How Emilia Fox transforms into Signora Volpe in a new mystery series

Call her the fox in the farmhouse.

Veteran actress Emilia Fox plays a disenchanted British intelligence officer solving crimes in the scenic Italian countryside in the new Acorn TV series Signora Volpe.

“When does it happen that you get sent to the most beautiful place for a great job with a great story and such a great character?” Fox, 47, told the Post.

Fox incorporated her real last name into the three-part series, which premiered May 2 and was filmed on location. Her on-screen alter ego, Sylvia Fox, is a disgruntled MI6 officer who is now a senior desk jockey but misses her exciting days of spying that took her around the world.

“I think the first half of her life was defined by her job and she gave it her all for her professional life,” Fox said. “She clearly has a great relationship with her local agents.”

Sylvia is still sleeping with her ex-husband Adam (Jamie Bamber), but after feeling betrayed over a risky secret service operation, she travels to Italy (Umbria) for the wedding of her niece Alice (Issy Knopfler), daughter of her older sister Isabel (Tara Fitzgerald) – who lives in Italy with her doctor-husband Matteo (Matteo Carlomagno). “Sylvia feels so betrayed when MI6 cuts [her operatives] and she feels like she put her in danger and let her down,” Fox said. “She feels unfairly treated by her ex-husband… and she’s contemplating letting go of all of that for the new life she’s discovering in Italy.

Emilia Fox and Tara Fitzgerald as Sylvia and Isabel in "Signora Volpe." They are sitting outside at a table in the sun looking out of the camera and smiling.
Emilia Fox and Tara Fitzgerald as Sylvia and Isabel in a scene from Signora Volpe.
Moris Puccio/AcornTV

“She’s used to operating alone and she’s clearly very good at her job — she’s brave, intelligent, tenacious and physical,” Fox said. “I think that going to Italy and exposing herself to the complications of family life … she can’t help but feel the feelings that you do with family and maybe that opens up a whole new side of her.”

Sylvia and Isabel have a strained sibling relationship – you’ll learn more about them as the series progresses – and it’s not long before Sylvia is using her cloak-and-fog expertise to investigate Alice’s shady fiancée Tomasso, who is hiding a criminal past.

At the end of Episode 1, Sylvia – energetic from her second career and charmed by the Italian way of life – buys a run-down farmhouse near the medieval town of Panicale and settles into her new life as a transplanted crime-solver.

While busy solving crimes – in the second episode, Sylvia discovers a skeleton on an archaeological dig linked to a local man suspected of murder – she also encounters the local Carabinieri (police) in the form of Captain Riva (Giovanni Cirfiera). , who calls her “Signora Volpe” (“volpe” means fox in Italian). Their reluctant tolerance for each other turns into mutual respect – and maybe even more.

Sylvia and Captain Riva played by Giovanni Cirfiera.  They face each other and look serious.  Riva wears his Carabinieri uniform.
Sylvia and Captain Riva (Giovanni Cirfiera) often cross paths in “Signora Volpe”.
Moris Puccio/AcornTV

“When I got there, I was introduced to all these great Italian actors,” Fox said. “The film culture in Italy is so great and every single actor came [to the project] with their story and they really care about it as a profession. And getting an incredibly capable crew…is why [the 90-minute episodes] look like a movie.”

The farmhouse that replaces Sylvia’s new home is in Bracciano, a small town about 30 miles north of Rome.

“I have to say it’s one of the loveliest homes I’ve ever stayed in in my life and the most amazing location near the lake in Bracciano,” Fox said. “They sort of dismantled it to rebuild it on the show, to make it Sylvia’s home on screen. It is owned by a wonderful painter and you can see many of her paintings on the walls in Sylvia’s house. They are among the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen and I ended up taking many home with me [to the UK] after I bought them.

“I was stopped at the airport by the staff who told me how nice they thought [the paintings] became.”

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