Look, if you’ve followed my work before you know that I love Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is currently re-airing on WGBX 44 Thursdays at 8pm. I’ve written about absolute goddess Essie Davis’ filmography, and the explosive chemistry between the show’s leading power couple. Let’s be real: any time I get a chance to write about this delightful program, I jump on it faster than Phryne at a chance for adventure. With the ongoing stay-at-home orders in Massachusetts due to the coronavirus pandemic, opportunities for adventure, glamour, and all around fabulousness can feel pretty thin on the ground, which leads to the obvious question: WWPD — What Would Phryne Do? Glad you asked.

1. Make time for self care.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an omniscient butler and/or a platonic companion to bring me medicinal whiskey or draw me a bath when I’ve had a particularly trying day. I also don’t regularly fend off violent burglars or get shot at, so I guess it balances out. Either way, our first lesson from Phryne Fisher is that even strong people need to relax and take a break. Have yourself a nice dinner, or a spa day, or a fancy cocktail; whatever makes you feel relaxed and fancy.

2. Be prepared.
You may not be committing cheeky B&E jobs or infiltrating burlesque clubs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring along your metaphorical garter knife, lock picks, and self confidence. Jack might argue that Phryne jumps into situations without advanced planning, but I say there’s a lot more room for improvisation if you know you’ve got the right tools for the job, be they physical or metaphorical.

3. Dress for yourself, not the people around you.
As Phryne so wisely points out to Dot, a woman’s sartorial choices should be for herself first and foremost. No disrespect to the casual work-from-home pajama, but self-isolation is also a great time to try out a more daring look. Nervous about wearing that bright lipstick? Not sure you can pull off that fashion-forward frock? Contemplating a bold haircut? Don’t let what other people might think of you stop you from trying something you’re excited about.

4. Don’t back down from what you want.
One of the most dazzling facets of Phryne’s character is her self-assurance. She knows what she wants, and to quote the woman herself: “I’m not here to apologize.” Phryne doesn’t deny herself the things she desires. As long as she’s not hurting anyone, she goes out and gets what she wants, whether it’s a new job or telling her partner he better not let her get away.

5. Solidarity, sister.
Another one of the absolute best things about Phryne Fisher is her full-throated support of other women. She speaks up for them when they need her loud voice. She’s unabashedly proud of their accomplishments. She pushes them to try new things. She doesn’t devalue traditional gendered skills, and she doesn’t belittle romantic rivals: even when she disagrees with another woman, she does it with respect.

6. Family is what you make it.
Thankfully, most people aren’t stuck with dissolute, lying, con men for fathers, but the point still stands. Like Phryne, you don’t have to be beholden to biology: you can collect and care for your own wonderful found family. You may not be able to literally bring them onto your payroll, but support isn’t just financial: it can mean helping psych a friend up for a job interview, being there for them when they’re grieving, or just spending time together. (Dead bodies and dangerous mysteries are, thankfully, not a requirement.)

7. Stand up for what’s right.
Phryne Fisher isn’t afraid to call it like it is: sometimes, the law is just plain wrong. It was true in 1920s Australia, and it’s true today. Phryne comes from a place of privilege: she’s wealthy, titled, and white. But that doesn’t stop her from trying to make the world a better place. She argues against laws that criminalize homosexulaity and abortion. She frees innocent people from jail. She puts her money where her mouth is, funding worthy projects and supporting the downtrodden. She treats everyone as her equal, despite societal pressures that would elevate her and make her life easier. Most people don’t have quite as much power and influence as Phryne, but her choice to use her power for good is an example to us all.

In Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the characters often mention that Phryne is a modern woman: ahead of her time, and forward thinking. But for all those arguments, the ideals that Phryne Fisher espouses and models really are timeless. So while we may not all be able to drive a Hispano-Suiza, crash crime scenes, and pull off a perfect tango in front of a crowd, we can all still live like Phryne in all the ways that count the most. Need more Phryne in your life? Catch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on WGBX44, Thursday nights at 8pm!