MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES (2015)
Producer(s): Deborah Cox, Fiona Eagger
Director(s): Tony Tilse, Peter Andrikidis, Mat King, Daina Reid
Writer(s): John Banas, Deborah
Cox, Ysabelle Dean…
Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Ashleigh Cummings, Miriam Margolyes, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony Sharpe, Tammy Macintosh…
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
The series continues with a third season. Still set in 1920s Melbourne, Australia, Essie Davis portrays the lead character Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-nee). Miss Fisher is an intelligent, charming, feisty, and thoroughly modern woman operating in a male dominated world. The glamorous “lady detective” continues to stick her pretty nose into places most people wish she wouldn’t.
Most of the favorite characters from Season 1 and 2 return in Season 3, including Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes), Dorothy Williams (Ashleigh Cummings), Mr. Butler (Richard Bligh), Dr. Mac (Tammy Macintosh), Bert (Travis McMahon) and Cec (Anthony Sharpe), and of course Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) and Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt).
To the dismay of many faithful fans, Season 3 is not as enjoyable as the previous two seasons. While most reviewers gush about this third season, in my opinion if this had been the first season, there would not have been a season two and three.
I believe the previous two seasons (series) were wildly successful not only because of the attention to detail (authentic costumes, set design, locations, witty dialog) and wonderful ensemble cast, but the stories had snappy pacing and a freshness. Sadly, the episodes in this latest series lack the freshness or crispness of the earlier episodes. There are too many instances where the plot or logic of the plot falls apart under scrutiny (or even at first viewing for shrewd fans). The resolutions of the plot(s) are too frequently unsatisfying and the extended character and story arcs become tedious. Will they or won’t they? Who, you ask? Dorothy and Hugh. Phryne and Jack. Then there is the arrival of the Baron…boring, after the first few minutes let alone in a multi-episode arc. What were the writers thinking?!?
To make things even worse, the secondary characters (whom I found almost more interesting than Miss Fisher in the previous series’ episodes) were woefully under used in this series.
Also disappointing, the number of new episodes has been decreased to 8, as opposed to 13 episodes each in the previous seasons.
Perhaps repeated viewings will improve the pleasure of this season, but I’m not holding my breath.
My advice is to rent the series and view before buying.
“Death Defying Feats” – A magician’s guillotine trick goes horribly wrong. Miss Fisher takes on the case.
“Murder and the Maiden” – Relations are strained between the military and the Melbourne police after the discovery of a female body just outside the Air Force base’s perimeter.
“Murder and the Mozzarella” – When an Italian grandmother is killed in her kitchen it brings unwanted attention to two rival immigrant families and an Italian crime syndicate.
“Blood and Money” – Several kids living on the streets have gone missing and turned up dead. Miss Fisher is “hired” by one of the street urchins to find his brother who has recently gone missing.
“Death and Hysteria” – Aunt Prudence has recently opened her home to a psychiatrist who treats “hysterical” women. Trouble is brewing and Miss Fisher insists on sorting things out for her aunt.
“Death at the Grand” – Clues from the death of a hotel concierge lead Miss Fisher directly to the Baron who may not be able to charm his way out of this one.
“Game, Set, and Murder” – Murder disrupts the tennis competition Miss Fisher is hosting.
“Death Do Us Part” – The man stalking the Baron escapes from the hospital on the same night a prominent scientist is killed. Can Phryne and Detective Inspector Robinson get to the bottom of things in time to protect the Baron?
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