The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

[youtube][/youtube]I liked the books in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith a lot when I read them; so I was delighted to discover they had been made into a TV series, and that they would be shown on German TV. So far I have watched the pilot (directed by Anthony Minghella) and four of the six episodes, and I love them.

The first and foremost impression the series leaves is color. The images created on the screen are just amazing. The landscape, the animals, the people, the buildings and everything that makes up everyday life are used to great effect, and your eyes feast on it.

The characters (and actors) are lovely. First and foremost, there is detective Mma. Precious Ramotswe (US singer Jill Scott), a traditionally built woman who solves her cases with wisdom, intuition, common sense and a great deal of compassion. Her secretary/assistant, Mma. Grace Makutsi (Anika Noni Rose), is insecure, yet determined, and very comical. And then there is Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni (Lucian Msamati), owner of Speedy Motors garage and Mma. Ramotswe’s shy and reliable suitor. Each of these is very engaging, and I rooted for them even after the first episode.

What I also like a lot is the way the books’ optimism is conveyed. Alexander McCall Smith paints a very positive image of Botswana’s society, and while this outlook is dominant in the series, too, it never gets saccharine. Serious problems like AIDS and dark magic are alluded to, but they don’t overpower.

I am looking forward very much to watching the last two episodes, and hope the series will be continued. Have any of you watched it, and what did you think of it?

– Rike Horstmann

21 thoughts on “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

  1. AARPat

    Rike, I couldn’t read the books at all! I stalled out every time I tried. BUT I loved the TV show which was broadcast here in the U.S. over HBO. I just wish there were more of them!

  2. Rike

    Do you know if there are any more episodes planned?
    As an aside: I watched the show in German, and the next evening I watched “The Closer”. They use the same dubbing speaker for Kyra Sedgwick as they use for Anika Noni Rose! Considering how wildly different the characters are, realising this was hilarious!

  3. Susan/DC

    I thought these books were marvelous. You’re reading along, thinking they are just a nice, cozy mystery series, when AMS hits you between the eyes with something so true, so touching, that you just stop in your tracks. I also love his loving yet realistic depiction of Botswana.

  4. maggie b.

    The series was canceled due to poor ratings after the 2009 season. I was stunned. It had excellent acting, interesting scripts, terrific locale. It was something new and different for television. At least we have those first two seasons to look back on.

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