The first season of the HBO series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, based on the series of novels by Alexander McCall, is now available on DVD. The show follows the triumphs and travails of Precious Ramotswe, a thirtyish African woman fresh out of an abusive marriage who starts Botswana’s first female-run sleuthing business. The first American movie or TV series produced entirely in Botswana, the show is lushly shot, with cameras panning over African plains and riverbanks, capturing wildlife, native African clothing, and Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, in warm, vivid hues.
While the show focuses mostly on the kidnapping, philandering, and petty crime mysteries that come to Precious’ agency, it also explores themes of entrepreneurship, escaping class and gender restrictions, and chasing happiness and success in a developing country. Precious gets her agency up and running by selling off the herd of cattle her late father left her as a dowry to win a kinder second husband.