Doc On The Box – Death In Paradise Series 12

Well, we’re back from Paradise after another eight week holiday (and a Christmas trip) so it’s time for my annual tradition of taking a look at the latest series of Death In Paradise. And a massive hand for the producers for making this bloody hard to review without spoiling things because of… well, you know, if you’ve seen it and if you haven’t, then you really don’t want to know.

Oh, I’m not keeping score anymore. No particular reason, just been a bit distracted while watching it. That definitely doesn’t mean that I got the first few wrong, definitely not…

Before we get into the episodes one at a time, I need to mention the cast – surely this is one of the best ensemble casts the show has had. The chemistry between the characters is great and the fact that the cast are clearly enjoying themselves immensely adds to the fun. Ralf Little – probably my favourite of the lead sleuths – now has the crown for the most episodes as the lead (although he has some way to go to overtake some of the other cast) and it was nice to see some more evolution of the character, and his relationship with the team. It’s nice to see everyone gets something to do, but we need even more of the Tahj Miles-Don Warrington double act, because it’s priceless.

OK, let’s take things one episode at a time.

Christmas Special

Like the first Christmas special, this feels like a different sort of episode. The notion that the truth about the case is more than what is established at the halfway mark seems to come almost from nowhere, but it’s a good character piece for Selwyn Patterson/Don Warrington and we get to see some of the directions the series is going to go in – Neville meets Sophie and Darlene makes a career choice.

Episode One

As a group of astronomers sit side by side, mesmerised by the night sky, one of them is pushed off the cliff without anyone else noticing. This was a pretty good one, even if I guessed quite a lot of it – not all of it, but some decent clueing.

Episode Two

A member of a preppers (preparing for the end of the world) community is poisoned in a locked bunker. Not the strongest episode, notably due to there only being three suspects rather than the usual four and my inability to see Robert Webb doing anything apart from a comedy role.

Episode Three

An estate agent is murdered while trying to sell a private beach. Except she was alone on the boat while everyone else was together on the beach. I liked this one a lot – it’s rare that DOP springs a genuine surprise but this one did it.

Episode Four

A murder victim at Naomi’s friend’s wedding names his killer. How can anyone else possibly be responsible. Not a fan of the method of this one – there are a few too many coincidences flying around.

Episode Five

In something of an echo of the previous episode, the killer is caught in the act of murdering the victim. So again, how can they possibly be innocent? Another pretty good job at misdirection here, nicely done.

Episode Six

A water taxi driver is murdered on the day Neville gets a letter predicting a death on Saint-Marie. A very different episode – not exactly whodunit, but the how is both clever and simple, as Neville faces his first ever villain who might just be as clever as him. Or is he even cleverer?

Episode Seven

The episode that it’s hard to say anything about as various plots from the series come together to provide a massive problem for Neville. I know some people were completely gobsmacked by this episode. I saw it coming from before the halfway point, but it’s still a cracker and a great demonstration of doing something different. Good to know that the team can solve a mystery without Neville.

Episode Eight

As the fallout from the previous episode is dealt with, the team has to deal with an impossible poisoning – happening right in front of one of the team’s noses without them seeing a thing. The murderer was pretty inevitable, but the method is nicely done.

All in all, while the series has evolved a little – the series-long arc for example. In the past, these have just been primarily things about the lead character’s love-life so it was interesting to see how this story was told without compromising the strengths of the series. It also led to the best two-parter the series has done (mainly because it’s not really a two-parter). I may be mistaken, but there are also a few more stories that seem to be investing a little more into the characters of the suspects – I’m thinking of the Christmas special and episode eight in particular, but there are a couple of others too. I’m very curious to see where the series goes for the next two series (as there’s going to be at least two more) – it’s still my favourite thing on TV.


  1. May I presume that you’ll also be reviewing “Beyond Paradise”? I thought the opening episode was OK, but I have a feeling this spinoff may not “have legs”, as they say in the business.


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