26 September 2023

Hailey Dean Mysteries: Collection Three

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Directors: Michael Robison, Allan Harmon, Via Vision Entertainment.

Cast: Kellie Martin, Viv Leacock, Matthew MacCaull, Giacomo Baessato, Cindy Busby.

Based on the semi-autobiographical novels by legal commentator Nancy Grace, murders are solved by Hailey Dean, an Atlanta-based psychologist and former prosecutor who moonlights as an amateur sleuth.

Grace also executive produces and pops up in cameos.

This Hallmark franchise starring Martin (Life Goes On, ER) in the title role, also delivers on developing an emotional connection with the characters. Of course, Hailey remains dedicated to seeing justice served. She’ll assist her friend, Detective Garland Fincher (Leacock), in two cases that hit him where it hurts: first, his former Marine buddy turns up dead; then Fincher’s girlfriend, Dr. Meghan Phillips (Caitlyn Stryker), becomes a suspect in a string of hospital deaths.

Along the way, we get acquainted with Hailey’s former boss from the DA’s office, Paulina D’Orazio, played by Lauren Holly (Picket Fences, Motive, NCIS series). Then there’s a welcome diversion with Dr Jonas McClellan (MacCaull), the hunky county medical examiner.

In Death On Duty, Dean aids her friend Detective Fincher in investigating the murder of his former buddy Kurt, with a growing list of suspects who each seem to have strong motives.

Hailey uses her investigative skills, as well as her uncanny ability to read people, to follow the clues that will lead them to the killer. The case takes a whole new turn when the body of a female Marine shows up in the same park where Fincher’s friend was found. When a conspiracy is uncovered, Hailey puts her own life in danger, pursuing justice for the victims.

In the second title in the collection, A Prescription for Murder, Dean again aids Detective Fincher to investigate a rapidly growing string of murders at Atlanta Memorial Hospital when Fincher’s girlfriend, Dr Phillips, is named a suspect in the first killing.

Hailey investigates with help from Dr McClellan and discovers that someone with medical knowledge had been using a clever poison to make the death appear natural. Hailey uses all her skills to help Fincher clear his girlfriend’s name.

In the last film, Killer Sentence, with mounting evidence Dean knows District Attorney D’Orazio is innocent of the murder of a man she once put behind bars. She must do all she can to prove it. Dean is a power-house – Mensa bright and acutely observant – aware that she can become the killer’s next target.

Meeting a demand for wholesome and well-crafted mystery (out on DVD), you’re in for an engaging ride through this genre.

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