Doc On The Box – Death In Paradise Episode 7.1

Well, as the rain comes down and the wind picks up here in Merry Old England, what better than a chance to spend an hour in the Caribbean on the island of Saint-Marie? Yes, it might be the murder capital of the world, averaging eight (usually locked room) murders a year, but if you can avoid that, it looks lovely…

Yes, Death In Paradise is back for its seventh (blimey) series and new DI Jack Mooney finds himself with an open and shut case. A bride to be jumps to her death from her hotel room the day before her wedding. The room was locked from the inside, her husband heard her say goodbye and jump, she texted a suicide note, her fall was witnessed… but in true Death In Paradise fashion, a tiny thing convinces Jack that this might have been murder – the fact that she left her nail varnish bottle unscrewed after only painting one nail. Needless to say, not everyone is convinced…

Yup, Death In Paradise is back, easily my favourite detective show, but it has again changed its lead actor. After two years of Ben Miller and almost four years of Kris Marshall, it’s time for Ardal O’Hanlon to properly take the reins of the show. I’ll admit, I was a little concerned. In the two episodes at the end of the previous series, O’Hanlon looked a little… off. Sorry, can’t be more precise than that. It was if he was a bit uncomfortable being there, and for one scene, I had the same feeling. Oddly, that opening scene just asked him to do a bit of comedy banter with Elizabeth Bourgine, something he is an expert in. But as soon as he has to be a policeman – at the end of that scene indeed – everything just clicked into place, and the new lead character slotted seamlessly into the show.

In fact, this was one of the better episodes of the show. Not only was the mystery and solution clever – I spotted the method and killer, enough to make it 1-0 to me so far, but only at the last moment, and I felt pretty smart doing so – but there seemed to be more of an emotional depth to the tale this time, both in the case and with the issue with Jack’s daughter – while not sacrificing the puzzle element. Although if someone had dusted the phone for fingerprints…

The rest of the cast were on top form, as ever, with a rather delightful “What did Dwayne do?” subplot. Death In Paradise is back and on top form. Roll on the rest of the series…

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10 comments

  1. I have binged-watched my way through these so far, to the embarrassment of my children, but have enjoyed relaxing by the virtual waters. Won’t see the new episodes in the U.S. for a while, though.

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    • A shame that you’ll have to wait – I’d have thought BBC America would show them soon – but there’s nothing to be ashamed about. There was a very snotty review in the Telegraph basically moaning about all the things I see as charming in the show… each to their own

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  2. The series is airing here in Aus at the same time as in the UK so I recorded it and watched today during our ridiculously hot start to the new year (it was 43C when I started playing)…I agree with you…it was a clever mystery (I didn’t work out the culprit though did fathorm the hotel room part of the resolution) and Ardal O’Hanlon is better than I thought he was going to be based on the wrap up of season 6

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  3. Nice central idea. It’s so simple I assume it’s been done before, but I can’t think of any examples right now.

    You’re right about it having a stronger emotional core than usual. I know it’s light entertainment, but I hope they can keep the stakes at that kind of level. It really helps make the show seem less insubstantial, and I think it helps disguise the implausibilities in the plot. (So unnecessarily convoluted! So many ways to get caught! As you point out, things like fingerprinting and security cameras just appear and vanish from the world of Death in Paradise depending on how “locked” the locked rooms can stand to be. But Thorogood is gleefully upfront about this, so it’s hard to care too much.)

    But pity poor Tanya Reynolds. The writers do tend to phone in everything except the plotting, but has any dialogue on the show ever been as “totes” cringeworthy as Pearl’s? I was reminded of the times they made poor Angela Lansbury pretend to be drunk for one of Jessica’s terrible stings.

    Still, it’s always fun, and Ardal O’Hanlon seems to be settling in. I actually prefer him to Kris Marshal. And as a one-time poker player, I’m looking forward to next week’s. There’s a very low bar for poker in fiction. I expect Death in Paradise will clear it fairly easily.

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    • I’ve been racking my brains for if I’d seen it before. Possibly… possibly in a Hoch short story but I might be imagining it. It rings a vague bell, but nothing more. Oh, and yeah, totes cringeworthy…

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