The fictional county of Midsomer hangs onto its unofficial title as “the deadliest county in England” when three new episodes of the long-running Brit mystery, Midsomer Murders, make their North American premieres on Acorn TV next month.
Novelist Caroline Graham has authored just seven mystery titles featuring DCI Barnaby, yet there have been 100 episodes of the Brit hit Midsomer Murders to date, with more on the way as Series 17 began filming earlier this month.
And beginning next week, Acorn TV brings its Midsomer collection count up to 95 episodes when it begins screening the last three of Series 15. (Series 16’s five episodes recently finished airing on ITV in the UK, so sit tight, because these, too, should arrive stateside and north of the border in the coming months.)
Not only do these episodes cap off the 15th series of Midsomer Murders, they are the last episodes featuring Jason Hughes as DS Ben Jones — the longest-serving sidekick (52 episodes) to have worked alongside both DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) at Causton CID.
Said Hughes about his departure: “It was a tough decision for me to go, as I have had a great time working on the show, both with John Nettles and now Neil Dudgeon, and the crew are like a second family. I feel it is the right time for me to leave, and after spending seven happy years on Midsomer I am now looking at other projects, and my first one will be the pilot season in the US. It’s a new year for me career wise which I am looking forward to, and though I am sorry to say goodbye to Midsomer, I hope to be able to come back if there is a ‘special episode’ in the pipeline!” (Source: midsomermurders.org)
There’s no word of a special episode just yet, but here’s the deal with Hughes’ final three:
“Written in the Stars”
Amateur astronomer Jeremy Harper dies during a total eclipse of the sun from blunt-force trauma to the head… from a meteorite. As Barnaby and Jones investigate, they learn that the victim had more to be upset about than just the plan to extend the university observatory onto Moonstone Ridge. And when more opponents of the plan are murdered, the detectives discover that star-gazing was but one activity amongst certain members the Midsomer Stanton community.
“The Sicilian Defence”
While on her way to elope with her boyfriend, young Harriet Farmer is attacked in the woods and falls into a coma. Fast forward to a year later when, on the same day she regains consciousness, the local chess club president is murdered during the annual chess tournament. Barnaby suspects there’s a link between the attack and the killing, but Jones isn’t convinced until another murder occurs.
“Schooled in Murder”
Death by hard cheese. Not the most respectable way to go, but dairy worker Debbie Moffett’s affair with a member of the cheese board and recent kerfuffle at a Midsomer Pastures’ school board meeting didn’t help her reputation. Complicating Barnaby and Jones’ investigation of her murder are more deaths related to the school and the dairy that produces the famous Midsomer Blue cheese, and it’s up to them to find the link that connects them… and find the killer.
Midsomer Murders “Written in the Stars,” “The Sicilian Defence,” and “Schooled in Murder” debut in the US and Canada on Acorn TV beginning Monday, 5 May 2014.