To recap, for those not in the know, Ben Miller plays Richard Poole, a CID detective “earns” a promotion to run the police on the Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. Luckily, he’s exactly what they need, as the island suddenly plays host to a series of Golden Age-style mysteries. Well, I suppose they might have always been happening, but now Poole is here to solve them, assisted by his team, played by Sara Martins, Gary Carr and Danny John-Jules.
The first series was, in my opinion, exceptional. Even the weaker plots were still presented as genuine puzzles and the show was never less than entertaining. But could that success be repeated?
Well, we’re one episode in. One excellent episode in…
Let’s make something clear – this is not Midsomer Murders. The plot is just as important as any other element of the production. There are clues. There are things that you actually see the first time through that take on new meaning during the denouement. And Poole collects the suspects together to explain who the murderer is. And it’s neither obvious or a random member of the cast.
All of the seeds to work out whodunit are planted in the first half of the show, encouraging the viewers to play along – indeed, if you follow @ActualBenMiller on Twitter, he was actively encouraging his fellow twitterati to play along. Admittedly, the mystery required a bit of guesswork in terms of the motive, but that’s not uncommon in the genre.
In this particular episode, the elderly owner of a plantation has called his family to a gathering for an important announcement. But when they grow impatient of waiting for him to arrive, he is found with a machete in his back at a nearby watermill. Of course, most of the family never went near the place at the time of death…
But the plot isn’t everything. The show is full of character and humour and even has at least one ongoing subplot, which I thought, in the final scene, was very effectively handled, when it could have been unconvincing.
In short – the best hour of television not involving a TARDIS for a long time – since the last series of Death In Paradise, in fact.