Midsomer Murders: Season 1, Episode 1

The Killings at Badger's Drift (5 Jul. 1998)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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An elderly woman is found dead in her cottage and DCI Tom Barnaby is convinced the death is not down to natural causes.



(screenplay), (novel)
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Casey ...
Jane Wymark ...
Laura Howard ...
Barry Jackson ...
Renée Asherson ...
Emily Simpson (as Renee Asherson)
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Lucy Bellringer
Michael Lacey
Katherine Lacey
Henry Trace
Selina Cadell ...
Phyllis Cadell
Richard Cant ...
Elizabeth Spriggs ...
Iris Rainbird
Bill Wallis ...
Dr. Trevor Lessiter


When Emilyn Simpson is found dead in her house, DCI Barnaby's instincts all lead him to suspect murder. Although she was elderly and everyone seems to have liked her, it seem she may have seen something in the woods that she shouldn't have. There are numerous suspects: the local doctor who lies about his alibi, Iris Rainbird, the local busybody who seems to live beyond her means or her son Dennis, who is the local undertaker. Barnaby also receives information that a death the previous year may not have been an accident. When two other residents of Badger's Drift are murdered, Barnaby uncovers an illicit love affair that the protagonists must keep secret. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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5 July 1998 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


First entry in the popular series. See more »


When showing the shooting of Annabelle Trace by Katherine Lacey she is within a foot of Michael Lacey, who would of either be killed or injured by a shot gun blast because of his closeness to the victim. See more »


[first lines]
Dr Trevor Lessiter: Hello, Miss Simpson. Have a very good afternoon.
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User Reviews

the first episode of this 16-year-old series (and counting)
26 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hard to believe, but after 16 years, Midsomer Murders is still in production, now with a new star, Neil Dudgeon, who plays the original Inspector Barnaby's cousin. John Nettles left the show in 2011, at the age of 68, and appears to have retired, as has his character.

"The Killing at Badger's Drift," from 1997, was a good start to the series - a good, dark story that introduces the audience to Barnaby and his assistant at that time, Sgt Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey).

When an elderly woman is found dead in her home, it looks like it could have been an accident. On further investigation, though, it seems as though she was murdered. She had called a helpline after returning from a sojourn in the woods, where she was looking for a particular orchid, and then she made a call that wasn't completed. Her neighbor believes she was murdered because she didn't padlock her bicycle, and she slammed her door, which she never did.

The helpline operator is unable to tell Barnaby and Troy much, except that the woman was upset and said, "Just like poor Annabella." Who is Annabella? They don't know.

Two other murders follow, and soon the case involves not only murder but blackmail, false alibis, a previous accident that perhaps wasn't one, a confession, and something else extremely unpalatable and unexpected.

In this episode, we're also introduced to Barnaby's wife Joyce (Jane Wymark) and his daughter, aspiring actress Cully (Laura Howard).

Daniel Casey left the series in 2003, but shows up for Cully's wedding in 2008. I've always had a soft spot for him, maybe because he was Barnaby's first partner.

I love this series, and this was a great beginning.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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