Primetime TV Review: “Miss Scarlet and the Duke”

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Miss Scarlet and the Duke poster

“Miss Scarlet & The Duke” on PBS Review by Suzanne 1/21/21

This is a fun new mystery miniseries Sundays on PBS. I’m really enjoying it. It takes place in London, in Victorian England. Miss Eliza Scarlet (Kate Philips) is the daughter of a private detective (and former police officer). She wants to be a private detective, too. He trained her for many years as she was growing up. Her father goes missing and she has to handle a new client, and dealing with what happens to her father, among other things. Although she’s “a lady,” she’s not afraid and can defend herself. Her childhood friend is William Wellington, a police officer known as “The Duke” (Stuart Martin). Like most men of his time, he’s very chauvinistic. He doesn’t think young ladies should be involved in dead bodies and gruesome things like that. However, she’s a very good detective, so they work together.

I love most PBS mysteries, and especially ones that feature powerful women, and handsome men. Kate Philips is excellent in the role. She has just enough moxie to pull off the character while still seeming like someone who was raised in a genteel fashion. Stuart Martin reminds me a lot of Hugh Jackman. They make a great team. Eliza also has some household servants who are more like family, and there are other various characters (some unsavory). The ending of the first episode reminds me a little bit of “Remington Steele.”¬† Check this out.


Go on the case with private eye Eliza Scarlet, Victorian England‚Äôs first-ever female sleuth, as she solves crimes ‚Äď and sometimes flirts ‚Äď with her partner and childhood friend, Detective Inspector William ‚ÄúThe Duke‚ÄĚ Wellington.

Miss Scarlet in the parlor with the dead man

Miss Scarlet & The Duke

Kate Phillips and Stuart Martin star in a new Victorian mystery series


Sundays, January 17 February 21, 2021 on PBS

Before Marple and Tennison, there was Scarlet‚ÄĒMiss Eliza Scarlet, private detective. Kate Phillips (Wolf Hall) stars as Victorian London‚Äôs brilliant, beautiful, and first-ever female sleuth, with Stuart Martin (Jamestown) as her friend and associate, Detective Inspector William ‚ÄúThe Duke‚ÄĚ Wellington. Celebrating MASTERPIECE‚Äôs 50th anniversary in 2021, Miss Scarlet & The Duke premieres with six thrilling episodes, Sundays, January 17 – February 21, 2021 at 8/7c on PBS.

Lighthearted yet gripping, the series features Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey) as Eliza’s father, Henry Scarlet, who is also her mentor in crime-solving.

Danny Midwinter (Casualty) plays the Duke’s profane but proficient sergeant, Frank Jenkins. And Ansu Kabia (World on Fire) is the shadowy underworld figure, Moses, whose motives keep the police guessing.

Also appearing are Andrew Gower (Poldark) as the companionable aristocrat Rupert Parker, who is living a double life; Cathy Belton (Philomena) as Eliza’s devoted housekeeper and former nursemaid, Ivy; and Nick Dunning (The Tudors) as the Duke’s insufferable boss, Superintendent Stirling.

Miss Scarlet & The Duke is set in London at the start of the Sherlock Holmes era, circa 1880. Eliza’s father, Henry, is a widowed retired police officer, currently a private detective running up bills and drinking through his occasional earnings. Nonetheless, he is a talented investigator, and he has taught his only child, Eliza, the trade since she was a girl. She is now determined to break into this male-only profession.

Fortunately, Eliza‚Äôs childhood friend happens to be a detective inspector at Scotland Yard: William ‚ÄúThe Duke‚ÄĚ Wellington. He gets his nickname from the most famous Englishman of the 19th century: the Duke of Wellington, victor over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Like that other Wellington, the Duke is cool and decisive in a scrape. And he is also a ladies‚Äô man, which leads to interesting complications with Eliza.

Sometimes working together‚ÄĒbut often at odds‚ÄĒEliza and the Duke tackle a series of fascinating cases. On launching her business, Eliza‚Äôs initial chal- lenge is not criminals or clients so much as getting society to take a female detective seriously, even one who has mastered wounds, poisons, motives, and red herrings. But she forges ahead and sees her first commission‚ÄĒa simple search for an older gentleman‚Äôs lost niece‚ÄĒturn into something very sinister, which she resolves with the Duke‚Äôs help.

And with that her career, if not her income, is off and running. Eliza’s exploits range from an open-and-shut murder case that only she realizes is not so clear-cut, to a dastardly plot that will make history if it succeeds, to a client being harassed from beyond the grave. In her final investigation of the season, spanning Episodes 5 and 6, Eliza is pursuing the mystery of her father’s demise when she unwittingly lures the Duke into a deathtrap. Naturally, the ordeal is a bonding experience for the two quarrelsome but secretly affectionate crime-solvers.

Miss Scarlet & The Duke is an A+E NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL and ELEMENT 8 ENTERTAINMENT production co-produced with MASTERPIECE in association with Eighty Seven Films and Bandidos Yanquis. The writers are Rachael New (Episodes 1-3 & 6) and Ben Edwards (Episodes 4 & 5). The director is Declan O’Dwyer. The Executive Producers for A+E NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL are Melissa Madden, Moshe Laniado-Peleg, Hannah Dal Pozzo, Zalika Webley and Matthew Zagha.


Winner of 83 Primetime Emmys¬ģ and 18 Peabody Awards, MASTERPIECE has been essential Sunday night viewing for millions of fans since 1971. Susanne Simpson is the executive producer and Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer-at-large for the series. Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Viking and Raymond James with additional support from public television viewers and contributors to The MASTERPIECE Trust.

Produced for PBS by GBH Boston, MASTERPIECE is known for recent hits such as Sherlock, Downton Abbey and Victoria, and beloved classics such as Upstairs Downstairs, Prime Suspect, The Forsyte Saga and Poldark.


Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Miss Scarlet and The Duke cast


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