Doc On The Box – Death In Paradise, Series 10 Episode 1

When a reporter for one of Saint-Marie’s most popular news shows is found dead in her swimming pool, Detective Inspector Neville Parker has his hands full. Chronically understaffed due to two of his team having left for Paris, having to deal with Commissioner Patterson “helping” out, and now a murder, thankfully help is at hand with the return of Detective Sergeant Florence Cassell, even if she isn’t sure what to make of the neurotic Parker. Oh, and he seems to have developed an allergy to the police station…

When he arrives at the station, Neville forms an immediate suspicion (and dislike) of the station’s star Garfield Tourné and starts to become convinced of his guilt. There’s only one slight problem – Tourné was live on air at the time of the murder. Is Neville blinding himself to the possibility that someone else had a reason to kill the reporter, or is it possible that Tourné was in two places at the same time?

Ah, it’s good to be back on Saint-Marie, and while there’s more of a cast change than usual, things just feel right. The loss of Madeleine (who I think really found her feet last year) and especially Ruby is a big disappointment – even the characters keep talking as if Ruby is coming back soon, which, alas, she isn’t – but the return of Josephine Jobert as Florence helps matters a lot. As does Ralf Little, a full-on comedy genius, who’s DI Parker is just… fantastic. In some ways, I feel that Neville’s character should really irritate me, but it’s all credit to Ralf Little that he simply doesn’t. The chemistry between the pair works really well too, as initially she can’t quite believe he’s real, but comes to see beyond the first impression and there’s a nice bonding scene with them.

On top of that, there’s also the fun of Don Warrington’s Commissioner Patterson acting as Tobi Bakare’s Sergeant JP Hooper’s underling. Warrington is an old hat at this stuff, but they both play these scenes effortlessly and it’s a real joy to watch. It’s also a nice idea that the most understanding of the regulars, Elizabeth Bourgine’s Catherine and Patterson, really seem to be exasperated at Neville – despite them finding a little détente last season, it really seems that Patterson just doesn’t like him very much, which is a good dynamic to play with.

As for the mystery… well, it wasn’t one of the best. It didn’t seem entirely sure whether to play it as an impossible alibi mystery or a whodunit, I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t particularly taxing. Having said that, unlike other pin-the-tail-on-the-murderer shows, there were clues all over the place. There was a well-hidden clue to the motive, I thought, and the use of a certain place to help in the murder was nicely done.

As you may recall, I play a little game with producer (and author of the fabulous The Marlow Murder Club) Robert Thorogood to see if he and his team will outwit me. I don’t think he’ll be too surprised that I had this one pegged early – twigged the use of the s**** fairly late in the game, but not before the final scene. So it’s 1-0 to me. It’s still all to play for though…

5 comments

  1. Yes – good to have in Death in Paradise including Florence back with us. New episodes are welcome entertainment given a dark winter and the state of the world. Plus I have watched series 1 – 9 many times already.

    You did better than me this time Puzzle Doctor as I didn’t get to the solution like you did. That’s okay as I like the episodes best where I was surprised by the culprit/motive/means.

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  2. Alas, BBCCanada is no longer in business so those of us devoted fans in Canada are now without Death in Paradise. I hope you keep up with your periodical reviews so I can get a fix. It still won’t be the same as watching though.

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  3. Always a pleasure to read your reviews of Death in Paradise. I’m still behind in watching it – having just watched series eight – but I’m sure I will have watched this around the time when series twelve has started. 🙂

    And at least I will be secure in the knowledge that I won’t need to feel apprehensive about the show yet.

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  4. It was good to de-stress with an hour in Paradise. But it was a mixed bag.
    Things I liked: Florence is back! And…Florence.
    Things I didn’t like: Changed theme music. Annoying D.I. is still annoying. Saw through the trick (I think something like it has been used before) before the opening title sequence started.
    But still looking forward to the next ep.

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