Hallmark cheese, both in the writing and acting. This new movie did nothing to change my mind on that. However, if you enjoy the franchise, you’ll be fine since it’s no worse than normal. Yes, Nancy Grace, creator of the character, puts in a cameo. I always enjoy seeing where she pops up in each film.
I’m hoping that Death on Duty is setting a new trend for the Hailey Dead Mysteries franchise of focusing a bit on some of the supporting characters. We’ll find out when Hailey comes back this coming Sunday.