Longtime readers of Nerdbot know that we have a predilection for “Frasier” here. I myself run a podcast about the 1993 beloved sitcom for about 5 years now. We’ve also taken nearly every opportunity to discuss anything and everything “Frasier” or Kelsey Grammer related. That being said, I did not expect to be writing an article about a convicted Australian murderer allegedly stating she was inspired by the show in order to kill her wealthy partner.
Convicted murderer Natasha Beth Darcy was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Monday, February 21st, 2022 for killing Matthew Dunbar in 2017. Darcy laced a milkshake with a number of sedatives and fed it to her boyfriend. After he was unconscious, she placed a plastic bag over his head and pumped helium into it, effectively killing him via asphyxiation. Of course, murder is illegal, so Darcy had to follow this by making it look like a suicide.
Now, if this doesn’t sound like an episode of “Frasier” to you, you’re right. I’ve watched every one of “Frasier‘s” 264 episodes many times and of them, zero of them involve the murder and potential set-up of suicide of someone. The closest we got to this was in the 11th season where Maris is accused of killing her current boyfriend with a crossbow. Even then, she wasn’t trying to make it look like a suicide.
No, “Frasier” enters into this because of a letter Darcy wrote to a friend of hers which contained the following:
“I was watching an episode of Frasier when Niles [David Hyde Pierce] needed him to lie in court and say he didn’t know that Niles was in love with Daphne [Jane Leeves]… It got me thinking, if only I could ask somebody to say that Mathew told them he was planning his suicide maybe a few or several days before he passed.”Natasha Beth Darcy – Letter to Unnamed Friend
The episode that she’s talking about is s6e15, “To Tell The Truth.” In this episode, the recently hired attorney Donny Douglas (Saul Rubinek) is trying to prep Frasier to answer questions for the upcoming divorce hearing between Maris and Niles. Frasier is concerned about having to answer honestly about certain questions regarding Niles’ spending habits and whether or not Niles had created alienation of affection by harboring feelings for another woman, Daphne. “Frasier” fans obviously know that he does indeed have feelings for Daphne, something Frasier is also aware of. Frasier’s ethics prevent him from lying about this setting up a conflict between him and Niles.
This apparently inspired Darcy to set things up by trying to bribe one of her friends with $14,000 to say that Dunbar was talking about suicide in the days leading up to his murder. Kind of a stretch for her to take a “Frasier” plot to that extreme, but when you’re dealing with someone capable of murder, maybe it’s best not to try and follow that logic. Ultimately the plan backfired anyway when the friend turned the letter over to the authorities. Which is kind of funny when you think about it considering the whole point of the “Frasier” episode was about telling the truth and trying to do the right thing, which ultimately Niles accepted his brother of doing and respected him for it.
Maybe Darcy took more influence from “Addams Family Values” considering she is a serial offender. This isn’t the first time Darcy assaulted a loved one. She previously attempted (and failed) to kill her former husband by hitting him in the head with a hammer and setting the house on fire to get the insurance money. It didn’t work and instead she got arrested.
Also, in case you’re not entirely convinced of Darcy’s guilt, her search history that prosecutors obtained, included the following terms according to The Daily Beast: “spider venom,” “suicide poem,” “poisonous mushrooms,” “after suicide is house a crime scene” and “how long do internet providers keep history.” So, just a little bit suspicious.
Here’s hoping that over the next 40 years of her life she’ll be told exactly what she needs to hear; that she’ll rue the day she did that!