It take only one episode for me to fall head-over-heels for the glamorous world of the lady detective Miss Fisher. So, it’s a given that I’d be anxious to watch what came next in the popular Australian mystery show.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Series Two (2013) ITV Review
Proud of her Catholic faith and a respectable position, Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings) is the most surprised in the Fisher household when sister, Lola (Anna Bamford), a showgirl, appears on their doorstep. Lola seeks the help of lady detective, Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) to find a murderer. Skeptical about Miss Fisher taking the case, Dot is ashamed of a sister without faith while Phryne is eager to use her skills as a fan dancer to solve the case! Meanwhile Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) puzzles over a complication of his own. His ex-wife Rosie (Dee Smart) requests he take over a case that involves her father, only in doing so, his investigation intersects with Miss Fisher’s. Much to his surprise – and Dot’s horror at her beau, Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) in a bordello – Jack finds Miss Fisher posing as a fan dancer… !
Though I’ve probably said it before, it bears repeating. Why did I ever doubt trying this? Like so many before it, season two raises the stakes in the will-they-or-won’t-they scenario between Jack and Phryne (more sparks!). Then we meet Jack’s ex-wife and folks, the woman is actually a likable character! Seriously, I wouldn’t joke about this. What makes meeting the former Mrs. Robinson (who by the way, crops up in more than one episode) interesting, is that while she has trouble coming to terms with Jack’s friendship with Phryne (she has no right to wish them ill), there’s no sign that Jack wishes to be married to her. Instead of a bitter ex returning to cause problems, this is more of a peek into Jack’s past. With exception to perhaps one instance, she never morphs into an unbearable sort of character like so many stereotypes.
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Like any good retro drama, this one has the best of everything. The atmosphere, dialogue, music, sets, costumes (Essie pulls off all of her ensembles), right on down the line to the automobiles. Similarly, into this world, producers have inserted the consummate brilliant cast who pulls all of this together; Essie and Nathan are magic together. This song-and-dance, will-they-or-won’t-they isn’t new yet these two own this series which makes every near kiss and every interaction unforgettable. Surrounding them is additionally a brilliant supporting cast including the charms of Dot and Hugh; the occasional appearance of Jane (Phryne’s young ward); and the amusing antics of cabbies Bert and Cec. Everyone puts their best foot forward with their respective roles. In collaboration with everyone behind the scenes this production is the quintessential “complete package.”
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During the 13 episode second season we visit the talkies; the fast-paced world of racing (in which Phryne champions her women’s rights); high class fashion; and make a stop in a creepy little vineyard town. Despite top ratings, the network is in limbo about renewing the splashy series. It’s a shame really because the quality of this show is unmatched – it’s classy, sassy and just plain fun. We end with Jack and Phyne at the piano singing, “Let’s Misbehave” and if that’s the swan song memory, it isn’t a bad way to end.
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Content: Phryne doesn’t shy away from one-night stands with the men she meets. There’s approximately 3-4 scenes of the next morning with her lying the arms of her lover [sheets appropriately placed] or the camera pans a room full of clothing strewn everywhere. There’s some innuendo – Dot and Hugh look at “racy” magazines under the guise of learning how to kiss or woo. There is some implied nudity. One case involves a bordello, another a human trafficker kidnapping orphans and a girl pregnant out of wedlock. There’s various tragedies that befall the victims; they suffer gunshot wounds, stabbings, strangling, drowning or poison. The camera is usually careful to avoid anything horribly graphic though we see victims lying in blood or frantically trying to escape their fate and killer. Episode two involves a séance, there is plenty of social drinking and someone accidentally gets drugs. Other than a minor British slang or perhaps the occasional da*n, there is little profanity.