Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries S02E01 - Murder most Scandalous

Warning: contains spoilers!
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries kicks off season 2 in fine form with Murder most Scandalous. 

The episode begins with a housekeeper coming home only to find that there is no answer from her master, Mr Sanderson and she can't open his library door. She then notices blood pooling under the door. Inside we see a man unconscious in a chair and a young lady that appears dead with a bloodied nose and a rope around her neck.

Credits roll

Its late in the evening at Phryne's house and she is having a tango lesson from Carlos. They are disturbed by a banging on the door which Mr Butler answers. The girl at the door asks for Dottie Wiliams. Mr Butler asks who she is but Dot comes to the door and says she knows who it is. Dot asks the girl what she wants and she says she needs to speak to Phryne as one of her friends is in trouble. Phryne hears their arguing and comes to see what is wrong. The girl says she is Dot's sister Lola and she needs help as a cop has murdered her friend.

At the police station a woman comes in asking for Jack. Hugh is on the desk and asks what the matter is about and she says the Deputy-Commissioner of police. Jack is just leaving and he is shocked to see the woman as she is Rosie his ex-wife. Rosie asks Jack to help her father the Deputy Commissioner as he was found out cold in his library with the dead young woman.

Hugh questions Jack on the drive to the Deputy-Commissioners house as he believes Hawthorne was in charge of the investigation but Jack tells them they are taking over. They arrive at the house at the same time as Phryne.

After dismissing the police there taking their notes and the photographs Jack, Hugh and Phryne check the crime scene. The check the decanter which has an aniseed scent. Jack sends the decanter to be tested. Jack asks her what she is doing there. She tells them she has been hired by Lola to investigate her friends murder.
Jack says how as the victim has not been identified but Phryne says she was know as Lavignia (formally Sarah Holloway) a hostess at the Imperial Club.

At that moment the Deputy-Comissioners daughter arrives. Jack introduces Phyrne to Rosie. Jack ask Rosie who had access to the Port but Rosie says just Mrs Blunt, the housekeeper. Jack says he will need to speak to her and Rosie goes to find her.  Jack looks at the photos of the dead girl and Phryne asks him if he thinks his ex-father in law was taking advantage of his position. Jack says that is one theory but he suspects that Sanderson has made enemies whilst trying to clear up the city's vice and someone is trying to frame him.

Jack then questioned the housekeeper who said there had been no visitors since Wednesday when his daughter came to dine with them. Other than the baker, the electrical man that came to check the meter and the delivery from the fishmonger. Jack ask Mrs Blunt her comings and goings on the night of the murder. Jack asks to see her movie ticket to prove her story and she says she was the one that phoned the police to break the door down as she couldn't open the door as it was bolted from the inside.

Jack and Phryne go to check the room and see the bolt dented in. Phryne says someone would have had to lock the door and there were only two people in the room. Jack says that murder and then locking yourself in makes no sense. Phryne wonders if it was an accidental killing, perhaps an erotic asphyxiation gone wrong and feeling remorse the deputy-commissioner tried to kill himself.  Jack says he has knows Sanderson 15 years but Phryne tells him not to let personal involvement cloud the case.

Jack and Hugh then head to the hospital where they are accosted by reporters who question them about police corruption. The visit Sanderson and question him about what happened he said that Mrs Blunt left for the pictures and he poured his nightcap which is the last thing he remembers. He says he woke in hospital with people saying about the dead woman. Jack shows him the photos and asks if he knew the girl. Sanderson says no he doesnt frequent places like the Imperial Club as he works hard to stop the clubs exploiting women. Jack asks about a raid that Sanderson ordered there six months ago where a man was shot. Sanderson says that the shooting was an accident and he has been set up. Jack tells him about the door being locked from the inside by Sanderson says it doesn't make sense.

At that moment Rosie arrives with a gentleman, Sidney Fletcher. Jack questions him as he was the last person to see George the day of the murder and asks how he was. Sidney says they attempted golf but Sanderson was not his normal self.

Phryne meets with Madame Leon of the Imperial club at Phryne's house. She tells the Madame she wants to investigate the murder but Madame Leon says that it was the Deputy- Commissioner that did it. Phryne asks her if he ever came to the club. The Madame says no he wouldn't be that stupid but he probably indulges his desires in secret. Phryne asks if Lavignia had a private arrangement with Sanderson but Madame says that the girls were exclusive to the club. She says having the murder investigated would ruin the club. Phryne asks to let her investigate and says the Madame can do as she wishes with the information Phryne finds out so she agrees if Phryne uses the guise of a fan dancer at the club. Phryne sees the Madame out and tells Dot to get Carlos back immediately.

Jack and Hugh return to the police station and an angry mob waiting outside. The phone rings and it is the chief commissioner asking why the deputy commissioner has not been arrested yet. Meanwhile Dot is measuring Phyrne for her feather fans. Phryne asks Dot to deliver them to the club when they are finished.

Dr Mac is there with a report from the hospital stating Sanderson was poisoned by laudanum. Dr Mac questions Phryne about the victim bleeding and Phryne says it was just her nose. Dr Mac says that could be due to strangulation. At that point Carlos arrives to teach Phryne to fan dance.

That night Jack and Hugh frequent the Imperial club (scaring away customers). Lola flirts with Hugh. Then Madame Leon arrives. Jack asks Hugh to take a statement from the doorman and then questions Madame Leon. Madame Leon says she cannot help and leaves.

Dot arrives at the club in Cec and Burts taxi to drop of the fan. Hugh is downstairs questioning the doorman and tries to stop Dot going up stairs. Failing, Hugh asks about the victims regulars but the doorman says they get all sorts of customers. Back upstairs Jack tells Hugh to call each woman separately to the police station for questioning and asks if the doorman gave any useful information but Hugh says not much. The doorman then gives Jack the clubs register. Lola comes back to flirt with Hugh much to Dots disgust as Phryne enters the stage for her fan dance in which she reveals her bare upper half! Dot leaves shocked dragging Cec and Burt with her. Hugh tries to stop her and tells Jack that he thinks Phryne's performance has upset Dot. Jack tells him the young lady that had been flirting with him was Dot's sister so Hugh chases after her but is too late

Meanwhile in the club Phryne in her guise as Lula the fan dancer asks Lena one of the other women about Lavignia. Lena said all the girls were close with her and she wishes that she had stuck to the rules. Lena said Llavignia boasted about a private appointment and although Lena warned her Lavignia didn't listen.

Phryne then questions the doorman. Phryne says she is worried about working there after the murder and the raids. The doorman said the raids were not about closing the clubs down the police were just looking for dirt ie the club register to blackmail with.  He said the police wont get much joy with the club register Madame Leon gave them as it is a fake.

Phryne is at the police station with Jack and tells him the register is a fake and that the doorman thinks the police raids were just for the police to try to get the real register. Phryne shows Jack a newspaper article mentioning him and saying the police are protecting Sanderson. She then asks for the results of the tests on the decanter which shows both the decanter and the glasses were poisoned which makes no sense unless he was trying to poison them both. Phryne asked if Lavignia was poisoned but Jack said they will know from the coroners report in the morning.

Phryne returns home that night and Dot is waiting up for her. Dot questions her about the nature of the club. Phryne says she will not offer any services at the club. Dot asks about Lola and Phryne says it is an old profession. Dot asks what will Hugh think and Phryne says it should test his Christian values. Dot says she might have to test her own values.

That night Jack is leaving the station when someone hits him over the head with a bottle and escapes in a car. Hugh runs to his aid and Jack gives him the car rego to look up.

The next morning Lola comes to visit Dot giving her a gift of a bible. Lola said it is better than the tatty one that she used to have. But Dot said it was a present from their mother. Dot offers to help Lola find other work but Lola says she is earning good money and doesn't want to be 'saved'. The girls argue and Dot smashes a cup.

Phryne and Jack go to the morgue. Dot asks about Jacks trousers and he says he fell over. Phryne says it is rubbish as he knows about the hit last night. The coroner report shows no signs of alcohol. Prhyne notices a crucifix in Lavignia's belongings and Jack says the report found skin under her fingernails showing signs of a struggle. Phryne suggests Jack check Sanderson's lacerations and says she needs to speak to Lola.

Jack goes to check Sanderson and asks him how he got them Sanderson says he doesn't know but he didn't murder the girl. Jack apologizes but arrests Sanderson. Back at the club Phryne finds Lola and the doorman in a lovers tryst. She questions Lola about Lavignia's crucifix and Lola said it was a gift from a priest called Father Blackburn who was trying to help the girls. Lola said he wanted to save more than Lavignia's soul! Phryne calls Jack to let him know.

Jack goes to talk to Father Blackburn and asks him the last time he saw Lavignia. Jack ask about the Father's vocal opinions about Sanderson the priest says the raids do not help the girls. He says he help Lavignia find God and make changes that Madame Leon would not be happy with.

Jack meets Phryne at the club they hide out in a back space and Jack tells Phryne about Father Blackburn trying to get Lavignia to leave. They wonder if Madame Leon knew and what she would do if she did know.

Mrs Blunt the housekeeper brings in her movie ticket and during her gossiping reveals that after she talked to the electric company they said they knew nothing of the man that came to check the meter. Jack asks for a description of the man.

Back at the Sanderson house Jack and Phryne check out the Library. Phyne notices scratches on the outside of the door and that the lock is iron and theorises that someone used a magnet from the outside of the door to lock it. Phryne expects the murderer was someone that is mentioned in madame Leon's actual register. Jack returns to the station to release Sanderson.

Phryne returns to the club to question Lola about the real register and Lola says it is not a register just a box with a collection of belonging stolen from the important clients. Lola says there is even a police badge that is meant to belong to the Chief Commissioner. Phryne asks where it is and Lola points to a room that connects to the office but she says the door is solid metal and has a lock like a safe.

That night Phryne returns with a grappling hook and scales the building. She reaches the roof and goes through the roof door but Madame Leon hears her and confronts her with a gun. A struggle ensues and Phryne pins the Madame pulling her own gun. She ask the madame for the box but the Madame says it was stolen by Lavignia.

Phryne and the Madame sit down for drinks and Madame Leon tells Phryne she was sick when the raid happened and left Lavignia in charge as she was a favourite she said she trusted Lavignia with the combination for the door. Phyrne asks why Madame Leon did not tell her about the stolen box and the Madame said she was concerned if word got out she would end up dead. Phryne asks if the Madame found out the box was missing and Madame Leon said three days before the murder but she didn't accuse Lavignia as she didn't want to believe Lavignia would do such a thing.

At the police station Phryne (as Lulu) asks Lena to tell the Policeman what she knows. Lena says that Father Blackburn visited Lavignia on the night of the murder although he is not meant to be allowed in the club but he didn't speak to Lavignia as she was not in the club and that he had been drinking. At that moment Hugh comes in to say that the coroner rang to say the skin under Lavignia's fingernails contained ink from a tattoo. They remember that Father Blackburn was in the navy so probably has tattoos. Jack asks Hugh to show Mrs Blunt Father Blackburn's picture to see if it was the 'man from the electric company'.

Phryne and Jack visit Father Blackburn and ask to see his arms. He has tattoos but no marks or scratches.
The Father says that Lavignia told him about the box and he thought it was a good opportunity to expose the corrupt. They were going to take it to the newspapers but Lavignia took it to Sanderson for money.

Back at Phryne's house Dot has been up all night to repair the cup. Mr Butler wakes her up and she asks if he thinks Lola will be forgiven for her sins. Mr Butler says that Mary Magdeline was a prostitute and Jesus forgave her. Dot picks up the bible that Lola gave her and a letter fell out addressed to Lavignia.

Back at the police station Hugh brings Phryne and Jack the files from the police raid. Phryne asks about one of the men int he file and Jack says he was called Berkwitz and he was shot and killed during a raid. Dot comes in and gives Phryne the note she found in the bible which says 'Bring what you have to 32 Cheltenham Ave tomorrow night 11 o clock - S"

Jack goes to confront Sanderson and Sanderson said the girl contacted him about the box. Jack asks why he didn't tell him before and Sanderson the girl didn't leave a name but wanted money for information that might help close down the brothel. Sanderson says he did not write the note.

Back at the police station Phryne, Hugh and Jack wonder who else could have know about Lavignia's offer to Sanderson. Jack said it must be someone whose reputation was at stake if the information got out. Phryne asks what time Mrs Blunt left the house Hugh says 7. Phryne says Lavignia left at 10. So if Sanderson took his Port at 9 he would have been out of it by the time Lavignia arrived. Phyrne then realises who Berkwitz looks like - the doorman at the Imperial club. They were brothers.

Phryne, Jack and Hugh go to question the doorman at the club but he is not there. Lola said he was going to the shipyards to collect payment for a job. Jack tells Hugh to call Sanderson as backup. The go to the shipyards to stop him but her climbs a high girder. They confront him but the doorman says they don't know the whole story. The doorman admits to the crime and Jack asks him what he did with the box. The doorman says that all the police are interested in is extortion and blackmail and reaches into his pocket. Sanderson shoots thinking he has a gun but as he falls the doorman pulls a wad of notes out of his pocket.

They check the doorman's body and find the tattoo with gouges. They go to tell Lola who is distraught. Back at the station Jack tells Rosie and she tells him about her engagement to Sidney as Sidney comes to collect her.

The episode ends with Phryne and Jack having drinks at Phryne house.

So there you go the season starts with a bang but episode one ends with more questions than answers. Who did pay the doorman for the box? where did he get all that money? Could it be the Chief Commissioner whose badge was supposedly among the items in the box?  Will we find out later in the season? I for one will certainly keep watching the rest of the season to see if we find out more! 

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