"Death in Paradise" (BBC TV 2011-Present)

5 Kernels

Stars: Ben Miller, Danny John-Jules , Sara Martins , Élisabeth Bourgine

Once again, the sun never sets on great murder mysteries put together by the British. I’m a sucker for these who-done-it shows and finding Death in Paradise has been a television treat. Netflix is currently streaming seasons one and two. If you haven’t tuned in, this is a good one to binge watch on a rainy weekend.

Ben Miller plays DI Richard Poole, a detective sent from Scotland Yard to an island in the middle of the Carribean to investigate the murder of one of their own. Arriving in a suit and tie in scorching weather, he soon starts to complain about the heat, bright sun, terrible food, and a world where there are no seasons.  Just when he thinks he can go home to foggy London and the corner pub for a decent meal of beef and potatoes, his superiors have decided he should stay.

DI Poole is a character who is quite the nerd but a brilliant nerd, who is extremely unpretentious and private about his life and emotions.  He manages a team of three other locals (two men and a woman), all of who are native to the area.  If you can get past their sometimes difficult to understand island accents, their characters will grow on you quickly.  After a few episodes, you will be an expert. Prepare to be immersed in the culture of voodoo, pirate treasures, miracle waters, jabs at the French, abundance of seafood, and a friendly lizard.  Ben Miller is a hoot in his role. You will see a lot of familiar British actors each episode, who have obviously taken roles to enjoy the sunny location.

Dead bodies are discovered with the usual British television lack of gore.  Only an occasional machete or knife in the back, strangled necks, clean shots, and suspicious drownings are seen.  One reason why I love British murder mysteries — they lack the graphic bloodbath scenes of U.S. television. On BBC, it’s a clean kill, and then we get to find out if it’s the butler with the candlestick in the library who did the ghastly deed.  DI Poole gathers all the suspects at the scene of the killing.  After bringing out the truth about their individual involvement and secrets, he reveals the killer. There are some pretty good laughs in each episode, too, that add to the entertainment value.

I see after researching the show further that it is still airing, but Ben Miller has left (via a not-too-popular episode). Here’s an interesting article as to why, and I don’t blame him for wanting to be with family.  CLICK HERE.

His character has been replaced with Kris Marshall.  Kris is fantastic.  I fell in love with that buffoon on My Family (another British comedy great).  Hopefully, Netflix will continue to add seasons as they become available, and I will be able to enjoy his take on solving murders.

For me, Death in Paradise is an entertaining kernel winner.  With 8 million viewers in the U.K., it appears to be a hit over there too.  Perhaps it’s the draw of sandy beaches and sunshine.

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