Hallmark has truly delivered an exceptional lineup of movies this year. Now, it makes you dance gracefully while solving a mysterious crime at the same time. The location makes it even more special as they shot on the magnificent island of Malta. The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango (2023) is directed by Stefan Scaini and is a type of mystery film that will keep you engaged until the end. Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp, the main actors in the movie, have a genuine and intense connection that you can feel all the way through.
The retro-glam vibe reminds me of 1960s films, and how each scene has been crafted is truly commendable. It treats your eyes to stunning scenery and beautifully showcases the local culture. The plot revolves around an antisocial detective who grew up alone and independent and is assigned to investigate a mysterious murder. She is partnered with someone who will change her life forever. Spoilers ahead.
The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango (2023) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:
The story begins with the brother of a US Senator named Astin, who dies at a hotel. Though it looks like a suicide, it’s actually a homicide. It’s shown that someone might have poisoned him. The chief officer asks Detective Constance Bailey to come to his office. He’s concerned that she works independently and might struggle to work well with a partner. She hasn’t been promoted for five years because she’s not open to new ways of doing things.
If she’s assigned to investigate Astin’s murder in Malta, her chief wants to ensure she can handle the mission. She assures him that she definitely can. He reminds her to be cautious and collaborate with others. Bailey arrives in Malta and narrowly avoids being hit by a carefree man while crossing the street. She manages to note down his license plate number. It appears she won’t need to search for him for long.
Bailey finds out she needs to participate in a corporate team-building event as part of her mission. She has to join a ballroom dance competition. She’s receiving information from various sources and is already feeling disoriented. Bailey is concerned about one thing, which is whether her partner is a well-known man. This could potentially lead to unintentionally revealing her true identity and intentions. But she’s reassured when she learns that Sebastian isn’t actually a well-known person.
Sebastian’s teaching approach is undoubtedly distinct, special, and quite interesting. He has studied various famous detectives, even those from TV shows, which has made him feel confident about the task at hand. As her chief hoped, she tries to go with the flow. When Sebastian arrives in the car, she suddenly remembers where she knows him from, and he jokingly calls her a “jaywalker.”
Sebastian tells Bailey they should use Stuart and Sally McMillan for their undercover personas and change the last name to Miller. He even experiments with various accents to perfect his character and is genuinely enthusiastic about the whole thing. On the other hand, Mary, who is Mark’s wife, kisses another man, leaving the company’s other employees stunned. Meanwhile, a new employee, Bailey, is invited to the production-based event.
Even though they try to present themselves as one big happy family, their expressions say otherwise. Some employees confess that they didn’t like Astin and think this situation might work out for them. When Bailey’s dance lessons start, and Sebastian chatters away, she remembers his advice about the expression she must give while dancing.
Sebastian immediately notices her doing it and practicing in front of the mirror. Sebastian thinks they should each do separate interviews, as it would seem weird if she approached everyone by herself. They both suspect that Kevin might be having an affair with Mary (who is already widowed). Kevin and Mary have known each other since they were teenagers. Bailey and Sebastian meet up after their interviews.
Bailey isn’t excited about the upcoming first round of competition that night. Her excitement drops even more when Sebastian chooses her dress. All the dancers are competitive and give their best. They also find out that Tom is a new CFO who took over the position after the former one passed away a year ago. Sebastian and Bailey do well in their first dance and earn praise for their chemistry.
Sebastian and Tom go to the bar right after their first dance while Bailey and Jennifer are having a conversation about shoes. Jennifer believes that Tom has the potential to replace Mark. Meanwhile, only six couples remain after the first round. Bailey and Sebastian are still included among those six couples, and Bailey jumps excitedly and then suddenly hugs Sebastian.
The hotel employee reveals that the last person to see Astin before the murder happened was working at the hotel for just a day. Bailey updates Anna and gives her a list of possible suspects. She requests Anna to conduct background checks on them and also includes the former CFO. Jennifer and Tom are feeling suspicious about Bailey and Sebastian. At the same time, Bailey and Sebastian’s suspicions about the hotel employee turn out to be true.
When they are asking her some questions, she makes a call and says that she doesn’t want them to continue anymore and is now under close investigation. The love Sebastian has for tango is as much as he cherishes the fond memories of his aunt Vera. She makes him realize that it’s important to embrace life and character and that things are worth doing when you are able to help.
Sebastian brings Bailey to the water to help with the tango. They get very wet but have a great time and successfully achieve their goals. At the same time, Mary and Kevin talk about Stuart and Sally and how Kevin still has one task to complete before he becomes rich. Sebastian and Bailey almost get hit by a fast car. They treat their wounds and decide to rest. And that’s when Bailey daydreams in black and white about dancing with Sebastian. She seems to be developing feelings for him.
Her dream ends with a kiss, and when Sebastian returns to the room, Bailey realizes she is kissing her pillow. Bailey tells Sebastian that her mother passed away when she was 14, so she had to learn to take care of herself at a very young age. This is why she never had the chance to do things like attend prom or dance until she met him. Anna wants to meet both of them at a cafe nearby. She brings news about Judy, the girl in the hotel who turns out to be an industrial spy.
The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
What information do they gather from Judy?
When they chase after Judy, she pretends not to know anything about it. But they eventually convince her to speak, and she reveals Jennifer’s name. Bailey and Sebastian confront Jennifer and tell her they’re on a mission to investigate Astin’s death. They want to understand why she hired someone to break into Mark’s room the night he died. It turns out she was trying to gain an advantage by evaluating his financial data. Jennifer denies everything and tries to blame others. They decide to detain her for a period, and she is escorted away.
Who is responsible for Astin’s murder?
The moment they are dancing the tango is also the moment they figure out that the killer is the former CFO’s daughter, Barbara. She has been part of the event from the start and almost succeeds in overpowering Bailey since her hand is injured. Barbara felt that her father had been overworked and pushed his limits in working, which caused him to lose out on spending time with his family. Moreover, he lost his stock options because he passed away before they could be fully granted.
At the film’s end, Bailey gets disappointed because they didn’t have the chance to perform the dance they practiced together. But Sebastian takes her to a nearby balcony with an overlooking view, and they dance together beautifully.