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Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis)
"Who says crime doesn't play?"

Our Heroine. On the surface nothing more than a shallow aristocrat who likes champagne, a party, and virile young men, Phryne is much more capable and dangerous than she first appears, and takes to being a Lady Detective like a duck takes to water. Her harsh past has given her a zest for life, and the wide variety of skills she's acquired during the course of her very interesting life get her into (and out of) trouble on a regular basis. Her usual partner-in-crimesolving is Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, a by-the-book detective who, like Phryne, is much more than he appears to be.

  • '20s Bob Haircut: The series is set circa 1928.
  • The Ace: Phryne is a skilled martial artist, singer, pilot, nurse, and detective. She'd actually be a bona fide Mary Sue were it not for some of her more dynamic qualities to make her well defined and relatable - plus, the fact that her sticking her nose in tends to get her into trouble and there are hints of the Stepford Smiler about her.
  • Ace Pilot: Her love of flying crops up occasionally, including in an episode set on an RAAF base. In the final episode of series 3, she heads off to fly her father to England.
  • Action Girl: She's able to defend herself in hand-to-hand combat, and she's also never without her gun just in case.
  • Amateur Sleuth: She is technically also a Private Detective although only in a few episodes is she actually hired to investigate the case.
  • Ballet: She's hinted to have had some training and specifically mentions having a "dance master" in "Cocaine Blues".
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: She carries a gold-plated pistol.
  • Blithe Spirit: Albeit one with a bucket load of trauma from a murdered young sister and service as a nurse during WWI underneath.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Dot and Mac. Phryne is the Brunette of the trio, and a Brainy Brunette to match.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Dot and, to an extent, to Hugh - usually in the latter case when playing Shipper on Deck.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has a knack for delivering dry comments when the situation calls for it.
    "... that's a finger, Dot."
  • Drives Like Crazy: Of course, she insists that her madness behind the wheel is just a high level of skill at driving.note  While usually Played for Laughs, it's Played for Drama in one episode when, at the start, Jack is called to a crime scene where a fast car with a dark-haired woman at the wheel is wrapped around a tree, and tries Drowning His Sorrows to get over the shock.
  • Ethical Slut: In "The Green Mill Murder" she plainly states her opinion: "Everybody should be allowed to marry whomever they choose, although, personally, I'm not the marrying kind." For context, that episode figures a mixed-race marriage as well as a gay couple.
  • The Flapper: Just look at the opening sequence.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Phryne was the Foolish to Janey's Responsible. This adds to the Survivor's Guilt, believing she should have gone missing instead of a good girl like her sister.
  • Good Bad Girl: We don't see all that many partners (though it's a rare episode where she doesn't end up in bed with someone), but she still has a pretty scandalous reputation. It is the 1920s after all.
  • Good Parents: To Jane.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: So, so many. Enough for two costume exhibitions.
  • The Hedonist: Men, clothes, jewellery, art, dancing, adventure... she enjoys them all. To quote the character herself: "I haven't taken anything seriously since 1918". This is gradually explained throughout the series with occasional comments and flashbacks: she grew up in poverty, lost her sister to a murderer, served as a nurse during the War, lived through an abusive relationship, and only came to wealth after her titled relatives died. Behind her Blithe Spirit is a tortured woman who has seen the ugliest of life and is determined not to let it break her.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Is invariably very fashionably dressed, and very capable in a fight.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Gender-flipped version. Phryne cheerfully shags her way through the male half of Melbourne, but in the movie she admits that she has given her heart to Jack Robinson.
    Jack: I don't need to marry you. I just need your heart... because God knows you've got mine.
    Phryne: Jack — I gave you that a long time ago. For a detective you don't notice much.
  • Mama Bear: She's fiercely protective of Dot, Hugh, and especially little Jane.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She's got a fairly impressive capacity for manipulation, when she needs to. It's made very plain in Season 3 that she learned it from her father.
  • Meaningful Name: Phryne of Ancient Greece was a famous courtesan accused of blasphemy in Athenian court. On trial for her life, she stripped naked before the jury,note  who deemed her too beautiful to have offended the gods. Quite the apt homage for a woman for whom flaunting sex appeal is second nature.
  • Missing Mom: Or, rather, Missing Aunt: As of the sequel series, Phryne has gone missing (and been declared and presumed dead) sometime in the 1960s.
  • Mrs. Robinson: She likes beautiful young men, though not exclusively. She's more than happy to bed interesting older men, too, though it happens more frequently in the books.
  • Mystery Magnet: Since her sister's kidnapping when they were children.
  • Non-Idle Rich: In addition to being a Private Detective she sponsors and participates in extensive charity work.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Phryne isn't The Stoic, but is generally unflappable even in the face of danger with shades of Stepford Smiler. That said, it's a sign of just how bad a situation is when she lets her fear or anger show through:
    • Any time she deals with Murdoch Foyle, who kidnapped and murdered her little sister Janey but has never confessed or been definitively linked to the crime. While she can be tough to the killer of the week when she turns the tables on them, she openly loathes him, even refusing to take him on as a client when he claims (falsely) he had nothing to do with Janey's murder.
    • Watching her break down in tears when Janey's remains are recovered is shocking, as to that point she had never been so broken, and makes it clear just how much her guilt over losing her sister affected her.
    • She's visibly terrified of René Dubois, an abusive former lover, despite having faced death several times by that point without so much as a tremor in her voice, and even demonstrated she's perfectly capable of defending herself in a fight even against a man several times her size.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An In-Universe version - in terms of serious emotional strain, her refined, upper class English accent drops away to reveal the rougher wrong-side-of-the-Yarra Melbourne accent she grew up with.
  • Parental Substitute: To Jane, who despite her initial misgivings about parenthood, she comes to love dearly, at one point instinctively referring to her as "my daughter."
  • Platonic Life-Partners: With Mac. They've been each other's best friend all their life, frequently communicate silently with each other, know each other inside-out and have a tendency to walk arm in arm whenever possible. Despite Mac being a lesbian and Phryne's sexuality being very much up for debate, the both of them are firmly rooted in platonic territory.
  • Pretty in Mink: Phryne has a fondness for fur wraps and fur-trimmed coats.
    "Fox. Nothing like it."
  • Rags to Riches: Grew up in the bad end of Melbourne, until the Unexpected Inheritance kicked in.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Complimented by her wardrobe, which features a lot of stark black and white, and red lipstick.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: She was a nurse during the Great War, and the memories still haunt her.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Dottie and Hugh.
  • Stepford Smiler: Thanks to her time as a nurse during the Gallipoli Campaign, as well as her hardscrabble childhood and the loss of her sister. It's suggested that she's so energetic and hedonistic because she's aware of how short life can be.
  • Team Mom: She's very loving towards Hugh and Dot, and an outright Parental Substitute to Jane.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Lived in poverty until the Great War killed off most of her relatives.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Phryne seems to end up having a personal connection to many of the crimes in Melbourne (or at least, she happens to be near one of said crimes as they happen), leading her to become involved and subsequently causing no small amount of annoyance for Jack (at least initially, before he warms to her).
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Phryne is unflappable in most situations, but she is terrified of spiders.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Jack.

Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page)
"I am the servant of the law, not its master."

A reasonable and strictly by the book detective who initially tries to keep Phryne out of police business, but later accepts her involvement on realising how helpful she can be (and how she's much easier to deal with if he at least has some idea of where she is). Highly intelligent, a very capable fighter, and extremely dry-witted, he serves as a Foil to Phryne.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the novels his major physical trait is that he is instantly forgettable. The handsome Nathan Page is... not that.
  • Bad Ass Longcoat: Frequently wears a long brown coat when out in the field. According to the costume designer, it was deliberately lined with faded flame-red silk to hint at Jack's Hidden Depths.
  • Big Brother Mentor: This or like A Father to Collins.
  • Broken Pedestal: To George Sanderson, his boss and former father-in-law, after he caught him covering up Sydney Fletcher's sex slaving operation.
  • By-the-Book Cop: He quietly bends a lot of rules, particularly when Phryne's involved, but he's still beholden to procedure because it's part of his job.
    "I am the servant of the law, not its master."
  • The Comically Serious: Made car noises while playing with a toy car Collins brought to demonstrate a "car accident" with a stone cold serious face, and this is only one of many examples.
  • Cool Hat: His brown fedora, which he wears everywhere. It suffers Hat Damage in one episode, leading to Phryne buying him an identical replacement.
  • Cultured Badass: He's very familiar with Shakespeare, has very definite opinions about musical theater, plays the piano and sings, and very good in a fight.
  • Deadpan Snarker: How Jack deals with the chaos Phryne brings into his world. For just one example:
    Phryne: What evidence do you have that it was me who broke into the bookshop?
    Jack: An Hispano-Suiza parked outside at the time.
    Phryne: If a tree falls in a forest —
    Jack: — you were very likely somewhere close by wielding the axe.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Tries this after the accident in "Blood at the Wheel", after he at first thought the victim was Phryne - while it wasn't, the thought still shakes him. He later admits that the idea of losing her is "unbearable". It makes the fact that Phryne goes missing and is declared dead in the 1960s even worse. Unless he went with her, he will eventually lose her.
  • Fair Cop
  • A Father to His Men: To his constable, anyway.
  • Foil: To Phryne.
  • Friend on the Force: Develops into Phryne's. In a more literal way, he was the one who recommended Mac for the police coroner job between season 2 and 3.
  • The Gadfly: Enjoys Snark-to-Snark Combat with Phryne. Occasionally lands a good zinger on a suspect.
  • Hidden Depths: When Phryne and the audience first meet him he seems dour, unimpressed and authoritative. As the series goes on we learn that he has performed in Gilbert and Sullivan (poorly), plays the piano and sings (not poorly), participated in the 1923 Victorian Police strike, and isn't always happy with the laws he's sworn to uphold, as shown when he gives Phryne evidence of a blackmail victim's homosexual relationship so he doesn't have to arrest him over it.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Secretly reads ladies' magazines (as he eagerly wanted to read the continuation of the fantasy story in the episode Away with the Fairies which was only in the In-Universe women's magazine, and apparently the story was so sappy Dot was in denial of reading it and Phryne outright disliked it). He also bakes cookies, which he keeps hidden in his office as seen in the episode Dead Air. Apparently Everybody Knew Already as even Dot knew, it was only a matter of time before they found them (and ate them all).
  • Irony: Jack, the generally straight-as-an-arrow By-the-Book Cop in a 20s set PI series, is the one who wears the Badass Long Coat and sharp fedora - the traditional uniform of a rule-breaking fictional PI.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Cynical and sometimes a bit of a grump, Jack nevertheless — as Phryne notes — has "a heart that runs as deep as the Pacific Ocean".
  • Loophole Abuse: As mentioned in Hidden Depths, he's very much insistent on following his oath as a police officer. That doesn't mean he won't let - or even actively encourage - Phryne and Dot do the things he can't, as they're not police officers and thus can be more flexible with how they solve crimes.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in "Game, Set, and Murder" when he's given a direct order not to solve crimes with "civilians" (meaning Phryne.) So he deputizes her, making her technically not a civilian.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe. A rather disastrous performance in The Pirates of Penzance in his youth. These days, he prefers Shakespeare.
  • Parental Substitute: He's something of a substitute father to Hugh, whose own father was killed when he was a boy.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Has a downcast, sad-eyed expression in almost every setting. As the series goes by, however, a faint smile starts appearing when Phryne's around.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: In the novels he is a Happily Married middle-aged man, and while Phryne considers him a good friend, she has no romantic interest in him, or vice-versa. In the series, on the other hand, his marriage is already dead in the water and the UST with Phryne flies thick and fast from the first scene, quickly turning into Will They or Won't They? after his divorce.
  • Sexless Marriage: His marriage to Rosie is dead in the water at the start of the series, and they later divorce.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He was never the same after the Great War, and it seems to have killed his marriage.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Dottie and Hugh. He's surprisingly unsubtle as he leans on Hugh.
  • Team Dad: He's quite fatherly towards Hugh and Dot.
  • The Stoic: Usually calm, collected and unfazed by pretty much all the weirdness that comes his way.
    • Not So Stoic: Quite a few times, particularly when Phryne is in danger.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Stoic, snarky, by-the-book Jack finds himself head over heels in love with modern, freewheeling Phryne Fisher, who hasn't met a rule she isn't interested in breaking. Over the course of the series, it becomes clear that he settles her down while she loosens him up. Summed up quite neatly in their duet from "Dead Air":
    There's something wild about you, child, that's so contagious
    Let's be outrageous, let's misbehave...
  • When He Smiles: He's normally a Perpetual Frowner, but the few times he truly smiles, usually thanks to Phryne, it just lights up his face like nothing else.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Phryne.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: He only calls Phryne by her first name when he's panicked over her safety, or when she's upset and he's trying to comfort her. Otherwise, she's "Miss Fisher".

Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings)
"Yes, it's idyllic - if it weren't for the snakes. And the dead bodies."
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Described as plain in the novels but played by the lovely Ashleigh Cummings.
  • Adorkable: Very gradually growing out of it, becoming more confidant and sophisticated under Phryne's influence.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In the season 3 premiere, she doesn't hesitate to physically trip the murderer of the week when she tries to make a run for it.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: With Phryne and Mac. Dot's the Blonde of the trio, though it's more like light brown. Although she's no Dumb Blonde so she's a Brainy Brunette hidden under her naivete.
  • Career Versus Man: Dot feels torn about marriage because as much as she loves Hugh, she also really loves her job.
  • Character Development: In the early episodes she's a very timid, shy, and mousy young woman. By the time of season three, Dottie has grown a heck of a spine, and is just as much a penchant for diving into trouble as Phryne herself. When she swipes part of a police file right from under Hugh's nose, Jack laments how there's now "two of them."
  • The Cutie: She's adorable.
  • The Dutiful Daughter: Especially in comparison to her sister Nancy/Lola.
  • Fangirl: Of celebrity magazines and sappy fantasy stories, the latter of which she does try to hide and says she reads them for her nieces.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Her church relies very heavily on her baking for its fundraising.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible Sibling to her sister Nancy, who is a prostitute.
  • Genius Ditz: Can be quite ditzy, but is actually very smart and even Jack has asked her for help more than once even when he tried to keep Phryne off the case.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Dot's speciality.
  • The Ingenue
  • The Lancer: To Phryne; Dot is mousy and demure while Phryne is confident and ostentatious.
  • Ludd Was Right: Fears this a lot in the first episode, she's especially fearful of telephones and doesn't dare to call or answer, not helping the investigation in the slightest. She gets major Character Development near the end when she fears that Phryne might be in danger and gathers courage to call the police.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Dot's family is Catholic, Hugh's is Protestant. It causes them quite a few headaches.
    • Played for Laughs in season 2's Marked for Murder, where they barrack for different football teams. Dot reveals her own parents had the same issue, and if she marries Hugh she'll follow her mother's example: boys for one team, girls to the other!
  • Raised Catholic
  • Room Disservice: Dot excels at applying this skill to the targets of Phryne's investigations. Of course a former maid would know all the places people tend to hide things in their homes.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Develops a steely spine through the series, and under Phryne's guidance, learns to master the silkier side of things.
  • Spot of Tea: One of her skills as a lady's maid is making an outstanding cuppa, which she uses in a number of undercover plots.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Her brilliant washing and mending lead to Phryne offering her a job.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several, over the course of the series, becoming much more assertive and sure of herself as the series goes on. It also makes her rather more like Phryne, to Jack's mild despair: "Wonderful. Now there are two of them."
  • The Watson

Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt)
"Oh, Miss Fisher's gone on holiday again, sir... only one dead so far."

Inspector Robinson's loyal right-hand man, an initially bumbling and painfully earnest Police Constable who is a) frequently baffled by the chaos Phryne inevitably causes, b) painfully in love with Dot. Like Dot, he steadily matures over the course of the series.

  • Adorkable: Competent police officer, skilled fighter, and not someone to be messed with. Also a stuttering mess around women (especially Dot).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's nice, kind, sweet, and generally comes off as a bit of a pushover. However, not only does he gain some confidence over the series, he also proves to be very able back-up in a hairy situation, displaying a very good uppercut.
  • Butt-Monkey: Hugo Johnstone-Burt describes his character: "He tries to be all things to all people, and a lot of the time he fails. Miserably."
  • Clueless Deputy: He hasn't been on the police force very long. However, as time goes by, he matures.
  • Converting for Love: In series 3 he converts to to Catholicism to marry Dot.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: His youth, naivety and desire to please everybody can lead him into considerable stupidity, but he's equally brave, hardworking and good-hearted, as well as a capable fighter.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: He assumes that Dot will give up her job when they marry, which is a perfectly normal response for the time. However, he comes around in short order and apologises to Dot.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father was killed in front of him when he was little, intervening in a street brawl.
  • Fair Cop
  • Hidden Depths: He's actually a surprisingly skilled amateur boxer and boxing trainer, flattening a man half his size again with a powerful uppercut.
  • I Have No Son!: Post-conversion to Catholicism, he ended up on the receiving end of this, as revealed at the end of "Blood and Money".
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: He's sweet, innocent, and thus a very good match for Dot.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Dot's family is Catholic, Hugh's is Protestant. His mother kicks him out of the family home when he decides to convert to Catholicism, leaving Hugh in a quandary over how he will provide for Dot and keep a roof over their heads when they marry.
  • Manchild: Downplayed. Collects toy cars.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Boxing in "Deadweight".
  • Nice Guy: With the possible exception of Dot, he's the most good-natured character in the series.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: An at least partially-justified example, thanks to Deliberate Values Dissonance. It is the 20s and Hugh and Dot both come from traditional families - he just naturally assumes she'll give up her job when they marry. However, he does come around in fairly short order, and apologises to Dot.
  • Vomiting Cop: Happens quite a few times in the first series.
  • Written-In Absence: Takes leave from the police force in "Blood and Money" to go on a fishing trip, and decide on his future.

     Recurring Characters 

Prudence Stanley (Miriam Margolyes)
"God will do nothing of the kind, or He will be answerable to me."
  • Blasphemous Boast: When Mary, the pregnant-out-of-wedlock maid, panics in labour about how God will have the nuns take her baby away, Prudence responds by vehemently stating that He will do nothing of the sort - or He will be answerable to her.
  • Condescending Compassion: She's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and this is how she usually displays the Jerk. Though she can be very kind, she's a firm believer in the superiority of those from old money and quite vocal about it.
  • Grande Dame: An archetypal example.
  • Happily Married: She was this with her late husband Edward, who she adored.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The heart of gold becomes more and more apparent as the series goes on. Aunt Prudence is a very judgemental person, but she can be surprisingly compassionate and is extremely loyal.
  • Mama Bear: Every now and then, which usually serves to remind the audience that she really is Phryne's aunt. She adores her developmentally disabled son Arthur, for instance, and won't hear of sending him to an institution.
    • Children in general draw this reaction from her - as well as serious Cuteness Proximity. In "Unnatural Habits", Phryne convinces her to give Mary, who is pregnant out of wedlock and has been forced to live and work in a nunnery's laundry service, a job as a housekeeper so she won't have to go back there. Though Prudence isn't too pleased with the situation, when Mary goes into labour, she is nothing but supportive and helpful, coming out with this gem when Mary panics that God will have the nuns take her baby away.
      God will do nothing of the kind, or He will be answerable to me!
  • Odd Friendship: With Bert, the committed Communist, of all people by Season 3. This is perhaps less strange than it might seem, since Bert and Cec had become good friends with Arthur, Prudence's disabled son, whom she doted on - plus, their Undying Loyalty to Phryne probably helps.
  • Old Money: And oh, how it shows.

Mr Butler (Richard Bligh)
"It will be nice to work for a respectable lady who appreciates the quiet life."
  • Battle Butler: His time in the military has left him with useful hand-to-hand combat skills and an impressive arsenal of weapons.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Cool Uncle: Acts like one for Phryne and Dot, giving them advice and support.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Always ready with a dry remark, usually delivered in an unfailingly polite tone.
    Dot: You're just in time, Mr. Butler; there's been a murder.
    Butler: Will that be one less for dinner, then?
  • Death by Adaptation: In the books his wife Aurelia is alive and works as Phryne's cook; in the TV show Mr Butler is a widower.
  • Gun Nut: For a sweet, polite, middle-aged butler, he sure does own a lot of guns.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Tobias Butler.
  • The Jeeves
  • Shipper on Deck: For Dottie and Hugh.

Albert "Bert" Johnson and Cecil "Cec" Yates (Travis McMahon and Anthony Sharpe)

Phryne's right hand men, functioning as a mixture of friends, informants, transport, muscle, and occasional providers of dubiously acquired goods. Despite being committed Communists, especially Bert, they develop Undying Loyalty to Phryne (her decency, kindness, and the fact that she grew up in the slums of Melbourne means she's a little more in touch with reality than most of her social class probably helps).

  • Bash Brothers: Like any good couple of Diggers, they can hold their own in a dust-up, and frequently serve as Phryne's muscle.
  • Beneath Notice: Cec and Bert are a pair of roughnecks who can handle themselves in a fight and blend in quite well at bars, sporting events and other blue-collar venues. This makes them ideal for making inquiries that would be too dangerous for Dot and where Phryne would attract too much notice.
  • Chummy Commies: Bert is a card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the famous "Wobblies"), and Jack refers to both of them as "red-raggers," a slang term for Communists.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Every now and then, often in response to the upturn in their fortunes working for Phryne.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: They served together in the Great War and have been inseparable ever since.
    • Bert is accordingly less than pleased when Cec starts making plans to move away and become a farmer.
  • Odd Friendship: Bert, a blunt-speaking Working Class Communist, ends up befriending Phryne's aunt, the very proper Society Matron Prudence, being the one to encourage her to open up about the death of her son, Arthur, comforting her at the end of that episode. It makes a little more sense, however, with the elaboration that Bert and Cec wound up befriending Arthur, who was seriously developmentally disabled, and whom Prudence doted on. Their Undying Loyalty to her niece probably also helped.
  • The Scrounger: Both of them have occasionally been known to "liberate" goods from the waterfront. Phryne turns an amused blind eye to it, as a) it's often quite helpful, b) she's dabbled in more than a few shady things herself, c) her French champagne and Russian caviar are implied to be smuggled into the country.
  • The Taxi: Their day job. Also how they met Phryne.
  • Those Two Guys: They're rarely seen apart.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Phryne.

Dr Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan (Tammy MacIntosh)
"Highly opinionated, revolutionary tendencies, and suspect associates."

Jane Ross (Ruby Rees-Wemyss)

A street-urchin who Phryne ends up adopting, in large part because Jane reminds her of herself.

  • Bookworm: She adores reading.
  • Cry into Chest: Specifically, into Phryne's, after a long and difficult episode with her mother returning and ultimately demonstrating her instability by trying to jump off a building.
  • Little Stowaway: How she's introduced.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother is alive, and loves her, but isn't stable enough to look after her.
  • Plucky Girl: She's tough and stubborn - a lot like Phryne herself.
  • Put on a Bus: Spent most of season 2 on a trip to Europe, and goes unmentioned in season 3 and The Crypt of Tears.
  • Street Urchin: Until Phryne adopts her.

Murdoch Foyle (Nicholas Bell)

The man who killed Janey Fisher, Phryne's younger sister, though it was never proved, and he was instead imprisoned on another murder charge. After spending the first half of Season 1 in prison, he escapes, and promptly wages psychological warfare upon Phryne.

  • Abusive Parents: His foster mother (who he has cremated in his stead) is briefly mentioned as having served time for mistreating the orphans in her care.
  • A God Am I: A borderline example - he believes he's the reincarnation of an Egyptian Pharaoh, and meant to ascend to the afterlife. Not that you'd know it when talking to him, of course, considering how normally he behaves.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 1.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Heavily implied to be part of the plot to fake his death in flames. Evidently, he managed to fool the undertaker.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He comes across as a perfectly pleasant, mild-mannered and generally harmless middle aged man, who's always perfectly polite, even towards Phryne, who utterly despises him. This helps him pass as an utterly harmless ordinary gentleman. This perhaps shown best in "Murder in the Dark" when, after having killed a teenage girl working for Phryne's Aunt Prudence, apparently solely to screw with her, pretends to be a harmless bystander looking to cadge a lift from Cec and Bert, and winds up having a pleasant discussion with Jane (then unaware of his identity) about her interest in ancient history.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He kills his horribly abusive foster mother by having her incinerated and lets everyone else believe it was the other way around, and given he wasn't the only one she abused it's safe to say she wasn't quite undeserving of this fate.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He specialises in playing mind games with others and getting them to do his bidding.
  • Mask of Sanity: He seems perfectly normal and mild-mannered - certainly not a man you'd take to be a methodical serial killer targeting children, with delusions that he's the mortal reincarnation of an Egyptian Pharaoh.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Calmly whistles as he strolls among the paralysed bodies of Bert, Cec, Mr Butler, and Dot, before carrying off Jane.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite having every opportunity to do his usual murderous routine with Jane when they're alone, he never does so and instead behaves like nothing less than a distinguished ex-history professor even when it's just him and her, perfectly content with letting most everyone else believe he'd been burned alive.
  • Self-Made Orphan: A variant. He was raised in foster care and during the events of the series, kills his abusive foster mother as part of a plan to fake his own death.
  • The Sociopath: Calm, softly spoken, charismatic, and charming, with absolutely no real care for anyone else, he fits the trope like a glove.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Never raises his voice, always maintain a soft, cultured tone. He's also a serial killer who focuses on children and delights in playing mind games with Phryne and those around her.
  • Villain Respect: He does seem to respect Phryne's intellect.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's both evil and entirely civilised in manners, having once been a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Melbourne and previously owned an antiques shop.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A serial killer who primarily, but not exclusively, targeted children.

Rosie Sanderson (Dee Smart)

  • Amicable Exes: With Jack.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It's made to appear as if she's entirely aware of and onboard with the sex-slavery operation her fiance was running, and that her father was covering up. As it is, she was entirely ignorant of it, and absolutely horrified by the truth.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Even though she sought a divorce from Jack she doesn't seem to appreciate his close relationship with Phryne.

Lin Chung (Philippe Sung)

Neville Martin (Henry Hammersla)

Baron Henry Fisher (Pip Miller)

Phryne's estranged father, the Baron of Richmond upon Thames, and a first class rogue.

  • The Alcoholic: Formerly, possibly still - frequent reference is made to his having drunk a lot while Phryne was growing up and in the early years of his marriage. He does still drink, but it's unclear how much.
  • The Charmer: Like his daughter, he's exceptionally charming and charismatic when he wants to be, in a Lovable Rogue sort of way - the only people who are completely immune to it are his sister-in-law Prudence (who severely dislikes him - with good reason), his daughter Phryne (who defaults to assuming the worst of him - also with good reason), and "Denizci" (who's completely insane). However, like his daughter, the charming exterior conceals someone capable of getting very dangerous.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Like his daughter, he's surprisingly good in a confrontation, being an excellent marksman, casually William Telling a man's hat in a literal warning shot. Phryne also suspects him of being capable of killing a man - though the man she thought he'd killed, prior to the series, turned out to be an unrelated murder victim.
  • Dirty Old Man: Subverted. In "Death At The Grand", he is seen entertaining a maid at his hotel, with Phryne assuming that he is trying to seduce her. He's also outraged by her death, challenging the presumed killer to a duel. However, as it turns out, the two of them didn't have any sexual interactions on screen (with the maid noting that she knows he's "spoken for"), and simply got along well together. Also, Henry later tells Phryne he's never been interested in anyone except his wife - and while Phryne is usually entirely willing to call him out when he's lying, she notably doesn't that time.
  • First-Episode Twist: His relation to Phryne isn't revealed until halfway through his first appearance, with Jack assuming that he's an older lover of hers.
  • Happily Married: Averted; Henry and his wife love one another deeply and have since the day they met, but their marriage is in shambles by the time he comes to Australia.
  • Hypocrite: Sometimes makes a fuss about being a man of honour, when his own honour is mostly limited to his attempts to protect his wife and daughter.
  • Lovable Rogue: Generally gives off this vibe, though he's far more dangerous than he appears to be.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A con-man to many and a mooch to those close to him, but he genuinely loves his wife and daughter, and is protective of both of them. This is at the root of why he hid the identity of "Denizci" after the latter first turned up, for fear of what the shock would do to his wife and daughter, who'd only just got over the death of Janey. Later, when "Denizci" returned, he grabbed the money, pretended he'd lost it at cards to his wife, and fled to Australia - and after Phryne gets involved, does his level best to keep her at arm's length while he deals with "Denizci".
  • Lovable Rogue: He acts the part, and very convincingly. However, as Phryne warns Jack, he's not remotely as genial and harmless as he seems.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's very good at this, when he wants to be, and even succeeds in manipulating "Denizci" out of wanting to kill him and Phryne (though everything goes pear-shaped shortly after). As Phryne puts it, he's almost always up to something.
  • Nice to the Waiter: One of his better characteristics - he's particularly kind to Dot and Enid, a maid at the Grand (who he was genuinely Just Friends with, despite Phryne's initial suspicions), attempting to avenge the latter's murder with pistols at dawn.
  • Noodle Incident: How did he sneak back off the ship bound for Southampton? Phryne, exasperated, complains that she watched him walk up the gangway and the purser check his ticket. And yet, somehow, he slipped back into Australia. As Jack notes, somewhat amused, he outsmarted her.
  • Not So Different: Even though Phryne dislikes her father, Jack points out that she seems to have gotten much of her considerable cunning and resourcefulness from him. Phryne later admits it herself, telling Jack that her father definitely could break into a safe - "Who do you think taught me every dodgy trick I know?"
  • Rags to Riches: Became Baron Fisher out of practically nowhere when the titled branch of the family died in the war. Or in the case of Eugene, was believed dead.

"Denizci" / Eugene William Fisher (Colin Moody)

  • Big Bad: The closest thing Season 3 has to one.
  • Determinator: Won't let anyone or anything stop him from achieving his goals. Hell, the first thing he does after waking up from a coma in the season finale is kill someone for a disguise and escape.
  • Face–Heel Turn: As Osman Offendi explains, the war "broke him."
  • Long-Lost Relative: Phryne's cousin, thought to have died in the war. Instead, shell-shocked, he deserted.
  • The Unfettered: No action is beneath him when it comes to reclaiming the money he lost when he deserted, not even taking most of the people closest to Phryne hostage.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He killed Osman Offendi, after the man went to great lengths to help him.

Alternative Title(s): Miss Fisher And The Crypt Of Tears


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