“You don’t have to save the world, Phyrne.” Yet the honorable Miss Phyrne Fisher seems compelled to do all she can to make 1920’s Melbourne a safer place. Welcome to Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
Phyrne Fisher (Essie Davis) is sassy, lightning smart, glamourous, nosy, a little older than she feels, confident… everything you want from your woman of independent means. Having recently returned to Melbourne after many years abroad, Miss Fisher is set to build herself a new life but before even she can do that her very proper Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes), a well-known society matriarch, can drag Phryne off to attend her first soiree, Phryne finds herself embroiled in a murder.
It’s a very well delivered period series with lucious sets, great stories, and characters who seem lifted straight from the novels they were drawn from (written by Australian author Kerry Greenwood). Davis puts in a star turn, effortlessly offering Phryne as glamourous and as razor sharp as she should be. Along the way she meets maid Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings), an innocent Catholic girl who has never seen such confidence in another lady as that displayed by Phryne, and a friendship is formed. Cummings is captivating on screen and gives a performance that rings true of her character’s status for the era.
From illegal abortions to union disputes, exploited workers and missing girls, Phryne finds justice for those who can’t help themselves. As she delves deeper into the murky world of murder, Phryne crosses paths with the local constabulary, befriending the handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) and his trusting deputy Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt). Leaving a trail of admirers in her wake, the heroine makes sure she enjoys every moment of her lucky life and along the way she unlocks the truth of her own dark history.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is solid Australian drama with a sense of fun and intrigue. Davis steals the show as the lead, though ably assisted by a more than capable cast. An easy watch on a Friday night.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Fri 8:30pm, ABC1.