Right now the Mid-Atlantic is getting pummeled by a blizzard. My dad took a photo of his patio with a yard stick to show snow totals of twelve inches and the storm is far from over. For once, being further north has allowed me the reprieve of only four to seven inches. Enough precipitation to shove my kids outside for some sledding, but not enough to interrupt our normal school schedule on Monday. As far as winter storms go, this is do-able. Not only can I hang out in my pajamas all day, but I can continue to binge watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix. Not since Veronica Mars have I fallen in love with a television show this much. And thanks to Netflix, I can watch the three seasons at my leisure.
Based on the popular book series (which I haven’t read yet because I discovered the show first) by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is set in Australia in the late 1920s. Phryne Fisher, played by the charming Essie Davis, is an heiress with a dark, blunt-cut bob and an enviable wardrobe. After returning from Europe, Miss Fisher sets herself up as a private detective. Alongside a cast of likable characters: the handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson; Phryne’s young companion, Dot; Dot’s beau, Constable Hugh Collins; Dr. Mac, Phyrne’s out lesbian friend; and Phryne’s household staff including the surprising Mr. Butler; Miss Fisher always solves the crime.
Single and in early 40s, Miss Fisher is a modern woman. She spent WWI working as a nurse on the Allied Front and she — like Jack — has returned from war changed. She’s seen death up close and for that, she embraces life’s joys, choosing to do what she wants and bed who she wants. This is a stark contrast to the younger generation of Dot and Hugh, whose naivety and innocence make them more old-fashioned than the slightly older generation. The war is a constant presence that molds Phryne’s life, making her an unstoppable female force in a world of men.
With each crime, the show enlightens viewers to the tough issues of the time period including suppression of women, homosexuality, poverty, and intolerance. In one episode, it’s revealed women are forced to undergo hysterectomies to cure them of their madness. In another, a young girl is killed because she is pregnant. Phyrne’s wealth affords her more than fancy clothes, it provides her with autonomy, and in turn, she is able to seek justice for those who can’t get it themselves.
Lastly, I cannot end this blog post without discussing Phryne and Jack’s relationship which is steamy as sexual tension bubbles beneath their professional exterior. Essie Davis and Nathan Page (who plays Jack) have some of the best onscreen chemistry I have ever witnessed. This proves that a television series need not show sex to be sexy.
Well, I’m off to watch the rest of Season 3 — I will be very sad when it’s all over.
Are you watching Miss Fisher? What do you think of the show? Who are your favorite characters? And if not, what are you waiting for?