Monday, January 20, 2014
Each episode of the Midsomer Murders series is a delicious chocolate truffle of English "cozy" against the background of the idyllic English countryside and the placid domesticity of the Barnaby household. The actual mystery takes a back seat to the superb, nuanced acting and the droll interactions between Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby (John Nettles) and his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), DS Dan Scott (John Hopkins) and later, DS Ben Jones (Jason Hughes). In one of my favorites, Picture of Innocence, the tongue-in-cheek humor abounded; for instance, hilariously, the slow-motion approach of the three leather-clad toughs swinging their point-and-shoot digital cameras as if they were nunchakus, a scene reminiscent of the approach of the Jets in Shark territory in West Side Story. The special treat in this episode: the Dustin Hoffman-esque facial expressions and body language of Eddie Carfax (Adrian Scarborough) when he was in a scene, but not in a speaking role. Also, John Barnaby and his wife, Joyce (Jane Wymark), are entirely believable as a married couple. Joyce Barnaby's staid sensibility is the perfect foil to her sometimes stubborn husband.