Who doesn’t love a good mystery?
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has been bringing old-fashioned mysteries to viewers for a while, and each new release offers something different.
Aimee Garcia and Paul Campbell star in The Cases of Mystery Lane as Birdie and Alden Case, a married couple who has lost their center, who find each other again when they play amateur detective.
This is Aimee’s first Hallmark production, and she couldn’t have picked a better movie or worked with a better partner.
It’s not Aimee and Paul’s first time working together, which could be why their chemistry is so natural on screen. Behind the scenes, they share a mutual admiration for one another and aren’t afraid to express it.
Aimee said, “He is my kind of actor. He is so professional and so good with comedy and drama, comfortable with improv because he’s also a writer. He was just so entrepreneurial and creative with every scene. He was like dancing with your friend who you just love seeing at camp every year.”
Aimee appreciated how much thought Paul put into each moment their characters shared on screen, creating little moments between them that show the duration of their marriage and their comfortability with one another, even when things are ripping at the seams.
Aimee said, “What I love is that he is willing to take really big chances with the comedy, right? Like, who decides to get into bed with a backward somersault?
“And he said, ‘Look, Aimee, what do you think about me giving you my glasses?’ It’s their little routine. And then, even though they were kind of having a little disagreement, he handed over the glasses to my character, and then I put them on the dresser.
“Then he did a somersault, and then they go to bed. So I felt like that was just such a creative way to get into bed when it says Alden and Birdie say Goodnight.”
In that instance, the creativity comes from Paul’s heart.
Paul told me that the idea comes from a morning ritual he shares with his son. He does a “superhero” roll out of bed in the morning at his son’s request. Paul will act as if other things in his morning are more important, but he always acquiesces because of the joy it brings his son when he does it.
Paul is both a writer and an actor, and he juggles them both daily. When he had a break during filming The Cases of Mystery Lane, he’d catch up with his writing partner Kimberley Sustad. He’s always got an iron in the fire, and Aimee respected that.
Aimee also discovered how Paul keeps all the balls in the air, some of which comes down to his snack schedule. She said, “I started to really get to know his snack rhythms because he would start fading after a few hours of no food, and I could just see his energy, and I said, ‘Oh, he’s craving a banana.’
“So he’s like, ‘Sweet, are you the reason I have a banana and a protein bar on my chair?’ And I said, ‘Yes, that is the reason.’ He said, ‘You take such good care of me. I said, ‘I know. I really do,'” she laughed. “So what a great teammate.”
Aimee used analogies such as dancing and tennis to describe the rhythm they found on set, appreciating how committed Paul is to his craft. She said that one minute he’s just so funny, and the next, he can rip your heart up with a heartfelt scene.
Paul said that he’s nothing without a great scene partner who is willing to go on his whimsical character journeys. Some actors aren’t willing to accept their partner going off-script, adding nuances on the fly, but with Aimee, he found a partner who was with him every step of the way.
But they might not have been on board if it weren’t for the script, written by Joel Dovev and Margaux Froley, which is smart, witty, and full of heart. Aimee and Paul were both impressed with its layered storytelling.
Aimee said it reminded her of Moonlighting and is “such a clever entry point to have a husband and wife have to solve a crime together when they’re drifting apart.”
She said the conflict that it creates grabs your attention because the “stakes are so high” with both their relationship and the mystery they’re trying to solve.
When referencing the script, Paul said, “It’s better than anything I’ve ever written,” and since he’s hot off the incredible success of Three Wise Men and a Baby, that’s high praise indeed.
The Cases of Mystery Lane works because of the characters, the actors who portray them, and the amazing off-and-on-screen chemistry that gives them life.
Birdie is a high-powered attorney who likes to play a little online poker and drink a beer in her downtime. Aimee said, “I thought that was just so cool to see this woman two minutes into this film already have these two sides,” especially since she usually plays the goofball and everyone’s ray of sunshine (see: Ella on Lucifer).
With Birdie, Aimee gets the chance to play a more complex character, married to a sort of “Peter Pan,” with a rich fantasy life who can’t quite find his vocation. Birdie struggles with that, and her coping mechanisms are as important to her as any other aspect.
Paul admits that Alden is floundering professionally, which is creating a wide chasm in his relationship with Birdie. Private investigation ignites something in Alden that could provide a lifelong career and save his marriage.
Paul leans hard into Alden’s comedic side, and it helps understand what Birdie probably found so attractive about him in the first place, even if it might not be enough to keep the flame alive. They’re very different, but as the movie continues, you recognize they’re just right for each other.
It’s another fun addition to the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries lineup, and Aimee and Paul would both welcome the opportunity to solve more mysteries with the couple.
Aimee also promises her Lucifer fans that she does her best to acknowledge them in the movie with inside nods to the character they love. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, so take to Twitter and share your delight when you catch them.
So, what do you think? Will you be watching Aimee and Paul as Birdie and Alden Case?
In The Cases of Mystery Lane, the couple is solving two mysteries: They’re trying to catch a killer, and they’re trying to save their marriage. You can safely bet they’ll manage to do both by the time the credits roll.
You can find out for yourself on Sunday, March 19 at 7/6c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.