Friday, December 11, 2015

Best John Nettles Midsomer Murders Episodes

“What the detective story is about is not murder but the restoration of order.”- P D James

When compared against the great British detective series - including Thaw's Morse (and Whately's Lewis), Hickson' Miss Marple, and Kitchen's Foyle's War, it is easy to think of Nettles' Midsomer Murders as a bit of a lightweight.  The Chief Inspector is happily married.  Most episode titles are almost comically bland.

But Midsomer stands on equal footing with some of the greats.   The balance is simply shifted superficially more towards light and bright than gravitas. Midsomer Murders may even be best appreciated for presenting extraordinary houses, cars, gardens, events, views, even roads with a blasé that almost is convincing.  And Nettles' performance allows guests to shine.

As with all of these British detective series, one can re-watch them many, many times, enjoying plots and places early on and then subsequently the richness of the performances, foreshadowing, and very dry humor.

Here are some favorite episodes:

Series One and Two
  • The Killings at Badger's Drift
  • Written in Blood
  • Death of a Hollow Man
  • Death's Shadow 
  • Strangler's Wood
Series Three and Four
  • Dead Man's Eleven
  • Death of a Stranger
  • Judgement Day
Series Five and Six
  • Ring Out Your Dead
  • Murder on St Malley's Day
  • Market for Murder.
  • A Worm in the Bud
  • A Talent for Life
Series Seven
  • The Maid in Splendour
Series Eight
  • Dead in the Water
Series Nine
  • Country Matters
Series Ten
  • Death and Dust
Series Eleven
  • Blood Wedding
Series Twelve
  • Dogleg Murders
  • The Creeper
  • The Great and The Good
Series Thirteen
  • The Made-to-Measure Murders
  • Master Class
Some prefer to get DVDs or Blu-rays from, as they are less expensive, packaged by actual season/series, and most importantly have not had some small scenes cut out as can be the case with the American versions.  (One does needs a region-free media player).  Streaming services and libraries are also highly recommended.

Here are some of the Amazon US links for reference.  The order is correct, but the "Series" don't necessarily match up with the Seasons/Series found elsewhere, including above.  Check the Amazon description to confirm specific episodes.
  • Midsomer Murders, Series 1 <> (Including: The Killings at Badger’s Drift, Written in Blood, Death of a Hollow Man)
  • Midsomer Murders, Series 2 <> (Including: Death’s Shadow, Strangler’s Wood, Dead Man’s Eleven)
  • Midsomer Murders, Series 5 <> (Including: Market for Murder, A Worm in the Bud, Ring Out Your Dead, Murder on St. Malley’s Day)
  • Midsomer Murders, Series 13 <>  (Dance with the Dead / The Animal Within / King's Crystal / The Axeman Cometh)
  • Midsomer Murders, Series 14 <> (Death & Dust / A Picture of Innocence / They Seek Him Here / Death in a Chocolate Box)
  • Midsomer Murders: Set 16 <> (Midsomer Life / The Magician's Nephew / Days of Misrule / Talking to the Dead)
  • Midsomer Murders: Set 17 <>  (The Dogleg Murders / The Black Book / Secrets and Spies / The Glitch)
  • Midsomer Murders: Set 19 <> (The Made-to-Measure Murders / The Sword of Guillaume / Blood on the Saddle / The Silent Land)
  • Midsomer Murders: Set 20 <> (Master Class / The Noble Art / Not in My Backyard / Fit for Murder)