It's official: Television's best will they / won't they crime-solving duo will officially return to our screens this winter. PBS has announced that Miss Scarlet & the Duke Season 4 is set to premiere in early January, returning the series to its successful timeslot from earlier this year where it will once again serve as a lead-in to a new season of All Creatures Great and Small. Peak Sunday coziness achieved.
The series follows the story of titular not-actually-a-couple Eliza Scarlet and William "The Duke" Wellington. She's one of the only female detectives in Victorian London. He works for Scotland Yard. They have a complicated history, a ton of unresolved feelings and general sexual tension, and frequently solve all sorts of criminal cases together. (While insisting they're just friends, of course). Season 4 promises big changes after a third outing that often felt like nothing so much as a repeated reversion to the mean each week, and fans* everywhere are rightly excited about the show's impending return. (Read*: It's me. Hi. I'm the problem it's me.)
What do we know about the new season? Not a whole lot, actually, though what information we do have certainly sounds intriquing. Per Masterpiece, Season 4 we'll see that Eliza has taken over the business of Nash & Sons (not that he has any sons) and things are not going entirely smoothly, although help comes from some familiar sources. Outside of work, her relationship with William “The Duke” Wellington builds towards a looming decision that will shape both their lives.
Granted, third season finale "The Jewel in the North" certainly set up plenty of open-ended questions for Season 4 to explore. Eliza has left her small business behind, with the promise that she'll have the resources, funds, and access that she's spent so long hoping to achieve. How sacrificing her initial dream of continuing her father's business to (at least tangentially) work for a man she doesn't like very much will affect her is a question only the new episodes can answer, but it seems safe to say there'll be an adjustment period.
And then, of course, there's the William of it all. That the relationship between Eliza and William is the series' most important element is obvious from the fact that both their names are in the show's title, but that fact was never more apparent than during last season, which kept the two away from one another for a third of its episodes and suffered as a result. Now that William has been unceremoniously dumped by Arabella for the crime of being obsessed with Eliza --- she actually uses the l-word and she's not wrong! --- will he finally have to own up to the way he feels?
Maybe. At least according to Rachael New. "With the Duke, it’s having somebody out loud for the first time vocalize his feelings, which he’s never done and no one’s ever said those things to him before. That’s like a sharp kind of slap in the face," the series creator told Masterpiece in the wake of the Season 3 finale. "That’s going to make him wake up and smell the coffee and realize that, you know, is it time to do something about it? "
And what about Eliza? If she's found herself willing to change her goals in terms of her business dreams --- might the same be possible for her personal life? We'll have to wait and see.
The bulk of the series' regular cast all appear to be returning for Season 4, including stars Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders) and Stuart Martin (Jamestown). Other cast members include Cathy Belton (Hidden Assets) as Eliza's housekeeper Ivy, Evan McCabe (Doctor Who) as Detective Fitzroy, Felix Scott (Our House) as Patrick Nash, Simon Ludders (Bridgerton) as Mr. Potts, and Tim Chipping (Liar) as Detective Sergeant Phelps. Two newcomers to the Season 4 cast are Paul Bazely (Black Mirror) and Curtis Kantsa (The Sandman) in as-yet-unnamed roles.
Unfortunately, neither the PBS renewal news nor the announcement about the Season 4 premiere date mentions whether fans can expect to see Ansu Kabia in the new episodes. But given that Moses's story in the third season was left fairly open-ended there is every chance he could pop up at some point. Fingers crossed, at any rate.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke Season 4 will officially premiere on January 7, 2024, at 8 pm ET on PBS Masterpiece. Seasons 1-3 are currently streaming on PBS Passport for those who need to catch up (or do a rewatch!) before then.