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no.1 ladies detective agency

i’m a big fan of most hbo shows (hooray for true blood!) but i’m especially fond of their latest addition: the no. 1 ladies detective agency. when it comes to tv, i really appreciate set decoration and the way that that helps tell a visual story and this show does not disappoint when it comes to a visual story. i feel like contemporary tv shows (except for mad men) lean on a very similar color palette, so it’s so refreshing to see the vivid colors used in no.1 ladies. the vivid teals, oranges and yellows are a feast for the eyes and a real treat to watch. i’m not entirely sold on the show’s content yet, but it’s such a pretty one to watch that i think it just might win me over. if you have access to hbo on demand i highly recommend the first episode- if only for the beautiful teal color they paint the detective agency. so, so beautiful.


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cindy : quaint

we love this show and look forward to it each week! it’s so sweet. i think jill scott looks incredibly beautiful and the way they dress anika who plays her adorable secretary (97th percentile) is a delight.


While I have neither cable or TV, I am a big fan of the book series. If your images are a good representation of the show, they have done a fantastic job. The characters and setting look very much the way I’d imagined them! (a rare thing in book conversions)
And I think that use of a very different color palette would be a good way to (subtly) add to the impression of another culture. Now I wish I had a way to watch this…


So funny, when I watched the pilot, the first thing I thought was that the set of the agency and those lovely colors are perfect for a Design*Sponge blog entry! I, too, am not yet sold on the content of the show, but have still been watching every week. I especially love the little animated synopsis at the end of each episode.


I’m addicted to True Blood lately but this one is definitely worth to watch just for those hair, color dan designs. Thank you so much for sharing this!


There are pretty awesome animations that introduce the show. And at the end the credits have new illustrations each episode that run alongside the credits that describe scenes that just happened. I think the show is just ok. It’s a little too cutsy like Encyclopedia Brown with grown up themes. The way the crimes are solved aren’t really that clever and don’t give the viewer any hints beforehand. They also seem really unrealistic. Like the vault she has to open, she just easily guesses the combination (from last nights episode). It’s no Columbo but I do watch it just for all the beautiful colors, patterns and scenery and those animations. Plus Jill Scott is so loveable.


Oh I can’t wait to see it here in India, or in France….those colours and patterns!


The entire series is filmed on location in Botswana, so the colors are “authentic” to the location and the culture.

Yes, the mysteries themselves are somewhat simplistic, but the culture and personality of the stories is spot on from the books. It’s entertaining in a different way from, say, The Sopranos (which was also a fave of mine).


I could not agree with you more – I watched the show for the first time this weekend and I loved the styling, the colors and the textures. It’s beautifully done.

(and yay for more True Blood this summer!)


This has been on in the UK for a few weeks now after the pilot last year and I’m still tuning in every week. I agree the story lines can be quite simplistic but they are “feelgood”. Also scenery and colours are amazing. My favourite part is Jill Scott’s dresses – the fabrics are amazing and she really pulls them off really well – plus I like the fact that the heroine is “traditionally built” (as they say in the series).


I also love the interiors and clothing in this show. On a similar note- I’m new to Design*Sponge so maybe you have done this already but i would love to know some of your favorite movie interiors as well. I just saw the movie Definitely, Maybe and noticed the set design for the first time, especially Rachel Weisz’ apartment and Isla Fisher’s office (near the end). Also, not surpising, the Sex and the City (movie) sets are gorgeous!


I am already loving this show and it is gorgeous in the strangest of ways. The barren landscape frames the costumes and decore amazingly and I have found myself unable to pull myself away from the screen.


I was just commenting to my husband last night about how much I love the graphics. The stories are a little simple, but I’m now addicted to the show. There’s just something so sweet and relaxing about it…it’s the perfect Sunday night show.


Those books are among my favorites and I’ve been curious to see the show. Looks like I just got another reason!

Diane Faye Zerr

I love this show too! I’m still wondering what is wrong with the man who lives with her secretary, any guesses?

And it’s so cute how in love the mechanic is with her, he’s so adorable!


Jill Scott is great casting! I love the books and recommend A.M.S other series ’44 Scotland Street’ set in Edinburgh, they have the same feel good factor. Simplistic but comforting and witty. He writes them weekly for the scottish paper and then they are made into books. Very addictive.


Speaking of TV shows — has anyone noticed the awesomeness of Agent Sarah Walker’s apartment on Chuck? It has a green door and an all white interior. So cool.

Soft Spoken

I completely agree. Has HBO ever made a bad show? Sex and the City was probably the most influential show on television in terms of fashion.

Lisa (dinner party)

So happy you posted this! I am loving all of Mma Ramotswe’s gorgeously printed clothes. And the beautiful African backdrop too. But those prints!


I feel so validated! This has been my guilty little secret because I was so sure it meant I was headed for the octegenarians’ table. But this books series is my go-to for airplane travel and I LOVE Jill Scott –the fabrics and clothes are so yum—and I think they are doing a great job with this series– so thank you for mentioning this Grace– i can now come out of the closet!


It’s great to see African design sensibilities on the screen- any screen… As for the show, I am completely sold. The mysteries are all about trying to find decency and humanity in one another. And Wellington is the coolest kid on television.


YAY!! I check this blog daily and it’s soooooo nice to see SOMETHING about Africa on it!! I don’t have hbo (or cable for that matter) so I won’t be able to catch the show but I already know just from the colors and screen shots of the set that I would love it!! Thanks for sharing!

lindsey clare

loving this entry Grace! i am a big fan of the book series, they are just such lovely and gentle books… i’d gladly choose this for light reading over “chick lit” any day!

so i’m pretty excited to see the visuals from the tv series. it looks great!


amazing! the characters are really on par with what i’ve imagined when i read the book.
love the colors and decorations too.


Stick with the show – I’ve read all of the books in the series, needless to say I’m a fan, but I was unsure about the pilot although I agree it was a visual feast! The show is airing on UK TV right now and it is fabulous, the subsequent episodes have really captured the essence of the books, the simple, good nature of Mma Ramotswe and her clutch of companions. Dare I say it, their artistic lisence has even improved upon the books by highlighting some of the more humorous characters. Glad you’re enjoying it too.


Funny show I agree. I also love the traditional fabric used for Jill’s dresses. Back home (I am from Botswana) we call it German Print. I don’t know why:) As much as I find the show amusing, it makes me cringe a lot. Most Batswana (people from Botswana) don’t sound like that. Most of the actors sound South African…I guess they used a lot of South African actors:( Anika is doing an excellent job though!

Sidebar: compared to the American and South African actors, the British actors have the most convincing accent.

Great blog!


OMG! My husband and I love this show. It is a visual parade. I love Jill’s wardrobe and find myself watching the same episodes just to see something different…….1000 Pula is our favorite saying now. Lol.


Fabulous design work, scoring, casting, and script adaptation from the books. Saying “Ko Ko” seems so much better than “Hey, are you home?,” and this is gaining popularity in our neighborhood. I love everything about the performances and this show.

Eva Stigsdotter

I love the books and also the movie w/ Ma Ramotswe and the others. I am also traditionally built and would like to sew a dress like MR’s. Does anyone have a pattern?


I have fallen in love with the show! The story lines are engaging and intriguing. Jill Scott and Anika Noni Rose are fantastic!!!

I love the rest of the cast as well. I can’t wait to see if Precious and JLB end up getting married. It is so nice to finally have a show on television that I look forward to watching week after week.

Way to go HBO!!!!


I am a loyal watcher of the new #1 ladies detective agency. It not only let’s us see more of Jill Scott as an actress, but we are able to see more of our motherland and her history of our ancestors and heritage. But what I wanna know is what happened to Wellington? The little boy that was helping them hand out flyers? And if any one knows where still Scott is getting those dresses from, please do tell, I love them…. We need more shows like this for television viewers…

Evol Denny

I just started watching this series on DVD. Love the show. Where can I buy the beautiful head scarfs and earings that Jill Scott wears in the series?


My daughter spent 18 months teaching in the Peace Corps and gave me copies of some of the books..her opinion was that the charcters, culture and especially the way businesses were named were spot-on…she felt like she was back in Gabarone.. HBO
series cedrtainly lived up to my vision of the books..facinating graphics, color..everything.. loaned series to friends, one of whom bought series thenselves to share…it’s a winner!


I watched the series when it was on HBO and have the dvd set. I still enjoy watching the series. HBO left a cliffhanger on the last episode – wished HBO continued with a season 2.

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