Thanks to this npr.org article, I put the Australian import Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries in my Netflix queue and last night I gave it a try. I was so delighted with S1E1 that, despite it already being past my bedtime, I just had to watch the next episode. You see, Phryne Fisher (pronounced "Fry-nee" and played with panache by Essie Davis, recently of The Babadook (which I still haven't seen)) is a fantastic character and one unlike almost any on television - Agent Carter comes closest.
In the first episode, Miss Fisher returns to 1920s Melbourne after some unspecified time abroad, and wastes little time setting up shop as an amateur detective, in part because playing cards is "boring." She apparently grew up poor but as a result of WWI, inherited a title and scads of money. She is a flapper in her 30s or early 40s (again, unspecified, but one character calls her a "spinster") - she is gorgeous and exquisitely garbed in beaded gowns, high-waisted pants, marabou feather boas and Chinese silk kimonos. She is very smart, clever, funny, perceptive, loyal and generous, but doesn't suffer fools. When she is smarter than all the men in the room, she deftly sidesteps their chauvinism and goes on doing what she wants. She drinks, drives scarily fast, carries a golden gun and thinks nothing of climbing up the outside of buildings. She loves men and has plenty of casual sex, all on her own terms; she refers to her diaphragm as "family planning." By the end of the second episode, she has acquired a new maid, sportscar, foster child, mansion, butler, two hired men/drivers and the grudging respect of the handsome detective inspector.
Her first two cases involved not only murders, but also cocaine trafficking, rape and illegal abortions, gambling and abused orphans - but the show has a soft touch and a light tone. Phyrne Fisher is simply marvelous and I can't wait to see what else she does.
59 minutes ago