Midsomer Murders happens to be one of the most perplexing and mind-boggling murder mystery shows out there to date—for a show made outside of the United States. I have not taken to a show as much as I have with this one. Every time I watch the show, I can never guess who had killed who and even if I did, it still comes as quite the shock.
Each episode lasts for about an hour, the entire series currently standing at twenty seasons with roughly five to six episodes each. In each episode, there's usually one or more murders which sometimes overlap in location and time, the characters changing now and again as the lives of each are played out and the story goes on.
The characters happen to be developed in a way most in the United States are not. They have rich and hard to spot traits that often or not show up as neat little quirks or habits. Tom Barnaby, the original CID, had a wonderful wife named Joyce and a daughter know as Cully. Whenever he was on a case, like it or not for those two, he would drop everything to figure out who was behind each and every murder under his jurisdiction. He had a clear habit of thinking about the case until it was done, only hearing what he needed to hear in order to solve it, and that includes little words or phrases that make everything fall into place.
His wife, Joyce, happens to hold him down to the earth with her sass and almost dog-like sense of loyalty. She does get annoyed with him leaving in the middle of their most important events and has expressed her need for him to focus more on her and their daughter time and time again. However, she enjoys it when she gets to tag along on an investigation or gets too drawn into the thrill of what she could discover on her own without really meaning too. She has also been the one to discover a couple of dead bodies herself. No matter how much she hated the idea of Tom being away, she still loved it when he got the bad guy and when he told her about it as if he were her audiotape for one of her own books she enjoys reading.
The Barnabys: Joyce (left) and Tom (right)
The murders are all different. There are similarities between a few, yet that is inevitable because of human nature and the tools which we have to use. They leave you wondering what in the world went through the persons' mind without ever having to actually see the body, the medical examiners giving just enough hints to picture exactly what had happened to the body.
As an example, the murder of a character known as Nick Cheyney was rather on the nose and didn't need much of an explanation. He was decapitated. Yet, there was one thing Detective Barnaby found rather odd. The man hadn't put up a fight. He then asked the examiner if they found something more and in fact, they had. The man was knocked out with chloroform before being dragged up to the stand and killed. A harsh way to go—interesting nonetheless.
The Cultural References
All the cultural references and festivals are great, not in between all the murders and investigations. It gave me a great insight into the way the justice and social system in Britain work. I found it interesting to see each village have their own things to celebrate and the whole country. There were festivals or celebrations for just about everything and made me feel like I'm missing out on that important bit of life here in the States. And the justice system is harsher and still rather old-fashioned with the lawyers and judges still wearing wigs. Although, the way the courtroom was set up was much more sufficient than what we have here in the United States.