Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries–Season 1, Episode 2 (Dead Beat)

Now that the premise and characters of the show have been established, the real fun can begin.

The episode revolves around the murders of Duane Gordon, a popular singer, and Gidget, a back-up singer. The murders were unique in that they were both electrocuted as an electrical cord attached to a surfboard in a pool malfunctioned, which lead to Duane and Gidget falling into the pool and to their deaths. Their deaths were also on air as their performance was part of a television show.

Peregrine quickly rushes to the scene as she not only watched the show but her ex-boyfriend, Eric, was seen on air as he did the wiring of the surfboard. When she investigates, she finds the wiring was faulty but Eric swears the cord wasn’t faulty when he did the wiring.

Eric is for the most part the main suspect, especially after it’s revealed that he sold Duane his car, Duane’s cheque bounced and the car turned out to be stolen, a fact that Eric was unaware of. He’s also considered a main suspect when Peregrine finds salt in his toolbox.

Other suspects emerge in the form of the television show’s host, Billy Carson, who gave everyone a hard time, but he is quickly ruled out. Edwina Maddox, the television station owner, is also viewed as a suspect, but she is ruled out as it’s revealed she’s paying the Italian-Australian mafia money to hide her late husband’s homosexuality. Carlo Liotti, Duane’s manager, looks like a great suspect when it’s revealed he was obsessed with Gidget, and is part of the Italian-Australian mafia. Carlo looks even more suspicious when he is seen talking with Sparrow and later has his henchmen try to kill Eric and later Peregrine at her home.

To find more answers, Violetta joins the investigation to audition for the show, to gain backstage access without suspicion. After a rocky start and a make-over, she nails her audition and gets on the show. When she discovers Julie’s scissors have some of the electrical cord on them, she realises Julie (the make up artist) was the murderer.

When Peregrine finds Julie with scissors to Violetta’s throat and trying to push her off the roof of the television station building, Julie reveals that Duane was her twin, they were born in Italy and she was devastated that he was rejecting their heritage and her by changing his appearance and with his plans to leave the show. After all of the twists and turns, I enjoyed the reveal of Julie as Duane’s murderer as she was the least likely suspect and killed him for heartbreaking reasons.

Whilst all of this is going on, we are given an insight into Violetta’s past as she reveals she was engaged to Carlo and she ended it when she found out about his mafia connections. It’s also revealed that she is a good singer and when Carlo compliments her on her audition, she thanks him and asks him to stop sending her flowers, which he agrees to. She and Samuel, who have had obvious chemistry finally kiss. I appreciated that while Violetta got a make over and the audience sees how beautiful she is, that she went back to being herself with her hair tied back and glasses on. It reverses the “pretty girl once she takes her glasses off” cliche.

The episode ends with Eric leaving to start a new life and Steed going on a drive with Peregrine. I wonder if their chemistry will be explored now that Eric has left.

Overall this was a solid episode with a riveting mystery, an unlikely perpetrator, and an element of fun with the television show.


Stray Observations:

-There were a couple of A Place to Call Home alumni present in this episode–Heather Mitchell (Edwina in this episode, Prudence Swanson in A Place to Call Home) and Dominic Allburn (Billy Carson in this episode, Harry Polson in A Place to Call Home).

-Heather Mitchell appeared in Season 2, Episode 5 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries as Madame Fleuri.


Best one liners:

  • “You might as well stand closer if you’re going to eavesdrop!” (Steed to Peregrine when he goes to question Eric)
  • “A Phryne stand-in!” (Edwina describing Peregrine to Birdie)
  • “I’m an unofficial cop with a greater range of skills!” (Peregrine describing herself as a P.I. to the television studio’s security guard)

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