Former Xena: Warrior Princess Lucy Lawless is looking forward to showing off Auckland to the world — while solving a series of murders.
Lawless' hit Australian crime drama, where she plays homicide detective-turned private eye Alexa Cross, is moving from Melbourne to Auckland as a New Zealand production by Greenstone. The Waitematā will replace the Yarra as Alexa, the Crowded House-loving Kiwi investigator, is brought home to Auckland.
My Life is Murder earned Lawless a new fanbase in Australia, the UK and the US with viewers loving her character's funny, sexy and unfiltered character Alexa, an ex-homicide detective who can't resist solving a crime. Alexa bakes bread, speaks German and corrects people's grammar when she's not chasing baddies. Like Xena, the character has been celebrated as a compelling female lead.
Aussie actress Ebony Vagulans, famous for her role in Doctor Doctor, has jumped the Ditch to reprise her role as Madison, Alexa's ambitious and talented partner.
"I am in love with the city of my birth and I'm thrilled to be showing her off to the world as the stunning backdrop to our stories," Lawless told Spy. "We are joined by some of NZ's finest acting talent, headed by Rawiri Jobe and Joe Naufahu.
"I promise, there will be some knockout surprises coming in terms of casting. It's been a tough 13 months, so let the good times roll."
Shortland Street star Jobe plays Detective Harry, who has a gift for finding the details in a case that will intrigue Alexa. Their on-screen chemistry is described as dynamic, fun and surprising.
Naufahu, who earned international recognition on Game of Thrones, plays loveable cafe owner Reuben — the only person who can give Alexa advice and live to tell the tale.
Lawless has a real-life passion for true crime and is known to sit in on trials as a member of the public. In 2019 she went to Jeffrey Epstein's bail hearing in New York when the late financier faced sex trafficking charges, all of which she has soaked up to make Alexa an authentic character.
"When Lucy said she thought Alexa would be keen to bake sourdough in Auckland, we leapt at the chance and were so pleased to get such enthusiastic support from TVNZ and our international partners to create this new series," says Greenstone CEO Rachel Antony.
"We're looking forward to introducing audiences around the world to Alexa Crowe's home-town and to showcasing more of the talents of NZ writers, crew and our terrific cast," she says.
The cat that played Alexa's ginger feline companion, Chowder, did not make the trip to Auckland — after a series of rigorous auditions a new ginger star has been born called Zeppelin has been born.
My Life is Murder will screen on TVNZ 1 later this year.