After months of Twitter hype (during its U.S. debut), I finally did watch Masterpiece PBS’ Miss Scarlet and the Duke. The show has all of the right ingredients for ensuring that I’d love it, but as the title of this may suggest, I do have some or really one big issue with it. Today this inspires our reasons why I do and don’t like Miss Scarlet and the Duke, a kind of series I rarely add to.


Okay, so here’s the 411 on this little (in part) complaint about this Victorian period drama. This will 100% be a kind of contradictory “why I don’t like” the show. This because the reason I’m going to cite is something I easily forgive in other movies or TV shows. So because of this fangirl hypercritical point of view, I’m going to try and find out what it is exactly that makes me feel this way.

The show follows a feisty female detective (Eliza Scarlet) who takes up her father’s business in the aftermath of his death. Her greatest foe (friendly though) is a Scotland Yard inspector (William) with whom she grew up with. Let’s get started on the good and bad, shall we?




If there’s one thing that’s above complaint in this masterpiece of a show, it’s the costumes! Eliza’s wardrobe is all kinds of stunning, classy and jaw-dropping. Of course, William also looks dashing here and there, particularly so in the two-part finale when he’s in his tux.


Eliza’s sass is so darn fun. I’m not a feminist, but I do love how she perseveres. I don’t feel like she (for the most part) plays the victim card and instead she tries to always find a way to accomplish whatever she wants to accomplish.


I do think the scenes between Eliza and her father are touching and sweet. She finds him just when she needs him and it couldn’t be sweeter.



For most of this series, the relationship between Eliza and William feels more like brother and sister than a slow-burn romance. (Which I don’t mind, but I do have stipulations on this, which is DON’T tease ANY romance if that’s not end goal.) This holds with exception to one near kiss (which is pretty dang good). However logic (based on TV fangirl experience) suggests this will soon change, but given an interview title and some speculation (which I know is part of keeping viewers interested, too) with the Express, I may end up being more right than wrong in that perhaps these two won’t ever be a thing. Or is this just a clever rouse?


Edit: Much like Elizabeth Bennet changes her mind about Mr. Darcy, I’ve changed a lot in my opinion of William. Now I think he’s the better character and it’s Eliza who needs to change and learn and grow. Is William perfect? Nope. But he’s my favorite, and his frustration with Eliza is often fair.

Gasp! I know.

Here’s where I’m being most silly and also hypercritical.

You see, William is a brooding hero whose dark looks tends to translate into his character. He doesn’t give Eliza the credit she deserves (and I have to excuse him because I always appreciate when characters are authentic to their era) and he tends to dismiss her too often. It wears a little thin after a while and isn’t a “cute” form of fighting. That said, like I say, I do appreciate when characters are authentic to their era, and I think we’ve seen William crack ever so slightly. He seems a bit softer, and I think some of this aptitude and frustration with Eliza comes from his knowing Eliza in childhood. Their relationship largely centers around this (and likely her annoying him as a child) and I think that’s where much of his patience (or lack thereof) is from.

What are your thoughts? What makes your “why I do and don’t like Miss Scarlet and the Duke” lists? Do you think William is growing; and do you like character’s who are authentic to their era? Comment all of your thoughts below!


FIVE REASONS WHY I DO (& DON’T) LIKE ‘MISS SCARLET & THE DUKE.’ Sharing some of the reasons why I do and don't like Miss Scarlet and the Duke. © Rissi JC

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Photos: Masterpiece Theatre/PBS

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I love this show so far, but I actually agree in being conflicted on William. I ship Eliza and him appropriately hard, BUT I would like to see more development in his character and improvement of his flaws before it’s all said and done. He definitely has work to do, haha.

    1. I enjoyed it a lot too, Olivia! Just not quite as much as I really wanted to. That said, I love a good mystery/Victorian drama and I do think there is great affection there. William is just a bit stubborn. ;)

  2. It is now in season 3, for those who have’s seen it I will try to avoid spoilers. Simply put in my opinion William doesn’t deserve Eliza. He is constantly trying to change who she is, into what he wants her to be which is a meek and submissive baby producer. I think Patrick Nash is a much better match. He respects Eliza and her abilities, he has a sense of humor, and he is clearly mystified by her. And now that he is showing his softer side, they work well together. William deserves exactly what he gets a shallow, vindictive, bobble head; can’t wait until he realizes how badly he misjudged things and Eliza shows him the door

    1. Honestly… I think they both underestimate and underappreciate each other. ;) Do you think Patrick will continue to be part of the story? I think I’m somewhere in the middle of series three so I’m not totally caught up yet although I did read an interview with the stars back in series one that seems to suggest they don’t see their characters being a match.

  3. Finally an online sentence that reflects an element of frustration I have with ‘Miss Scarlet and the Duke’! JC Rissi’s observation that “they both underestimate and underappreciate each other” is an understatement, imo. My frustration is more with Miss Scarlet’s failing in this area than with Inspector Wellington’s, because time and place are essential, not separate, defining traits of all people, including fictional characters. And the character who seems severely socially underdeveloped here is Eliza Scarlet. She was not brought up in poverty(a workhouse, no less), as Mr. Wellington was. Miss Scarlet understood verbal nuance. Miss Scarlet’s upbringing included reading of fiction, which tends to nurture empathy, plus formal Victorian social rules. Basic to these rules was an assumption that others can be hurt immensely by your words and behaviors. This doesn’t mean that one is never to behave as incautiously as Eliza does, only that you do so knowingly. Insults were very rarely accidental for any people upper middle class and above. Excepting those who “lacked upbringing”, Victorians were conscious of the emotional impact of their words. They may have been wrong their analysis but they weren’t careless. Either Eliza lacks the intelligence to figure out patterns of what words and behaviors hurts William -and others- or she really lacks empathy for him and others. When the numbers are all added up, Eliza comes across as a self-centered modern individualist. William doesn’t. Eh, I’ve ranted enough. (“Miss Scarlet and the Duke” is one of several series/movies I’m using in a research project re. empathy patterns.)

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Sheila. I appreciate this. While a really fun series and one I do mostly enjoy, I find both characters need to learn (also seems like it’s always William who apologizes). Like you, I take issue with Eliza too which isn’t something I see many people take issue with. I think part of this is because viewers like to champion a woman who is trying to overcome something. In this case, because of the time she lives in, Eliza has to work harder to make her business a success. Still I just watched an episode where Eliza did something viewers would be annoyed at William about. Just because she’s a lady doesn’t mean her reaction or action is any more or less appropriate. Glad you shared your thoughts!

  4. William has Eliza’s heart for sure. She is just too stubborn to let him know it for fear he doesn’t feel the same, which he does, but would shatter her if he doesn’t. Both their stubbornness, upbringing, pasts and social norms of the times prevent them from fully realizing, at least for now, that they are madly in love with each other. Which I’m glad of for now as it contributes to the mystery and tension between them.

    1. So many LOVE this show and I certainly enjoy watching it. It’s a fun series. I just don’t love all of the writing and the reactions or actions between these two. ;) Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I really enjoyed reading your comment.

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