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Death in Paradise: Eight Seasons On BritBox Streaming

IN THE April 4 ISSUE

FROM THE 2020 Articles,
andKathleen Costa,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTV
SECTIONS

by Kathleen Costa

Stuck at home? Streaming your entertainment on an iPad, iPhone, or computer is a great option, and BritBox is one of my favorites! With a more than reasonable monthly fee, or the annual fee option for convenience, Anglophiles living in the U.S., like me, have access to hours and hours of classic mysteries, contemporary detective dramas, laugh out loud sit-coms, and thought-provoking documentaries. Often a whole series with multiple seasons is available providing “binge” fanatics the perfect opportunity to enjoy it all…no waiting!

britboxMy newest favorite, Death in Paradise, is shown on several PBS stations, but in such a limited and inconsistent manner. It was exciting to start from the beginning (first aired 2011 in UK) thru season eight (UK in 2019). The series had three different leads starring as the detective inspector; each detective had similarities in style to maintain the consistency to which I became accustomed, but differences to make each incarnation fresh and enjoyable over all eight seasons. Season nine is airing in the UK with a new detective inspector Neville Parker (Ralf Little), and hopes are high that it’ll be available on BritBox later this year. Reports indicate a tenth season has been commissioned and most likely will be in 2021.

Tropical Winds, Swaying Palms, and Death in Paradise!
The small Caribbean island of Saint-Marie has varied European roots from French to British to Dutch, then back to the French and then to the British again. This makes for an eclectic population of tourists and ancestral natives and several spoken languages. But, life is not all umbrella-topped rum punch, steel drum serenades, and lounging on the beach; the small four-person constabulary has its work cut out for them with smuggling, thefts, and class struggles, as well as greed, revenge, jealousy, and deceit that lead to murder.

Season 1-2 (2011; 2013) Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller) thought his assignment at Honoré Station was just to investigate the murder of fellow Brit Detective Inspector Charlie Hulme and return to London. His lost luggage, messy accommodations, Harry the lizard, and the heat, are serious impediments, but it’s only temporary, right? It’s obvious that his meticulous investigative style, dry humor bordering on no humor at all, by-the-book expectations, and prim and proper suits are a challenge for his team, but he is good…too good. The temporary assignment becomes a “sensible reallocation of resources.” In other words, the police commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington) has arranged for it to be permanent. Now if Poole can only find a proper cup of tea!

DI Poole directs all investigations, closely partnered with Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey (Sara Martins) whose French ancestry is a challenging contrast to his typical British attitude. He has one car, an emergency motorcycle, a white board, and Officers Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) and Fidel Best (Gary Carr) helping Poole navigate the locals. His keen sense and deductive reasoning is punctuated with a “lightbulb” moment leading to a final gathering of suspects and reveal of the killer akin to Agatha Christie’s Poirot. But, Poole grows on them, and he is more connected to them than he is willing to admit; even when an opportunity to return to his old job falls through, he isn’t that disappointed. Who’d take care of his lizard?

Season 3-6 (2014-2017) Another murder once again shocks Honoré Station, and Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) is brought in from London to investigate. His disheveled appearance, and for a time, casual look in tropical shirts, is in stark contrast to DI Poole’s suit and tie, but “London speaks very highly of him.” DI Goodman seems prone to accidents and misunderstandings, and although he is meticulous in his thought process, the group often is confused when his “lightbulb” moment indicates he’s successfully uncovered the murderer…again.

DI Goodman’s love life occasionally pops up as an endearing, if not comedic, side story. At first he believed his wife would join him, then a possible love connection with DS Camille Bordey is hinted, and last a holiday romance seemed promising. However, the wife is now an ex, office romance isn’t recommended, and the holiday romance returns to London. Camille is offered an exciting opportunity she reluctantly accepts, and DS Florence Cassell (Joséphine Jobert) is assigned to the team. Officer Dwayne continues to do his part, DS Best also moves on, and DS Jean-Pierre “JP” Hooper (Tobi Bakare) joins the group. Lots of changes, but, of course, the commissioner is always there to add his perspective, as usual.

Season 6; Episode 5-6 DI Goodman and his Saint Marie team are entangled in the murder case of a local charter boat captain, but when witnesses, more like suspects, head back to London during the ongoing investigation, Goodman, Cassell, and Myers (not a fan of London weather) get permission for limited participation with the Metropolitan Police led by DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon). Goodman and Moody appear similar in style, quirky, and as the case gets more complicated with one suspect dead, they each have a “lightbulb” moment and “tag team” the surprising reveal. But, Humphrey has a decision to make that will effect his entire life [strike the music and tears]. It looks like another “exchange program” is being arranged. DI Moody is enticed with talk of an island vacation, but a permanent assignment is finalized.

Season 7-8 (2018; 2019) DI Jack Moody, recent widow and father of a early twenties daughter, takes the reins of Honoré Station, and through their case load, he mutters to himself, groans not in pain, relates odd family stories, and feigns being forgetful…more reminiscent of Colombo than Poirot. His look of short-sleeved shirts and a tie is less formal than the full suit and tie look of the former DI Poole, but not as disheveled or casual as DI Goodman. The team has a big change, too, with Officer Dwayne Myers (original character) leaving and the overzealous, accident prone, raw recruit Officer Ruby Patterson (Shyko Amos) takes his place. Awkwardly, she’s the commissioner’s niece with some interesting ideas of her law enforcement role.

DI Moody is more eager to throw back a pint after a day of interrogating (he’s Irish, yah know) and gives back to the community as the caller for the local Bingo game, swimmer in a charity fundraiser, part of a dominos’ gang, and holding “quasi-legal” crab races! He is the brains behind the unit’s success, but congratulations are usually met with the remark that it’s a “team effort.” It’s family, and he looks out for his team, supports them, listens to them, protects them, and they recognize it. Unfortunately, the first big tragedy occurs on his watch, and when internal affairs gets involved…does that herald another change?

Death in Paradise series earns 5/5 Tropical as a big time favorite! Thirty-three episodes in, I’m eager to finish seeing all sixty-four. The murder is always introduced before opening credits, and the mystery is clever with several suspects, twists, sometimes an extra felony, and a surprise, sometimes shocking, Christie-inspired reveal. “Gather everyone together!” All three inspectors have a humorous, yet brilliant, manner, and the support team, in all its incarnations, act much like a family. I’m a sucker for an Irish brogue, so DI Moody is my favorite. The guest star list is extensive with many recognizable actors and actresses from British icons to contemporary rising stars; exciting to see many in the role of victim or murder! The island of Saint Marie (filmed on Guadeloupe’s Basse-Terre island) is an important character adding various settings from rain forests and sandy beaches to hill-top estates and beach-side bars, weather issues from tropical heat to sudden storms, and various cultural and historical legends, events, and conflicts. It is well-worth binging!

Reading Your Favorite Show
Robert Thorogood, the creator of the Death in Paradise series, wrote four original novels featuring the characters from season one: DI Richard Poole, DS Camille Bordey, Officer Dwayne Myers, Sergeant Fidel Best, and Commissioner Selwyn Patterson. I was lucky to pick up the first novel on Amazon A Meditation on Murder: A Death in Paradise Mystery, and discovered what a fortuitous find!

A Meditation on Murder (2015) earns 5/5 Colorful Auras…Entertaining! DI Poole has quite the puzzle on his hand. How is an open and shut murder case not open and shut? A murder. A locked room. A confession. However, the evidence doesn’t seem to fit, and the one who confessed couldn’t have committed the crime. Robert Thorogood does well to maintain the nuances of the characters popularized in the television show along with the humor, clever mystery, character interactions, surprises, and the Christie-style reveal at the end. Outstanding!

Robert Thorogood continued the literary series with DI Poole constantly complaining about the tropical weather, longing for cold winds, and pining for a pint at his favorite London pub. In The Killing of Polly Carter (2016) the apparent suicide of a supermodel, who threw herself off a cliff, is the case du jour, but friends say she’d never kill herself; Death Knocks Twice (2017) has the death of a vagrant questioned ensnaring the enigmatic and wealthy Beaumont family; in Murder in the Caribbean (2018) an explosion in the harbor, a ruby found at the scene, and a decades-old crime stumps the team. I am so eager to pick up all the books.

Free Trial Offer on BritBox?
Check out the website for any free trial offers…just imagine what you can watch in a week. You’ll be hooked! The monthly fee is very reasonable to continue as a member.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play. A new episode went up this week.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

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