Sunday, June 4, 2023

Movie Review: A Deadly Tango - The Dancing Detective Mysteries

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: The leads, the scenery, lots of fun
Cons: Some typical Hallmark issues, although light overall
The Bottom Line:
Dancing and murder
Good mix for plenty of fun
This franchise starts well

“You Look Like a Detective.  You Walk Like a Detective.  And I’m Guessing You’ll Dance Like a Detective.”

Hallmark is trying to introduce some new mystery franchises.  It’s hard to know for sure which ones will stick since we’ve yet to see second movies from many of them, but there are several I hope are around for a while.  Friday night saw the introduction of one such franchise - The Dancing Detective - which premiered with A Deadly Tango.  I completely enjoyed it.

Constance Bailey (Lacey Chabert) is a detective, but she has a hard time keeping a partner since she has a hard time trusting anyone else to do the job correctly.  Still, she manages to convince her captain to send her on a special assignment in Malta.

Businessman Mark Aston has died under mysterious circumstances.  Since his brother is a Senator, he pulled some strings to get an American cop to travel to Malta and find the killer.

Mark ran a company that put on ballroom dance competitions around the world.  However, this weekend was the annual competition for the executives in his company to compete and be reminded why they do what they do.  Constance is going in undercover as a new executive that Mark hired just before he died.  She doesn’t have any dance experience, but she’s being partnered with Sebastian Moore (Will Kemp), a dance instructor.  They are posing as a married couple.  Will Sebastian help Constance dance well enough to stay in the competition?  Will they solve the murder?

I will freely admit that the premise stretches credibility, at least for me.  A local cop being sent to solve a crime in Europe?  And Interpol cooperating?  Then there’s the fact that the setup was completely predictable.  You know Constance is going to be constantly out of her comfort zone (although they dropped that fairly early on), and there were several other extremely predictable moments in the first quarter.  But you know what?  I truly didn’t care.  I was having so much fun with this movie that I let it all go.

First off is something I rarely talk about with these movies – the location.  It was gorgeous!  The resort where most of the movie took place was fantastic, and the scenes shot out and about Malta made me want to hop on the next plane to go visit.  Okay, so I don’t know where the movie was really filmed, but either way, it was a stunning location and lots of fun.

I also had fun watching Constance and Sebastian interacting.  Sebastian is a huge fictional mystery fan, and that was the source of some fun lines.  There was plenty of banter, and Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp have wonderful chemistry whether they are dancing or investigating.

While those two are wonderful as their characters, the rest of the cast was a little uneven.  Nobody was truly horrible, but they definitely pale compared to the leads.  And it doesn’t help that the script doesn’t develop the suspects as well as it might have even though we get some scenes without the leads in them.  I think that is partially because of the time spent on the set up.

And yes, there are a few low budget cheese moments in the film, although they are kept to a minimum.

The mystery was solid.  There were several possible motives and some strong red herrings that distract Constance and Sebastian (and us) from the real solution until the end.

And the dancing is good.  Okay, so I doubt anyone would win any real contests, but it worked for the movie and added something different.

I’m not sure where The Dancing Detective can go from here, but I am anxious to find out.  If more movies in this franchise are as fun as A Deadly Tango, it will quickly become a favorite.


  1. Does Lacey Chabert ever stop working? She's in so many Hallmark movies! This sounds good and I love the dance elements.


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