Death in Paradise hots up for a new series

Friday:Death in Paradise; (BBC1, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 5:00 pm
DI Neville Parker
DI Neville Parker

Following the feature-length Christmas special, the gentle, Caribbean-set detective drama is now back for an 11th series, but just what it is that makes Death in Paradise so enduring?

Well, as leading man Ralf Little says: “The murders and the puzzles are genuinely exciting, intriguing and satisfying. [The show’s bosses] understand the interplay with characters, they cast the show really well and they’ve got a really good sense of what people want to watch and how the characters develop. It’s a show that’s incredibly unique and looks like nothing else.”

But perhaps we shouldn’t underestimate the power of a bit of Caribbean sunshine to lift the post-festive season blues. New series of Death in Paradise tend to start in January, because that’s when we need them the most.

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It could also be a factor in why the show attract such impressive casts. Although there have been plenty of departures over the years – Little was following in the footsteps of Ben Miller, Kris Marshall and Ardal O’Hanlon when he joined as the resident fish-out-of-water detective, and there have been other staffing shake-up at the station – there have also been plenty of new recruits.

In this series, the guest stars include Tamzin Outhwaite, Nicholas Bailey, Jason Done, Ben Onwuke and Ben Starr among many others.

Viewers are also about to be introduced to a new member of the Saint Marie police team in the form of Naomi Thomas, played by Shantol Jackson. The ambitious young sergeant sees the job as her big break and is determined to make her mark. However, will her can-do attitude and unwavering work ethic lead her to clash with Marlon (Tahj Miles), who takes a more laidback, quirky approach to policing?

Speaking of relationships between colleagues, season 10 ended on a cliff-hanger as Neville (Little) was on the verge of telling Florence (Josephine Jobert) how he felt about her. The Christmas special let viewers see what the outcome was, and now they have to deal with the aftermath.

It could also be a factor in Florence’s decision-making process when the Commissioner (Don Warrington) asks her to go undercover on another island, leaving her questioning whether she is ready to face her fears. If that wasn’t enough to potentially upset Neville’s well-ordered life, there was also the arrival of his chaotic sister, Izzy (Kate O’Flynn).

Of course, there are also the ingenious murder mysteries, as over the course of the series, the cops investigate a skydiver who was apparently stabbed in mid-air, a killer at a concert and a strange case at a rehab clinic.

However, we begin with a seemingly simple kidnapping case, which might sound dramatic to other police forces, but probably sounds like a refreshing change of pace for Neville and co.

As viewers will have predicted though, the abduction eventually leads to murder. So, the cops must work out why the plan went wrong and who is responsible.

Jake Fairbrother, Aron Julius, Petra Letang and Marcus Onilude also star.

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