Inspired by the first Italian woman lawyer, Lidia Poet, the Netflix series “The Law According to Lidia Poet” narrates how Lidia solved cases while working at her brother’s law firm and how she became the torchbearer of women’s rights in Italy during the late 1800s. While Lidia was equally qualified as any male advocate, she was barred from the court simply because she was a woman. Her qualification was considered insufficient, and she was reminded of her gender roles. Her presence in court was termed “scandalous.” She was ridiculed for taking an interest in the professions of men, and it was assumed that her judgment would be clouded because she was a woman. In “The Law According to Lidia Poet,” a new case is explored in each episode that attests to Lidia’s wit and passion.
Episode 1: The Death of Adele
Adele Valery, the prima ballerina, was discovered dead inside a wooden chest backstage. A young man named Pietro was arrested on charges of murder. His mother reached out to Lidia Poet primarily because she charged less than the male lawyers. After discussing the case in prison with Pietro Baiochhi, he stated that he loved Adele and could not stand Carlo, the man Adele was to marry. Pietro believed that Adele would have never married that man, further raising suspicion. While Pietro claimed to be in love, Lidia was aware that he was stalking Adele, and she had complained about it to the theater master several times. Pietro dismissed it because he believed that Adele loved him. Pietro went to the theater to gift her a portrait he had sketched, but he could not find her, and the police got hold of him and sent him to prison.
General Valery had filed a missing person’s report, and the next day they discovered that the storeroom door was locked and the key was missing as well; when they opened it, they discovered her body. Lidia proposed the technique of collecting fingerprints to the judge, though the concept was quite foreign then. The fact that it was suggested by a woman made it all the more untrustworthy. After the rejection of the fingerprint request, Lidia requested to take a look at the victim’s body, and she was granted permission. She noticed that the ring was missing from Adele’s finger, and upon questioning the medical examiner, she learned that there was no ring on the body when it was brought to him.
While Lidia was focused on the case at hand, the court declared her registration null and void, and she was barred from practicing law. It was stated that a woman must not meddle in the Bar Association and that it would be “ugly” to watch a woman argue in court. She was labeled unsuitable due to her “organic design.” Lidia sought shelter at her brother Enrico’s house since she no longer had a source of income. Enrico was a lawyer as well, and he was tired of Lidia’s constant need to prove herself. He agreed to help Lidia on the condition that she would stop pretending to be a lawyer after the case. Lidia started working on the case again, while her brother took on the responsibility of presenting her theories and discoveries in court. Lidia attended Adele’s funeral and learned from Adele’s would-be mother-in-law that Adele was prepared to leave ballet to marry Carlo. When she questioned the new prima ballerina, she confirmed that Adele had given up ballet and that the day she died was the last day she would have performed. She further added that even though Adele made a fuss about Pietro, she secretly liked him.
Lidia was now convinced that Pietro was truly innocent. She realized that whoever the killer was had taken the key to the storeroom with them after killing Adele, maybe out of shock. The police searched Pietro’s apartment, but they did not find the key there, further explaining that he was not the murderer. Trouble always found a way to reach Lidia, and this time it was her brother, Enrico, who refused to continue with Pietro’s case after he was handed a few explicit portraits Pietro had sketched of Adele. Lidia went to prison to inform Pietro about her limitations, and that was when she asked him about the ring Adele wore on her finger. In the portraits Pietro sketched, there was a ring on her finger, but there was none when the body was brought in. Pietro explained that she used to wear it but had recently taken it off. Lidia realized that Adele had broken her engagement with Carlo before her death, but she needed to prove it all in court. Lidia reached out to Carlo and questioned him about the ring. But he and his father refused to engage with Lidia. Lidia lied to them, stating that the court was planning to collect fingerprints from the scene. To make matters even more convincing, she published her lie in the newspaper. She invited the judge and her brother to see the ballet, Giselle. Clearly, Lidia had an elaborate plan in mind.
Lidia asked Enrico to bring the judge along with him and a few policemen to the storeroom during the interval. She waited in the storeroom, and just when Carlo’s father entered, she revealed herself to him. He could not accept that Adele had rejected the marriage proposal, disrupting his plan to build a family tie with General Valery. That night, he came backstage to convince Adele to marry his son, but when she refused to do so, he lost control of his temper and strangled her to death. He further gave himself up when he confidently stated that the door to the storeroom had to be knocked down to find Adele. Since he knew that he had locked the storeroom door, he assumed that the door had been knocked down, whereas it was simply opened with the master key. Realizing that his case was falling apart, the Marquis attempted to kill Lidia, but Enrico interrupted him, and the judge asked for his immediate arrest. After solving the case, Enrico agreed to have Lidia in his office to copy letters, but she knew she would do a lot more than just that.
Episode 2: Defending an Anarchist
An anarchist factory worker, Anita, was accused of murdering the wife of the factory owner, Commander De Santis. The lady’s body was found in Anita’s carriage, and she was sent to prison on the charge of murder. As her brother’s new assistant, Lidia Poet accepted the case and took it upon herself to prove Anita’s innocence. Anita discussed how she had left her carriage unattended while collecting leaflets down by the riverside, and that must have been when the body was left in the carriage. She explained how she shared a respectful relationship with the lady, Elena. She was the one who agreed to a pay raise and later helped Anita find a job at the tobacco factory. Lidia visited the De Santis family. She met the commander and his son, Leone, and realized that Elena was the same age as him. Leone admired Elena and introduced her to his father. She grew fond of the commander, and they got married, much to the disappointment of Leone. Elena managed the factory, which is why the office consisted of her chosen decor. Lidia wondered if Leone felt hateful towards Elena, considering that she broke his heart and also took over the factory. She followed him to an opium parlor and further interrogated him. He clearly stated that he had reasons strong enough to murder Elena but did not have the courage to do so. While she trusted his honesty, she did not have an answer to who killed Elena.
The prosecutor had requested a volumetric glove test, and Anita had to go through it. A letter that Anita wrote to Elena was produced in front of her, but she denied writing it. Her blood pressure indicated that she was lying. While everyone in the room was convinced that she lured Elena to the riverside and killed her, Lidia was not in favor of it. She met Anita once again and asked her about her relationship with Elena. She learned that they were lovers, and that night they were supposed to meet at the print house as usual, but she never arrived. Elena provided her with another job to help her get away from the gossip.
Lidia Poet now knew the reason behind the blood pressure rise, and she decided to snoop around the factory office to find evidence. She found a copier and decided to check the remaining ink on the plate, hoping to trace any letter that was copied using the machine. The remaining ink indicated that the letter previously copied was a letter of dismissal addressed to the factory manager, Mr. Rodolfo Fumigi. Jacopo noticed that out of all the knives in the commander’s collection, there was one that was clean and polished. The next morning, she and Enrico confronted the commander, Leone, and Mr. Fumigi about the letter. While Fumigi dismissed it, the commander agreed that it was indeed his wife’s handwriting. Lidia confirmed that Elena had made a copy of the letter for the archive, and she traced it. Under pressure, Fumigi confessed that he killed Elena to protect the honor of the family. He was ashamed of the fact that she was in love with a woman and that she was the one making all the decisions at the factory. When he confronted her and threatened to teach her a lesson, she calmly stated that her husband knew the truth, and he was fine with it. She then went ahead to fire him; Fumigi was enraged, and he murdered her. He later kept her body in Anita’s carriage to pin the blame on her.
Episode 3: Was Vittorio Innocent?
One morning, Vittorio arrived at the poet’s mansion courtyard, covered in blood. He stated that he had killed his father. The Poet family used to live in the mansion where the Muraros now stay. Lidia Poet was even supposed to marry Vittorio’s brother, Alberto, but she rejected the proposal to fulfill her professional goal. Naturally, Lidia was drawn to the case, even though Enrico wanted her to stay away. She examined the floor, which was porous and stained with sweat. By following the trail, she realized that a body must have been moved from the room to the murder location, and long hair that perhaps belonged to a woman was found in the room. Even though Vittorio had confessed to the murder, Lidia was not convinced. She believed that had Vittorio murdered his father with a razor, he would have had blood all over him, but he did not.
Lidia Poet met Alberto, who admitted that Vittorio had always been difficult because of his opium addiction, which was frequently the source of conflict between him and his father. Alberto was in Nice when the incident occurred. She asked him whether Vittorio had any women in his life, and Alberto informed her that he was friends with a washerwoman named Beatrice. Lidia met Beatrice, and she confessed to seeing Vittorio murder his father. Lidia doubted her, but when she saw her struggle with carrying a load, she wondered if Beatrice was capable of dragging a body from one room to another. Lidia secretly went to the murder location and searched for evidence. She found a book with a blood stain. Upon pulling it, a secret door opened in the study room. She found a train ticket inside the secret room, and she knew that she immediately had to report it to Enrico. She learned that Vittorio attempted to commit suicide, and her brother had gone to prison to check on him. She rushed there and showed Enrico the ticket from Collegno to Turin, bought on the same day as the murder. Alberto had been lying all along about being in Nice. He did leave his house, but he only went to Collegno. When his mother left to visit her daughter-in-law, he sneaked inside the house and hid in the secret chamber. When everyone had fallen asleep, he came out of the chamber, killed Antonio, and dragged Vittorio from his room to the study. Vittorio was not in his senses, and when he woke up, he concluded that he had killed his father. Alberto asked his father for a loan to start a new business, but Antonio denied him the money. Alberto, enraged, murdered him and began his cashmere wool business. Alberto was handed over to the police, and Vittorio was released from prison.
Lidia Poet did not share a pleasant relationship with her father because he never approved of her interest in law. She did not know about the secret room as a child, and when she discovered it during the case, she found a letter that stated how her father was in severe debt, and Antonio was ready to overlook it if he could convince Lidia to marry his son, Alberto. Lidia did not know that her father was ready to trade her to get rid of the debt. She was completely shattered when she realized how little her father thought of her.
Episode 4: The Case Of Margherita Sangiocomo
Margherita Sangiacomo was accused of murdering Professor Braschi. Lidia Poet believed that Margherita was accused simply because she was an educated woman, and society was not yet ready to accept her. On the contrary, Jacopo deduced that Margherita had a motive to kill the professor because he had stolen the results of her research. She had access to the poison, and she was the last person to meet Prof. Braschi, further confirming that she, indeed, was the murderer. Lidia took her case on behalf of her brother. Upon questioning Margherita, she learned that she had left the department after lunch, even though the custodian had stated that she had been there all evening. Lidia struggled to prove what Margherita had stated, and so she decided to visit the custodian. She soon realized that the custodian was an alcoholic whose words could not be trusted. The custodian knew that he was in danger because Lidia knew his truth, so he went ahead and stated that Margherita had not left the department for as long as he was there, but he also had a tendency to doze off, so he was not confident about his memory. He further added that on the night of the murder, someone else had entered to visit Braschi in his office and had an argument with him, though his name was not officially entered in the register. She questioned Mr. Manganelli, the man Braschi had an argument with. Manganelli stated that they had a disagreement, something that is obvious in their profession. He met with Braschi in the afternoon, and he had an alibi to prove his innocence. Lidia doubted that maybe Manganelli had poisoned Braschi when he met him in the afternoon, the effect of which took hours to show.
To prove Margherita’s innocence, they needed an alibi, and they pressed her to remember anyone who might be able to testify for her. Meanwhile, Lidia Poet noticed the origami bird Margherita made out of a newspaper; when she opened it, she discovered it was a newspaper cutting of a failed experiment in which prostitutes were used as guinea pigs seventeen years ago. Lidia found it extremely strange that Margherita preserved an old newspaper cutting, and she could not ignore the fact that Margherita’s mother used to be a prostitute and she had died young. While it was Lidia who had built the case to prove Margherita’s innocence, she now realizes that she had been wrong all along. Borgese and Braschi had formed a research group to find a remedy for scarlet fever, and they used prostitutes for experiments. Many lost their lives as a result. When Lidia questioned Margherita about it, she refused to confess the truth. While she indicated that Lidia was on the right track, she was clear that she would not accept the murder charge in court.
Margherita was proven innocent in court, but she chose to stand up for the right cause. She considered what Lidia Poet had suggested and decided to fight for justice. She demanded an investigation into the unlawful experiments conducted. She accepted the murder charge in order to fight for the justice of all the prostitutes who died seventeen years ago.
Episode 5: The Death of Achille Castelnuovo
Azzurra, a sex worker, was blamed for the murder of Achille Castelnuovo, a prominent businessman. She admitted to stealing a few of his belongings, but he was alive when she left his house. The police pinned the murder on her because of the belongings. Azzurra wanted Lidia Poet to believe that she was innocent, and she could only do so with evidence.
Lidia could not believe that a man like Achille could be murdered by a sex worker since he had enough enemies wanting to throw him out of the game. She discussed with Enrico how, three years before his murder, his sister-in-law, Guiditta Ancelli, attempted to kill him. She accused him of being responsible for the death of her sister. After the attempted murder, she was admitted to a mental asylum, Certosa. When Lidia met Guiditta, she realized that her words could not be used to prove the ultimate truth, but she was someone with interesting knowledge. On the night of the murder, Guiditta sneaked out of the facility to walk around Achille’s house. She had been doing this for quite some time, but that night she witnessed someone kill him. She was glad that Achilles died, even though she could not kill him. Lidia attended a party held by Achille’s business partner, Massimo Chiaia. He showed interest in Lidia and hoped for her to join his legal team. Lidia complimented him on his newly built telephone building. While it was a great loss for him to lose Achille as his partner, he could not help but confess that Achille did not treat him equally because he came from the streets. Achille failed to see the hunger in his eyes.
Lidia Poet inquired about him and found out that Chiaia was frequented by a woman named Madam Crespal. She had the power to communicate with spirits, and she was invited to one of Chiaia’s parties, where she predicted that Achille was in danger through the spirit of his dead wife. Lidia met Madame Crespal and conducted a session. While Enrico did not believe in spirits, Lidia believed it was worth the visit. During the session, Lidia and Enrico were visited by their father, who apologized for his past mistakes. Lidia was confident that the voice was not her father’s but a ventriloquist who used their voice to make Madame Crespal’s case strong. She met with Madam Crespal again and confronted her about her technique. She accused Massimo Chiaia of murdering Achille and called Madame Crespal an accomplice. She added that Guiditta Ancelli had seen it all and could prove that he was the murderer. The news soon reached Chiaia, and he went to Certosa to kill Guiditta, but instead, he was met with Lidia. He attempted to kill her, but soon Enrico and the police intervened and took him to prison. Lidia, with her presence of mind, was able to solve another difficult case.
Episode 6: Why was Jacopo arrested?
The final episode deals with how Lidia Poet tried to find the truth behind Jacopo’s arrest. He was arrested for the murder of the sex worker, Maya Cristallo. Jacopo used to frequent Maya, but the last time he met her, he was there for a short while. He was the last person she was seen with, so naturally, he was blamed for her murder. Lidia trusted Jacopo since she believed that he would not plan a murder in a populated place. Lidia checked the room where Maya stayed, and she noticed that her window panes had rough edges and could easily be accessed from the outside. Maya preferred keeping her interactions to a minimum, and on Wednesdays, she met with General Valery. Lidia risked herself and arrived at the barracks, where she met the General and questioned him about Maya. He revealed that Maya was a spy, and her job was to spy on Jacopo Barberes because, during his time in Paris, he had joined the French anarchists.
Upon questioning Jacopo, he confessed to his involvement with the anarchists. He helped hide a French anarchist, Nicole Greimas. He met Nicole in Paris, and she was the love of his life. He started to take an interest in her revolutionary ideas, and he was fascinated by her. It all changed when she met Louis. He was a member of an anarchist group that promoted the idea of a violent revolution. She was so taken by his ideas that one night she ran away with him, and Jacopo returned home to Turin. Soon, Nicole and Louis were arrested in France, but they managed to escape and took shelter in Turin. They asked Jacopo for help, and he provided them with the fake documents and tickets required to travel to Uruguay. He sold their weapons and was supposed to hand over the money to them along with the final plan. Lidia Poet decided to meet Nicole and Louis, not because she wanted to help them but because she wanted to verify her doubt. She handed them the money and final plan and shook their hands before leaving. She noticed that they had a rose tattoo, similar to the one Maya tried to erase. Lidia went back to Maya’s room and found books on anarchy secretly hidden in her room. She had enough proof to conclude that Maya was an anarchist, and she betrayed her group and reported Nicole and Louis to the police. She escaped and reached Turin, where she started working as a sex worker, but she wanted to continue spying. Therefore, she reached out to General Valery for work, and she was assigned to spy on Jacopo. While Nicole convinced Jacopo to find them an escape, Louis focused on seeking revenge on Maya. Lidia got on the train Nicole and Louis were travelling in. She asked them to hand themselves over to the police, but Louis was not ready to give up so easily. During their scuffle, Louis fell off the train. Nicole agreed to confess the truth and hand herself over to the police. Jacopo was freed from prison, and Lidia once again succeeded in finding out the truth.
‘The Law According to Lidia Poet’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Lidia Poet In Real Life?
While Lidia Poet proved to be a competent lawyer, her appeal to the Court of Cassation was rejected, which upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal that held her registration null and void. She decided to travel to New York since women were allowed to practice law there. She wrote a letter for her family and left the house at night. When she walked out of the gate, she noticed the many women who had gathered to praise her for trying to pave the way for women’s freedom. Enrico and Jacopo were there with the crowd; they knew she would want to leave, and they waited to bid her goodbye. She could either leave her country and practice law where she would be respected, or she could stay and fight for women’s rights in her home country. In reality, Lidia Poet did not leave for New York. She had spent the majority of her life working out of her brother Giovanni’s law office. While she was not allowed in court, she chose to fight from the outside by helping women, marginalized people, and minorities fight their cases. She also advocated for the inclusion of female voters in elections. At the age of 65, she was finally permitted to enter the judiciary. The tale of Lidia Poet is one of persistence and belief in bringing about a revolution.