Doc On The Box – Death In Paradise Series 8

Last night, the eighth season of Death In Paradise drew to a close. Regular readers to the blog know how much I love this programme for its affectionate embrace of the Golden Age genre, usually with an impossible crime element thrown in for good measure. Add in a good dose of light humour and a bunch of actors who are clearly having the time of their lives and it’s a winner for me every time. Yes, there are plot holes at times, but it’s trying, which is more than the game of pin-the-tail-on-the-murderer that Midsomer Murders rapidly became. What happened to that, by the way? There’s been a series filmed for over a year, but it’s not seen the light of day in the UK at least. Anyone know?

Anyway, back to Saint-Marie, and this was one of my favourite seasons so far. Ardal O’Hanlon has clearly found his feet in the role, and the idea that Jack has fully embraced island life gives him an identity separate from Humphrey, his predecessor. And, with full apologies to Danny John-Jules, but Dwayne who? Shyko Amos is so charming as Ruby, his replacement – well, technically J.P.’s replacement as he steps into Dwayne’s shoes – that you almost forget he was ever in the show. One of the reasons that I just love her performance is that I could easily see that character being irritating in the extreme, but I never found that to be the case. And in her two episodes – I’ll be vague, because, you know, spoilers – Aude Legastelois fits right in too.

But as you may know, I play along with the show and keep score – just because. Last series, Rob Thorogood and his merry band beat me 5-3. Let’s see how the match progressed this year.
Round Episode 1: The impossible bus stabbing. Loved this one, but solved it. 1-0 me.

Episode 2: The impossible poisoned dart shooting. Another strong episode, although the fact that no one ever mentioned the Saint-Marie Zoo before. Oh, and I got this one too. Late, I’ll admit, but solving it during the flashback bit still counts. 2-0

Episode 3: The swimming “accident” one. A rare second death in an episode – but afraid I got this one too. Looking good at 3-0.

Episode 4: Oh, that’s not a good sign. Can’t remember this one. Hang on, a quick trip to the iPlayer beckons. Oh, it’s the Anna Chancellor episode. Yeah, you didn’t fool me with that one. 4-0.

I should just say, that on the verge of a clean sweep this series, I’ve still enjoyed it immensely. Really satisfying mysteries that I felt clever having solved them. Compare this to the first Humphrey series, where I felt stupid if I hadn’t solved it/guessed it/recognised it before the opening credits…

Right. Time for the second half.

Episode 5: The first half of a two parter, but it’s two linked but distinct mysteries. This possibly had me looking the other way, as it was announced as Part One of Two, so for whatever reason, I didn’t really give the mystery too much thought. A mistake, so Robert Thorogood claws back a point. 4-1.

Oh, and that ending…

Episode 6: The second part, and I’m a bit cross about this one, as really, the murderer could have been anyone on the island. But I didn’t really twig the “how” so no points for me here. 4-2. There’s no chance of a comeback is there?

Episode 7: The live on air murder. Right, I’m just saying that my murderer and method was just as valid. Probably. OK, it involved someone faking a vintage reggae single and hoping the victim played it at the right time, but even so… So, yes, it’s 4-3

Episode 8: The dead body in the station. Points off for some of the blandest suspects I can recall, which didn’t help identifying the killer. I half-solved this one – I got how and why the body was in the police station so I’m giving myself half a point. My solution was very satisfying, I thought, but only half-right. So consulting the referee (i.e. me) I’m calling this a score-draw.

So I edged this series 4.5-3.5 and enjoyed almost every minute of it – no one can have enjoyed the end of episodes 5 and 6, surely? Luckily the nice BBC announcer told us that it’ll be back in next year (and the IMDB thinks it’s got at two more series) so only ten months to wait for one of the most enjoyable TV series out there to return.

Unless it decides to reveal that Jack used to be a priest with a troubled past before he became a policeman… hang on a moment! That’s where Sarah Phelps got her idea from!

8 comments

  1. “Unless it decides to reveal that Jack used to be a priest with a troubled past before he became a policeman…” by way of being a superhero, if memory serves (which it does as I checked on Wikipedia).

    Yes, an enjoyable series, although I hope the next series dials down the personal traumas a notch, it is nice to have a detective series where the police officers aren’t constantly battling with personal demons of various kinds and I would hate to see Death in Paradise go down that route.

    Like

  2. Another fine series, well played, as ever, by the main cast, and, once again, changes to it pass off so smoothly you hardly notice. I try as hard as I can not to try and work it out as it goes along, but Episode 4 was just so obvious what was going on IMO that I couldn’t help but do so. And I suspected Episode 3 was going to be a retelling of the retreat episode from the last series, and was sort of half right there.

    Thanks, as ever, for your reviews too, they’ve become an essential part of my DiP viewing (and reading) experience these past few years. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do very much enjoy Death in Paradise – and so does my family, so it’s good communal recreation. 😊 Looking forward to the DVD release!

    Like

  4. Couldn’t agree more with your ‘Dwayne who?’ comment. I feared that he would be a huge loss but Ruby, despite initial concerns that she would be ‘zany’ (ie. annoying), has turned out to be a very engaging and immensely likeable character. I can confirm that there will be at least TWO more series of DIP to come and, finally, a new series of Midsomer Murders starts on ITV on March 10.

    Like

  5. Somehow I never managed to watch this before but having enjoyed the first two books and happening to be in to catch the first episode I did watch the whole of the series. I love the inappropriateness of the jaunty theme music (especially at the end of episodes 5 and 6 whose repercussions in most detective shows would last for at least the next series). Will have to go back and start from the beginning at some point as I assume the earlier stories are stronger impossible crimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I liked seasons 1 and 2. Due to availability changes I have since seen only a bit of seasons 3 and 6. Where did everybody go? Not warming to season 6 so far.

    I watched a few of season 1 of Banacek, 1972. Three out of four were quite enjoyable, and all are “impossible” crimes.

    Like

    • @ Ken B Death in Paradise shows almost Doctor Who levels of character turnover, so if you skip over various seasons don’t be too surprised if the cast changes dramatically. I think it helps to watch the episodes in order, as it gives you time to accommodate to losing favourites and to warm to their replacements.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.