Title: “Death in Paradise”
Year it began: 2011
Where it can be seen: Seasons 1-5 —Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunesSeries 6 on DVD
Who’s in it: Ben Miller, Sara Martins, Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, Don Warrington, Elizabeth Bourgine, Kris Marshall, Joséphine Jobert, Tobe Bakare
Typical episode length: 52-59 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 48
Brief plot description: A free-spirited British Detective Inspector, on loan to a local police agency on the fictitious Caribbean island of Sainte Marie, is murdered, and London dispatches another, much more staid DI to investigate. Afterwards, the very British DI’s assignment is extended, much to his vexation (initially, at least).
Although the series undergoes a number of cast changes, the characters are all pretty endearing, the scenery is gorgeous (filmed on the Caribbean island of Guadaloupe), and the island accents make you want to reach for a companion glass of rum.
Why It's Worth Watching: The Sainte-Marie city of Honoré, where most of the action takes place, seems to be a very charming, very small town … where a very large number of homicides seem to occur. A proportionately large number of these shootings/stabbings seem to be direct hits to the heart. Because of the seemingly small size of Honoré, there is only a one-shift police force, and after hours are spent drinking a lot of beer. And a bit of rum.
Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Ben Miller), arrives on the island in a business suit, which pretty much remains his outfit of choice for the remainder of his island stay. His successor, Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall), manages to stand out from the crowd via a case of severe awkwardness. The laid-back police commissioner (Don Warrington) and popular bar proprietor (Elizabeth Bourgine) start out as background characters whose roles grow as the series goes on.
The rest of the male force (Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, and Tobe Bakare), while seeming to be a group of bumbling Barney Fyfe types, still help solve cases, while the female side of the team (Sara Martins and Joséphine Jobert), grounds the guys with cooler heads and calmer demeanors.
You’ll probably find yourself guessing the killer half the time, but figuring out the how and why are much more difficult in the cleverly thought-out plots.
It’s not difficult to figure out why this is currently one of the BBC’s most popular programs.