Series / Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/miss-fishers-murder-mysteriessmjpg_3550.jpg

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television drama series, first broadcast in February 2012. The series is based on author Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher murder mystery novels and was created by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries revolves around the personal and professional life of Phryne Fisher (played by Essie Davis), a glamorous private detective in 1920s Melbourne.

Three series have been produced so far, with the third airing in 2015.

The series contains examples of:

  • Always Murder: The case might start out as locating a missing hat, but someone's going to die soon enough. Of course, this is to be expected; it's right there in the title of the show.
    • Lampshaded by Aunt Prudence:
      "Your mind always jumps to murder, have you noticed that? It's a very bad habit."
  • Amateur Sleuth: Miss Fisher, though she's quite good at what she does
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Beatrice Mason in the episode "The Blood of Juana the Mad" has some traits of autism spectrum disorders - she Hates Being Touched, she is extremely particular about small details, and she gets extremely upset if anything gets out of place - but it is never established what exactly her disorder is, if any.
  • Animal Assassin: In "Game, Set and Murder", the Victim of the Week is murdered by having a venomous spider placed in their shoe.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The blackmailer from the Green Mill Murder episode. Who, just in case you didn't already hate him enough, also turns out to be a rapist.
    • Surprisingly, the little old Italian grandmother who's murdered at the beginning of "Murder and Mozzarella" turns out to be a tyrannical, conniving old harpy who contracted at least one murder herself.
    • In "Cocaine Blues", the murder victim, John Andrews, had raped one of Dot's friends and tried to rape Dot.
  • Australian Accent: Unsurprising, but there are a variety of Australian accents given the different socioeconomic backgrounds of the characters.
  • Aerith and Bob: Phryne and Jane.
  • Banana In The Tail Pipe: In "Blood at the Wheel", Phryne sabotages Jack's car by stuffing her stocking into the exhaust pipe.
  • Battle Butler: When "Mr. B" fights off an intruder to the Fisher household, we learn that he picked up some serious hand-to-hand skills while in the military. In later episodes, he displays a great deal of knowledge about firearms, shortly before showing a great deal of firearms in his personal possession. Phryne and the gang occasionally borrow from his arsenal.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: In "Unnatural Habits" a bedsheet ladder is planted to make it look like the murdered girl had escaped from the confinement cell through the window. Phryne sees through it because the knots used would not have held the girl's weight.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Phryne and Jack in series one; by series two they're well into Will They or Won't They? territory.
  • Beta Couple: Dot and Hugh take their time, but are still this to Phryne and Jack by way of being much more functional.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "Death on the Vine" Phryne and Dot can only watch helplessly as the murder victim (and all the attendant evidence) are carted off to the incinerator. But just as the truck starts rolling, Constable Collins and Detective Inspector Robinson pull up, blocking the truck's escape. Dot and Phryne smile on—demurely and smugly, respectively—as Jack announces he's taking over the case.
  • Big Fancy House
  • Bound and Gagged: Dot, Aunt Prudence and Mr Butler are gagged and tied to chairs by a killer who is waiting in ambush for Phryne in "Death at the Grand".
  • The Boxing Episode: "Deadweight".
  • Broken Pedestal: Georges Sanderson to Jack, in the second to last episode of the second season.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: In "Blood & Money", Phryne grabs a mop and uses it to fend off a man who attacks her with a bayonet.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Covering this up provides a major part of the motivations for the murders in "Death & Hysteria".
  • Bullet Dancing: In "Murder Under the Mistletoe", the killer does this to Phryne; shooting at her feet in order to make her dance in keeping with his Twelve Days of Christmas theme.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Phryne mentions that her gun only has one bullet left when threatening an intruder with it in "Raisins and Almonds". This turns out helpful when the murderer gets ahold of it and fires it before threatening Phryne.
    • The BSA motorcycle Phryne passes by during the opening of "The Blood of Juana the Mad".
  • Christmas in July Episode: "Murder Under the Mistletoe", which aired at Christmas, but in-universe wasn't actually set at Christmas. However, the characters are celebrating 'Christmas in July', an Australian tradition where Christmas-style celebrations are held during the southern hemisphere winter, which falls in the middle of the year.
  • Circus Episode: Phryne goes undercover as the target girl in a Knife-Throwing Act in a small travelling circus in "Blood and Circuses".
  • *Click* Hello: In "Unnatural Habits", Phryne is searching the ship and has just discovered the missing girls when she is interrupted by the click of an automatic being cocked behind her.
  • Closed Circle: "Murder Under the Mistletoe" takes place in an isolated chalet. A snowstorm leaves the chalet Snowed-In, with roads too icy to drive on, and engines of all the vehicles frozen. Cut Phone Lines complete the isolation.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Phryne can't even go on a ski vacation without stumbling over a dead body, and the investigating detective will always be Jack. Even the two episodes that at first appeared to avoid this had Phryne pull strings to get Jack assigned.
  • Cool Car: Loads of them! Phryne's Hispano-Suiza, Jack's '28 Graham-Paige, Bert & Cec's '29 Hudson, a '28 Alfa Romeo worth over a million, even the '16 Overland Amublance seen in a flashback.
  • Corrupt Church: Phryne visits a Magdalene laundry in "Unnatural Habits" and, true to history, it turns out to be an utterly tyrannical hell hole. Furthermore, it's eventually revealed that one of the officials of the laundry was involved in human trafficking, which is of course tied to the Body of the Week.
  • Costume Porn: Phryne has the most amazing clothes and accessories, but all the characters look pretty great. So great, in fact, that an exhibition of the show's costumes has been held at Melbourne's Rippon Lea estate (where most of the show's on-location shooting takes place) after season 2 (which traveled to Sydney) and season 3 (which will travel to Adelaide).
  • Cut Phone Lines: The killer does this to isolate the Snowed-In chalet from the outside world in "Murder Under the Mistletoe".
  • Cut the Fuse: Phryne shoots a burning length of film that is being used as an improvised Powder Trail in "Framed for Murder". However, the burning film flips and lands on the piled celluloid, reigniting it.
  • Dirty Cop: In "Unnatural Habits" it's revealed that the new commissioner is complicit in the episode's human trafficking plot.
  • Dirty Harriet: Phryne goes undercover as a Spanish fan dancer at a gentleman's club in "Murder Most Scandalous".
  • Disconnected by Death: Happens in "Death Do us Part". Osman Efendi is on the phone to Phryne attempting to tell her the location of her father when the killer stabs him from behind.
  • Dramatic Irony: Some of the murders end up backfiring on the killers, and not just because they get caught. In the backstory of "Murder Under the Mistletoe", the killer arranged for miners to keep working in a fundamentally dangerous mine because he wanted the gold in it. The mine inevitably collapsed, and the miners sent up a kid who had gone with them to tell everyone the miners were still alive. The killer suffocates the kid and blows up the mine, killing the surviving miners. This results in the closure of the mine.
  • Drowning Pit: In "Death Defying Feats", Phryne is performing the 'The Miraculous Mermaid": a version of Houdini's water trap escape. The killer sabotages the act leaving Phryne trapped in a glass tank filled with water.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In "Dead Air", Phryne confronts a murderer in a radio studio. She switches on the microphone so that the killer's confession is broadcast live.
  • Ethical Slut: Phryne has extremely active sexual history, of which she is no way ashamed.
  • Evil Matriarch: The victim in "Murder and Mozzarella" is stereotypical old Italian patriarch of a "connected" family—only female.
  • Fabulous Middle-Aged Lady Investigates
    • Phryne's actual age is a bit vague - the series uses the same dates as the novels which would make her 28-29, but Essie Davis is 15 years older than that and doesn't seem to portray Phryne as a woman in her 20s.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out:
    • Happens between Phryne and Jack in "Murder in Montparnasse", with a dash of Kiss of Distraction: Jack needs to distract her from looking at a murderer and thus blowing their cover.
    • Again in "Murder Most Scandalous" while she's undercover at a brothel.
    • Constable Martin pulls this on Dot in "Death at the Grand", when the hotel manager catches them in her office.
  • Fake Twin Gambit: In "Death Defying Feats", an identical twin had murdered her sister years before. When this act seems to be on the verge of catching up with her, she poses as her sister and claims that the two of them had faked her death to allow her to escape an abusive husband.
  • Fanservice Extra: Normally not, but in the first episode, "Cocaine Blues", there is a scene where Phryne and a friend are at a bathhouse together - and a completely naked woman walks past them in full view.
  • Film Noir: Between Miss Fisher's street smarts and loose-cannon attitude (not to mention Ethical Slut tendencies), and the way almost every investigation turns into some kind of wider conspiracy, the show is Film Noir (plus a bizarre mix of Soap Opera when focusing on the side characters) pushed through the filter of "murder of the week".
  • Gilligan Cut: "Death at Victoria Dock" has Jack telling Collins to have more initiative when it comes to Phryne butting into police work, telling him that they need to show her who wears the trousers in this relationship. Cut to a shot of Phryne descending her stairs wearing a pair of trousers and greeting the officers, who exchange a knowing look.
  • Handbag of Hurt: Phryne uses her handbag to disarm and then knock down a killer in "Murder Under the Mistletoe".
  • Hand of Death: A gloved hand is shown drawing a knife and advancing on Osman Efendi in "Death Do Us Part". A spray of blood informs the viewer of his fate.
  • Hat Damage: Jack has his hat shot off his head in "Death on the Vine".
  • Hello Again Officer: Phryne, all the time. Jack has mostly gotten used to it.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In "The Blood of Juana the Mad", Jack and Phryne jump on a conveniently placed motorcycle (in a university quad) to chase a fleeing killer.
  • High Voltage Death:
    • In "Murder Under the Mistletoe", the first victim is electrocuted by Christmas lights that have been tampered with.
    • In "Death & Hysteria", the Victim of the Week is electrocuted when the killer tampers with her electric vibrator.
  • Instrument of Murder: In "The Green Mill Murder", the killer uses the mute in a cornet as a blowgun.
  • Iris Out: Used at the end of every episode, to match the time period of the show.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In "Murder and the Maiden", tension between the police and the military complicates the investigation of a murder on an RAAF base.
  • Kensington Gore: Subverted in one episode of the first season when Hugh asks if some red stuff on the bottom of a boot is blood and Jack shakes his head saying that it's "too red". It turns out to be paint.
  • Kid Has a Point: In "Murder Under the Mistletoe" everyone initially assumes the teenage character is just upset that her stepfather married her mother and acting out as a result, but her judgement of her stepfather turns out to be 100% accurate.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: Phryne goes undercover as the target girl in a knife-throwing act in "Blood and Circuses".
  • Lip-Lock Sun-Block: Hugh and Dot in "Ruddy Gore".
  • Magic Poker Equation: In "Death at the Grand", Phryne sets out to retrieve an IOU her father gave to a Card Sharp. After neutralizing the means he was using to cheat, she proceeds to clean him out at seven card stud. In the final hand where they play for the IOU, the Card Sharp turns over his cards to reveal a straight. Phryne then turns over hers to reveal a full house.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Constantly.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "Murder and the Maiden", a pair of RAAF officers are assumed to be homosexual because of all the time they spend together, and that they never show any interest in girls. In reality, one of them is actually a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Mugged for Disguise: When Eugene escapes from the hospital in "Death Do Us Part", he strangles the constable assigned to guard him and steals his uniform.
  • Mystery Magnet: Wherever Phryne goes, murder is sure to follow. She lampshades this in "Murder Under the Mistletoe": "Mac, you know very well murder finds me". Jack lampshades it too: when informed Miss Fisher has gone on holiday, his immediate response is to ask, "Anyone dead yet?"
  • Never Suicide: Because it's Always Murder. Jack and Phryne try to entertain the idea in one episode, but the foul play is obvious even to viewers.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon:
    • In "Framed for Murder", the killer swaps the prop knife being used in a movie for the real knife used for taking stills. When the director demonstrates to the actress how he wants her to stab the leading man, he stabs himself in the heart.
    • In "Death-Defying Feats", the killer sabotages the prop guillotine being used in a magic act to turn it into a real one.
  • Old Dark House: Well, it's a chalet rather than a house, but otherwise the setting of "Murder Under the Mistletoe" fits the trope to a tee. Especially after the power goes out.
  • Off with Her Head!: In "Death Defying Feats", a magician's assistant is decapitated when the killer sabotages the prop guillotine being used in the act, turning it into a Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "Death at the Grand", Aunt Prudence is held hostage and forced to call Phryne to lure her into a trap. Aunt Prudence says that she has decided to stay for lunch because Mr. Butler is making shepherd's pie and Phryne knows how much she loves it. Phryne immediately realises something is wrong as Aunt Prudence hates shepherd's pie.
  • Paparazzi: A gutter press photographer who is stalking a female tennis star plays a major role, and becomes a suspect for murder, in "Game, Set, and Murder". It is later revealed that he is being paid by her major rival to harass her and throw her off her game.
  • Phoney Call: In "Death on the Vine", Phryne makes a call to Jack and pretends to be talking to her mechanic so the people eavesdropping on her call won't know who she is really talking to.
  • Powder Trail: In "Framed for Murder", the murderer uses a long line of celluloid film like a powder trail to ignite a huge pile of unspooled film he is planning to use to burn his victim to death.
  • Rank Up: In "Game, Set and Murder", Hugh is promoted from constable to senior constable.
  • Redundant Rescue: Quite a few. Jack often rushes to save Phryne from the villain, only to show up moments after she's subdued him.
  • The Roaring Twenties
  • Sauna of Death: In the very first episode.
  • Serial Killer: There have been a few, given the nature of the series. The Big Bad of the last few episodes of season 1 and the killer in "Murder Under the Mistletoe" stand out.
  • Serious Business: Football in "Marked For Murder". Anyone who's ever lived in Melbourne can testify this is Truth in Television.
    • Bespoke fashion versus ready-to-wear in "Murder A La Mode". Madame Fleuri is pretty much Serious Business incarnate.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: In "Blood and Circuses", Phryne reveals her circus costume to Jack in this way.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: In "Murder and the Maiden", Phryne arrives at the scene of the disturbance at the base perimeter wearing Group Captain Compton's leather flight coat and apparently nothing else.
  • Shoot the Rope: In "Framed for Murder", Phryne shoots the rope holding a sandbag, causing it to drop and extinguish a fire.
  • Sleuth Dates Cop: For Phryne and Jack it's more like Sleuth Befriends Cop And Unresolved Sexual Tension Ensues—at least for now. But their sidekicks Hugh and Dot are a straight example.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Henry does this to Bert in "Death Do Us Part", drugging Bert's tea so he can escape from Phryne's house. To add insult to injury, he steals Bert's cab.
    • This is implied to have been done to Beatrice Mason in "The Blood of Juana the Mad", but luckily there is no indication that she was assaulted.
  • Snowed-In: In "Murder Under the Mistletoe" (whose plot is equal parts The Mousetrap and And Then There Were None), the chalet is snowed in, trapping all of the guests there with a murderer, and making it impossible for help to get in from the outside.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In "Murder and the Maiden", a nurse who has adopted the identity of an institutionalized RAAF officer in order to fly.
  • Symbolic Blood: In "Murder and Mozzarella", the killer spills a pot of tomato sauce on the floor while murdering the victim.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted when a gunman whom Jack knocks out in "Death and the Grand" is left in a life-threatening coma.
  • Technicolor Toxin: In "Death Do Us Part", the Victim of the Week is poisoned by having his eyedrops dosed with polonium. Phryne and Jack find the dropped eyedrop bottle at night because it is glowing blue.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: In "Murder Under the Mistletoe", a Theme Serial Killer starts picking off the guests and staff of a Snowed-In chalet one by one.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: In "Death at the Grand", Phryne's father gets in a duel with the man he thinks has murdered his girlfriend/accomplice.
  • Theme Serial Killer: In "Murder Under the Mistletoe", the murderer uses 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' as his theme.
  • Throw the Book at Them: In "Raisins and Almonds", Phryne confronts an intruder in a bookstore. The intruder tips over a bookshelf and dumps a pile of books on her.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Maiden Creek in "Death on the Vine".
  • True Companions: The main characters all seem to be heading this way.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In "Unnatural Habits", the new commissioner is a right Jerk Ass who also happens to be complicit in the episode's human trafficking plot.
  • Under the Mistletoe: At the end of "Murder Under the Mistletoe", Jane starts hanging a sprig of mistletoe over various pairs, encouraging them to kiss. First is Dot and Hugh, then Aunt Prudence and Bert, and finally Phryne and Jack.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In "Blood at the Wheel", the wheel nuts on a female rally driver's car are loosened, causing the wheel to come off at high speed.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Used as a murder weapon in "Blood & Money". A piece of down found on the Victim of the Week becomes a vital clue.
  • Wedding Day: Hugh and Dot finally make it to the altar in "Death Do Us Part".
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: The Victim of the Week from "The Green Mill Murder" turns out to have been a blackmailer who had a string of people who wanted him dead for entirely understandable reasons.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Phryne Fisher is shown to be arachnophobic (a trait not shared by her literary version) in "Game, Set and Murder". Jack notes this is the first time he has seen a chink in her armour, and is later able to use this fear to his advantage.
  • William Telling: In "Death at the Grand", Phryne's father shoots the hat off the man he was fighting a Ten Paces and Turn duel against as a way of proving his point.
  • Working the Same Case: If Phryne and Jack start out investigating separate cases at the start of the episode, expect them to be interlinked.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/MissFishersMurderMysteries