Death in Paradise Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Death in Paradise
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: BBC
  • Cast: Ben Miller, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, Sara Martins, Don Warrington
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R1, NTSC)

Spoilers for the first season of Death in Paradise

When the British DI in charge of the Honoré Police Station is murdered, uptight British DI Richard Poole is sent from London to Saint Maire a formerly French Carribean island to investigate. Poole doesn’t like the sun, sand, surf, or food. But he’s also a brilliant detective who is excellent at finding the one clue that will help solve the case. In the first episode, a locked room mystery where a man is murdered inside a locked panic room, Poole proves the man was alive when the door was opened and he was killed by a corrupt police officer. This leads to Poole being invited to stay. Also, one of his suspects turns out to be an undercover policewoman, who is then permanently assigned to Honoré Police Station. Two long-time Honoré police officers round out the cast: Officer Dwayne Myers and Officer Fidel Best. The police commissioner from Guadalupe also makes regular appearances.

Every episode of Death in Paradise includes a seemingly impossible murder, yet Poole and in the later episodes the rest of the Honoré police department are able to solve them. Poole, an obsessive man, often notices tiny details about a crime scene, the victim, or a situation in the crime that doesn’t make sense. At first, his fellow police officers are inclined to disregard this “one little piece” that doesn’t fit. But as Poole solves case after case based on the small detail, the other officers start to realize it can be important. Watching Fidel, Dwayne, and Camille grow is fun, though I felt there could have been more character development. Poole also slowly starts to adapt to the Island lifestyle, though by the last episode in the season he is still wearing his expensive and totally inappropriate London suits and complaining about the heat.

The scenery in Death in Paradise is beautiful. Saint Marie is a fictional island, but the show is filmed in Guadalupe in the French Carribean. The sunsets, beaches, water, etc, are beautiful. I liked Death in Paradise but I didn’t love it. The cases didn’t feel complex enough, and Poole’s methods of solving cases had more in common with Columbo than a typical British procedural. On the other hand, Poole is played by Ben Miller of Primeval and Officer Dwayne Myers is played by Danny John-Jules (Cat) of Red Dwarf and it’s great fun to see them both again. Also, it’s impressive to see a British show where the regular cast is mostly people of color. Poole also stands out like a sore thumb and is very much a fish out of water. In my opinion, more could have been done with that, but I’ll take what I can get. Overall, Death in Paradise is a lightweight mystery, enjoyable, but not Earth-shattering.

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