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"Midsomer Murders" Shot at Dawn (2008)

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

In total disagreement

Author: musicmike702 from United States
7 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to disagree completely. I just watched this episode here in the US and thought it was as good as any. I liked the story although I think I guessed who the killer was early on. There was humor in it too, more than many of the eps I've seen have had. I hope MM goes on forever. I also love the production values that this series uses. Makes it almost like watching a movie for each episode. And being from the US and a car lover, I love watching of the interesting automobiles that we don't see here in the US, although some of them are imported here. I just wish some network here in the US would start running these from day one. I felt betrayed when Biography channel dropped it, along with Poirot.

Long Live Midsomer Murders.

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19 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

One of the poorest Midsomer Murders episodes I've seen.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
2 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Midsomer Murders: Shot at Dawn is set in the small village of Midsomer Parva where a 90 plus year old feud between the upper-class Hammond family & the common Hicks family has persisted through several generations. After a World War I battle re-enactment several village lads play a joke on the bitter, grumpy, bullying stiff-upper-lipped ex-soldier Colonel Henry Hammond (Donald Sinden). Mickey (Lloyd Hutchinson) & three of his mates stage a mock execution to scare Henry, afterwards they run off of leave henry stranded in his wheelchair at which point someone else decides to use the practical joke to their own advantage & shoots Henry through the head. DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) & Sgt. Ben Jones (Jason Hughes) are on the case, is it a case of the Hicks gaining revenge? Or is there more to it as even the local Mayor David Hicks (Brian Capron) becomes implicated...

Episode 2 from season 11 (even though they are not being shown in the correct order here in the UK anymore so I'm not sure why the IMDb thinks this is episode 2 when episode 1 Blood Wedding (2007) hasn't even aired) this Midsomer Murders mystery was directed by Richard Holthouse & one has to say Shot at Dawn is the poorest Midsomer Murders episode I have seen in a long time & is not a good way to kick off a new season & indeed a new year (it aired on 1st January) of Midsomer Murders. The script by Michael Aitkens is really sluggish & slow, it's forty minutes before Henry is killed. That's forty minutes of really dull, bland & boring exposition most of which amounts to absolutely zero. Then there's the poor character's whom are very forgettable, everyone seems to be having an affair while everyone just seems to hate everyone else. The actual murder mystery plot feels very tired, I mean two feuding families & one of their number gets killed off? Sounds familiar right? It's just all so lacklustre & the plot revolves around the petty bickering & affairs between the Hammonds & the Hicks rather than a good solid murder mystery which surely should be it's priority, right? Most of it feel like padding as much of the exposition really does amount to nothing in the end & making the only likable character in the whole program the killer doesn't exactly help the ending either. I'm not happy about some of the silly comedy moments that are starting to creep into Midsomer Murders either, the silly scene in the pub as the two wheelchair bound men have a jousting contest with long sticks of bread is just embarrassing & not something that I think belongs in a serious crime drama. Then there's the scene when the killer uses a remote controlled combine harvester to try & kill someone! I'm not being funny but to rig a combine harvester up to be able to operate it by remote control including the steering would take £1000's of sophisticated electronics, motors & god know's what else. I don't think I've ever seen another Midsomer Murders where Barnaby's sidekick is given so little to do, in fact the Sgt. Jones character could have not been there at all & Barnaby wouldn't have missed him.

Even though the story sucks here it's still a wonderfully made production, it's well made as usual with nice cinematography & a selection of picturesque English Countryside locations. Is Shot at Dawn the first Midsomer Murders episode to feature full frontal explicit female nudity? Maybe it's the first one to feature a Hollywood style exploding car? There are only two murders in this one including someone getting repeatedly shot. The acting is good except the comedy relief fat wife of the Mayor who is awful while respected actor's like Donald Sinden & George Cole deserve better than this second rate script.

Shot at Dawn is a poor way to start season eleven, I'm sorry but I just thought it was one of the poorest episodes of Midsomer Murders I can ever remember seeing. It's slow, often too silly & large amounts of it are pointless. A big disappointment & hopefully not typical of how season eleven will be.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

I support those who liked it

Author: Dmitry Sterkhov ( from Russia
29 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I support those who consider this episode as good enough. How can one say that this episode is the worst of all MM episodes?! Has anyone watched "Sins of Commission"?! That is indeed the worst episode! Has anyone watched "Misomer Life"? That is a total disaster! Compared to them "Shot at Dawn" is a masterpiece! And you should learn to recognise the pen of Michael Aitkens - in his scripts the first murder always happens very late because he wants to create a special psychological atmosphere for it. I agree that all those electronic matters look very far-fetched and unconvincing, but in the whole I wouldn't sentence this episode to death. The intrigue is rather interesting, some moments, like the "execution" of Henry Hammond, are very original. Nah, definitely one of the best episodes!

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:


Author: lorikaystewart from United States
23 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I agree with the earlier post that this is the worst Midsomer Murders episode I have seen. I am a huge fan of the series - was very disappointed when A&E stopped airing. While there certainly are episodes I have enjoyed more than others, this one is nearly unwatchable. I kept hoping, beyond hope, that it would somehow turn around. The storyline is predictable - almost painfully so - something I have never found to be the case with MM. The murderer might as well have carried a sign that said "I did it". I am off to re-watch The Killings at Badgers Drift for the bazillionth time. Even though I already know who kills who and why, I need a little reaffirmation that this really is an awesome series.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Highly entertaining episode

Author: Paularoc from United States
24 September 2012

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I thought the opening sequence of a shell shocked soldier wandering off of a WW I battlefield was the best opening scene ever in a Midsommer Murders- and many another television show. What happened to this soldier was dreadful but not surprising. So 90 years later, the Hammond and Hicks families are still feuding about this event and yes, in some respects their feud is both pointless and silly, but then many feuds are just that. The murders are gadget driven but interesting and not too gory, thank goodness. I thought the characters of the Mayor and his wife were very well done and added a welcome bit of humor to the story. Interesting to see the homage paid to those who died in WW I and the reenactment was also interesting. Reenactments are big around here but only of the Civil War or War of 1812. I thought it a treat to see Donald Sinden and George Cole in such important roles. Very good episode.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

10 years after

Author: rhinocratic from United Kingdom
20 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I recently watched this episode repeated on the British digital channel ITV3. I would like to explain to reviewers "over the pond" what I think is a reasonable explanation for the various anomalies raised in the more critical reviews.

I think that this was an unmade storyline from the series "Pie In The Sky", which aired on TV in the UK over 10 years previous to when this episode was recorded. It would have been just credible in 1997 for George Cole's character to be up to his WW2 sabotage tricks - it was obviously nonsense in 2007.

The way Barnaby treats Jones is very similar to the way Insp. Henry Crabbe treats his various sergeants in "Pie In The Sky". The Barnabys' daughter Cully does not appear in this episode - Crabbe and his wife, Margaret, did not have children.

The whole characterisation of Tom Barnaby is markedly different from normal - in the pub "fight" scene, Barnaby displays a degree of middle-middle class food snobbery which you might expect from part-time restaurateur Henry Crabbe, less so from full-time copper Tom Barnaby. Richard Griffiths (RIP) played Henry Crabbe as a "crabby" character, but with a lightness of touch and a degree of sly humour which John Nettles did not bother to bring to this re-characterisation of Tom Barnaby.

Even the leaking kitchen roof scene echoes similar scenes of leaking pipes in the restaurant kitchen in "Pie In The Sky". I could go on, but if you have read this far you are probably having trouble staying awake.

By the way, the "combine-harvester" which some reviewers mention was actually a tractor pulling a straw-baler - it doesn't make any difference to the plot, of course.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Feud for thought

Author: LCShackley from United States
8 June 2010

This episode revolves around a feud between two families, one posh, one common, that began during World War 1. Right there we have the first logistical problem. One of the families is descended from a VERY young soldier who was killed in 1916. We are supposed to believe that he was old enough to have children at the time (although he looks like a teenager in the flashback), and that his son (played by the venerable George Cole) is still alive and kicking in 2007. He would have to be at LEAST 90 years old (even though one character refers to "80 years"). The generational time-line of the characters doesn't make sense.

Then of course, since there is a feud, there must also be a romance...or two... between characters from the two families. No surprise there. What IS surprising is the relatively explicit nudity, which has not been a regular part of MM in the past.

But overall, the characters are even more two-dimensional than usual, and there's not much suspense in the unraveling of the murder. And as others have pointed out, there are difficulties with the logistics of the electrical "gizmos" used to bump off the victims. Not one of the best, but it was fun to see George Cole and Samantha Bond, two of my favorites.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Takes a Heap of Trust to Watch

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
20 April 2016

I enjoyed the setup of this episode where a man who is stunned in battle and walks away is charged with treason and executed in ranks. This execution has led to a modern day Hatfield and McCoy situation. Evidence has been gathered showing that the "traitor" was charged unfairly and suffered the ultimate. He is now being added to the war memorial. As it is with these feuds, people who really have no memory of the cause continue the feud. This is an interesting setup with some incredibly unbelievable events taking place in modern times. Barnaby and Jones come on the scene when a surly old general in a wheelchair is shot in the head. There are forces at work attempting to put an end to this fighting, but it goes. Internal battling and challenges to the situation continue to break people up. What is ultimately the method used for murder is preposterous. If one turns his back on the reality of the thing, one might enjoy it a bit. Otherwise, it is so far fetched that it goes right over the top. While it's not horrible, it is seriously lacking.

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

This was the best episode ever!

Author: hmflashgordon from Canada
14 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We, hubby & I, have watched - several times over each episode from the Killings at Badgers Drift on to the latest - Shot at Dawn & both agree that this episode is the most lively & entertaining one yet. We love Midsomer Murders & never miss an episode. Unfortunately living in Canada we don't get the immediate releases & have to depend on the goodness of such TV stations as Knowledge & Book to offer whatever they can purchase.

We found this particular episode the best next to Midsomer Rhapsody. Now we didn't mind there wasn't a murder right away as we were interested in the story. This particular episode had more interesting & entertaining dialogue than most. The characters were well played & well suited to their parts. We enjoyed the interaction of each & found the humour outstanding & truly made the show. I even think the actors enjoyed themselves in their parts or at least seemed to.

Well, as my hubby says each to their own taste, but, I'm a bit surprised at the some of the comments of others who deride this most entertaining & different style of Midsomer Murders.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

not very credible

Author: blanche-2 from United States
27 July 2015

I have to agree with one of the posters here, this story is probably a retread from another series. What the reviewer said makes sense. I interviewed Peter Falk once and told him that one of his episodes had been done previously on Macmillan and Wife, and sent him the tape to prove it. It's not uncommon

The basis for this plot is a 90-year feud between the Hammonds and the Hicks families. Tommy Hicks was executed for cowardice by one Lt. Duggie Hammond, which began the near-century-long fight.

The Hicks family is new money and constantly lord it over the old money Hammonds. The Hammonds are a mess. Actually, so is the Hicks family. Colonel Henry Hammonds has a son, Johnny, who is gay and married to Arabella, who is out having an affair with one of the Hicks.

Arabella and Johnny have two children, one of whom, Kate, is a lesbian, and the other daughter, Sophie, is going to marry yet another member of the Hicks family.

Henry is killed with a 1916 pistol, owned by Duggie, the man who shot Tommy Hicks 90 years ago. Then there is another murder.

Barnaby and Jones walk into this maelstrom. But there's another murder and an old secret awaiting them.

This episode is somewhat overdone with strange gadgets, murdering hay balers, a baguette fight in a pub - it's all silly. Barnaby is out of character, I think because it's a recycle from another show, and Jones is hardly in it.

It was kind of blah.

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