It's always a delight when a new series of BBC’s Thursday night murder mystery show, Death in Paradise, begins, bringing a bit of Caribbean sunshine to a dreary January. The show centres around a British detective working on the fictional island of Saint Marie, along with a team of local police, and each week there is a new and seemingly impossible murder to solve. The latest series, however, offers a new change to the show: the departure of long-term fan favourite character Dwayne Myers, played by Danny John-Jules. It was hinted at the end of the last series that the character would not be in series eight, and after John-Jules’ recent Strictly Come Dancing success, it wasn’t exactly a surprise to not see him in the line-up, although those who have followed the show from the start will notice that his departure means that there is nobody from the original main cast left, which is something of a shame. However, when one officer leaves the Saint Marie police department, another soon appears to take their place, and this series’ new addition is Ruby Patterson (Shyko Amos), an energetic and talkative young woman straight out of police training.
The changes to the cast this series adds a whole new dynamic to the show, which is refreshing and highly interesting to watch. Newcomer Ruby is the niece of gruff and intimidating police commissioner Selwyn Patterson (Don Warrington), and so brings out a previously unseen softer side to his character, leading to some quite hilarious reactions from the rest of the cast. Second-in-command DS Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert) also has a new relationship this series, in the form of boyfriend Patrice (Leemore Marrett Jr). Not much is known about Patrice from the first episode, so it will be interesting to see how his character and relationship with Florence develop as the series goes on, especially as DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon) appears to be acting as a protective father-figure to Florence in this situation, which is great.
The series got off to a great start with ‘Murder on the Honore Express’, which aired on January 10th, and involved the investigation of a man killed on a bus with only four other passengers. The title is a clever and deliberately misleading reference to the famous Agatha Christie work Murder on the Orient Express, featuring iconic sleuth Hercule Poirot, and this offers murder mystery fans lots of fun little things to spot as the story develops. As well as mystery, this episode also features plenty of humour and heart, which the show has always delivered in perfect amounts, and a few famous faces to look out for throughout. The case is an unusual and difficult one for the team to solve, and the inspector solves it using a seemingly-useless piece of evidence, as often happens on the show, but the cleverness of it all has left viewers with high expectations for the rest of the series.
Overall, Death in Paradise has always been a fun and interesting show, with clever twists and hilarious running jokes, and so far, this new series seems to be no exception. The cast is diverse, and both the writing and acting is excellent, making Death in Paradise series eight a must-watch this winter!