Doc On The Box – Death In Paradise Series Five – Full-Time Report

And so Series Five of Death In Paradise draws to a close with another locked room mystery. The second half of the series has presented us with the apparently motiveless murder of someone who has never visited the island before, the death of the head chef of a restaurant while everyone with a possible motive has a cast-iron alibi, the murder of a treasure hunter where all the evidence points to a rival who, again, had a cast-iron alibi, and the suicide of a young student, found locked inside a bathroom.

But more importantly, how did I fare this series? Because Death In Paradise, in my opinion, is the only current show with a mystery plot for the viewer to work out, rather than guess, and so I play a little game with creator Rob Thorogood. He tries to fool me with his show (and, I suppose, the millions of other viewers, but I don’t think they really count) and I try and catch him out.

When last we left it, at the end of episode four, Death In Paradise was winning 2.5-1.5. But how did the second half go?

Episode Five – the one where the victim is murdered motivelessly on the first day that he visits the island. A different style of episode from the pen of series creator Rob Thorogood with a different sort of unexplainable murder and a dearth of suspects. But I didn’t fall for the red herring suspect and spotted the killer. There was a real kick in the killer’s tale, too, which was very effective. But I spotted the killer, so 2.5-2.5

Episode Six – a very clever tale that vaguely recalls a certain classic crime novel but again, with a more emotional tale than perhaps we’ve been used to in the series. But as good as this episode was, I spotted something crucial very early on – I did wonder if the use of a mirror in the shot meant that this was originally supposed to be a more complex clue that it ended up being – and by the time the recap happened, I’d sussed it. So I took the lead 3.5-2.5.

Episode Seven – an odd one this, as our hero spends a lot of time trying to break the chief suspect’s alibi when the viewer knows full well that they weren’t going to be the killer. However despite the obvious trick early on… I plumped for the wrong killer, mainly due to overthinking it. The set-up as to what happened was very well put together but there were a couple of clunky bits. But as I said, I got it wrong so we went into the final episode with all to play for, 3.5-3.5.

Episode Eight – an absolute cracker this one, with a clever locked room. There was one little structural problem that made sure I was looking in the right direction for the killer’s identity. And as I did work out the locked room as well… so I won this series 4.5-3.5.

Overall, it was another very strong series with no duff episodes. Some nice character development for Duane and J.P., some fun with Humphrey’s search for love and some outstanding scene-stealing from Don Warrington whenever Commissioner Patterson showed up. A subplot for Florence would have been nice, but as the series will be returning next year (hurrah!) so hopefully that will be addressed next time. But it’s so good to see a show that entertains while giving the viewer something to puzzle over. Roll on next January!

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7 comments

  1. Watched episode 8 last night – absolutely loved the ‘locked’ bathroom, and had a completely different method and killer that (I feel…) still took account of the clues on show. This has swiftly become my second-favourite thing on TV (well, c’mon, nothing beats Who at present…) and is easily the best crime/bafflement show since Jonathan Creek definitely stopped producing episodes after its fourth series..

    Bring on next January!

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      • Haha, you’re probably right, but ‘The Seer of the Sands’ and ‘Angel Hair’ are absolutely cracking puzzles, with solid motivation and mechanics. And I retain a huge fondndess for ‘The Chequered Box’ – easily solved, and structured in such a way that the solution was left for a frustratingly long time, yes, but something about it just appeals to me.

        And while the other three were, well, unarguably a bit weak they still make more sense than the average Midsomer

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  2. Episode 6 was spoiled a little because of my actor-spotting and reading the credits. But the writing was strong so it didn’t matter much if I half worked it out.

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