Death in Paradise spin-off is a surefire hit

How much crime can credibly take place in one snug English village? As Midsomer Murders has proved in the 26 years of its green, domestic, persistently deadly run that there are no limits. A corpse in the library for a week; a corpse in the next kitchen; Colonel Mustard with a candlestick, at it again: We’re watching the detectives again. Which bodes well Beyond Paradise, a new series set in a police station with amiable eccentrics on the scenic North Devon coast. All precedents indicate that this new crime wave in the West Country was to last for years.

Beyond Paradise is a spin-off from death in paradise, the hugely successful police drama set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie. Written by Robert Thorogood, death in paradise Still doing well in its 12th season, with a regular UK viewership of between seven and eight million and overseas sales in more than 260 territories. In Australia, it outperforms both survivor And Australian idol on Sunday evenings; In 2022, it was the fifth-rated scripted show on subscription television. Thorogood is also behind the Devonian spin-off along with writer Tony Jordan.

Kris Marshall in Death in Paradise spin-off Beyond Paradise.

Kris Marshall in Death in Paradise spin-off Beyond Paradise.

And so it begins. Kris Marshall’s Detective Inspector Humphrey Goodman and his fiancee Martha, played by Sally Bretton – whose long flirtation with Saint Marie was finally resolved in 2017’s sixth series death in paradise, when Humphrey tracked Martha back to London to declare his love for her – decided to move to her hometown in Devon. Humphrey will lead local police efforts to rescue cats from trees, while Martha hopes to open a restaurant. Initially, they will live with their mother, Anne (Barbara Flynn), a source of all sorts of comical trivia. “Humphrey,” Anne tells a friend over the phone, “is an acquired taste.”

Marshall’s face will be familiar to virtually everyone thanks to his role as sex god Colin love actually. His Humphrey is awkward, clumsy and benignly tactless. The station’s other cops — earnest detective sergeant Esther Williams (Zahra Ahmadi), eager young cop Kelby Hartford (Dylan Llewellyn), and comically scruffy office manager Margo Martins (Felicity Montagu) — are obviously willing to write him off as an idiot at first Day. However, by the end of the first episode, he has used old-fashioned deductive skills to find an unlikely culprit in an attempted murder. Shipton Abbott Criminal Investigation is now in full swing.

Life in this puzzle village is comfortable, but not necessarily rosy. Each episode of the week is about a new crime. In the first episode, a woman is convinced she was pushed off a balcony by a 17th-century witch; in the second, a whole family simply disappears; Future episodes will include a body discovered in a crop circle and a case of serial arson. However, no bloody murders. “Not yet, anyway,” adds Marshall. “Although Anne might end up murdering Humphrey, I don’t know.”

In a subplot that the cast attest has had to be handled with finesse, Humphrey and Martha attempt—so far without success—to conceive a baby through IVF. Martha is now in the sluggish first trimester of pregnancy, obviously not for the first time. “The relationship, which they didn’t necessarily have on the previous show, has a reality considering how it ended,” says Marshall. “That’s what happens after the happy-ever-after, when you open the box of chocolates after it’s been stored for a while. We wrapped it up nicely; Let’s see what’s in it now.”

Marshall with Sara Martins in Death in Paradise.

Marshall with Sara Martins in Death in Paradise.

Marshall and Bretton both agree that it only took moments to slip back into their old roles, albeit in a very different environment. “It was actually weirdly immediate,” says Marshall. “I actually put on one of my old jackets that I used to wear in death in paradise who had been in some kind of camp for four or five years. There were still some of my original notes in the bag.” They had worked together again for a while. “It was like that immediately. It was wonderful.”

At the same time, as all performers point out, the new show isn’t just a warmed-up version of the old one. “Obviously it has to be a whole different show,” says Marshall. “Other than that it’s just a copy of a previous show and I don’t think anyone wanted to do that. It wouldn’t work anyway because obviously one of the big draws of death in paradise was the location, the music and the whole feeling of being in the Caribbean. If you take it from the Caribbean and don’t have that, it stands to reason it will be something else. Death in Paradise spin-off is a surefire hit

Jaclyn Diaz

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