If you rolled Miss Marple together with Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City — and added a dash of Midsomer Murders — then you’d have the series Agatha Raisin, starring Ashley Jensen from Catastrophe and Ugly Betty. Based on a series of books by author M.C. Beaton, streaming service Acorn TV has now taken control of producing the mystery series, turning each episode into a mini-movie.
The Telegram says that they think Agatha Raisin is a combination of Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote with a touch of Lucille Ball’s slapstick from I Love Lucy. Jensen is also joined by a supporting cast who help to weave depth into each episode — or case, as it were.
Jensen says that this is the role of a lifetime.
“There’s an openness and honesty about physical comedy. It’s something that’s not seen too much anymore. I have always loved that kind of thing. For me, it’s a dream come true to get to play a character that I can incorporate that sort of thing into it.”
For season 2, each episode of Agatha Raisin will have a 90-minute mystery — more like the premiere episode, Agatha Raisin And The Quiche of Death.
Season 2 finds Agatha back in her adopted Cotswolds town of Carsley, after having returned from a disappointing trip to Cyprus with James. When fans first see their mystery maven, she is down in the dumps and looking for a change — so she seeks out the latest hotshot hairdresser, Jonny, in “The Wizard of Evesham.”
Jensen stresses that the success of the series is largely due to the strength of the cast.
“I am surrounded by some very wonderful people who are really strong comedic actors like me who saw this show as a little bit of a playground. Everyone was absolutely up for it I think it is a great ensemble of people who feel comfortable being a little daft with it.”
Broadcasting & Cable says that even the New York Times highly recommends the tongue-in-cheek mystery series.
“The detective at the center of this light-hearted mystery series, based on the books by M. C. Beaton, trades drab trench coats for flashy dresses and a pop of red lipstick.”
Jensen laughs at this assessment, likening her crime-solving crew to a cartoon favorite.
“The Scooby-Doo gang, running around the Cotswolds, solving crimes.”
Though a large part of Agatha Raisin is cheeky fun, per the Inquisitr, the lead character comes with a back-story of darker days. The character is a great symbol for all women who are hoping for a second act, says Jensen.
“I think she has reached a point in her life where she has started to think: is this it? And she has always had a dream to go back to the Cotswolds, which was a place where she was happy. She had a difficult childhood and she had an unhappy marriage to a man who was an alcoholic.”