Netflix Hidden Gem- Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

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Does Downton Abbey have you hungry for more period drama?  Do you wish it had more murder, perhaps a little less polish, and a lot more sass?  Are you crazy about Agent Carter, but wish it had a bit more sex-appeal?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, now is the time to use your winter-imposed inside time to check out Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

This Australian television series is actually based on a book series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood.  Admittedly I haven’t read the series, so I can’t speak directly on whether the television series holds up to the books.  But in researching more about this show I have read that it does and that the book’s author is very pleased with the adaptation.  So if you like the show, maybe file the book info away for future beach reads (despite the current frozen tundra we all live in, I am assuming summer will happen).

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Set in 1920’s Melbourne, Phryne Fisher is a single female detective whose fashion is as sharp as her wit (and mine…ho ho!).  It’s like Murder, She Wrote and Downton Abbey had a rambunctious teenage daughter who not only wears pants and drives her own car, but also carries a pearl handled pistol and collects male admirers like they are the finest of hats.  It’s that second point that has raised the hackles of some Netflix reviewers.  According to these folks because she is a sexually active single woman, Miss Fisher is a tramp.  This consequently ruins their enjoyment of the show.  Since I am recommending this show to you, I had no such experience (I also think that’s a ridiculous assessment).  Miss Fisher owns her behavior, she’s clever, hardworking, caring, and hot.  Why should she have to behave like a nun to be taken seriously as a detective or even be considered likable?

Like many mystery based shows the episode structure is largely “murder of the week” type stuff, with Miss Fisher either stumbling across crimes, or being brought in as a consultant, like a more carefree and socially savvy Sherlock Holmes.  While she doesn’t really have a “Watson” per se, she does have a team of trusted colleagues who help in investigations.  She also habitually partners with restrained police Detective Jack Robinson on most if not all of her cases, and oh the sexual tension!  Note, this doesn’t stop dear Phryne from having other romantic partners, a point that those in the “Miss Fisher is a Tramp” camp gleefully point out.  Despite the time period it’s set in, this show is rather progressive in its relationships, if not still lacking in racial diversity.  Miss Fisher’s best friend is a female physician, who is also a lesbian.  And I’m not really sure about the relationship between Cec and Burt (two taxi drivers who are often called in on some of the more unsavory aspects of Phryne’s investigations) , but they are rarely seen apart from each other.  This makes for a fun cast of supporting characters, but Miss Fisher is still the shiniest of the bunch.

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Miss Fisher and Dr. Mac

The first two series (seasons) of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries are available on Netflix and a third is currently being worked on.

ADDED NOTE:  Season 3 of Miss Fisher is on Netflix as of September 15,2015.


Fun Fact:  Miss Fisher is played by Essie Davis, who also played the haggard mother in the Australian horror movie, The Babadook.  If you like horror, The Babadook is a film worth checking out.

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19 comments

  1. magecat

    No mention of Dot? I always felt her character development was one of the highlights of the show! Plus, I would say she often fills the story’s Watson role.

  2. tinydoom

    Thanks Magecat. You do bring up a good point! Dot’s character does develop a lot more. I did think about her as a “Waston”, but didn’t quite get there because I see her as a mentee (Miss Fisher as the mentor), rather than a partner just yet, but she is getting there! Plus if you are looking for more traditional period drama romance, Dot and Hugh supply that.

  3. smalerie

    I’m about halfway through the series myself and am certainly enjoying it. I am disappointed to hear that once again we have run into the double standard regarding women and casual sex.

  4. Patricia Reichard

    Love this show it is a hidden gem I love all the actors they all play their roles well and the music and clothes are awesome

  5. Janna

    I love this show! But I have just finished the second season on Netflix, what next? Any spunky heroines like Miss Fisher available for watching on Netflix?

    • The Red Menace

      Very similar, but I don’t think it’s on Netflix, are the Mrs. Bradley Mysteries – with Diana Rigg, which is always a good thing. If you want to try something totally different but still full of kick-butt ladies, Orphan Black on Amazon Prime is well worth a look.

  6. Anna

    so while I personally have different standards/convictions concerning sex, than Phryne, I don’t understand people’s shock & disgust over this particular character. Temperance Brennan (Bones) also believes that sex is an instinctive, primal need & doesn’t wish to “settle down” which creates a similar relationship (with Booth) to the one between Phryne & Jack. Castle is also very sexually active, as was Magnum, plus Tony Denozzo (NCIS) and I’m sure many other male detectives. Are those men “s!uts”?
    And I disagree with the one commenter concerning the sexual tension between J & P; I think her escapades allow for said tension, even create it. If she were to change her ways, then their relationship would have to developed further & move to the next level, as we saw with Brennan & Booth in Bones.

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    • tinydoom

      Hi Elizabeth. From what I have been able to see via Google, there is no mention of Netflix removing Miss Fisher. You may have to click into the show, and scroll through episodes to get to season 3. Netflix doesn’t really delineate seasons super clearly. Hope this helps.

    • tinydoom

      Hmmm. I haven’t seen anything about them removing it. I see that Season 1 and 2 are available on DVD. Perhaps Season 3 is streaming only?

  9. Karen Rogers

    When will new season Phrynie Fisher start?l love watching the program. Also Murdock mysteries. Father Brown.

    • tinydoom

      Hi Karen, We love it too but aren’t sure when it will start again. A quick google search says there might be a movie so that’s something to look forward to.

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