The Netflix Italian period drama The Law According to Lidia Poet is probably one of the best shows most people haven't seen. And, while technically, it's not British, its premise and heroine will certainly feel familiar to fans of popular PBS series like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries or Miss Scarlet & the Duke, which follow the stories of pioneering women trying to blaze their own paths in professions traditionally dominated by men.
But where those shows are more mystery oriented and involve female detectives, Lidia Poet is a legal drama that's based, at least in part, on a true story.. Set in 19th century Italy, the series dramatizes the life of Italy's first female lawyer. The eponymous Lidia Poet was a Turin woman who fought a successful legal battle to be allowed to practice law after she was forbidden to do so by court order. Penniless but prideful, Lidia takes a job at her brother Enrico's law firm where she assists with cases even as she prepares to make an appeal of the court's ruling that will help secure her right to pursue her dream.
The show is colorful and surprisingly funny, grounded in a warm, charming performance from its lead Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing) and stories that are entertaining without being overly complicated. What's more, the series is as much about Lidia's journey and her acceptance of her own self worth as it is any of the clients whose cases she takes on. (Plus, every one of her outfits is a banger. These dresses!)
Alongside De Angelis, the ensemble cast includes Pier Luigi Pasino as Lidia's brother Enrico Poët, Sara Lazzaro (The Young Pope) as Teresa Barberis, Enrico's wife, Sinéad Thornhill as their daughter Marianna Poët and Dario Aita as Andrea Caracciolo. Gianmarco Saurino plays the new King's Attorney Fourneau, while Eduardo Scarpetta is Teresa's brother Jacopo Barberis, a journalist who shares an ongoing romantic chemistry with Lidia and often helps her with her cases.
The series' first season saw Lidia forced to work as a legal assistant of sorts to her brother Enrico after she was unjustly disbarred from the profession due to her gender. As she works tirelessly to get justice for their clients, she's also busily writing an appeal to try and regain her license, and maybe possibly falling in love with Jacopo, though he is keeping some secrets from Lidia that jeopardizes everything building between them.
Season 2 will see Lidia forced to work with Jacapo again, even as the show introduces a character --- a new prosecutor with surprisingly progressive ideas about the role of women in public life --- who seems tailor-made for her, both professionally and romantically speaking. She's also pushing Enrico to run for office, in the hopes that he'll somehow be the change she wishes to see in the world and push the cause of women's rights forward.
Here's the Season 2 synopsis:
Lidia is not allowed to be a lawyer because of a law written by men. So this time she aims even higher, she wants to change the law. While she continues to collaborate with her brother Enrico, tackling new cases and fighting for women’s rights, she wants to convince him to run for Parliament so that her law can finally find a voice. Lidia is completely done with love, especially with Jacopo, responsible for having sold the family villa and on a collision course with all the Poëts.
But Jacopo and Lidia are forced to meet again to share, reluctantly, a secret investigation that concerns both of them, rediscovering the complicity and fun that has always bound them. Giving a hard time to the protagonists, the new King’s Attorney, Fourneau, a man in power who unexpectedly treats Lidia as his equal, prompting her to question the complex and contradictory relationship she has with feelings, and the cost of personal renunciation that she is sustaining in the name of her ideals. In the six new episodes, Lidia will continue to break down the pieces of this world built by men for men, with intelligence, irony and without mincing her words, but also questioning herself.
The Law According to Lidia Poet is created by Guido Iuculano and Davide Orsini, and both also wrote Season 2 alongside Flaminia Gressi. Matteo Rovere, Letizia Lamartire, and Pippo Mezzapesa direct, with Rovere also serving as a series producer.
There is no release date yet for The Law According to Lidia Poet Season 2, but, according to Netflix, it is "coming soon". (A claim which, of course, could mean almost anything, given that production on the second season is still ongoing, but hope springs eternal.) However, Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix, which means that now is the perfect time for everyone to catch up.