“Sir! A body has been found.”
“Really? Well, this calls for some socks.”
The first words in the newest episode of Death in Paradise, the BBC program of which series six aired on January 5th 2017, made me and my mum laugh only a few minutes in. The detective Humphrey, who can only be described as unusual in his mannerisms, steps out of the sea with his laptop to solve yet another murder.
It all sounds like a rather bizarre scenario – and, admittedly, it is – but it makes much more sense if you have seen the show for yourself. The show is a mixture between drama, comedy, and murder mystery. It is not as intense as Sherlock, but it is not a piece of mayhem, either. The mysteries are Agatha Christie-esque, complete with a Poirot style gathering to unveil the murderer and how they did it at the end of each episode, the mystery being unpicked slowly across the 50 minute screen time.
Airing originally in 2011, the first detective sent to the fictional island of Sainte Marie was DI Richard Poole, played by the incredible Ben Miller. Poole hated Sainte Marie, but the island and its inhabitants grew on him quickly. His dry British humour and the fact that in one episode he escaped from the police station to find a decent cup of tea made him appealing to the viewers back in Richard’s beloved England, and I am sure that a lot of people felt that the “original” Death in Paradise was lost when Richard left.
In series 3, Miller was replaced by Kris Marshall (in circumstances I will not divulge, because: spoilers!) as DI Humphrey Goodman. Goodman is a different character to Poole, simply for the fact that he threw himself into the life on the island when he arrived and actually seems to like it. But on the other hand, he is, like Poole, simply a genius with a hint of the unusual.
That is the simple word for what these detectives are. Obviously there is TV flair in the mix, but the mysteries that have been written for them are clever, outside-the-box, and I would be caught for murder in the first hour if I had Humphrey Goodman on my case.
Death in Paradise is a fantastic escapism show, with brilliant, witty characters and a wide range of mysteries. I for one am excited for it to continue, and I look forward to seeing where the characters go to next.