Mallory Jansen Brings the Murder and Mystery to Hallmark in "Francesca Quinn P.I."

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Cover image for  article: Mallory Jansen Brings the Murder and Mystery to Hallmark in "Francesca Quinn P.I."

In recent months, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has returned to its mystery roots in a big way, and this weekend Mallory Jansen is helping to keep up that trend with her starring role as the title character in Francesca Quinn, P.I. The film marks her third for Hallmark Media, and the Australian-born actor couldn't be happier to have had the opportunity to delve into the murder/mystery genre. "I think a lot of people love the genre, just as I do, and it's having a bit of resurgence right now," she explained in an exclusive chat with MediaVillage, citing the success of Hulu's Only Murders in the Building as an example.

"I think Hallmark could definitely be moving in a different direction of going a little darker with these things," she continued. "They're making things a little more realistic and I'm here for it! I really loved this character because she's so strong-willed, intelligent, intuitive and just tough. She doesn't need a guy. She's very independent. I loved that about her. And she has a past that was really fun for me to unravel. There was so much to this character, not to say that there wasn't to my other characters on Hallmark, but it's a darker story, and while maybe not so feel-good, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and has you wondering what will happen next."

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Helping Jansen explore the world of Francesca Quinn is a talented ensemble cast that includes Dylan Bruce (pictured below with Jansen)as Det. Wynton Moreau, with whom Quinn has an interesting history. In fact, there are so many characters and plot points, it's a movie you have to really pay attention to. "Without visually seeing who plays who, and with all of the situations happening, I definitely felt I had to write a few things down to understand what was happening," Jansen said with a laugh about reading the script.

"There are so many interesting plot points," she continued. "Like her past, and the case they're [currently] working on, which makes for a complicated story. Still, you will understand why there are all these people, and how they're all suspects, which makes it exciting. It all comes together in the best way in the end, but the film leaves it to the audience to figure out who did it. I'm so interested in knowing if they do as I certainly didn't, and by the end I was shocked. I didn't see it coming."

While the film does lean towards the darker side, Jansen shared that things on the set weren't always super-serious. "Dylan was great to work with," she said of her co-star. "He's so talented; very prepared and very present and a great partner in crime. These shoots are fast-paced, and every cast member brought it every day. That makes it easy. I love working with committed actors, like Samantha Kendrick, who plays Det. Beatrice Knutsen. We're very similar and shared so many blooper moments; like bumping into each other and bursting out laughing. It's nice when you're working on a [dramatic] project to have those moments."

Reflecting on Francesca as a character, Jansen understands why she has a serious side. In addition to not having an American accent -- Jansen grew up in Australia -- she doesn't share a lot of Francesca's character traits, which made her all the more fun to play. "I do enjoy doing an American accent," Jansen revealed. "I tend to stay in an accent while working as it helps you really become the character. The accent is something I change up from project to project, but it's never Australian! I really want a role with an Australian accent. It'd be so much easier!

"As for Frankie, I don't know if I'm similar to her," she added. "I don't take myself very seriously, and I don't think I'd be very good at solving crimes. I'd probably wear her wardrobe though, as that's kind of fun. Playing someone who's so far from me just makes it exciting."

Jansen is hopeful Francesca's first case won't be her last, and should a franchise be born, she's absolutely on board. "Towards the end of the film she does develop more of a team mentality, and that team works really well together," she said. "It'd be interesting to see them work on other cases, and to work with this crew again and Hallmark Media. They're just a great bunch of people to work with. It's a very female-driven network that really cares about every project and about its actors.

"It feels like you're a part of something," she added in closing. "They really love what they're doing, and they see their work as bringing a little bit of happiness to the people watching. That's why I really love being a part of these movies. I'm just happy I can bring that into people's homes."

Francesca Quinn, P.I. will be telecast Sunday, September 25 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

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