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FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES

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Recommended age 8-18
43 minutes
TV
PBS DISTRIBUTION
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This 30 minute mystery series is new to the PBS line-up this season. Private Detective Frankie Drake, along with fellow detective Trudy combine their skills to solve distinctive cases within each episode. Frankie Drake is head of her own detective agency located in Toronto, CA in the 1920s. The pilot episode, involves a case of a wealthy man whose pearls are apparently stolen from the safe at his residence. In its place is a mysterious white feather. A policewoman notifies Frankie and brings the feather along to tell her that the feather was the trademark of her father, Ned Drake, a con-man who passed away ten years prior. While investigating the case, Frankie finds out that the wealthy man's wife is Frankie's mother, Nora Drake. This is shocking for Frankie, as she thought her mother had been long dead. Nora Drake is a hustler in her own right, as she married rich men and left them not long after, simply for the payday. Frankie is the total opposite - choosing to work for a living, which is very avant garde for the time. By the end of this premiere episode, it is clear that Frankie is stuck with Nora in Toronto for awhile, whether she likes it or not. As the series develops, I believe Frankie and Nora will learn to tolerate and inevitably like each other. I believe Nora will be some sort of ally to Frankie in helping to solve cases.

The Frankie Drake Mysteries is a very female-friendly program, set in the Roaring 20s, the era when one of the first big Feminist Movements occurred. Young girls, in particular, can look up to Frankie as being ahead of her time. Young black girls can also look up to Trudy as being equal to Frankie at the detective agency. She will also be considered ahead of her time, working as a professional private eye. In this era, many black woman could only find servitude work, as Nora Drake assumes Trudy for when she first visits Frankie's agency.

As a serial drama, the Frankie Drake Mysteries is straightforward and flows easily from beginning to end - the set-up of the mystery; Frankie and Trudy notified of the case; the who, what, where, when, how; the conflict, climax, and conclusion of the case.

Based on watching this pilot, I would guess that the rating would be TV-PG or TV-G. It is witty and the humorous dialogue will hold your attention. The setting and costumes make it interesting for the viewer, especially children, since most are unfamiliar with the timeframe. There appears to be little or no bloody violence. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this mini-series and will remind myself to catch an episode or two whenever I can, on PBS this season.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

Period drama set in stylish 1920s Toronto, following the female-only agency Drake Private Detectives led by the eponymous Frankie Drake and her partner Trudy Clarke, as they investigate mysteries and crimes that either the police refuse to take on, or that their clients cannot take to the police at all. Set against a backdrop of social change, radical politics and jazz music, the series is immersed in both the real Toronto of the 1920s and the world of mystery and suspense conjured by creators Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci.
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