« You never told me how he died.
- Unusually. »
Series 16 of Midsomer Murders started on December 24, 2013 with an uneven Christmas special. The Christmas Haunting introduced stage and TV actor Gwilym Lee as Charlie Nelson, the new DS of DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon). It also tried to give a proper exit to DS Ben Jones because actor Jason Hughes left after the previous series. Nelson looks like the little brother of Broadchurch's DI Alec Hardy and this week we learn he can swim (« Wild swimming. It's all the rage. ») He's not the only change in this series as John's Wife Sarah, played by Fiona Dolman, is pregnant.
Written by Paul Logue and helmed by Alex Pillai, who directed series 15's excellent premiere, Let Us Prey is undoubtedly far better than the special. A severe flood alert and some "medieval" murders (including a very nasty one) disturb Midsomer St. Claire. DS Nelson tries to cope with lodging in the messy house of pathologist Dr Kate Wilding (Tamzin Malleson). Kate finds his fitness habits equally challenging. John doesn't care; soon his study will be invaded by baby things (« How many babies are we having? »).
« Isn't it beautiful? All that misery and suffering. Almost makes me tingle. »
Rebecca Front plays with an obvious pleasure the role of a scheming vicar. Of course in Lewis she was... Innocent. Vincent Regan, William Beck and the great Michael Jayston deliver top-notch performances. Jayston's character talks about fatherhood with Barnaby (« Ha! You're scared stiff. And if not, you have no business being a father. »). Jason Hughes' successor Gwilym Lee quickly found his feet (« It's the 21st Century, sir. ») Paul Copley, Andrea Lowe and William Postlethwaite are amongst the other guest stars.
This 16th series is produced by Louise Sutton and exec produced by Jo Wright. Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions, an All3Media company, for ITV. Series 15 was released this week on DVD in France by Koba Films (http://www.kobafilms.fr/serie/inspecteur-barnaby---saison-15-358.html).