Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries–Season 1, Episode 3 (Space for Murder)

This episode explored the eerie territory of UFOs.

The episode kicks off with a couple, Tanya and Terry, in a car at a lookout on a date. Terry notices that Tanya has weird blue stuff on her arm, bright lights shine above them, Tanya gets out of the car and appears to be taken by a UFO.

One month passes and Birdie is waiting for a friend of hers, Cecile, to show up for one of their regular catch-ups, but she is running late. Unknown to her, her telex is typing out an SOS message, which is from Cecile. When Birdie eventually sees the SOS hours later, she asks Peregrine to drive out to find her and eventually find her dead body in her car. Cecile’s body is literally ice cold, she has a mysterious burn on her leg and the same blue stuff in her hair that Tanya had on her arm. Steed comes to the scene to investigate shortly after their discovery.

Cecile is revealed by Birdie to be Dr Cecile Armand and that they worked together during the war. Birdie also tells them that Cecile has spent a year working in a government lab on a secret project. Birdie and Peregrine try to sneak into the lab with no success, so Peregrine naturally decides to go in undercover as a tea lady.

Peregrine and Steed discover the ISO chamber at the lab and find scratch marks on the door and a fingernail, concluding that Cecile was frozen to death in the chamber. Peregrine tries to gain access to more areas of the lab, only to find her tea lady access card is restricted. To get around this, she steals Malcolm Levine’s, who manages the facility, access card for Samuel to copy.

Peregrine also discovers that one of the professors, Hans, would regularly give flowers to Cecile, however one of the lab’s cleaners, Rosemarie, tells Peregrine Cecile didn’t like Hans. Peregrine gives the note with the flowers back to Hans in order to get more answers but he grabs and threatens her, making him the prime suspect, especially when Peregrine finds his heater matches the burn mark on Cecile’s leg. Peregrine tells Steed, who wants to confront Hans, and also informs her that the car had only one half fingerprint, as any other prints were wiped. Steed then confronts Hans, which involves him turning on his heater, and Hans admits he saw Cecile the night she was murdered but didn’t kill her.

Meanwhile, Peregrine is offering the lab staff some tea, coffee and Scotch Fingers, and this includes Professor Elaine Montgomery. Professor Montgomery is getting a coffee for herself and Steed, the latter there to question her. In the process Montgomery touches Hans’ mug and refuses Peregrine’s offer of sugar as she has her own sweetener. She uses the “sweetener” to spike Steed’s coffee. Whilst he is with Montgomery, Peregrine gives punch tape she found in Cecile’s office to Birdie. As Peregrine and Birdie are talking, a lab alarm goes off and she goes back in to find Steed delirious. To get them out of the lab, she has them put on HAZMAT-like suits to disguise them.

Peregrine takes Steed back to her place where Samuel, Violetta and Birdie make their own judgements. Samuel and Violetta inform her that the blue flake contains bacteria and they also inform her that they found another set of prints on Han’s mug that Peregrine gave them earlier. They leave and Peregrine looks after Steed, who kisses her, of course when he has sobered up the next morning, he doesn’t remember anything.

Violetta discovers that Montgomery’s prints matched the print found in Cecile’s car. As Peregrine and Steed are looking for Montgomery, Peregrine finds Rosemarie in Montgomery’s office correcting her equation. Peregrine and Steed find Montgomery dead in a bathtub in the wet lab, just as Charles, another doctor, appears. Steed discovers Montgomery’s skull was broken. When Malcolm tries to stop Steed from conducting his investigation, Sparrow stands up for him, showing a redeeming side to his character for the first time.

Peregrine and Steed find a Soviet-like radio transmitter and conclude that Elaine must have been a spy. Birdie puts the punch tape in the teleprinter and finds the experiment, or rather the blue substance is Azure 693, and it is a failure. Peregrine manages to get a full sample for Violetta to analyse and they discover it is deep sea algae, which when ingested, has a similar effect to LSD and the lab is testing it as a truth serum. They also discover that Tanya is a subject of the experiment after speaking with Terry.

Peregrine goes back to the facility and finds Tanya locked in a room in the basement. Tanya tells Peregrine that Cecile visited her. When Peregrine spots the same carnations on Tanya’s bed that she saw in Cecile’s office from Hans, Tanya tells her that Rosemarie gave them to her. Rosemarie tells Peregrine that she met Cecile in the war and that she was a doctor in Hungary, but as she came to Australia with no papers, she’s resigned to being a cleaner and that Cecile tried to shut down the experiment. Meanwhile when Constable Connor makes a phone call to follow up on Charles’ alibi, she regards that the person on the other end answered the phone in an unusual manner, when Sparrow overhears Constable Connor say how they answered, he recognises it as CIA code and they rush to the facility. Charles tries to kill Peregrine, but the police come and arrest Charles.

Throughout the case, Birdie speaks with Arthur, her and Cecile’s handler and asks for his help, which he later provides. When the case is solved, Arthur asks Birdie to work for him again and she declines. She instead offers to help Rosemarie become a doctor again. The episode ends with Peregrine and Steed at the same lookout Tanya and Terry went to, where Peregrine tells Steed that Montgomery spiked him with truth serum and what happened when he was high.

Overall this was a solid episode with tight writing and character development with Birdie as her past is revealed. The highlight of the episode was Steed being high on the Azure 693. Joel Jackson put on a hell of a performance.


Stray Observations:

-Samuel’s ticklish.

-Birdie admits to Samuel that she knows about him and Violetta’s blossoming romance. Although how she found out about it wasn’t made clear.

-Birdie’s background was explored with the reveal that she met Cecile during the war and that her and Cecile were in a car accident while on assignment and had to leave Birdie behind. She didn’t see her again for another three years after that.

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