Peter Andrikidis

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s03e03 – Murder & Mozzarella

So I thought this episode was one of those pre-1980s Mafia stories where they never referred to the Mafia by name because they call it the Camorra here but the Camorra is actually a different Italian criminal organization. The more you know.

Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) and Inspector Jack (Nathan Page)—or should I say, Inspector Johnny—versus the mob was not an episode of “Miss Fisher’s” I was expecting. But I also wasn’t expecting Page to have another chaste love interest… you get the impression he spends most nights drinking with Davis.

But no. He’s off at an Italian restaurant making eyes at comely widow Louisa Mignone, who’s making just as many eyes back. We finally get to see Davis jealous. And Page reveling in it; well, at least as much as Page would revel in it. Until things get serious with Mignone, whose restaurant is part of a feud.

Mignone’s father-in-law Vince D'Amico is both chef and mob boss and he says the other Italian restaurant has been stealing their recipes. Given the other restaurant’s chef, Annette Serene, is super-mean, it seems possible. In fact, D’Amico and his family are sure Serene’s family had D’Amico’s son (and Mignone’s husband) killed. Because they take cooking very seriously.

There’s also kids Danielle Horvat and Paul Pantano—then Robert Mammone, who’s Horvat’s father and Serene’s son-in-law—he’s also a widower—plus enforcer Alex Andreas.

It’s a very full episode, which director Peter Andrikidis maneuvers quite well. Especially since there’s also the big subplot about Ashleigh Cummings finally convincing Hugo Johnstone-Burt to convert to Catholicism and it turns out he’s all for it once he discovers Cummings has to do whatever he says because he’s the husband. Cummings, on the other hand, thinks maybe the Church has got that one wrong.

Really good performance this episode from Page—the closest he’s had to a showcase maybe ever—and the finale’s excellent.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012) s02e09 – Framed for Murder

I’m not just interested this episode because it’s all about the silent movie industry; it’s right at the transition to sound, which means we’re in the late twenties and Black Tuesday is approaching. I’m terrified what it’s going to mean for “Miss Fisher.” Especially when you consider this episode is all about one of Essie Davis’s investments, childhood friend Hamish Michael’s Australian movie studio.

Michael’s trying to keep the local film industry going even though the Americans are trying to takeover. Craig Hall’s the potential investor from the United States; he’s the most problematic thing in the episode because his American accent is bad so it’s hard to take him seriously.

The leading man on Michael’s historical epic ends up murdered and so Davis is investigating as investor, not as private detective. Means she gets to do things like take over directing when she wants to take over directing. It’s awesome. Also a smooth way to get her and Nathan Page working together for the first time in a few episodes without tension.

Well, without professional tension. There’s still personal tension, thank goodness, and the first Phryne Fellow in ages.

The movie studio setting gets everyone involved, from Ashleigh Cummings’s movie trivia helping solve the case (she also proves herself a more diligent investigator than beau Hugo Johnstone-Burt, which is concerning but not surprising) to Travis McMahon and Anthony J. Sharpe having to fill in as actors.

Chris Corbett’s script is geared to be amusing, but the guest stars help a lot. Constantly suspicious Michael is adorable, as is script girl Jane Harber, who’s got a photographic memory. Richard Sutherland’s funny as the asshole director and James Beck turns out quite good as the American actor slumming in Australia.

Stephanie King’s fine as the leading lady but doesn’t have a lot to do.

More than enough excellent support to make up for Hall.

And the action-packed resolution is dynamite; great direction from Peter Andrikidis.

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