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‘Miss Scarlet and the Duke’ Review: An Absolutely Entertaining New Mystery Series

Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin bring just the right amount of chemistry to the PBS mystery series.

MISS SCARLET AND THE DUKE REVIEW

Miss Scarlet and the Duke makes for a refreshing twist on the female private detective in period costume. While Sherlock Holmes reigns supreme in Victorian London detective stories, Eliza Scarlet is a welcome addition – solving crimes in a fresh way.

Plus, the will-they/won’t they dynamic between Miss Scarlet and the Scotland Yard Inspector, ‘The Duke’ mixed with entertaining crimes of the week and an overarching mystery make for a compelling new series. And thankfully, it is already renewed for season two.

THE STORY

Miss Scarlet and the Duke publicity photo
Stuart Martin as William Wellington (“The Duke”) and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet. Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE.

When Miss Eliza Scarlet’s private detective father dies mysteriously, she begins investigating to uncover the truth. Meanwhile, she takes over her father’s business even though she’s a woman no one takes seriously – including William’ The Duke’ Wellington, the man her father trained when he was an Inspector for The Scotland Yard.

Miss Scarlet begins helping ‘The Duke’ solve crimes, much to his annoyance, while trying to build up her business and avoid romantic entanglements.

The crimes of the week blend perfectly with the season’s mystery and will have you hooked from start to finish.

THE ROMANCE

Miss Scarlet and the Duke publicity photo
Stuart Martin as William Wellington (“The Duke”) and Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet. Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE.

While the chemistry between Phillips and Martin sizzles onscreen and they have a clear romantic dynamic, it is obvious from the start the romance aspect of the series will be a slow burn. The two have known each other for years and even have a romantic history (they’ve kissed before), and moments throughout series one hint toward a future romance between them.

But there are still miles to go before these two prideful characters ever even admit they like each other. Eliza likes her independence, and The Duke is both frustrated and invigorated by Eliza.

So, if you’re looking for a bunch of swoony romantic scenes a la Miss Fisher, this show isn’t that. However, if you appreciate the cerebral and intellectual equality between the pairing and hints of a possible romance, then you’ll appreciate the brewing love story.

THE CHARACTERS

Kate Philips in historical costume
Kate Phillips as Eliza Scarlet. Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE.

Besides Eliza and The Duke, a few of the other characters include Rupert Parker, a wealthy young man who becomes both a friend, confidante, and investor of Miss Scarlet’s. He adds to the series’ dynamic nicely as he tries to both please and avoid his matchmaking mother. Then there’s Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) as Miss Scarlet’s father – shown in flashbacks and through imagined scenes when she has conversations with him.

More than romance, Miss Scarlet is driven to succeed and make her father proud – especially now that he’s gone.

Another intriguing character is Moses – played by Ansu Kabia. He is a criminal and associate of Miss Scarlet’s, and has questionable motives. His character always brings an exciting dynamic to the series, and it’s fun to watch his character evolve.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

With intelligent, witty dialogue, captivating mysteries, excellent character work with a riveting performance from Kate Phillips, this is a must-watch series if you enjoy period dramas or British mystery shows.

Besides the clever writing, the production is high quality with excellent production design, gorgeous costumes, and atmospheric cinematography fitting to the Victorian time.

Overall, Miss Scarlet and the Duke brings something new to Victorian Detective stories. It’s a thrilling ride full of mystery, suspense, and the hint of romance – making for a new show that’s sure to become a period drama favorite quickly.

Did you watch Miss Scarlet and the Duke? Do you agree with our review of the PBS mystery series? Discuss in the comments below.


Four and a half corsets rating
Four Vintage Hearts Rating

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By on April 20th, 2021

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a blogger/writer full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She loved doing Shirley Temple impersonations and creating plays with her siblings. Amber did cheerleading, dance, wrote stories, and ultimately discovered her passion for writing and video editing. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are to publish books, write and produce movies, travel around the world, and form a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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6 thoughts on “‘Miss Scarlet and the Duke’ Review: An Absolutely Entertaining New Mystery Series”

  1. mi è piaciuto da morire la trama e loro due che si piacciono ma non lo ammettono ….. speriamo nella 2 serie

    Reply
  2. I just finished watching this for the third time! So often I find female protagonists to either be written too cold and unfeeling in an effort to convey the character’s “strength” or insipid whiny doormats. Eliza Scarlet is neither; she is such a refreshing Victorian era character. She comes across both flawed and charming, while also being entirely capable.
    The Duke is completely swoon-worthy (reminds me of a more relaxed and crude version of Armitage in North & South.) I love his evolution through the much-too-short six episodes.
    Their chemistry is palpable – oof, the Duke’s longing-laden lean-ins were more potent than any of the explicit sex scenes in Bridgerton.
    The pacing too was perfect for this witty mystery, and those side characters (especially Moses and Rupert) were a joy every time they appeared.
    Big fan of this one. Can you tell? Can’t wait for season two.

    Reply

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