Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Series Three (2015)
Thanks to the persistence of fans, a third season of this divine series was produced chronicling more adventures with our favorite sassy sleuth.
Months and months of tip-toeing around a potential relationship and tonight, Miss Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) is finally going on a proper date with Detective Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). Or that was the plan. But as is the norm in Miss Fisher’s colorful and fast-paced household, a man shows up on her doorstep, his presence forcing her to cancel her date with Jack. Assuming he’s been thrown over for a better prospect, Jack and Phryne are thrown together shortly thereafter when a magician’s assistant is murdered during a magic act… and with murder occupying their time; they have little time to contemplate Jack’s reaction to being thrown over. Though her mysterious male guest may not be at all who Jack thinks him to be – it turns out that Phryne’s philandering father has returned, looking for money and not at all reformed from his gambling propensities.
Phryne’s loyal companion, Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) is encountering challenges of her own. As a devout Catholic, marrying anyone who isn’t of her faith is out of the question. This means her fiancé – Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), has to convert. Hugh’s family doesn’t think Dot is the right girl for him nor do they approve of his converting, which inspires tension. Gaps begin to form in Dot and Hugh’s relationship, including disappointment about a job promotion and an unexpected replacement for Hugh’s position just might turn Dot’s head.
As is the custom for this Australian series, season three is the tops. I’m serious, I get a little giddy with the anticipation of the promise these writer’s tease us with. Not to mention, while watching this excitement ramps up simply because it’s that good. Each “season” is comprised of 8-9 episodes depending on whether or not we are fortunate enough to have a Christmas special. Short as this is in comparison to ordinary network television, like BBC’s Sherlock, if the shortened length and gaps between seasons produce this kind of quality, I can deal.
Phryne and Co. encounter everything from Italian family feuds and tennis to spiders (which unlocks Phryne’s fear) and a murder that occurs a little too close to home. Each story is brilliantly written to screen (speaking solely on the TV adaptation as I’ve never read the novels by Kerry Greenwood on which this is based) and every story seems to be better than the last. Progressively, the series has upped the playful intrigue of the tug-and-pull between Jack and our leading lady, which makes for some of the best flirty banter there is currently on TV. If nothing else, their chemistry will keep a smile on your face. We also fall under the spell of the sweet romance between Dot and Hugh. Dot’s the very definition of a lady, which makes for a nice alternative to Phyrne’s looser morals (though on the plus side, those see a decrease in season three, mostly in the latter half). Phryne’s entire household really is a riot. From her butler to the two cabbies she recruited, everyone is great in their own ways If there is one flaw in the characters this season, it’s the lack of appearance – or even mention, of Phryne’s ward, Jane. Seeing her integrated in the mysteries now and again is always a pleasure.
Appropriate gushing for this series could likely go on for another page or better, but then that’s not the most professional use of space. The banter, the characters and actors who portray them, the setting and interesting mysteries (including one that involves a hotel) are always classy. If you like costume dramas, the costuming is pretty and everything Essie dons drips with elegance. Those who like independent, strong female characters will also like this simply for the fact that Phryne doesn’t do anything she doesn’t wish to do. Those of us who having invested time and patience into the will-they-or-won’t-they potential between the leads get a reward (you’ll know what I mean when you see the squeal-inducing-fangirl moment) in the final moments of episode eight, which forays nicely into the rumored film that’s either in or about to go into production. A film that will take Phryne, and presumably her gang of crime-fighter friends to England. Changing the scenery just may be what is needed to push these lovebirds to finally admitting the truth. Plus, seeing them cavort in the prim and proper streets of 20s-era England sounds like a smashing good time.
(Content: Phryne engages in two brief flings – one of which is a renewal of a prior relationship. How far the flings go, we’re never sure, but we see kissing and in one scene, some clothing removal before the camera cuts away. There are some scenes of “gunplay.” Rating is suited to a PG13 rating.)