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Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a popular Australian period crime series that features fun stories with often mature themes that range from violent death to drugs, abortion, and other issues. The murders are committed unseen, but dead people and a few bloody images are shown. There's some sexual innuendo, including partial nudity (bare bottoms), and drinking. The language is pretty mild (occasional "damn"). It will probably appeal to older teens who like a good mystery with a strong female lead.
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What's the story?
Based on the novels of author and defense lawyer Kerry Greenwood, MISS FISHER'S MURDER MYSTERIES is an Australian period drama featuring the fashionable and free-spirited Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) as she solves crimes throughout Melbourne. The modern Phryne enjoys all the amusements of the roaring 1920s, including wearing ankle-revealing dresses, visiting jazz clubs, and making the most of what the era's family planning has to offer. But when murder strikes, she puts her natural sleuthing skills to good use, much to the chagrin of Chief Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) and his young sidekick, Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt). Along with her trusted maid Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings) and her two assistants, Bert (Travis McMahon) and Cec (Anthony Sharpe), she uses her smarts, glamour, and a gold-colored pistol to work out the most complicated of cases. Cheering her along is her friend and local doctor, Mac (Tammy Macintosh). But beneath Phryne's jolly exterior, she quietly mourns the loss of her beloved sister, Jane.
Is it any good?
The entertainingly opulent whodunit series tells entertaining tails with a feminist flair. Phryne Fisher embodies the mythical freedom-loving flapper of the era, while exuding the energy the period is known for. Adding to the fun is the luxurious, art-deco backdrops, along with hints of romance and other personal entanglements that weave in and out episodes.
There are hints of Australian history and politics that might be novel to international viewers, but the story of a strong woman working in a career designated for men speaks to universal audiences. So do the well-written webs of crime and investigation featured here. But it's the overall personality and style of the detective herself that make this show a winner.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about murder mysteries. Is it the detective work that makes it fun or finding out who actually committed the crime? When watching this show, can you find hints that point to the guilty person?
How accurately does this show present Melbourne, Australia, in the 1920s? Is Phryne Fisher representative of how women lived during that era? Or does she represent a fantasy or stereotype of what life was like? Do we want to believe that life was like that during that time?