Wednesday, 13 January 2016


[Spoiler-Free] Felicity Ford, a forest ranger, is blinded by mysterious lights while driving by night between Midsomer Stanton and Cooper Hill. The next morning her car is found abandoned at the roadside. 

The body of Felicity is discovered nearby, in a sort of black pod and covered with a dark substance.

The bottom line: Too bad that Mulder and Scully weren't available.

The 18th series of Midsomer Murders, the venerable ITV detective drama, started last week with the mother of all the false good ideas. At least The Incident at Cooper Hill, written by Paul Logue and directed by Renny Rye, brings back murder in Midsomer County. This week DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, more placid than ever) and DS Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee) are in pure X-Files territory. Something comes from the sky with a rush of wind and blinding lights to cover people with some black slime that even Dr Kam Karimore (Manjinder Virk), the new forensic pathologist, can't identify.

Barnaby and Nelson investigate in the village of Cooper Hill, a famous UFO hotspot. It's also a place where military secrecy meets family secrets and secret love stories. Oh, it's John's birthday. UFOs and their hunters would have been solid gold for Midsomer Murders during the Tom Barnaby era or when his cousin arrived. Unfortunately, the ITV stalwart lost its spark and wit a couple of series ago and here it shows again. Only Renny Rye's direction and the guest cast save The Incident at Cooper Hill.

Midsomer regular helmer Rye nails it right from the pre-credit sequence with the nightly scenes of the episode and in the bunker. English actor Pip Torrens delivers an impressive performance as Group Captain Jeremy Ford. Alison Steadman (Abigail Tonev) and Steve Oram (Nathan Tonev) manage to make the last 30 minutes watchable. Michelle Collins, Steve Evets, Steve Toussaint and Sîan Webber are the other guest actors. Fiona Dolman plays Sarah Barnaby.

Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions Ltd, an All3Media company, for ITV. Phil Hunter is the producer. Jo Wright exec produces. Music composed by Jim Parker.

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