Death Al Dente A Gourmet Detective Mystery (2016) – Hallmark’s Castle-esque Crime-Fighting Duo
As delightful as the Hallmark Channel originals are, not to be lost in the shuffle are their companions. On Hallmark Movie Channel, you will discover equally fun original movies. Only difference being, these are of the mystery variety (complete with a pinch of romance).
Chef-turned-amateur-detective Henry Ross (Dylan Neal) has a knack for the sleuthing business. Or more accurately he has a crush on his beautiful partner, Maggie Price (Brooke Burns). Maggie is a single mother and a San Francisco detective who once upon a time found Henry a bothersome annoyance. Now, it’s commonplace for him to be in her kitchen cooking her dinner, and she relies on his theories as they solve cases. Their latest case connects back to Henry when a chef, and one of Henry’s friends, is murdered.
On a personal level, Henry becomes uncomfortable when an ex from Maggie’s past again walks into her life.
This series is A+ entertainment. “Death Al Dente” is the third in the series and if this is any indication, each one has gotten sassier. I’ve only (unfortunately) seen the premiere, which is clearly my loss. But it was among one of my favorite Hallmark mysteries, and in all likelihood is my favorite of the network series (i.e., Murder, She Baked; Aurora Teagarden; Garage Sale Mystery).
The chemistry between its leads is entertaining at its worst (if that's the worst...) and charm personified at its best. In particular I like how Dylan and Brooke play off one another. Both seem to have a great deal of fun with their respective roles, and being on this channel (the Movies and Mysteries branding), they have a little more freedom to do this. Those familiar with Hallmark’s series and movies will love seeing these two return for another film as neither one is a stranger to Hallmark. Dylan is known for Cedar Cove and Brooke was seen in Undercover Bridesmaid and Fixing Pete (both of which are adorable by the way). The rest of the cast is additionally wonderful, most of whom return in this latest installment.
If you like ABC’s Castle, this is a wonderful way to fill the voice left by its exit. From the two detectives Maggie works with to the witty banter between the leads, this is a comedy that holds its own against the TV show. This one gives a needed shove to tug Maggie closer to Henry, and is a wonderful portrait showing how deeply he loves his partner in crime (plus that - almost-at-the-end - swoony scene!). I love that the screenplay takes away the anticipation of the will-they-or-won’t-they tease. There comes a point when that’s more tiresome than exciting, and I’d hate for this series to experience this. Instead this edition remains fresh, and is sure to leave a smile on your face as a new week begins.
“Death Al Dente” premieres tonight (October 9th) on Hallmark Movie Channel. Don’t miss it.