Death in Paradise: Ep. 2

“There is nothing that is sold or bought
That is altered by the selling or the buying.”

Mervyn Peake

Aaanndd….the genre of Murder Mystery falls back down with a clunk.

Death in Paradise is, to be fair, deeply flawed at any point in time, but it feels particularly weak after the emotionally charged intensity that was the most recent Silent Witness episode. Actually, I suspect that this one is a pretty rubbish episode on its own terms, too.

So a Surfer Guy is found shot in the chest in a room locked from the inside. It’s a classic Locked Room Mystery, and any detective who wasn’t trying to get an hour’s viewing out of an increasingly tired format could have solved it in, oh, twenty minutes, half an hour at the outside. (See also last week’s episode, whose solution was also painfully obvious, and suspiciously similar to this one. Don’t Saint-Marie detectives learn from previous murders?) The necessary suspense is thus only achieved by what eventually appears as a deeply puzzling failure to consult basic evidence: pathology reports, forensics expertise.

There’s a later attempt to complicate the basic plot, but it fails mainly because it’s so messily convoluted, not to mention unbelievable. I’m pretty sure the definition of “murder” does not include “lying”. Sorry, but it just doesn’t. You can’t arrest someone for lying unless it’s in court.

And then there’s the so-called Character Development, which mainly figures as a single cringeworthy scene in which whatshisname (Humphrey, according to Wikipedia the Fount of All Knowledge) has a conversation with Camille’s mother (without consulting Camille, of course) about, essentially, whether Camille will go out with him.

HER ACTUAL MOTHER.

WHY??

The more I think about it, the weirder it gets.

It also disturbs me that Camille is basically interchangeable between detective inspectors, given how much she flirted with Ben Miller BEFORE HE WAS MURDERED WITHOUT ANY FANFARE AT ALL. It’s not even as if she’s the only female lead, any more: new girl Florence has joined the team, replacing Fidel as sergeant (which gives us a faintly amusing subplot in which Dwayne tries to impress her by being super-efficient); there’s a kind of unimaginativeness at work here which does nothing to explore the team dynamic and everything simply to replace one will-they-won’t-they subplot with another. And it will go on for years and years and be irritating and problematic and I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but it ANNOYS me already.

Why do I watch this again?

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