SLIDER

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Season Two (2013)

It took only one episode for me to fall head-over-heels for the glamorous world of the lady detective Miss Fisher in her inaugural season, so it was a given that I’d be anxious to watch what came next in the popular Australian mystery show.

Proud of her Catholic faith and respectable position with her employer – Miss Fisher, Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings) is the most surprised in the Fisher household when sister, Lola (Anna Bamford)­­, a showgirl, appears on their doorstep seeking the help of lady detective, Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) in uncovering who murdered her friend. Skeptical about Miss Fisher taking the case, Dot is ashamed of a sister who isn’t living up to the standards her parent’s raised them while Phryne is eager to use her recently honed skills as a fan dancer in order to help solve the case!

Meanwhile Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) is puzzling over a complication of his own, his ex-wife Rosie (Dee Smart) has requested that he take over a case that involves her father accused of murdering a girl inside a locked room, only in doing so, his investigation intersects with Miss Fisher’s and much to his surprise – and Dot’s displeasure over seeing her beau, Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) with him at a bordello – Jack finds Miss Fisher posing as a fan dancer… !

Though I’ve probably said it before, it bears repeating, why I ever doubted trying this, I will never be able to legitimately answer – what a puzzle! Fortunately, I got the final “push” I needed thanks to Renee and haven’t -looked back since. Like so many before it, season two raises the stakes in the will-they-or-won’t-they scenario between Jack and Phryne first by heightening the sparks between them and 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) is that while she may be having trouble coming to terms with Jack’s friendship with Phryne (she has no right to wish them ill­ especially considering her recent announcement), there are no signs from Jack that he still wishes to be married to her – thank goodness for this small satisfaction – and instead of a bitter ex returning to cause problems, I saw her introduction as more of a peek into Jack’s past and with exception to perhaps one instance, she never morphed into an unbearable sort of character like so many stereotypes would have written her.

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) and right on down the line to the automobiles are spot-on sensational. 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 have been done hundreds of times in past television serials or in novel form yet these two own this series which makes every look, every near kiss and every interaction unforgettable. Surrounding them is additionally a brilliant supporting cast including the charms of Dot and Hugh, and of course 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 and in collaboration with everyone behind the scenes this production is the quintessential “complete package.”  

During the 13 episode second season (fist pump for – bonus! – a final episode Christmas special), 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. While watching these installments, much to my dismay, I learned that a third season order is in danger – actors have been quoted as saying that usually by now they’d be filming a next season and also adding insult to injury, 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 rarely matched – it’s classy, sassy and just plain fun. One especially telling scene features Jack and Phyne at the piano singing, “Let’s Misbehave” and if that is the memory we are to be left with or if “lucky 13” is to be its swan song, it wasn’t a bad way to end though for those of us with a romantic side, it’d have been nice to have a finale that gave more closure.

(Parental Review: Phryne doesn’t shy away from one-night stands with the men she meets while investigating her cases – we see approximately 3-4 scenes of the next morning in which, she is either lying the arms of her lover [sheets appropriately placed] or they’re waking as the camera pans a room full of clothing strewn everywhere and a bed in disarray. There are some innuendoes – Dot and Hugh look at “racy” magazines under the guise of learning how to kiss or woo. There is some implied nudity though we never see anything below the neckline or a bare upper back. One case involves a bordello, another a human trafficker kidnapping orphans and a girl pregnant out of wedlock. There are 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 victims are seen lying in blood or frantically trying to escape their fate and killer. Episode two involves a séance, there is plenty of social drinking and a man is mistakenly drugged. Other than a minor British slang or perhaps the occasional da*n, there is little profanity.)

5 comments

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I adore Phryne and am so proud of Australian television! There are more murmurs of a season 3 and if you like this page you'll be in the know ;-)

    https://www.facebook.com/phrynefisher

    Fabulous overview, Rissi. And aren't the costumes stunning?!

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    1. Me, too! She's brilliant. And as an American, let me express sincere thanks for this fabulous show. We love it over here. (Have you ever seen Mr. and Mrs. Murder? It's the latest Aussie import we're watching and quite cute.)

      Ooo! There are murmurs of a third season!? This makes my day. Last I saw, it was very iffy leaning more towards no third season. There *needs* to be a third season. 'Nuff said. ;)

      Thanks for the link, Rel - and the comment. Always glad to chat. :)

      YES. Whoever designs the costumes deserves award after award.

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  3. I haven't even heard of this series until now. Definitely going to go check them out!

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    1. Natalie, it is SO fun. And good. Hope you enjoy it if/when you try the series. :)

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