DownUnder Duo: "My Life is Murder" & "Jack Irish" on AcornTV Streaming

Review by Kathleen Costa

AcornTV is my favorite remedy to alleviate any symptoms from my Anglophile addiction: overwhelming ache for tea and scones, desire to hear a classic brogue, and need to see Cotswolds’ pubs. But, all is well when I can binge watch my favorite situation comedies, detective dramas, and travelogues. For a very reasonable fee (monthly $5.99; annual $59.99), easily replacing a caramel macchiato grande, I have been all over the world with Murdoch Mysteries from Canada, Striking Out from Ireland, Wild at Heart from Kenya, Line of Duty from England, The Good Karma Hospital from India, Amnesia from Scotland, and Hinterland from Wales. These two gems have returned to production: My Life is Murder now from New Zealand and Jack Irish from Australia.

➡ switch to for more articles ⬅

My Life is Murder was a big 2019 favorite surprise (reviewed HERE), then Covid, lockdowns, and over a year wondering if season two would ever happen, but…it’s back with a pleasant surprise. The entire cast and production team have emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, with plenty of green landscapes, beaches, a modern, beautiful city as the backdrop, and a country that handles the pandemic successfully.
Image Source Acorn
Alexa Crowe (Lucy Lawless) was a successful detective in Melbourne, Australia, but after the unexpected loss of her husband, she retired. A former colleague, however, knew her skills should not go wasted and approached her to consult on a few curious cases. She was definitely an asset. Nonetheless, she has moved home to Auckland, New Zealand, to spend time with her incarcerated brother. She continues baking her “sourdough” bread, good therapy, having found a cafĂ© down the street eager to take her on, but along with her complaints about wasting energy and leaving the door open with the AC on, she wants an exact count of how many customers offer their compliments; she can be a bit compulsive. She also has a cat…odd, since she always professed to not like cats.

Image Source Acorn
The local detective Harry Henare (Rawiri Jobe) knows of her work in Melbourne, so he approaches her to consult on several of his more complex cases. She can’t say no; it’s something she finds a good challenge for her mind. However, she lacks the needed tech skills, so where to find a tech genius who isn’t concerned about crossing a few legal barriers? Her former Aussie assistant Madison Feliciano (Ebony Vangulans) arrives at her front door to a not so happy reunion. Alexa expected more long-distance tech support, but Madison thought it more of an exciting adventure to move to New Zealand. “Three days, then go home!” Their partnership, even with a few quips and conflicts, results in the same success they had in Melbourne, so it seems Alexa now has a roommate.

The second season understandably has fewer episodes, but the crimes explored still have the same clever details, intrigue, and surprises: from a jogger to a surfing champ, a drag queen to a museum curator, a winemaker to a resort chef to an actor. Alexa Crowe, portrayed brilliantly by Lawless, is still a bit curt and compulsive, and Madison’s bright and colorful wardrobe, illustrating perfectly her bright and colorful personality. New Zealand is a beautiful and varied setting, and interestingly enough, is Lawless’s home; Alexa, also a Kiwi, finds a few childhood memories, good and bad, needing to be addressed along with her brother’s legal issues. The murder investigations are never cut and dry, even when that’s how they seem, keeping me totally engaged with several theories, suspects, and motives. Alex’s critical thinking, dogged pursuit for answers, and law enforcement support along with Madison’s computer savvy and ease in many situations are a winning combination, even if someone is put in peril. A third season? No news, as of yet, but hopeful. Earns 5/5 Sourdough Loves! 

Image Source Acorn
Jack Irish (2012-2018; 15 episodes) is an Australian production first reviewed HERE. In 2021, a third and final season was commissioned, and it was brilliant! Guy Pearce returns as the title character along with Marta Dusseldorp as reporter Linda Hillier, Shane Jacobson as Detective Barry Tregear, and Aaron Pedersen as muscle Cam Delray along with several supporting characters at the bar, the race track, and all around Melbourne. The same rich characters, the same intense storyline, the same disfunction in Jack’s world entangling old friends, and the shocking revelation about the circumstances that led to the murder of Jack’s wife make this final season brilliant.

Jack Irish has repaired his apartment from a previous “blow up” and is doing his best, which is debatable, to joint parent his young son: pick up from school, last-minute babysitting, and bonding at the race track. His office is the back storage room of his friend’s bar, although not for much longer, where he still works on a few low-key legal cases, nothing big, just wills and estates. However, the murder of a cop on leave ensnares him in a twenty-five-year-old case. This “can of very old worms” puts a serious strain on DS Tregear who suffers a massive heart attack. Jack’s visit prompts Tregear to mumble, ‘So, sorry, Jack. For Isabel [Jack’s late wife]. I can’t make it right.” From that shocking moment, the drama spirals into attempted murder, dead bodies, a reporter getting too close, major scandal, an explosion, surprise connections, and answers with karmic revenge.

Image Source Acorn
This Aussie gem took all the loose ends, both significant and minor, and provided closure not often achieved when a series ends. Guy Pearce brought his “A-game” to the role, that seemed written for him, with both strength and vulnerability as he deals with many changes in his life: a son who needs a dad, his favorite bar reinventing itself for a hipper crowd, need to find a new office space, and the pain of his wife’s death being dredged up. He pulls his former lover and reporter/author Linda Hillier into the mystery putting her in danger (well done by Marta Dusseldorp; A Place Called Home) while she deals with her own demanding job, not-quite-over feelings for Jack, her marriage, and an adopted daughter. The rest of the cast was brilliant adding to a clever, complex, and intense drama that wields karma to all. Earns 5/5 Aussie Lagers!

 Other Favorite Gems!

Image Source Acorn
Republic of Doyle (2010-2014; 77 episodes) is a dramady about the family Doyle who run a private detective agency set in the low-key seaport of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Doyle Sr. (Sean McGinley), a retired cop, partners closely, and often antagonistically, with his son Jake (Allan Hawco) who frequently gets entangled in more than a few fist fights and a variety of women from clients to exes to the local detective. With family drama, teenage angst, divorces, and a caseload that includes adultery, theft, kidnapping, smuggling, and murder, the Doyle clan is definitely a new favorite! Earns 5+/5 Drams of Irish Whiskey.

Image Source Acorn
Midsomer Murders (1997-2021; 130+ episodes), an iconic British detective drama, returns September 27 for its twenty-second series with Neil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby and Nick Hendrix as DS Jamie Winter returning to solve several murders in Midsomer. Fans will be thrilled to know that all of the episodes, including those starring John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby, are available. Question, though, is there anyone left in these Cotswold villages? Earns 5+/5 Pub Specials.

Image Source Acorn
Mystery Road (2018: 6 episodes; 2020: 6 episodes) is a crime drama spin-off from two feature-length movies (Mystery Road, Goldstone) with Aaron Pedersen reprising the role as indigenous detective Jay Swan, a role originally written for him. In season one, he’s called in to support the local police officer Emma James (Judy Davis) investigating two missing persons turned murder investigation at an outback cattle station. In season two, Swan is called to a coastal location to support Constable Fran Davis (Jada Alberts) when a body is found in the mangroves, but he also gets tangled in missing persons, archeological dig, and illegal drug trafficking. Earns 5/5 DownUnder Dramas.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.
Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.


  1. The second season of My Life Is Murder has been a huge disappointment as they recycle characters and plots. While I understand the pandemic meant that sold the show off to another production company which then moved it and changed cast and writers, the spark from the first season is totally gone. I think they have killed the show and it is just in its death throes. I doubt if there is a third season.

  2. I do agree that it isn't as good as last season, but I am still enjoying it.


Post a Comment