The pendulum swings the other way with Acorn’s Signora Volpe. After The Chelsea Detective and Harry Wild, I thought Acorn might be another Masterpiece in the making. Like its cousins, the first episode of Signora Volpe is free on Amazon. In this case, that’s fine. You will have no desire to pay for a second. The main character is Sylvia Fox. Fox translates to volpe in Italian. Flirting, Capitano Riva calls her Signora Volpe. “It sounds so much better in Italian,” she responds. Riva replies, “everything sounds better in Italian.” That, folks, is the highlight of the show.
Poorly written, poorly acted, and poorly directed, Signora Volpe hits the trifecta. Sylvia is a spy with MI6. A dispute with her boss and the Foreign Office sends her to Panicale, a municipality in the region of Umbria, Italy. If, like me, you need a geography lesson, it’s in the province of Perugia in central Italy. And, I might add, the attractive setting is almost worth the 90 minutes of TV boredom.
Sylvia’s ex, Adam Haines, also works for MI6 although infrequently seen in Episode One. The trailer indicates that the remaining two episodes may set up a love triangle among Sylvia, Adam, and the equally handsome Riva. All that is secondary to the main action wherein Sylvia uses her spy skills and contacts to investigate crime in Italy. As suggested, the whole world knows that the carabinieri are either “stupid or corrupt.” I give Signora Volpe 2.0 Gavels and it receives an early 7.1/10 IMDb score.
To surreptitiously countermand an order, Sylvia flees to Italy to attend her niece’s wedding. However, Tomasso stands up Alice at the altar. Worried, Sylvia tracks down his address in nearby Magione. She finds blood and discovers a female body in an adjacent lake, but no Tomasso. The body is that of Laura Boscolo, sister to the local drug lord. For some reason, no one wants to talk about the deceased. Just what was Alice’s fiance into? And, is he alive or dead?
One could be catty and suggest there is no acting going on in Signora Volpe. That would be unfair since I’m certain they are getting paid to do some semblance of acting. So, Emilia Fox (The Tunnel 2016) stars as Sylvia Fox. Seen years ago in NCIS, Jamie Bamber is her ex, Adam. The only other recognizable face belongs to Issy Knopfler (Before We Die) as Alice.
The action scenes in Signora Volpe are particularly awful. At 47, Ms. Fox fashions a fine figure on her jaunts, but fails miserably beating up bad guys. It’s understandable they made only three episodes. Surely, the show will not get a Season Two.
“There were points during the episode, especially when she was talking to her retired colleague about the doings of the woman Tommaso killed, that we just couldn’t figure out where the story was going.” Decider
“While the news is full of COVID and war and inflation, Signora Volpe is a wonderful trip into a world of strong women, beautiful scenery, delicious food, and handsome men. Sure, the villagers are a bit murdery – but justice is always done in the end. It’s escapism at its finest.” iheartbritishtv.com
So, not everyone hates Signora Volpe. Still, I say dreadful.