Review: Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries

Geraldine Hakewill in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries

The Australians created another charming series about an unconventional detective in Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries. There are currently 4 episodes of 90 minutes each available on Acorn TV.

Geraldine Hakewill in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries
Dressed in a mini-skirt, Peregrine is her own 60s woman

The new series jumps in time to 1960s Melbourne. The Ms Fisher in question is Peregrine Fisher, played wonderfully by Geraldine Hakewill. Peregrine doesn’t have quite the joie de vivre her aunt Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) had. Nevertheless, she’s clever and flippant and takes up the mantle of detective without so much as a blink.

She moves into her aunt’s ultra modern, beautiful home, drives her spiffy sports car, and becomes an instant Sherlock Holmes. The costume designer talks about choosing Peregrine’s look in this interview at Indiewire.

Catherine McClements in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries
If Birdie likes you, you’re in.

Peregrine is accepted into her aunt’s former position in the Adventuresses Club, an organization of exceptional women headed up by Birdie Birnside (Catherine McClements). Birdie was a spy – maybe she still is.

Others in the Adventuresses Club include Birdie’s brother Samuel Birnside (Toby Truslove), who is an inventor – the Q to Peregrine’s Bond. Violetta Fellina (Louisa Mignone) is a scientist in the Club.

Libby Tanner in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries
Everyone needs a good little black dress

The first case Peregrine works on involves the fashion world. Florence (Libby Tanner) was a club member and designer. She got caught in a murder case.

The 60s were a time of great change. What the series creators Deborah Cox and Fiona Eagger tried to do with the storylines was put Peregrine into a different world of sweeping changes for each new case. There was the fashion world, a pop culture world of music and television, an episode around scientific advancements, and an episode involving Chinese immigration.

Joel Jackson in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries
A real detective

Of course, Peregrine wasn’t a real detective. Like her aunt before her, she enlisted her own special police officer, Detective James Steed (Joel Jackson), as an ally. They ran into each other at each murder scene (it was always a murder scene) and soon were working together, but secretly.

Greg Stone in Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries
It’s a problem when the head cop is one of the bad guys

Det. Steed was hampered by his corrupt boss, CI Sparrow (Greg Stone) and helped by his partner Constable Connor (Katie Robertson).

Those characters were the regulars. Each episode had its own specific cast of others depending on where the murder was located.

Overall, I didn’t think Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries was as good as the original Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Plot holes and unrealistic science detracted. The 60s pop soundtrack didn’t have the charm that 20s music hold for me.

That doesn’t mean it was not good, it just wasn’t as exceptionally brilliant as the original. I enjoyed it and thought Geraldine Hakewill and Joel Jackson were excellent together. If it gets another season, I will be watching.

Women did the writing and 3 of the episodes were directed by women (Fiona Banks directed two of the episodes and Lynn Hegarty directed one).

Have you checked out the new Ms Fisher? What do you think of her? Watch the trailer here.

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