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Is Time Running Out For Death In Paradise?

Death In Paradise is a hit crime series set on a fictional tropical island called Saint Marie, near Saint Lucia. This TV series has been quite popular with fans on the English streaming platform BBC iPLayer. The series follows the local CID unit on the Island. Since the show started in 2011, ratings have been slowly falling. It’s nowhere near as bad as Doctor Who ratings but they are falling. In this post I will entertain the question: Is Death In Paradise Over? and discuss the series and its future.

This article contains spoilers! We advise watching Death In Paradise before reading.

Contents:

Quick overview

The series follows the local and only Police CID, as they tackle each case at a time, with the overwhelming majority being murders. In fact, the Island has an insane murder rate, but then again, that fits with the title of the series. The thing about Death In Paradise is that the cast is constantly changing. The only two original characters that remain currently, are the police commissioner, Selwyn Pattison, and the manager of the bar the characters frequently attend, Catherine Bordey.

This ever-changing and also a non-expanding cast of characters means that often it’s hard to become accustomed to them when we know they are going to leave soon. I don’t really understand how the showrunners expect that this will work. Even the police get changed as well. It’s really not the best. There’s more to discuss, but it really begs the question: Is Death In Paradise Over?

Is Death In Paradise Over?
Is Death In Paradise Over?

On top of this I’ll be talking about the storylines of some of the episodes, which almost always revolve around murder. Almost, every and I mean every episode normally revolves around some type of murder that the team have to solve.

The plots are good but that’s not the problem

Most of the plots are quite interesting and enjoyable. They are well-written and funny, sometimes being quite sad & moving. You can always count on each episode being pretty engaging and well thought out, with the murderer always being revealed at the end. It’s always quite hard to work it out.

However, when there is always a shift of characters, it’s quite hard to grow accustomed to them. An example would be at the beginning of Season 3, where the main protagonist, David Poole, is stabbed to death in a sunchair by a woman pretending one of his old companions from university, with the help of an accomplice. Here’s where the introduction of the new detective comes in, DI Humphrey Goodman. Goodman is a detective from England, and just like how David was brought in, Goodman is brought in to solve Richard’s gruesome murder.

Richard is murdered in a sun chair in Death In Paradise
Richard is murdered in a sunchair in Death In Paradise

After he solves Richard’s murder, Goodman stays for a while until a case in England involving a man who died on the Island. Goodman ends up in England and sees a friendly girl he saw on the Island who he also knew a bit before he went to Saint Marie. After previously rejecting his Ex-Girlfriend who came to Saint Marie to rekindle things, Humphrey realises that love is important and you don’t get many chances, choosing to stay with her in England.

Now, this is where DI Jack Mooney, the detective who was in relay with Goodman swaps with him to become the leading detective on the Island, along with DS Cassell. After Jack, there is the current main character Neville Parker. Now Neville is my least favourite character, second only to Jack Mooney.

Character changes are not favourable

Carrying on from my previous point, when Neville came in and I saw his first episode I sighed with disappointment. He really was not what the series needed. What’s special about this guy? He gets sunburnt easily, he’s a clean freak, and he gets rashes very regularly as well. Oh, and he records all case notes on a recorder like he’s from the 1990s. Brilliant.

Regardless of how much I hated the new introduction of this character, the point I’m trying to make is that this ever-changing cast is not comfortable or favourable at all. When the only characters that don’t change are the two side characters it makes the series start to lose its touch. This started to happen around the time Jack Mooney came in. Ever since then, it has not been the same.

The question is: how long can the series keep this up? and Is Death In Paradise Over? My answer is yes. With this constant shift in new characters, especially the main ones, it means we grow accustomed to a character, then later they just leave or get killed in Richards‘s case. How is this healthy for such a long-running series like Death In Paradise? It can’t be.

The Series doesn’t compare well

In TV shows like Game Of Thrones, there are main characters like Aya Stark and Jamie Lannister. These characters are recurring, they have arcs and conflict and all of them get changed in some way. We grow close to them, some we hate, some we love, but the point is that they are there to stay. Some die off, like Ned for example, but their deaths are for a reason. In Ned’s case, his death ignites the war that really kicks off the main events of Game Of Thrones.

Nothing even close to this happens in Death In Paradise because, by the time we have grown to like them, their time is already up. They’re either replaced or dead. Apart from Dwayne, they do not stay in the series for more than three seasons. The only characters that are “originals” are Catherine the bar manager and the Police Commissioner.

Like I said before when the only characters who don’t change are side ones who don’t have much screen time, it’s hard not to become bored with this ever-changing cast.

Dwayne’s departure (and replacement)

Dwayne was the oldest character who left, appearing in 7 consecutive series, and when he did, it really did not feel great at all. He was a great character. He was charming, funny, knowledgeable, witty, a tiny bit unprofessional and he would always “know a thing or two” about something, someplace or someone on Saint Maire. When Dwayne left it really felt like the series was going downhill, and with his replacement not being funny at all in the slightest, his departure, in my opinion, sealed the series’ fate, begging the question: Is Death In Paradise over?

Is Death In Paradise Over?
Is Death In Paradise Over? – Cradle View

Coming back to Dwayne leaving, which wasn’t much of a leave at all, (more of disappearance if you ask me) it’s crap, poorly done and a dis-service to such a long-running and respected character.

He doesn’t even get a proper send-off, just a half-hearted mention from Mooney about some boat trip with his dad and that’s it. I haven’t looked into it properly, maybe the actor had problems with the show-runners and stormed out, but that doesn’t really fit.

Anyway, when one of my favourite characters who was as original as could be, was taken out of the show like this, it really did not sit well with me. At all. The worst part was that his replacement was terrible. Now, my issue is not that she’s female at all, I loved characters like DS Camille Bordey, don’t get me wrong. What I’m getting at is that her character was a sorry replacement for Dwayne.

Officer Ruby Patterson was un-funny, annoying, irresponsible, unprofessional, incompetent, stupid and a horrible fit for Dwayne‘s replacement. It was really a kick in the face when Dwayne left, but the introduction of Ruby was really the icing on the cake. At least when Fidel left, it was done in a positive way, he was taking his exams and had something good he was leaving for, and his replacement, JP was a good fit. He was eager to learn from “the mighty Dwayne Myers” and was really a friendly, diligent officer who also was quite clever.

I did not get this vibe from Ruby at all, there was barely anything likeable or admirable about her. She only really got hired because she was the commissioner’s niece I think, and almost got herself fired by the very person that hired her, and for a very stupid reason, only remaining because she was related to the commissioner, who benevolently gave her a second chance.

The cast is getting worse, not better

You can understand my grievances with Dwayne leaving and how Death In Paradise handled it. What’s more annoying is that the characters aren’t even getting better. In fact, the opposite is occurring. If you, like me, think Ruby was bad just wait to see who they pair her up with when Hooper leaves, he’s even worse. Speaking of which…..

Meet Trainee Officer Marlon Pryce, a juvenile convicted criminal with a predictable backstory. Now, at first glance, you think, a past criminal, as a police officer in the Saint Marie Police? How is that possible? Well, that’s what I thought, and considering Saint Marie is supposed to be a colony of France, a country where you are guilty until proven innocent, you’d think that there would be no way this guy would even be allowed to have a job, let alone one in the police. Well, you’d be wrong, because he turns out to be the most recent member of the police force, along with Ruby, who later leaves and thankfully gets replaced.

Again, there is not much to go on. His character isn’t well-written, or genuine and I don’t get the same vibe as I did from Florence, Fidel, Dwayne, or even JP. Each of them had something about them which was unique, something funny or admirable. With Marlon, you just don’t get that. I think his actors ok but like I said, most of the characters since series 7 are going downhill. He’s also quite young, in his 20s, making him look and sound quite inexperienced, unlike the mighty Dwayne.

Also, when you pair him with an officer like Ruby, who is also quite young, the two aren’t the duo that Death In Paradise needs to stay afloat. In my opinion, this all started with Mooney, who wasn’t great. When he came in I knew the series had barely anything left to offer. This got even worse with Neville, but I’ll come to that later.

The character chemistry degraded, starting with Mooney

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Ardal O’Hanlon is a great actor. He played a very funny part in Father Ted, being the Father’s subordinate. However, in Death In Paradise, he just doesn’t have it. Let me explain. The reason why seasons 1 and 2 were the best wasn’t because of the plots or settings, although they did play a big part. It was mainly because of the chemistry between the main characters. Mostly DS Bordey and DI Poole.

These two worked a treat together! They had their differences, but that was the point. Richard was all up-tight and professional, doing everything by the book, always wearing his suit, even in the blazing heat. He always carried around his briefcase and made sure everything was done to the standard of policing he was used to in England.

Meanwhile, Camille was relaxed, laid back, funny and the near opposite of Richard, always teasing him and making fun of his accent and his customs, with Camille being French and Richard being English.

These two were great together, and I’m so grateful we got them for two seasons. As I said, the chemistry was great and they kept each other in line, even when dealing with difficult and hardcore cases. This meant we, as the audience, were routing for both of them, making the conclusion of a successful case seem even more satisfactory and fulfilling.

To be honest, I’m gutted they killed Richard, he was a wonderful, well-written loveable character, who, when he was killed made the series really lose its touch, even from series two. His replacement, Goodman, wasn’t that bad, but he just wasn’t the same. Speaking of Goodman what made him unique?

New Death In Paradise Police Officers
New Death In Paradise Police Officers – cradleview.net

Well, the thing about Goodman that made his character popular with me and a good fit for the series was the kind of clumsy, untidy, and the slightly unprofessional way he presented himself. He fumbled his words sometimes and didn’t dress that smart for a detective, but still, he was a good replacement. Furthermore, it was Goodman, with the help of David’s old team that cleverly solved Richard’s death, brilliantly setting him up as the main detective on the Honoré Police CID, opting to stay put on the Island when asked to do so by the Police Commissioner.

Over the three series Goodman appeared in, he grew on me, and although he was in no way as good as Richard, his funny, sometimes awkward and uncoordinated attitude to investigations made his character amiable and interesting, especially when his character was built on. An example of this is when his father came to visit him or when he elected to remain in England to stay with Martha Lloyd, the woman he bumped into (and nearly ran over) on Saint Marie.

Regardless of how you or I feel about Goodman, we can’t deny his role on the Island and in all the investigations he took part in, cemented him as one of the few best characters in the series, being a memorable and warming addition to the series. Unfortunately, his successor did not have that effect. This brings me to Mooney.

What was wrong with Mooney? – Well, it’s not just how he looked or sounded. It’s that he feels recycled. He’s not funny, and there isn’t really anything that makes him unique. He’s from Ireland, as you can tell, and this distances him from both Richard and Goodman, the two were from England, and you could tell from their accents. With Mooney, a strictly Irish vibe is given off, his mannerisms are noticeable and he’s normally quite upbeat and outgoing, always in a positive mood. I don’t like the way his character was written, nor the way we see him on screen. Mooney just isn’t authentic, he’s smart but not in the same way as Goodman or Richard. It feels fake.

He’s just another recycled character but this time with nothing that admirable about him. He doesn’t have a cool trait, and the only thing interested about him is his daughter who lives on the Island with him. And it’s not like she’s going anywhere. Apart from this, Mooney is very boring and hard to watch. I much prefer Richard & Goodman, especially Richard for the fact he was so good when paired with Camille until he got killed off.

Death In Paradise
Death In Paradise Season 3

They should have just made him leave for a case in England and not return until later. The point of this is that they can use him in later episodes. Having him killed in such a brutal manner and then making sure that we know he is 100% dead is a bad thing to do because you can’t bring him back.

This was done with the help of the actor that plays DI Parker in the latest series, as he appears as a side character in one of the episodes of the earlier seasons, only to return as the main character of the series with a smarter haircut. Going back to the character chemistry though, this also wasn’t great in the series. Florance is a good character, with a soft voice and calming aura.

She is also fun and friendly, making her an easy fit for Mooney after she’d previously been a uniformed officer before she was promoted to Detective when she was with Goodman.

Yet the chemistry was bad, and their interactions seems fake. Why was this though? It just seemed like there was no way that Mooney would really want to stay there with his Daughter for a long period of time. His character was not believable. That’s the great thing that made some of the other characters seem real and authentic. Mooney didn’t have this.

Characters like Richard and even Goodman had more legitimate reasons to stay on the Island and actually have a good reason for being there in the first place. Richard had been sent there to solve the murder of the last head of the police who was there. After this, he’s asked to stay in Saint Marie, and over time he builds relationships with some of the characters and solves lots of crimes, earning respect from the commissioner.

When he dies, Goodman is brought in for the same reason Richard was. After recently breaking up with his girlfriend, who “left me a voice message on an answering machine”, it’s evident Goodman needs a new start in life. He gets the message while she is in England, waiting for her to come to him so they can live together on the Island, while he works as a serving detective to solve the murders there.

Selwyn Patterson in the drivers seat of a Taxi

When Goodman stays on the Island, he slowly starts to realise that his girlfriend is not going to join him. We see this playoff in real-time, as he has to answer invasive questions about his girlfriend and when she’ll be joining him by Dwayne and Camille. When Mooney is sent in, he really does not have that much of a reason to stay on the Island, cementing this unauthentic feeling I get about him.

That’s not the only issue I have with Mooney. Another example of why Mooney is not the best character is in Series 7, Episode 1, where Mooney and the team investigate the death of a billionaire when she falls off the balcony to her death. The problem is, we’ve already had this plot. It’s just been recycled. In Series 1, Episode 2, Richard is at a resort, when he witnesses the death of a bride as she falls from her balcony to her death.

Both are high-profile people, with a lot of enemies. The story isn’t great at all, considering it’s a copy. We hardly feel empathy for the billionaire because of her past, which makes the story not as believable as it should be. Mooney’s performance didn’t do any good either. When you have a badly recycled plot line from one of the series’ earliest episodes, with a team that’s a downgrade from the original, with worse chemistry and humour, it doesn’t make for good viewing.

Either way, Mooney is not where it starts. Before I mentioned Ruby, however, she and Marlone are still not the worse characters so far in the series, or in the whole series for that matter. The worst character in Death In Paradise is DI Neville Parker. The nail in the coffin. His addition to Death In Paradise has truly sealed the series’ fate. On the other hand, is it for good?

Is Death In Paradise over? & was DI Parker the final nail in the coffin?

The nail in the coffin for this series is the character Neville Parker. What a sorry inclusion to the once great and lovable Death In Paradise main characters. If you like him then that’s fine. At least let me explain why he is the worst addition to Death In Paradise. DI Neville Parker isn’t unique. He’s not only recycled but a terrible rip-off of all of the characters from the series.

It’s a shame the writers couldn’t come up with anything better and even though the character change was inevitably going to happen, a well-written and detailed character who was unique, funny, charming, good with the other characters and also smart and clever was heavily needed. They needed to come up with someone who was just as good as DI Humphrey Goodman, and almost as good as or better than Richard. This did not happen, and the result we were given in Series 9 was pitiful.

The introduction of this character was not great at all, and after looking back on the episode I was reminded of this. He comes out of the airport in the first episode he’s in and guesses what? He gets burnt from the sun and recoils back into the shadows in horror like a vampire. Now, for this series, first impressions are everything. This was horrible to watch and it really made me think of how much a moron this character is. This is even more true when you compare him to his predecessors.

parker and DS Thomas interview a suspect

After the sun moment, he is greeted by his colleagues who are waiting for him. He says, “just a sec” then proceeds to get a large tub of cream out of his bag, carefully squirting it onto fingers and rubbing them together as he begins to rub his ears and face weirdly, like a complete loser, while the others watch. How this is supposed to make me like the character is beyond me.

I look down on him in this scene, I’m supposed to like him. He even sticks his fingers in his ears and then goes over to them to shake their hands, although he uses a dirty rag to briefly clean them. Even so, it’s unbelievable. Afterwards, they head to the scene where Parker makes some audio notes in his recorder. This episode was hard to watch, and the way it was presented made me really feel bad about Death In Paradise.

Parker doesn’t have anything cool or individual about him. He has a rash and uses a tape recorder. Also, he’s a clean freak. He’s not funny, just awkward, and if it means that the writers are relying on awkward humour, then this is not a good sign at all. This indicates they have run out of good jokes and well-written scenes that made the chemistry between the previous characters so good and fun to watch.

Camille speaks to Richard about the body.

Instead, we’ve got a terrible bunch of characters to sit with through these over 40-minute episodes. This consists of Marlone, Neville and now DS Niomi Jackson, who was previously a cop but is now a Detective. After Ruby left, she became Marlone’s new partner. This is a terrible outlook for the series now. On top of that, in the most recent episodes, It’s just Marlone, Sergeant Naomi Thomas, who’s now a detective and Parker. It’s literally a 3 person police squad, it’s just really not the same anymore.

Neville looks like a high school teacher. With his backpack hanging from one strap and his short hair and casual look, he certainly looks like he belongs somewhere else, that’s for sure. Even Goodman and Mooney looked better than him, and even though Goodman’s look was a little scruffy, he made up for it with his character, considering that’s what it was all about.

With Neville, it just feels like a repeat of everything we’ve seen before, with all the recycled attributes that Goodman, Mooney and Richard had only worse and not authentic. To put it more blankly the current cast of Death In Paradise, the continued remix of old plot lines the addition of characters who have already appeared in previous episodes (Parker for example), also the chemistry with the new cast that has faded away and basically become non-existent – all of this, with the addition that the series has been so long-running anyway, really, in my opinion, means Death In Paradise has not got long left.

Conclusion

As you can tell, I’m passionate about Death In Paradise. I first watched this show soon after it came out in 2012. I really liked the style and mood that Death In Paradise offered me. Being a native of England, a place where it’s certainly not always sunny, this wonderful series would take me to another place far from the place I grew up. I had a brilliant cast of characters to enjoy, which were well written, likeable, funny and real. Since then, I’ve watched the series travel to where it is now and therefore, in my opinion, I can say that Death In Paradise is at the worst point it has been at any point.

It’s a far cry from the well-written and lovable characters, original plots and enchanting environments on the lush but deadly island of Saint Marie that we got in what I call the Golden Days from Series 1 and 2. The way I see it, there is no way that Death In Paradise can recover and get back to where it was. This is the reason I wrote this article.

Without a doubt, I’m happy I got to watch this show from when it came out, watching each episode as soon as I had a bit of free time to spare. I even watched it with a friend from time to time. Typically, it isn’t something that I would have watched. I’m more into True Crime such as Britain’s Darkest Taboos or Crimes that Shook Britain and hard-line Crime Dramas like Line of Duty.

Death In Paradise is sort of a relaxed Crime series with elements of comedy in it. Either way, I had a good time with it, and it’s sad that the series is unlikely to go on. I suspect it will get two more seasons at best. I hope you enjoyed this article and found it entertaining. If agree or disagree with me, please leave a comment below so we can discuss it further, that would be greatly appreciated. Please like and share this article, and sign up to our email list below, to get updates on new posts like this directly to your inbox. We do not share your email with any 3rd parties.

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