The Spencer Sisters Season 1 Episode 1 Review: The Scholar’s Snafu

Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber shined in the new mystery series, The Spencer Sisters. The series combined light-hearted crime drama with family angst well.

The Spencer Sisters Season 1 Episode 1 introduced both Darby and Victoria Spencer and hinted at why they had been estranged.

As an introductory chapter, the series did a decent job previewing the issues our leading ladies may have and what motivated them to go into the private investigation business together.

The Spencer Sisters was similar to many of Canada’s other breezy procedurals, where private investigators solve crimes, typically bloodless ones, with plenty of humor sprinkled in. It reminded me of  Private Eyes, which made sense since Alan McCullough created and produced both series.

The CW was fortunate to pick this series up since programming was lacking this fall during the strike. It fits right in with their programming, and both actresses have a massive fanbase.

There is much to discuss, so let’s begin with our two leading ladies because there would be no show without them.

Darby Spencer was a cop like her father but hated following the rules. She longed to follow her instincts and help people, something the system didn’t allow, so she quit.

What am I going to do? All my life, I wanted to be a cop. I wanted to do what my dad did. It’s not what I thought it would be. I want to help people. I don’t want to follow orders. Does any of this make sense?


Permalink: What am I going to do? All my life, I wanted to be a cop. I wanted to do what my dad did….

Added: October 03, 2023

Farber proved that she’s evolved since portraying Ellie Nash on Degrassi: The Next Generation and can play comedic bits in addition to her role on Virgin River.

Darby was a layered young woman who had lost everything and had nowhere else to turn but her estranged mother, Victoria.

Victoria: The prodigal daughter returns. But why do you look like a long-haul trucker?
Darby (to herself): Brand new record.

Permalink: Brand new record.

Added: October 03, 2023

Farber held her own alongside the talented Lea Thompson, who starred as a mystery writer, and her formidable mother, Victoria Spencer. Unlike the warm and loving Katherine Kennish on Switched at Birth, Victoria Spencer was snarky, and it seemed like mother and daughter had a passive-aggressive relationship.

Most mother-and-daughter relationships are complicated and competitive. It’s why girls often relate easier to their fathers, and Darby’s idol, the cop father, was dead, and she didn’t feel her mom understood her at all.

They both have valid points, as Darby’s friends consistently state. Victoria was lonely and wished her daughter would visit more. It was sad that Darby didn’t even know about her mom’s book reading, but she covered it quickly.

Obviously, Victoria was proud of her daughter for chasing actual criminals, but she wished Darby was proud of her, too.

The premiere crammed so much information in the first few minutes, but it moved better once Darby arrived at her mom’s and even more, once they started working on Kaia’s case.

In some ways, it seemed like Darby wanted to prove herself by doing this case independently, but she put aside her pride to prove her friend’s innocence more.

Having Victoria along proved helpful since she could charm the Dean into sharing where Kaia’s paper was flagged for plagiarism.

Since Kaia never used that site, the trio put on their detective hats to decipher who set Kaia up and uncovered a scandal.

Darby liked to solve cases by addressing suspects with straightforward questions, while Victoria preferred to dig for evidence. Watching Victoria sneak into the men’s locker room and see her hit pay dirt after Darby told her that she had it covered was so humorous.

You should be grateful. It looks like you came up empty, and as Brynn Martel says, always have a backup plan.


Permalink: You should be grateful. It looks like you came up empty, and as Brynn Martel says, always…

Added: October 03, 2023

Despite their differences, Darby had to learn to work with her mother before their arguing wrecked the case. The case was almost botched when Victoria demanded that Darby show Jerome her police badge, which she no longer had.

Darby: I quit. I have nothing now. Are you happy now? You never wanted me to be a cop in the first place.
Victoria: Are you surprised? Your father died in the line of duty. I worry about you. I worry about you every single day.
Darby: Give me a break. You left me. Stop pretending that you care.
Victoria: Of course, I care. You’re my daughter. I am your mother.

Permalink: Of course, I care. You’re my daughter. I am your mother.

Added: October 03, 2023

Darby thought her mother only cared about her books and that Victoria spent more time writing than with her. Everyone grieves differently, and it was how Victoria coped with losing her husband. It terrified her that Darby chose the same profession.

Neither woman realized how badly the other was floundering in their career until now and that while they may have unconsciously wished for that, neither wanted the other to fail.

Do you know what it feels like to feel washed up? This is all I know how to do, and I haven’t written a word in months.


Permalink: Do you know what it feels like to feel washed up? This is all I know how to do, and I haven’t…

Added: October 03, 2023

College scandals have been done on many television shows, but this one had many twists. I never expected both the Dean and the basketball coach to team up to recruit transfer students, yet some of them couldn’t even play.

One of them, Michael Fletcher, was admitted under another name and had a heart condition. Victoria and Darby solved the case by combining their best skills.

Victoria charmed the coach by pretending to be a prospective mom of a student who needed to get him admission while Darby raided the Dean’s files.

The coach sang like a canary, and everything was recorded when the Dean caught them. It made for an easy arrest.

So far, the supporting and guest cast has only been there to be a sounding board for the main cast or be involved in the week’s case. Kaia (Jennifer Hui) was a fun addition as the first person needing the Spencer Sisters’ help.

Darby’s best friend Zane (Thomas Olajide) and his partner Antonio (Rodrigo Massa) tried to help the Spencers make up. Hopefully, we’ll see more of their story as the couple and their toddler daughter are adorable.

Working on Kaia’s case brought Victoria and Darby closer together, and they were able to appreciate each other more.

What will motivate them to open up a private investigation agency? Stay tuned!

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The Spencer Sisters has the potential to be a fun, carefree series. It’s not ultra serious like many crime procedurals since, as mentioned above, Canadian crime procedurals tend to combine humor and less serious cases.

If you like shows like Private Eyes, Burden of Truth, or Family Law, try The Spencer Sisters. Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber connect wonderfully, and watching their professional and personal relationship grow throughout the season will be entertaining.

So, now that you’ve heard my thoughts, what did you think of the series premiere? Will you be tuning in to see Victoria and Darby more crimes? Was their relationship fairly typical of mother-daughter drama or extra dysfunctional?

Let us know in the comments.

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