Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery and introduction of characters
Cons: Usual Hallmark cheese, supporting cast needs more development
The Bottom Line:
New movie franchise
Gets off to a fun start with
This strong mystery
It May Look Like a Suicide, but Hailey Dean is Suspicious
I’m enjoying the Hallmark mystery movies so much right now that I had to give their newest franchise, the Hailey Dean Mysteries a chance. Based on the character created by former prosecutor Nancy Grace, the movies started out with Murder, with Love, which I really enjoyed.
Hailey Dean (Kellie Martin) is a retired prosecutor in Atlanta turned therapist. She specializes in helping people who have been the victims of crime, but she works with anyone who needs her help. But she still has ties to the police force, most noticeably her almost brother-in-law, new detective Danny Morgan (Giacomo Baessato).
Danny has just landed his first official case. A young woman, Amanda Stone (Cindy Busby), returned home to find her mother dead in the bathtub upstairs after taking a sleeping pill. It looks like an accidental drowning. Amanda is a former patient of Hailey’s, and the instant Hailey hears about it, she rushes to help Amanda with her grief.
However, Amanda doesn’t think her mother would commit suicide, although she was upset about something. The police are also suspicious of the suicide, but they are focusing on Amanda. When another death rocks the family, Hailey begins to investigate to find out what really happened. But can she uncover the truth?
Being the first movie in the franchise, it has some work to do introducing us to the characters and telling a good story. It does a good job with both. I could have used a bit more background and information on the supporting cast and their relationships with Hailey, but I did feel I got to know them pretty well by the time the movie was over. I’m sure as the movie franchise continues, I’ll get to know them better; I certainly enjoyed what I saw here.
The movie starts out with finding the body, and it isn’t long before Hailey is getting involved because of her patient. I saw a couple of the twists coming early, but I was still very surprised by the climax and enjoyed seeing how Hailey put everything together.
Of course, this does come with my usual Hallmark cheese warning, which is a combination of the writing and acting. It’s not enough to make the movie unwatchable, but keep it in mind when you do sit down to watch. And keep your eyes open for a cameo by Nancy Grace.
This new franchise is off to a fine start with Murder, with Love. Mystery fans will enjoy it and start watching for Hailey’s next case.