Narrator: At that moment, the Piemaker felt a mixture of happiness and trepidation.
Ned (the Piemaker): Why is it always a mixture?
Pushing Daisies is the story of Ned, also known as the Piemaker, who has a special gift, or, possibly, curse. Ned has the ability to raise the dead with his touch.
There are certain rules that go along with Ned’s ability. If he touches the resurrected again, that touch is permanent death. If he doesn’t touch the resurrected again within one minute, the price of another death is extracted.
When Ned was a boy, he brought his mother back to life, causing the death of the next-door neighbor, father of Charlotte “Chuck” Charles, the girl he loved. (Some fans of the show have theorized Ned’s last name is Edwards, so that he would be Edward Edwards, a nice match-up with Charlotte Charles.) Of course, since Ned hadn’t yet figured out any of these rules, his mother was soon gone again as well. The dog Ned had as a child is still with him, but Ned can’t pet him. This leads to some funny scenes with Ned remote-petting Digby and other such devices.
Ned (Lee Pace) learns that his touch has a huge effect on the flavor of fruit (I can’t help but wonder if fruit or plants are dying mysteriously somewhere nearby) and becomes a maker of pies. Eventually, he opens a shop called “The Pie Hole,” which is shaped like a pie. He lives in an apartment above, and his waitress, Olive Snook (Broadway baby Kristen Chenoweth, whose wicked singing skills are sometimes put to good use in the series), lives in the apartment next to his. She nurses a crush on Ned, although he tries to avoid touching people.
Private eye Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) discovers Ned’s secret and uses him to revive murder victims in order to solve the crimes. Although the interrogations include a lot of dialogue, I did time one, and the victim was returned to the state of death in under the minute required.
One such victim, however, turns out to be Ned’s childhood love, Chuck (Anna Friel), and he cannot bring himself to touch her the second time. She becomes part of the investigation of her own murder, and part of the detective team, which later grows to include Olive.
A suspect with a heightened olfactory sense refers to Chuck, poetically, as a “girl smelling of honey and death.” Chuck wears unusual but often charming outfits that sometimes hearken back to 1930s movie heroines and sometimes channel Audrey Hepburn by way of Emma Peel. Everybody gets into the act when kooky and colourful undercover costumes are called for.
Chuck must keep her re-life a secret from her aunts (played by Swoosie Kurtz, with eye patch, and Ellen Greene, of Little Shop of Horrors fame, who also gets to sing), who raised her. Ned and Chuck love each other, but can never touch, thus solving the television quandary of keeping a couple from getting together without making one or both of the people involved seem like total jerks.