Doomed romance seems to be the order of the day for this week’s episode of Death In Paradise as Humphrey (Kris Marshall) and Martha’s (Sally Bretton) blissful island getaway is tainted when their hotel becomes the crime scene to a fatal stabbing.
There is a real sense that the production team are trying to think outside the box with the show (a must for any show in its sixth season), while still remaining true to the elements that have made the show so popular. A zippy little opening sequence shows some real skill from regular director Claire Winyard, but the structure of the story is also moving in a new direction.
“Martha, I couldn’t borrow your brain for a minute.”
When the mystery is discovered, instead of cutting to the team immediately investigating, Humphrey enlists Martha to help understand the investigation a little better. Bretton and Marshall continue to have a wonderful chemistry and their Scooby Doo-style pairing, searching for clues, is a lovely change from the norm. It also helps solidify them as a proper couple. This is made all the more poignant when Humphrey delares he loves her, at the end of the episode.
“Perhaps it’s better we deal with this a little differently.”
The central mystery is definitely engaging, and although you may guess who the killer is, you will definitely not guess why until the third act. Another refreshing change is that the killer is brought to justice solely, instead of being picked out from the crowd. This adds a further poignancy to the doomed romance that sparked the story and creates one of the episode’s best scenes as you actually begin to sympathise (a little) with the murderer.
Making Humphrey a key witness to the murder was another refreshing insight. I commented in last week’s review that the episodes where the main cast have a strong link to the murder are often the most thrilling, and to that end, this episode works well too. A shout out should also be given to guest victim Charlie (Mark Powley) who gets the chance to be developed a little more than the usual ‘cardboard cut out’ victims the show usually presents.
“JP, there’s something you need to understand. You are in a relationship with a woman. It’s always going to be your fault.”
Of course there is more than just the romance to keep viewers watching. A cute little subplot between Dwayne (Danny John-Jules) and JP (Tobi Bakare) illustrates what a nice comic duo they are, as Dwayne advises JP on how to handle the aftermath of his first big marital fight with Rosie.
Death In Paradise continues to prove there is life in its formula, but not without a little experimentation.
The episodes are all the better for it as the cast, writing and direction are all on fine form this week. Long may it continue.
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 19 January 2017 on BBC One.
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