DISCLAIMER: Netflix has been monitoring my email and due to my importance as a customer, they’ve immediately added Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries to Canadian Netflix as of June 1, 2015.
To the creators of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries,
I am writing to you today because I love your show. I love watching the adventures and exploits of Phryne Fisher (played with unwavering pizzazz by Essie Davis), solving mysteries while impeccably dressed in jazz-soaked 1920’s Australia. I love that Phryne is independently wealthy and just decides one day that detective work would be fun. I love that Phryne is a collector of people, like Bert and Cec, the drivers/working class thugs/dock workers (I really don’t know how they earn their keep); or Dot, the timid and shy young woman who becomes Phryne’s maid/confidant; or the Little Orphan Annie-type kid that Phryne adopts who disappears for long stretches whenever convenient to the plot; or the many, many men that come in and out of Phryne’s life and bed. All of whom Phryne uses to help her solve mysteries. It is the perfect show to watch during the summer months and, since we are finally having a semblance of warm weather here in the arctic tundra known as Winnipeg, I’ve been devouring the first season. The show is fluffy and fizzy and feminist and I love it. Almost everything you need to know about the show can be summed up by this promotional photograph:
But here’s the deal: I am watching your show through less than desirable means. There’s no other way for me to watch it in Canada. I think Phryne would be OK with that. I mean, she’s certainly not one to shy away from using lightly nefarious methods to obtain evidence. But, I’m more of the Dot type. I’m a goody two-shoes and my preference would be to watch the show via some sort of streaming service or on broadcast television or online or through the telepathic broadcasting system you super smart Australians are surely in the process of inventing.
Since you are clearly all very smart and exceptionally chiseled Australians, I’d like to appeal to your good nature (and amazing pecs) to allow us lowly, frost-bitten, noseless (because of all of the frostbite) Canadians to watch your show via your groundbreaking and game-changing telepathic television service. I mean, aren’t we both part of the Commonwealth? Come on Australia, that must count for something. Doesn’t make that make us like siblings or at least cousins? And yet the show is on US Netflix. I thought we were tight Australia, I really did. Do you want something from us? You can have Murdoch Mysteries. Just take it. Seriously. Oh, it already airs Monday to Friday at 7:30pm on 13th Street in Australia? Fine, we’ll lend you hockey for a week!
I’ll admit that you did go part of the way. I turns out that the show airs on The Knowledge Network in Canada, which is actually really cool. Until you realize the Knowledge Network only airs in BC. So, great, that’s another thing that people in BC can feel superior about (Hi BC friends, I love you! Tune into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Season 2 on The Knowledge Network, Thursdays at 8pm starting in July!).
Listen, I don’t love everything about Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. There are plenty of things to criticize. The show can be a bit – oh, what’s the word – silly? I love silly, but there are a lot of not so spot on accents, twirling moustaches would not seem out-of-place, characters disappear for long stretches when it serves the plot (I’m looking at you Little Orphan Annie), and sometimes it feels like a television show from a different era. Thankfully, these hammy bits are usually directly related to the mystery in each episode, which just serves to make me enjoy the bits about Phryne’s personal life all the more. It’s there in the title. The Miss Fisher comes before the Murder Mysteries.
And speaking of the mystery plots, I don’t care about them. At all. And I love mysteries. But I don’t remember the murders from one episode to the next. There was something that happened in Chinatown, there was one in a theatre, there was a thing with a Jewish dude. Basically each episode follows the same plot: someone gets murdered, Phryne is nearby (because of course) or somehow she squeezes her way into the crime scene – this is really unimportant – and she starts the hunt for clues with a variety of her friends and acquaintances helping her out. Phryne solves the case, does the whole Murder She Wrote wrap up/rundown in front of all involved, and goes back to her lavish home where she can have a cocktail prepared by her loving butler. For me, the mysteries are simply a vehicle for what is most important to the show: FLIRTING.
I would watch Phryne Fisher flirt with anyone and I do because she does. She flirts with people to obtain information, she flirts with people because she wants to sleep with them (she pretty much always sleeps with someone), she flirts with people because it’s fun. And she’s really, really good at it. The best flirting happens between Phryne and Inspector Jack Robinson. Jack is like an exceptionally handsome and charming version of Droopy Dog. The best part of every episode is at the start or end of a case when Phryne and Jack are in a room together. Everything is all crackles and sparks. Jack is, of course, ever-serious and Phryne is all bubbles of energy. When they are together they play up these parts for anyone else in ear-shot and for each other. The flirting that goes on between Jack and Phryne is a master class, all other flirting pales in comparison, because they are both so committed to it. Phryne and Jack are like the two best players on the same basketball team. There’s some competitive sparring because they are both so good at what they do – even though they do things very differently – but they both want the same result. They are like Kobe and Shaq. If Kobe and Shaq wanted to fuck. I don’t care whether the mystery is solved in each episode (it always is) but I do care if, at the end of the episode, the closing iris circles in on Phryne and Jack. The closing iris should always be on Phryne and Jack.
And it’s that closing iris that keeps me coming back for more. So, I’ll be a little more Phryne than Dot and keep watching through somewhat naughty means until something changes. Yours is a show I’d do that for.
Kerri, the Dot type