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MIDSOMER MURDERS SET #10 (2005)

Producer: Brian True-May

Director: Sarah Hellings, Richard Holthouse, Peter Smith, Baz Taylor, and others...

Writing by: Anthony Horowitz, David Hoskins, Jeremy Paul, and others...
(Based upon the books and characters of Caroline Graham)

Starring: John Nettles, John Hopkins, Laura Howard, Barry Jackson, Jane Wymark

Guest stars include Annette Crosbie, David Burke...

Not rated.

Released on DVD March 25, 2008.
4 Episodes. 90-100 minutes each.

Genre: Mystery/crime

Long-running series in the UK (ITV).

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

D.S. Dan Scott (John Hopkins) the new sergeant who replaced D.S. Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), the "old" sergeant on the long-running series, is still partnered with Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby (John Nettles). The next new partner for Barnaby, DC Ben Jones (Jason Hughes), won't make an appearance on the DVD releases for some time yet since this compilation of episodes is really from the 8th series -- not the 10th -- originally shown in the UK. This latest release indicates this is "Set 10" and if you do the math, it eventually works out. (The DVDs released in the U.S. and Canada do not include an entire season or series, per set, rather they include only 4 episodes per boxed set rather than the complete 8 episodes originally shown in the UK per season.) Now that we have that sorted...

I enjoy this series a great deal, although I should admit, I especially like the character of Detective Inspector Barnaby and his dogged pursuit of clues, criminals, and justice. I have trouble recalling what a particular episode is about and frequently forget who the real culprit is and why he or she has done the crime. It's almost like watching a new episode every time I pop a DVD into the old player. I'm just happy to be watching Barnaby at work. It's also fun to watch him squirm a bit when he neglects his home life, much to the dismay of his wife and daughter, as each new case takes priority over such mundane things as breakfast, dinner, church, and social events. And when he hasn't got a case, he's looking for one. I don't think Barnaby ever met a death that he didn't consider suspicious. And usually he's right.

"Second Sight" involves an investigation into the death of a young man who appears to have died under mysterious circumstances other than from the bar fight fellow villagers witnessed. The village of Midsomer Mere provides Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby with plenty of shady characters, many of whom claim to be psychic. And as is the case so often, the past collides with the present and people end up dead...

"Hidden Depths" brings a series of revenge killings to the attention of our coppers. I particularly enjoyed the unique use of the catapult!

In "Sauce for the Goose" attention is drawn to a family relish making business when a visitor touring the facilities is found dead. Barnaby quickly discovers the dead man wasn't just any old visitor...

"Midsomer Rhapsody" plays out amidst death and the possibility of a forged manuscript attributed to a cherished local, but dead composer.

While these are not the strongest episodes in this long-running series, they do hold up to repeated viewing thanks to the joy of tagging along with Barnaby as he unravels the secrets the villagers are attempting to conceal and chases down (or has his younger, faster sergeant chase down) the various villians.

In earlier reviews of this series, I complained about not liking Sgt. Troy initially but then growing to like him. So much so, that when Sgt. Scott came into the series, I didn't like Scott at all. Now that I've seen several episodes with Sgt. Troy's replacement, I've come to tolerate the new guy. However, I still like the character DC Jones that has yet to be introduced on the DVDs better than either of the two sergeants. (DC Jones will be familiar to viewers of the series when it was on A&E/Biography channels.)

Ardent fan of the series will welcome these new episodes. For those who have not seen this series, you can begin here with this set or start at the beginning of the series. The "early" cases have now been re-boxed into a new boxed set available online or through DVD catalogs such as Acorn or BBCAmerica.

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