And look at all those American flags!!! Wow! I had no idea that North Bay, Ontario, Canada had a United States appreciation day where they take down all the Canadian flags that normally line the street to put up Old Glory. Actually, the city behind the title card is Littleton, New Hampshire, but the movie was done in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. However, they did take down the Canadian flags that normally line that city’s Main Street. Unfortunately, I don’t know the city they show just before the title card. Only so much I can do.
This time it was really easy to figure out. While they do make sure the license plates are Illinois…
and American flags are even in the windows of motels…
they left plenty of local business names just lying around.
They even directly reference this coffee house and it really exists on 473 Fraser Street North Bay, Ontario.
Figuring out Littleton, New Hampshire goes to the Hunkins & Eaton Insurance Agency, Inc. sign that just barely shows for a second before the camera pans up to the shot at the beginning of this review.
With that out of the way for now. This is Hallmark’s new mystery series. It takes place in the small town of New Chapel, Illinois, which is only about 4,000 km by car from Eden Lake, Minnesota where Hannah Swenson runs her bakery.
It starts off by introducing us to a dead man walking named Elvis. Abby Knight, played by Brooke Shields, once knew the man who has since run on hard times.
After speaking in exposition dialog to introduce us to her, the flower shop called Bloomers, and her employee, Brooke sits down to have a talk with her daughter. A daughter who, I kid you not, is attending Mills College. Mills College which, according to Brooke’s flower shop friend, is “far enough away to live on campus, but close enough for Mom to drop in.” I had no idea Mills College had moved from the Bay Area to near Illinois, Ontario, Canada.
Oh, and just in case we thought she was on vacation and not in the middle of classes.
This scene only exists to tell us that Brooke used to be a lawyer, but stopped when her husband died and opened a flower shop instead because “none of it just seemed as important.” In other words, her husband died so that the character will be able to be a detective and Beth Davenport from The Rockford Files at the same time. Works out because her neighbor Marco Salvare, played by Brennan Elliott, shows up next at the flower shop. He owns a bar and was a PI. Oh, and Brooke’s car got hit by another car that may have been involved with the murder that happens soon.
And by soon, I mean now. Someone turns up dead at the Canadian American flag waving motel, Elvis is a suspect, and Brooke and Brennan are on the case. Not for any real good reason. They are really just busy body snoops, which is one of the reasons I kind of like this series already. Normally that would drive me nuts, but it makes them made for each other in this series. I liked that.
With Brooke on the case, she goes on her iPad to read a screenshot of a newspaper article about the murder, which apparently took place on November 2nd, 2016.
Then she goes to the family album of her photos on the iPad where we see a picture of her husband who may have died the day before during a fishing trip. Either that or she only got around to importing her family photos onto her tablet the day before on November 1st, 2016.
Next we are introduced to this series’ version of Norman from Murder, She Baked, but he barely exists in this movie. Then there’s a little girl talk back at the flower shop that I’m pretty sure has no customers that come into it. This is followed by a scene where Brooke sits down with a woman who wants a divorce so that we make sure we still remember she was a lawyer. Oh, and something plot related about a Green Thumb Nursery. I couldn’t care less about the plot because just like watching The Big Sleep (1946), you are watching for the Brooke and Brennan back and forth, not the plot. Also, Beau Bridges is in this as a sounding board and in case we need more exposition. Whatever is needed, you can count on Beau. I mean the man got the scroll weapon and he almost beat mega turtle at the end of level three in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES back in 1989. He can do anything.
Time to hit the “Internet” running locally at file:///C:/Users/Mike/Desktop/sc20-Chicago-GreenTumb/results1.html AKA ExploreNet to look up the Green Thumb Nursery.
The local URL’s keep popping up in the lower left hand corner as a tooltip while she continues to browse the local filesystem for info on the nursery. I wonder who this Mike is? Did she take actor Michael Vincent Dagostino’s laptop? He plays a detective in the movie.
Anyhow, after Brooke reminds us again she was once a lawyer, she walks pass some street signs to make sure we know this shot took place at the intersection of McIntyre Street and Plouffle Street.
Then Brooke and Brennan visit the Green Thumb Nursery to forward the plot and have some more back and forth. Might as well mention now that Brooke has some weird pseudo-feminist lines in this. You know those lines somebody who thinks they are a feminist, but really are just looking for any excuse to pick a fight over say. There’s only a couple of them, but it’s kind of weird. Maybe she can argue with Calista Flockhart about the semantics of calling her Supergirl.
Now they go on a stakeout! By that I mean they have some humorous lines and talk in exposition dialog. Who cares! All you need to know is that with a little more work they could be fun as a mystery solving couple in this franchise. And no, despite being written by Gary Goldstein, there will be no mention of Brooke’s feet. More plot and dead flowers left for Brooke, then finally Elvis is charged with second degree murder.
Plot, plot, plot. Nursery looks awfully shady and we know that’s where the mystery is going to lead us. Now Brooke and Flower Shop Norman take a trip to Partners Billards & Bowling Center on 361 Main St East.
After more talking between characters, an inspector shows up and shuts down Brooke’s flower shop. Now it’s personal! I know this because I have almost run out of screenshots. Luckily, I have two more funny things to show before I close up this review. Also, Elvis is found hung dead in his cell. Winding down now.
At the nursery, Brooke noticed that one of the guys carried a gun. She asked him why and he gave a lame answer. No joke, I immediately said to my Dad that he should have said that they carry rare orchids and people try to steal them. So of course she figures out that an orchid bulb is hidden inside a pot of Mum flowers. Yep. This is also when Hallmark popped up to tell us that if we don’t like this series then not to worry cause it can go the way of Wedding Planner Mystery if necessary.
And now the final goof, and it’s a whopper. She goes online to read an article about expensive orchids. Take a good look.
And here are the excerpts taken to make that article from an SF Gate article from 1995 by staff writer Jim Doyle:
“U.S. inspectors broke the Kolopaking case in 1993, when they discovered he had sent 60 boxes of rare orchids into the United States via the West Coast clearinghouse for international mail in Oakland.”
“Fisher said the biggest threat to orchids is loss of habitat: Each year, millions of acres of rain forest, where billions of orchids live, are cut or burned down for mining, timber, farming and development.
He added that orchids taken from the wild are now growing in greenhouses and new plants including hybrids are made from them. ‘There are a lot of species in greenhouses that don’t exist in the wild any more due to habitat loss.’
Law enforcement officials insist that smuggling can hasten the death of a species. They contend that over-collection often takes place when a rare orchid’s habitat is nearly destroyed.”
I think Brooke Shields should contact Brooke Burns of the SFPD. Her and The Gourmet Detective should get right on this. This clearly means that Darcy from A Gift Of Miracles who plagiarized her PhD research pitch from an actual WWF report was writing under the pseudonym of Samson O’Doyle three years before the events of that film.
Obviously Brooke does figure it all out and brings the criminals to justice. The mystery is okay at best. It’s not too difficult to follow. Take the fact that the majority of this review is made up of jokes to tell you how enthralling the plot is. There’s a fair amount of setup here so don’t expect to escape a lot of those types of scenes and the exposition dialog that comes with them. The promise here is the stuff between Brooke Shields and Brennan Elliott. I really have a feeling this one is heading for the same bin as My Gal Sunday, Wedding Planner Mystery, and The Mystery Cruise, but if not, then I hope they really polish up the dialog and just drop the unnecessary extra guy. That kind of works on Murder, She Baked, but here I didn’t feel it added anything. Just have Abby and Marco hook up so we can enjoy them being screwball comedy murder mystery solvers. Otherwise, I am not looking forward to a poor man’s Murder, She Baked with touches of The Gourmet Detective.