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The No. 1 Ladies? Detective Agency
Jill Scott, Anika Noni Rose, Lucian Msamati
3 DVD 7 Episodes
Originally aired HBO 2009
HBO Warner Home Video 2009

If you missed the HBO presentation of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, you must make up for it by watching this 3 DVD set. This is mystery TV at its best and most original especially if you prefer your whodunit with brains and little brawn and appreciate subtle humor and solid characters. The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency DVD set features 7 episodes on 3 DVD and lots of interesting special features.

Check below for reviews of individual episodes.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is the story of Precious Mma Ramotswe (Jill Scott who is perfect is this role), an independent woman who gets an inheritance and opens a detective agency. Her detecting skills are based on observation, common sense, her ability to read people, and, at first, a How To book on detecting.

Season one of the TV adaptation of the Alexander McCall Smith novels include the Pilot episode which gives a bit of background information on Precious Ramotswe’s childhood, a woman who believes her husband is cheating on her, and a the true identity of a father. Episode 2 has the cases of the runaway dog, the missing dentist, and the missing husband.

Episode 3 is the weak point in the series. Its main plot line is based on an urban legend and deals with suspicious deaths at a local hospital. It also includes the cases of the frightened shopkeeper and of the family with the poisonous suppers. Episode 4 features the most interesting case so far: The Boy With The African Heart. Look for CCH Pounder in a guest role.

Episode 5 has the case of the stolen car, the cheating wife and Grace Makutsi’s first case, and the perhaps wayward daughter. This is not the best show but it gets fun when BK plays detective too. The sixth episode features a man opening a rival detective agency, a beauty contest, and developments on the Rra Matekoni and wayward daughter situations.

The last episode of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Season One has the new detective playing dirty tricks and Mma Ramotswe facing a big decision.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is very well done. The various characters have not lost any of their originality or interest and the stories are just as good and true to the tone of the novels

Special features on this mystery TV DVD set include a diary entry by author McCall Smith for each episode and on DVD 3 Botswana The Gem of Africa, Anthony Minghela’s no.1 Film, a Making of, and The Beat of Botswana.