Run­ning the show in flowy pants, dresses

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page -

THE show: Frankie drake Mys­ter­ies, sea­son 1, episode 2 (CBC) THE Mo­ment: The “com­mu­nist” meet­ing

In 1920s Toronto, a fac­tory owner who em­ploys mostly women fears he’s be­ing over­run by com­mu­nists. He hires a pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor, Frankie Drake (Lau­ren Lee Smith, whose shoul­ders never stop wig­gling), to find out. Frankie’s P.I. part­ner Trudy (Chantel Ri­ley) poses as a fac­tory em­ployee, be­friends the com­pany chat­ter­box, Zelda (Zoe Cle­land), and at­tends a meet­ing of the women’s peace co­op­er­a­tive.

“They’re the ag­i­ta­tors Mr. Scan­lon was so des­per­ately look­ing for,” Zelda says, walk­ing home. “They weren’t try­ing to burn any­thing down, or ruin so­ci­ety.”

“Just some women who are look­ing for a bet­ter place to work,” Trudy says.

“Their roots are in the suf­fragette move­ment,” Zelda says. “Get­ting the vote was ev­ery­thing to them. Now they’re try­ing to change the world through peace­ful means.”

Later, Zelda be­moans an af­fair she thought would save her — “All I want is what my mother and grand­mother never had: free­dom,” she says — and be­comes a union or­ga­nizer. As Frankie says, “Strength in num­bers.”

OK, the mes­sag­ing in this se­ries is some­times like be­ing hit in the head with a rolling pin. But it’s fun to sit back and watch women in flowy pants, print dresses and head wraps run their own show — Frankie’s team also in­cludes a wise-crack­ing morgue worker (is there any other kind?), Flo (Shar­ron Matthews) and a moral­ity cop, Mary (Re­becca Lid­di­ard).

Se­ries cre­ators Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, vet­er­ans of Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies, know that Toronto the Good was only good for cer­tain peo­ple. They’re giv­ing the over­looked a chance to sashay.

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