TV’s Rebecca Garbutt reviews BBC’s latest series of Death in Paradise
As the sixth series of the BBC One’s sun-stroked drama Death in Paradise draws to a close, it’s a sign that winters long days will soon be behind us. The Caribbean island of Saint Marie has seen us through 8 weeks of this dismal winter, and now after over 40 murders and a new detective, the cheerful Ardal O’Hanlon, the show is over for yet another year.
Following the exit of floppy haired Kris Marshall earlier on in the series, we’ve been given two episodes to explore the guy taking up new leading man duties. And as first impressions go, DI Jack Mooney has scored big time. I was distraught to see Marshall go, as he was a winning factor in continuing the success of the show after Ben Miller’s departure, increasing on the 8 million views that Miller maintained throughout the first two series. However, O’Hanlon provides a quirkiness that was perhaps missing and in this week’s series finale, he sets about investigating uncovered infidelity and heartbreak, after the favourite to win the Saint Marie Mayor election is found dead in the polling station.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Death in Paradise is a tad unrealistic. So many murders occurring on such a small island – it’s arguably on track to overtake Midsomer Murders in the death stakes! Not to mention the fact that the same formula for an episode is carefully repeated with only a few tweaks, meaning that most episodes are basically the same. A murder occurs, then a swift cut to the groovy title sequence (one of best theme tunes ever, in my opinion). A group of suspects are gathered, questioned and then called together at the end, with the revealing of the killer always needing a big audience. The killer never goes unpunished and the whole drama is wrapped up in a neat little bow in an hour.
The show will never be a contender for Best Drama at the BAFTA’s and it pales in comparison to the top-notch crime dramas of the recent decade (some of my favourites being Luther and The Missing). But what this show lacks in depth, darkness and suspense, it makes up for in enthusiasm, warmth and sunshine. Every year I look forward to spending my cold winter evenings snuggled up in bed, dreaming of paradise. This show has done its job. See you next year.