Cocaine Blues
Cocaine-blues (1)
Season 1, Episode 1
Vital statistics
Air date 24 February 2012
Written by Deb Cox; Kerry Greenwood(novel)
Directed by Tony Tilse
Episode guide
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- Murder on the Ballarat Train

Cocaine Blues is the first episode of the season one of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries TV show based on the novel of the same name by Kerry Greenwood. It's also the first-ever TV transposition of Miss Fisher.

Summary Edit

The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher disembarks the Orient at Victoria Dock, returning to Melbourne after years abroad. Almost as soon as she checks into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned husbands, cocaine smuggling rings and illegal abortionists - not to mention erotic encounters with the handsome Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse. Her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish Bath Palace off Little Lonsdale Street.


Victim: John Andrews
Client: none
Case: Phryne offered Lydia her help in finding her husband's murderer.
Murderer: Lydia Andrews
Outcome: The Turkish bath out of which Lydia Andrews ran her drug business burned down. Presumably Lydia was also arrested.

Plot Edit

A wealthy older man is walking towards his bathroom sink in pain, while a young woman named Alice departs from the home. Alice is stopped outside by the maid Dot, who gives her a knitted baby hat as a gift, but she refuses it and leaves. The older man then collapses on the floor and dies.

The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher arrives into Melbourne after a voyage at sea, and is welcomed back by her old friend Dr. “Mac” McMillan in the harbour. Later on at her hotel, Mac inquires why Phryne intends to accomplish on her visit as she’s been gone for several years, and says that they both know why she’s really here. She goes on to claim that nothing can be done to bring Janey back, but Phryne says she can stop him from doing it again. The two are interrupted when an invitation arrives for a luncheon to be held later that day by Phryne’s friend Lydia Andrews and her Aunt Prudence.

When Phryne gets to the Andrews residence she is informed by Dot that the luncheon has been cancelled due to Mr. Andrews’ death. Phryne goes to see a tearful Lydia and her Aunt Prudence. Dot comes in to let Lydia know a detective wants to speak to her. When she leaves the room Phryne asks Aunt Prudence what happened and Aunt Prudence says that John collapsed after breakfast.

Lydia returns and informs Phryne and Aunt Prudence that the inspector has asked all visitors to leave so he can question the household but before Phryne leaves she sneaks past Constable Hugh Collins up stairs by claiming she needs the powder room to check out the murder scene. Phryne finds a box of pink powders and puts some in her purse. Detective Jack Robinson interrupts her prying and reprimands her, but she remains unfazed by this and asks if they suspect poison based on how Mr. Andrews body was found and leaves.

A woozy Alice is being loaded into Cec and Bert's taxi by a man. He quickly pays and runs off. Cec and Burt notice the girl is bleeding and see two men walk around the corner.

As Phryne comes down the stairs the phone rings but the timid maid Dot is fearful to answer it. At that moment famed dancer Sasha De Lisse arrives to console Lydia and Aunt Prudence remembers that Lydia was meant to be holding a charity soiree the next night at which Sasha is performing. Aunt Prudence offers for her and Phryne to host the event before Lydia faints.

Back in her hotel room, Phryne gives Mac a sample of the pink powders to test before a porter summons Dr Mac back to work. The two return to the hospital where Cec and Bert have taken Alice. Dr Mac examines her and concludes that she’s had a back alley abortion. Cec and Bert are waiting outside the ward and tell Phryne about the man that put Alice into their cab and gives them Detective Jack's card.

At the station, Cec identifies the man as George Fletcher; also known as “Butcher George.” When Phryne asks for the meaning behind his name, detective Robinson explains that George Fletcher is a former doctor who's now suspected of running a local abortion ring. He goes on to say that the police have never been able to arrest him since the women who see him either die, or won’t come forward since procuring an abortion is illegal. Phryne vows to find a way around this law to catch Butcher George.

Sometime later, Phryne goes to see a man named Murdoch Foyle in prison. He claims not to recognize her until she pulls out a hair ribbon that belonged to her sister Jane, then apologizes for not telling her family what they wanted to know. She asks him to tell her now, but he refuses since he never confessed to her sister’s death and is about to finish his sentence but Phryne says she will make sure that doesn't happen before she leaves.

Cec and Alice are asleep at the hospital when Phryne visits, and she asks Mac if the girl has given any details about who she is. But Mac says the girl won't even give her name. Phryne inspects the girls belongings and finds a reference for Alice, and realizes she has a letter with the the same seal on it as her invitation from John Andrews.

It’s now the night of the soiree and the party is in full. Phryne smuggles an ill Lydia some champagne and questions about why they let the last maid go. Lydia says that John caught her stealing.

Phryne goes back to the party and asks her Aunt Prudence if anyone would want to harm Lydia. Prudence gives her all the gossip and introduces her to Madame Breda (who she says runs a bordello). As it turns out Madame Breda runs a Turkish bath and invites Phryne to come visit. Madame Breda says she was a customer of John’s for years as he ran an importation business but he did not like Lydia's friends like Sasha. Phryne goes to talk to Sasha and remembers him dancing in Paris with his sister. Sasha says his sister passed away and asks Phryne to tango.

Meanwhile Dot answers the door Jack and Hugh who state they have been trying to call but something must be wrong with the phone. Jack informs Lydia that John had been poisoned from the sugar bowl that was laced with arsenic and that Lydia's symptoms are from a milder dose. They suspect the maid as she prepares breakfast and Dot is taken to the station for questioning. Phryne states her belief of Dot's innocence, and tells her she has a lawyer friend if she ever needs help.

After being wished goodnight by Sasha, Phryne realizes her earrings are missing and decides to go after him. She follows him down an alley where she sees Sasha go into a pharmacy to buy cocaine. The shop keeper rings a bell and two thugs go after him. Phryne hears gunshots and finds Sasha injured. She hides him by posing as a prostitute to lead the men away. Once they leave, Phryne takes Sasha back to her hotel.

Phryne fixes up Sasha's wound and strips of her ruined gown. She then asks Sasha why he stole her earrings. He tells her that he asked to see the King of Snow, an infamous cocaine dealer that his sister was associated with before she committed suicide. He says Lydia was good to them but John didn't like them and Phyrne suspects an affair but Sasha denies this as Lydia was too demure for him, unlike Phryne.

Sasha and Phryne go to bed together but when she wakes up he is gone but has returned Phryne's earrings. She’s further awoken by Dot, who says she’s been dismissed without a reference and needs the lawyer Phryne offered. Phryne invites her in for breakfast and asks for details. Dot explains that she told the police how John attempted to force himself on her the night before he died, and that John Andrews was the one who impregnated Alice.

When Phryne returns to the hospital to talk to Alice, she finds out that Madame Breda had arranged for her abortion. Alice says she didn't know where she was taken but remembers a green door and that she came to smelling food like a bakery.

Phryne returns home to find that Dot has cleaned up for her and got the blood stains out of her gown. She gives Dot a job on the condition she do things like answer the telephone, which she’s afraid of, and occasionally bend the ten commandments.

Dot knocks on Madame Breda's door and ask her to help her as she is in the same situation as Alice. Phryne meanwhile is at the baths with Lydia to see if she knew about John's business dealings. Lydia tells her that she never looked into her husband’s financials since she never really had a mind for business, and that she’d rather not mull over his life before they drink their tea.

Phryne comes out of the baths and meets up with Dot, Cec, and Bert. Dot tells her that Madame Breda instructed her to wait on the curb on Baker Street, and gave her a package with pink powders that resemble the ones found in the Andrews’ bathroom. Which Phryne and Mac later determine to be cocaine.

The next morning, Dot is waiting on Baker Street to be picked up while Phryne attempts to follow with Cec and Bert in their taxi but it won’t start. They get it started eventually and follow the car to an alley way. Inside Butcher George comes in to see Dot with a set of rusty tools.

Phryne, Cec and Bert chase down the alley way looking for the green door Alice described. Back inside Dot tells Butcher George she is not pregnant, and gets held down by him and his associate. Phryne bursts in just in time to stop him and Cec punches George for what he did to Alice. Phryne then asks the other thug how he knows Madame Breda.

Later as Dot is calming her nerves with a cup of cocoa in Miss Fisher’s room when Phryne gets ready to head out, and tells Dot to phone the police if she’s not back by midnight.

Phryne and Bert go back to the chemist and see Sasha and the two men from earlier head into Madame Breda’s. Phryne looks for a way in and climbs up onto the balcony and asks Burt to go for help but before Burt goes he is chased by a thug.

Phryne enters the building and checks out a cabinet that's full of boxes imported by John Andrews with the pink cocaine powder inside. She hears a commotion, and sees a man beating up Sasha. She draws her knife but another man captures he and locks her in a sauna with Sasha.

Phryne tells him about the John Andrews imports and after a while Lydia comes in and reveals herself as “the King of Snow.” Lydia laments to Phryne how her family lost everything in the war and her marriage John proved to be a mistake as he was a hopeless business man. So she built the cocaine business to keep themselves afloat. She says she killed John as she wanted her old life and money back but John wouldn't allow it. Lydia orders Sasha and Phryne to be stripped and turns the sauna on hot.

Bert wakes up from a beating in an alley way and runs for help at the police station as Phryne tries to picks the door lock to no avail. He eventually gets to the station but Jack refuses to listen. At the bathhouse, Phryne finds where the steam is piped in and closes off the valve. As Dot realizes the time and phones for help, Jack realizes that she has corroborated Bert's story and sends police to help Phryne. She and Sasha are then rescued just in time.

Mac wakes Phryne the next day to check on her injuries from the sauna and asks how she knew that it was Lydia all along. Phryne explains how she didn't understand why Lydia was so upset over her husband's passing since he was a well-known lout, or how she claimed to not have a head for business since she always raised thousands of pounds for charity, but what really clued her in was learning that Lydia was poisoned through the sugar in her tea as she always Lydia taking it black. she has a meeting with Premier Hogan to try to keep Murdoch Foyle in jail.

Later that day at tea, Dot tells Phryne that she will take the job with her just as Cec and Bert arrive. Jack and Hugh arrive to tell Phryne that the turkish bath bursts into flames due to her tampering with the steam valve, Jack asks her to refrain from involving herself in police investigations from now on, only for Phryne to announce her new business venture as a professional lady detective.

Cast Edit

Main Cast: Edit

Essie Davis as Miss Phryne Fisher

Nathan Page as Detective John 'Jack' Robinson

Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Hugh Collins

Ashleigh Cummings as Dorothy 'Dot' Williams

Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence

Tammy MacIntosh as Dr. Elizabeth "Mac" McMillan

Travis McMahon as Albert "Bert" Johnson

Anthony Sharpe as Cecil "Cec" Yates

Guest-Stars: Edit

Laura Wheelwright as Alice

Kristof Piechocki as Sasha De Lisse

María Mercedes as Madame Breda

Nathaniel Kelly as The Bull

Nicholas Bell as Murdoch Foyle

Miranda Otto as Lydia Andrews

Mark Lawrence as Cokey Billings

Lucia Emerichs as Young Phryne

Zoe Gousmett as Young Janey

Matthew Crosby as Butcher George

Brendan Parry Kaufmann as John Andrews

Promotional Trailer Edit

Episode 1 Trailer - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - Series 1

Episode 1 Trailer - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - Series 1

Trivia Edit

  • The TV episodes of Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries differ from the book quite a bit probably due to the fact that it would be hard to fit a whole book into one 60 minute episode. They have also introduced a new character in the way of Phryne's Aunt Prudence played by the wonderful Miriam Margolyes and Phyrne's plentiful love interests have been cut to just Sasha in the first episode.
  • The episode's title "Cocaine Blues" is is named after a Western Swing song written by T.J.Arnall, a reworking of the traditional song "Little Sadie".
  • A chalk outline of the body on the bathroom floor. TV and movie writers love the chalk outline. However, in the real world the outline is only used if a body must be moved before the crime scene examination is complete. Prosecutors hate the 'chalk fairy', that never identified cop who can't resist tampering with a crime scene and thus calling into question any physical evidence present.
  • Dot finds a flat round case ( the shape of a contemporary diaphragm case) under Phrynie's bed which Phrynie says is a marvelous device invented by Marie Stopes. Stopes opened a family planning clinic in London in 1921 where she distributed her 'ProRace' brand of cervical caps. Those rubber devices were taller than they were wide, about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Rubber cervical caps were invented by Friedrich Wilde in 1834.
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