'Death In Paradise - Season Eight'
(Ardal O'Hanlon, Joséphine Jobert, Shyko Amos, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)
Overview: The smash-hit whodunit returns! Detective Jack Mooney is starting to get to know the people and places of Saint Marie, but there’s little time for sightseeing, as there are some fiendishly clever murders to solve!
DVD Verdict: For all of you avid fans of the show following along at home, by now you know that Season Eight of the terrific 'Death In Paradise' UK TV show features some new character transitions.
First off, the always put upon, yet fully animated and down to earth Danny John-Jules (Officer Dwayne Myers) has left the show. Worse yet, after episode 6 Joséphine Jobert (DS Florence Cassell) also leaves the show!
Obviously it's down to ** SPOILER ** because she is shot in one of the preceding two-part episodes and subsequently DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon) is investigated by Internal Affairs.
For reasons not obvious to me, the IA officer (a DS Madeleine Dumas) comes from Paris and is played by Aude Legastelois. Not to give much more away, but it appears she will now be replacing the character of Florence Cassell in the show.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner has indulged in a wee bit of nepotism and installed his niece, Ruby, in Jack’s team. Played by Shyko Amos, Ruby is a bubbly, sometimes bumbling, but generally effective addition.
That said she does have a tendency to indulge in physical shtick which is sometimes just short of stereotypical, big-eyed broad humor. The French addition, the aforementioned DS Madeleine Dumas appears harmless enough in the small moments we are with her, but for my money it's just too early to tell how her character will be developed (if at all, of course).
The season consists of eight 60-minute episodes and are all traditional locked-room mysteries, some of which are very clever. With a few exceptions (Anna Chancellor, Monarch of the Glen’s Alastair Mackenzie, Downton Abbey’s Rob James-Collier) there are fewer big-name guest stars this season, it has to be said though.
EPISODE 1 - When a passenger is stabbed on the express bus to Honore, Jack and his team are baffled. No-one left their seat, so how on earth did they commit murder?
EPISODE 2 - DI Jack Mooney and the team enter a nest of vipers when zoo owner Xander Shepherd is poisoned by a tranquiliser dart in the middle of the zoo grounds, leaving the family-run business in turmoil.
EPISODE 3 - DI Jack Mooney and the team are mystified when Catrina McVey, the presenter of TV holiday programme Hot Shots, is found washed up on the shore near her Paradise Bay hotel.
EPISODE 4 - In the wake of his father's death, Benedict Dacre rules the roost at the Paradise Skies Coffee plantation - but all is not plain sailing.
EPISODE 5 - In this first episode of a two-part special, a shadow is cast over a small fishing community in the village of Belle Mer when their festival queen 'Mama D'Mer' Tiana, is murdered.
EPISODE 6 - In the second episode of this two-part special, the Honoré police team are left stunned by another murder which is connected to the Tiana case.
EPISODE 7 - Saint Marie mourns when radio legend Dezzie Dixon is murdered live on air, and Jack must unravel a complex mystery to find the culprit.
EPISODE 8 - When a storm hits Saint Marie the Police Station becomes a crime scene. A man is found dead, locked inside, but how did he get in there - and how did the killer escape without touching any of the locks?
In closing, the overall level of quality remains high here in Season Eight and the individual episodes are generally entertaining and diverting. The new additions, especially Ruby actually grow on you after a while and soon you are not reflecting on the good times spent with the long gone original cast.
As always, the stories are comic cozies with a bit of violence, but largely suitable for family viewing. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.