New Ms Fisher is finding her own sleuthing style
GERALDINE Hakewill was disappointed when she missed out on a guest role on the ABC's Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.
The young actor, fresh from her studies at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, loved Essie Davis's award-winning performance as the elegant 1920s sleuth.
But it was a blessing in disguise as now, years later after her starring role in Wanted opposite Rebecca Gibney, she is the leading lady in Seven's sequel Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries.
"I'm very lucky," Hakewill says. "I was a big fan of the original series and I'm a big fan of the genre. I've always loved murder mysteries, particularly period murder mysteries - they're my guilty pleasure. I've read most of the Agatha Christie books."
The new series, set in the swinging '60s and developed by original series creators Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, follows Phryne Fisher's long-lost niece Peregrine as she inherits more than just a stylish house and a car from the legendary detective.
"She's less refined and educated than her aunt, but she's got the family trait of being incredibly curious and brave - to the point where she'll put herself in all sorts of perilous situations without thinking about it," Hakewill says.
Peregrine discovers her aunt was part of an illustrious group called The Adventuresses and inveigles her way into a murder investigation.
"She comes in as a pretty rough diamond and maybe doesn't read the room as well as she should when she first arrives," Hakewill says.
"She's somebody who naturally pushes boundaries and rubs up against authority. Even though The Adventuresses are inspiring women they have certain prejudices against her she has to dismantle."
Peregrine discovers a world of danger and intrigue, but finds an ally in Detective James Steed (Joel Jackson).
"We've got a great relationship that develops on screen which is complicated and unrequited and frustrating," she says.
"Like with Phryne and Zach there's that unresolved sexual tension bubbling away over the whole series."
Hakewill says the new series celebrates its roots while appealing to a new generation.
"Phryne was a modern woman who definitely evolved with the times and she exists in this world in a big way," she says. "I hope the young girls who watch it are inspired by Peregrine. She's timeless in her bravery, her kindness and curiosity about the world."
Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries premieres tonight at 8.30pm on Seven.