Death in Paradise manages to be a detective series with a difference - all credit to the script writers that they have been able to come up with a completely unique scenario after all the police series which have been on our screens over the years. Personally I liked the first series from the word go, but I think it has got better as it has gone along and it is certainly now right up there with my favourite television viewing.
At the end of Series 1 we saw Detective Inspector Richard Poole on the dock of the island of Sainte-Marie where the series is set, appearing to be considering remaining on the island. Series 2 sees a continuation of his career on the island, with new murders to exercise his considerable investigative skills. Ben Miller is an excellent choice for the straight laced Poole and plays the part to perfection. His rather unlikely partner is Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey, played by Sara Martins. The chemistry between the pair is quite clear and has grown as the show has gone along. This is a major factor in its success. Mention should also be made of the parts of Dwayne Myers, the oldest member of the team, and Commissioner Selwyn Patterson who was responsible for bringing Poole on board as these characters are also memorably acted.
The episodes are quite varied this time round and range from the white owner of a plantation who is found with a machete in his back, and who has rather a tangled personal life to Camille's friend, a singer, who dies mysteriously whilst performing on a yacht. Poole has his own distinctive style of operation. He quietly investigates, takes everything in and when he is ready gathers everyone together and makes his pronouncement. A different time and background, but in a strange way Poole's style does remind me of Poirot.
At present I do not believe that there has been any announcement of a third series, although the last episode would seem to have paved the way since Poole has chosen to return to the island after a trip to London. Given that viewing figures for Series 2 were significantly higher than for Series 1 it would be quite surprising if a further series does not follow. I certainly hope so!
DEATH IN PARADISE, SEASON 2. This welcome second installment of the BBC television series, made with the support of the French Caribbean region of Guadeloupe – and filmed there—is a quintessentially British mystery. In a light-hearted, humorous crime drama that has been playing on some PBS channels in the United States, stalwart strait-laced English Inspector Richard Poole, in season 2, is still trapped on the stunning fictitious Caribbean island of St. Marie. He was a fish out of water when Scotland Yard sent him to the tiny island to solve the murder of his predecessor in the first place. He did so successfully, only to then find himself seconded to this hot little island. Unfortunately, he hated the sun, sea, sand and seafood: the island isn’t really paradise for him. Nor is he suited to the pace of life on the island, which, while fictional, reminds me of St.Lucia.
And, at this new post, Poole has encountered a very different type of policing than what he is used to: it challenges his more buttoned-up sensibility. The rest of the local fictional Saint Marie police force – two cops! -- has their own unique way of doing things. But, though Poole would never admit it, together, they make a perfect team. The season 2 box set consists of two DVDs, each holding four new mysteries, totaling about 466 minutes of entertainment. And thank goodness, and the BBC, subtitles, for who would want to miss a moment of this delightful lilting Caribbean-accented dialog. Though, wonderfully enough, the sound quality is quite good; even I was able to make out the entire dialog, without shaking the house on the volume meter.
Ben Miller, PRIMEVAL, makes the role of Detective Inspector Poole, the hapless, cranky, yet brilliant detective, his own, endowing it with charm and affection. And Sara Martins, PARIS, JE T’AIME, as his gorgeous new partner Detective Sergeant Borday, is fine. Other series members live up to the standard, including Danny Jules-John as Officer Dwayne Myers; Gary Carr as Officer Fidel Best; Elisabeth Bourgine as Catherine, Camille’s lovely and charming mother and Don Warrington as Police Commissioner Selwyn Patterson. Both series are also packed full of new pretty faces, British and Caribbean. And many, many well-known British stars/supporting players: I clocked, among others Colin Salmon, (PRIME SUSPECT); Adrian Dunbar, (LINE OF DUTY); Robert Pugh, (GAME OF THRONES); Philip Jackson, (POIROT); Sharon Small, (INSPECTOR LYNLEY). Also Gemma Jones, Joanna David, Julie Graham, Phil Davis, Claire Holman, Cherie Lunghi, Nicholas Farrell, Rupert Graves.
The episodes are: A Murder on the Plantation DI Richard Poole struggles to muster that loving feeling for the local voodoo festival.
An Unholy Death DI Richard Poole is perplexed by a fatal fire at the island convent.
Death in the Clinic DI Richard Poole is baffled by an apparent suicide at a plastic surgery clinic.
A Deadly Curse Camille attempts to persuade Richard to take an interest in the folklore of Saint Marie.
Murder Onboard The pressure is on for DI Richard Poole and his team to solve a murder on a party boat.
A Dash of Sunshine There is a blast from the past for Richard when an old colleague turns up in Saint Marie.
A Stormy Occurrence Is a storm to blame for a death at the university, or is something more sinister afoot?
A Deadly Party DI Poole and his colleagues find themselves up against a daring and elusive opponent.
Hot, hot, hot, that’s the location, location, location on the screen, and I adore the soundtrack, as I have apparently always adored Caribbean music. You can any time give me an interlude of doing the Rock Steady to Blondie’s “The Tide is High,” of which we hear snatches here. The mysteries: well, they’re not down, dirty and depressing in the latest British style, more old-fashioned fun Agatha Christie’s Marple and Poirot style. Some might consider them a bit clunky. But rather original, some even unique in my experience. And multi-layered. We also get some of the most charming interludes, local color mostly, that seem to have been trimmed from the broadcast versions. If you’ve the patience for an entertainment that moves more slowly than most police procedurals, certainly more slowly than most American cop shows, but offers plenty of entertainment along the way, this might just be for you.
George Taylor. On his knees in the Ste. Marie surf, and every bit as miffed...
Both series 1 and 2 were very good, and always will be. Nothing edgy or radical or po-faced like most modern detective serials. In fact it was comfortingly old fashioned. They also appear to have found directors and cameramen who can film a scene without shakey-cam and non-stop dizzying zoom lens action. Cameras should be on tripods. That's all there is to it.
Normally I'd run a mile from cosy stuff. Midsomer really does nothing for me, yet I can watch this any time. The plots are decent, yet very secondary to a cast that are really on it. They have a proper ensemble feel and are all excellent actors and fit their roles perfectly.
However, I'm with George on this one, and will NOT be buying the third series.
Which bit of "Love Actually" do you ALWAYS fast-forward through?
(Having seen the series, I feel quite bad. I'm not keen on his other stuff, but, fair's fair, Kris Marshall did very well with this, and will keep me watching. It would have been a significant loss, since I watch relatively few shows.)
Paid quite a lot of money for this set of 3 Series Two dvd's - which only had 3 new episodes - the other 5 episodes were from the Series One collection. Very confusing and very disappointing as really enjoy this programme but seem to have doubled up inadvertently!!