The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – A Review

The HBO series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, is a formidable show based on the ten-book series by British author Alexander McCall Smith. The show stars Jill Scott (singer, actress) as Mma Precious Ramotswe, the pioneering lady detective who seeks to restore order and dignity to those suffering from unsolved mysteries. Anika Noni Rose (of Dream Girls fame) plays her insightful, slightly neurotic secretary, Mme Grace Makutsi.

Aside from the technical aspects of the show, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a well-written drama that showcases a country in Africa in such honest splendor. The show interweaves themes of tradition and modernity, of poverty and enterprise, of the AIDS tragedy and the beautiful character of the people of Botswana.

I must say that from start to finish of each episode I have seen, I have been impressed. The opening graphics are beautiful. The songs, the music, the panorama of the countryside are so intriguing in their simplicity and earnestness.

Today I canceled my STARZ and all the added channels that never offered anything of substance so that I could afford HBO solely to watch The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Wow, that's a long title to keep typing.


Jill Scott is a pleasure to watch. We all know Jill can SANG but this sista can act as well. Her accent and demeanor are so natural. As a Motswana (singular for Batswana, the citizens of Botswana), her character Mme Ramotswe represents a "woman of traditional build". Instead of her weight being an issue of insecurity, it is an endearing quality that gets her plenty of attention from Batswana men.

The N1LDA (I shortened it this time) is a definite must see. I had the opportunity to view an episode at yesterday's BBQ, at which I ate too much. You see, I, too, am a "woman of tradition build". LOL

I have never seen an African country displayed in a movie as a place to live, as opposed to a place to pity or a place to save. On The N1LDA you see real people living real lives with all of its mysteries to solve – in the beautiful country of Botswana.

This is what the author, Alexander McCall Smith, has to say about Botswana:

HBO:The late Anthony Minghella, who directed the pilot, called 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' a quiet poem of Botswana. He discovered a great love for the country and its people. Could you tell us what made Botswana so attractive to you?
ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH: People often say, when you visit Botswana that you are likely to be impressed by the spirituality of the place. Not in a religious sense, but just a sense of human spirituality, and spiritual possibilities. And, you can't help but be bowled over by the magnificence of the country, by the sense of being in this great natural theater of light and wonderful expanses of countryside and intense natural beauty. It's very moving. It's overwhelming. I fell in love with it. SOURCE

And I have fallen in love with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Leave a Reply