MIDSOMER MURDERS Series #20 (2018) 


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Executive Producer(s): Michele Buck, Jonathan Fisher
Producer (s): Guy Hescott
Director(s): Matt Carter, Paul Harrison, Toby Frow, Audrey Cooke, Nicholas Laughland
Writer(s): Helen Jenkins, Chris Murray, Jeff Povey, Nicholas Hicks-Beach, Julia Gilbert
(Based on the characters of Caroline Graham)

Regular Cast: Neil Dudgeon, Nick Hendrix, Fiona Dolman, Annette Badland...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): TV-14
Runtime: approx. 90 minutes per episode.
Genres: Crime drama/Mystery

List Price: $36.70 (Substantial savings may be found at various online sources.)


Reviewed by Cherie Jung
(November, 2018)


Ho, hum.

That’s probably the nicest thing I can say about the latest Midsomer Murders Blu-Ray/DVD release.

There are lots of things wrong, or terribly disappointing, with this installment of six episodes. The fact that it has six episodes released as one series (instead of being divided into 2 parts with two nearly full-priced price tags) may be its most redeeming aspect.

I’ve been complaining about the lack of quaintness, quirkiness, and old-English village charm now for the past several series. This series, Series 20, emphasizes those missing qualities, which drew its original audiences to the series many, many years ago, which is frustrating, distracting, and disappointing.

The series regulars continue to turn in bored, lackluster performances. Mrs. Barnaby (Fiona Dolman) appears to be turning into a shrew. DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) appears tired, bored, and/or completely disinterested in every episode. His partner, DS Jamie Winter (Nick Hendrix), seems equally bored and disinterested. Although a new ME, Dr. Fleur Perkins (Annette Badland) has joined the series, and I like her a lot, she can’t carry the whole show.

The new ME is a feisty and older woman. Thank goodness the writers won’t feel compelled to have Barnaby’s sergeant become romantically involved with her as they have done in the past. Barnaby’s young daughter (Isabel Shaw) has ceased to be cute, in terms of the storylines. Her presence seems forced, most times. Even the new dog, Paddy, doesn’t compare favorably with Sykes, his predecessor.

The direction of the show seems to be trying to make everything PC. Each episode seems to have token Black characters, token Indian or Pakistani characters (or Asian characters, as the Brits refer to them), a token gay character, token this or that. As the stories progressed, I found there were no characters I cared about  not who got killed, by whom, or why.

Jo Wright, a former Midsomer Murder executive producer thought her most important contribution was to make the series feel “more modern and relevant.” I doubt that longtime viewers tune in the program to see a politically correct, urban or quasi-rural police show. I certainly don’t.


“The Ghost of Causton Abbey” – the launch party on the site of an ancient abbey, now converted into a brewery, seems to provoke the ghost of the abbey to exact a deadly toll, based on an ancient curse.

“Death of the Small Coppers” – in this case, the “coppers” are butterflies, not police “coppers.” Did a preservationist kill a butterfly collector?

“Drawing Dead” – a comic festival is marred by murder and the detectives’ only lead is a comic book.

“The Lions of Causton” – death and chocolates. A death at the local rugby club may somehow be tied in with an artisanal chocolate shop.

“Till Death Do Us Part” – Barnaby reluctantly attends a wedding with his wife, Sarah, and surprise! someone is killed.

“Send in the Clowns” – Ferabbees Circus brings more than just a thrilling big top show to Midsomers, it brings sinister clowns, and death, too.


Sadly, I don’t see even a glimmer of hope that this series will be able to return to its former self, in the much loved English countryside and the murderous villages of Midsomer County.

Copyright 2018 Cherie Jung. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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