Midsomer Murders (1997– )
7.7/10
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Down Among the Dead Men 

Expert blackmailer Martin Barret is murdered and there is no shortage of suspects.

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(screenplay), (characters)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Martin Barrett
Charlotte Emmerson ...
Hayley Redfern
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Jack Fothergill
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Ruby Wilmott
Rob Edwards ...
Richard Florian
Christine Kavanagh ...
Margaret Florian
Arthur Kohn ...
Billy
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Reg
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Sir John Waverley
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Peter Hatchard
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Storyline

Another kitchen in Midsomer is the setting for a murder, this time the shotgun killing of a man who has been blackmailing more than one member of the local community. Barnaby and Jones must uncover the secrets each suspect has been hoping to keep hidden, and their investigation includes a respected man who once ran a school for wayward girls, a pub owner who may have shorted the tax man on inheritance taxes, and a couple whose weekend trips to the seashore might be more than for a relaxing whiff of sea air. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

12 March 2006 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

[first lines]
Martin Barrett: Mrs Redfern?
Hayley Redfern: Yes.
Martin Barrett: How nice to meet you.
Hayley Redfern: You mean you're Martin Barrett?
Martin Barrett: Yes. I think we both expected someone a little different.
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User Reviews

 
Decent if not great 'Midsomer Murders' episode
5 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Despite being nowhere near as good nowadays, and even the Tom Barnaby-era had its not-so-good episodes ("Second Sight", "The Electric Vendetta" and "The Straw Woman" being notable previous episodes in this regard), 'Midsomer Murders' is still one of my most watched and re-watched shows.

Season 9 got off to a brilliant start with "The House in the Woods", a great introduction to Jones with one of the show's most unexpected and ingenious endings and George Baker's performance being one of the show's best supporting turns. "Dead Letters" was a couple of steps down, with a miscast Simon Callow and a couple of things either not needed or needed to be elaborated upon more, but was still intriguing and had a few nice references to past episodes. "Vixen's Run" also had faults, but was also a lot of fun.

"Down Among the Dead Men" is a decent 'Midsomer Murders' episode, but not a great one. The case is solved via too many coincidences in a case with too few suspects (yes even for a victim as loathsome as the one here, one of the show's most loathsome perhaps) and too few twists. The ending is also rather far-fetched.

However, the production values as always are top notch, with to die for scenery, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre. The use of "Au Fond Du Temple Saint" (aka 'The Pearl Fisher Duet') from Bizet's 'Les Pecheurs De Perles' was inspired, and somewhat ironic considering the duet is about friendship and the scene was as long away from friendly as one can get.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice quirky humour (especially in the dialogue between Barnaby and Jones, which made me laugh out loud more than once), a grimness and with characters that are colourful and eccentric. The story, starting off with a bang with a very well-staged murder with suspenseful build-up, is absorbing, never simplistic (even with only one murder rather than the often 2+), never confusing and the maturity that 'Midsomer Murders' has when on form is more than evident here.

The acting is fine, with John Nettles a joy and Jason Hughes bringing appeal and nice wry humour to Jones. The two work extremely well together. The rest of the supporting cast fare very well, Paul Freeman very good especially.

All in all, decent if not great. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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