Some of the best period dramas show up on places like Masterpiece Theatre. One of their more recent ones is Miss Scarlet and the Duke. A story set in the 1800s that follows the ambitious Miss Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips). Ahead of her time, Eliza has always been a handful for her private detective father. However as he’s now missing, Eliza knows something is wrong. When she learns that a sudden heart attack has taken his life, Eliza decides she’ll carry on his work as a detective.
This is all much to the annoyance of Scotland Yard inspector William “Duke” Wellington (Stuart Martin). Having grown up together and with Mr. Scarlet very much being someone William respected, he believes it something of his responsibility to look after Eliza. But as she is in the business of turning down any marriage proposal she receives and instead investigates random cases, William has more than just a small challenge on his hands.
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Like usual I have to be the last person on planet earth to see this. It was making a splash on my Twitter timeline as each episode aired on Masterpiece. I however like to wait until the frenzy dies down before I dive into something. Up front I will say I don’t love this TV series. However, I will also say, that this statement doesn’t mean exactly what you think. In the interest of not giving too much away, I won’t get into specifics here.
What I love without reservation about Miss Scarlet and the Duke is the costuming! Golly, Eliza’s wardrobe is all kinds of elegant and beautiful and I’m not sure there’s anything I can say in a prettier fashion to express this. Kate makes them look even more stylish and seems comfortable in the ensembles even though I’d guess they probably aren’t. Everything from the hats to even, William’s, suits is grand and I must say, William does look pretty dang dashing in the tuxedo!
This Masterpiece Theatre production is six total episodes, and the final two are more intricately connected. There’s good storytelling here and it’s fun to make a return to the 1800s period drama rather than the more modern sitting rooms of the 1920s or later. Plus you’ll also see actors like Nick Dunning and Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) make appearances. As this is a mystery show, everything is darker. This includes not just the storytelling but also the atmosphere and lighting too. Much of it takes place in darker (to be more period authentic) rooms with exception to Eliza’s more pristine home and on the dingy streets. All in all, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, series one is a fun time and something you can certainly anticipate seeing a second series for.
You can find Miss Scarlet and the Duke, series one digitally on Amazon Video or with a PBS Masterpiece subscription add-on.
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Content: there’s some rowdy behavior [drunken brawls, bar scenes] and implications of prostitution. One character winds up being a homosexual. There’s other suggestive remarks and some minor profanity. Violence is part of the show including murder and shooting people. The show is TV-14.
Photos: Masterpiece Theatre / PBS