Murder Call

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Murder Call
Murder-call-logo.jpg
Main cast
Created by
Starring
Country of originAustralia
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes56
Production
Executive producerKris Noble
ProducerPeter Askew
Production locationSydney
Running timeapprox. 45 minutes
Production companySouthern Star Entertainment
Release
Original networkNine Network
Original release11 August 1997 (1997-08-11) –
9 October 2000 (2000-10-09)

Murder Call is an Australian television series, created by Hal McElroy for the Southern Star Entertainment and broadcast on the Nine Network between 1997 and 2000.[1] The series was inspired by the Tessa Vance novels by Jennifer Rowe, both of which were adapted as episodes, while Rowe also developed story treatments for 38 episodes throughout the series.

Synopsis[edit]

Murder Call focuses on cases confronted by an unconventional team of homicide detectives, Tessa Vance and Steve Hayden. Steve is an often light-hearted "man's man" who is moving up the career hierarchy. Tessa is more introspective and no-nonsense, and often solves the murder with her intuition and insight. Their team includes boss Inspector Malcolm Thorne, police Constable Dee Suzeraine, forensic services expert Lance Fisk, and unorthodox doctor Imogen "Tootsie" Soames.

Production[edit]

Murder Call was initially conceived as an adaptation of the Verity Birdwood murder mystery novels by Jennifer Rowe. Birdwood is an amateur private investigator, who spends her time as a freelance journalist for the ABC. Sigrid Thornton was attached to play the role, with the program given a 26-episode order by the Seven Network under the title Murder Calling.[2] Ultimately, creative differences - reportedly over whether or not the series should adopt a cosy Murder, She Wrote-style approach - saw the Seven Network let go of the property. Production moved to the Nine Network, with a relocation from Melbourne to Sydney during which time Thornton dropped out.[3] The series was retitled Murder Calls before settling on its final name. Ultimately, desiring to create a series with a darker vein than the Verity Birdwood novels, McElroy switched to Rowe's Tessa Vance series, comprising the novels Suspect/Deadline and Something Wicked. Rowe provided story treatments for 38 of the series' 56 episodes, which were then expanded upon by the screenwriters.

Murder Call was filmed in Sydney and often shot the less spectacular side of the city. The exterior of the Homicide station was filmed at Ashington House (formerly AFT House/Delfin House), on O'Connell Street in Sydney.

The first production season consisted of 22 episodes[4] as well as a TV movie, Deadline, based on the novel of the same name by Rowe (which would ultimately air in two parts).[5] The second production season consisted of 32 episodes, which were designed to be aired over two years.[6]

Ultimately, Nine aired the episodes over three televised seasons, dramatically out of production order. The third season commenced airing in 1999 but was cancelled in August of that year to budget concerns. The series was taken off air, with the final 9 episodes airing in late 2000. When the episodes were added to the 7plus streaming service in 2021, they were available in the original two production seasons, in order of production.[7]

Cast[edit]

Many notable or up-and-coming Australian actors guest starred on the program, including Melissa George, Dee Smart, Anne Tenney, Norman Kaye, Elizabeth Alexander, Essie Davis, Barry Otto, Jason Clarke, Zoe Carides, Bridie Carter, Michala Banas and Rose Byrne.

Episodes[edit]

Murder Call ran for three seasons and produced 56 episodes. See List of Murder Call episodes.

Season Episodes Originally aired Network
Season premiere Season finale
1 16 11 August 1997 23 November 1997 Nine Network
2 20 7 July 1998 24 November 1998
3 20 21 April 1999 9 October 2000

Home media[edit]

It was announced by Via Vision Entertainment in March 2019 that they would be releasing the complete collection of Murder Call on DVD.

As of 2022, the series is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and 7plus. The episodes are rearranged into production, rather than broadcast, order.[8]

Title Format Episodes Discs Region 4 (Australia) Special Features Distributors
Murder Call Season 01 DVD 16 3 3 April 2019 None Via Vision Entertainment
Murder Call Season 02 DVD 20 5 5 June 2019 The TV movie Deadline is included as a special feature, as it aired alongside this television season. Via Vision Entertainment
Murder Call Season 03 DVD 21 5 4 September 2019 None Via Vision Entertainment
Murder Call Complete Collection DVD 57 13 7 October 2020 None Via Vision Entertainment

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Murder Call". TV Guide.
  2. ^ "Sigrid set for murder". TV Week (archived online). 23 March 1996. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  3. ^ "Briefly..." TV Week (archived online). 30 March 1996. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Murder Call". Eden Productions website. Eden Productions. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Murder Call". The Screen Australia Guide. Screen Australia. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  6. ^ Crayford, Peter (9 May 1998). "Screen doors - our opening to the world a big buck TV". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Murder Call". 7plus. Seven Network. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Murder Call". 7Plus. Retrieved 23 March 2022.

External links[edit]