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"Midsomer Murders" Secrets and Spies (2009)

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyed this episode!

Author: hmflashgordon from Canada
15 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Once again I must disagree with the first person who wrote a comment on this episode. Hubby & I enjoyed this episode & didn't mind that a murder didn't happen right away but built a story-line to follow. It was good recognizing familiar surroundings & actors from other shows. This episode developed more character & interaction of personalities along with a sense of humour that is lacking in other dramas especially the ones made in the US which have no humour, no story & poor acting. As usual one must watch this program as with the all the other Midsomer Murders at least twice to even appreciate the subtleties that are enmeshed in a well developed show. That along with the scenery and photography is why Midsomer Murders is such a successful program.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

not a favorite but not awful

Author: blanche-2 from United States
27 October 2013

No series can run as long as Midsomer Murders and not have its share of poor, fair, good, and excellent episodes. "Secrets and Spies" is fair, with many familiar elements.

A former spy, Brenda Packard, tells Barnaby that Allenby House is a safe house for agents. The house is owned by an ex-spy higher-up, Malcolm Frazer. A visiting agent, Larkin, has an argument with Frazer -- Frazer accuses him of treachery, which took place years earlier in Berlin.

Larkin has some sort of file called "Wolfman" which he threatens to expose, except he doesn't get the chance. He is killed, and in the beginning, it looks like a wild animal, the Beast of Midsomer (kind of a local legend), is responsible. Then Frazer's son Nicky is killed the same way.

Of course, none of this fools Barnaby for a minute, and he sets out to find the true murderer and the motive, which is the result of something that happened in Berlin twenty years earlier.

The atmosphere is as usual beautiful-looking, and I do like John Nettles, who is probably playing the world's oldest inspector at this point. Bad or good, I always like seeing these episodes. This one is slow in parts and not as involving as some others.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Average Midsomer Muders episode.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
1 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Midsomer Murders: Secret and Spies is set in the small village of Midsomer Parva where retired spy Sir Malcolm Frazer (Benjamin Whitrow) owns stately home Allenby House & rents it out to the Government as a safe-house for VIPs. The traditional annual cricket match between Allenby House & local Midsomer Parva villagers is fast approaching the latest VIP guest cold war spy Geoffrey Larkin (Clive Wood) volunteers to play but all is not well as tensions rise between various people. The day of the cricket match arrives & Allenby House wins but the celebrations are cut short when Larkin is found dead with his throat ripped out. Local sheep farmer Seth Comfort (Clive Russell) thinks it's the Beast of Midsomer while DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) believes in a more human culprit, however Barnaby is taken off the case by MI6 who take complete control forcing Barnaby to hand in his resignation...

Episode 2 from season 12 this Midsomer Murders mystery was directed by Renny Rye & I actually thought Secret and Spies was a fairly mediocre episode that could have been great but isn't. Secret and Spies is one of those Midsomer Murders episode that takes an absolute age to get going, it's not until the thirty fifth minute when Larkin is killed & up to that point it's all scene setting & exposition which is fine but I started to feel like the episode was going round in circles & could have easily been condensed down into fifteen or twenty minutes. Then there's the potential Secret and Spies had which is never really delivered, the fact that MI6 take Barnaby off the case & he resigns could have been a terrific thing to explore & play with but it's all resolved within five minutes as MI6 come begging for Barnaby's help when someone else is murdered so we can chalk that off as a missed opportunity. The plot about British spies who worked in Berlin is alright but a little dull, there are the usual affairs & revenge motives which are hardly groundbreaking. All in all Secret and Spies isn't a terrible episode but it's not that great either, it's a little slow & uneventful & not enough is made of it's stronger aspects. That awful WPC Stephens character makes an appearance here & actually gets promoted to detective.

As usual this looks very nice, there are two murders neither of which are graphic although there is a bit of blood & a couple of dead sheep are seen with slashed throats. The location used for Allenby House in Secret and Spies is the same one used in Strangler's Wood (1999) as a hotel & in Bantling Boy (2005). The acting is good from an impressive cast including Clive Russell, Clive Wood, Anna Massey, Alice Krige & Peter Davison.

Secret and Spies is an average Midsomer Murders episode that is alright but nothing amazing. This feels more like a time waster than a classic.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Lots of Intrigue

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
11 May 2016

While there are many actions going on based on an event in East Berlin (as people were being smuggled through a tunnel to the West), the principle plot involves a series of murders where people had their throats ripped out. The consensus is that the most likely cause was a saber toothed tiger, which, of course, can't be. I really enjoyed watching the people, holed up in a house, with a mission. Because of secrecy, we don't really know what that mission is, but we know that one woman, in particular, is at the center of things. She is a very attractive, middle aged woman who is sleeping with somebody, though married to someone else. The things is that we don't know who this person is. There is betrayal and revenge all over the place. One character is fixated on his own funeral, even testing coffins by lying in them. This comic presence detracts a bit from the overall story. Still, it has a very satisfying conclusion.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Secrets, spies and "The Beast of Midsomer"

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
16 February 2017

As has been said by me a number of times, 'Midsomer Murders' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows. It is nowhere near as good now and the Tom Barnaby-era wasn't alien to average or less episodes, but when it was on form or at its best boy was it good.

The third episode of the twelfth season, the first and second being "The Dogleg Murders" and "The Black Book" (both decent), "Secrets and Spies" seemed interesting on paper (how many other 'Midsomer Murders' episodes have stories dealing with espionage and some mysterious beast) but doesn't use its ideas to full potential. It's watchable and interesting, but what could have been great with the right execution doesn't quite come off.

Like with too many episodes around this period, "Secrets and Spies" does take too long to get going (the exposition varying in intrigue and relevance) and can get pedestrian due to some drawn-out padding. It also doesn't anywhere near enough with "The Beast of Midsomer" and MI6vs. Barnaby ideas, potentially good ideas that are under-cooked (the former) or completely neglected when it begins to get somewhere (the latter). The solution, despite a promising build-up, gets far-fetched with an unsurprising murder identity and motives that are hard to buy.

However, the production values as always are just great, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography, as well as a genuinely creepy horror-like look. 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.

"Secrets and Spies" script is uneven, with intrigue, humorous comedy and drama that doesn't fall on the wrong side of sentimentality and such, but some of it is bland, under-cooked and occasionally confused. The story is not too simplistic yet is executed in a way where you can just about understand what's going on. There is a dark creepiness and tension in spots and an intricacy that's nice.

John Nettles and Jason Hughes are both superb, individually and together (their chemistry, and the chemistry with Daniel Casey and John Hopkins before Hughes, being a huge part of their episodes' charm). Can't fault the supporting cast either, Peter Davison clearly enjoying himself.

In summary, above-average but uneven and under-explored. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Another Dud

Author: roastpuppy-256-746071 from Metairie, LA
19 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't know what it is about the British and spy movies, but I've yet to see one that's worth watching. This episode could have been interesting had the strange "beast" theory been pursued, but this avenue of inquiry was given short shrift and we were back to the spies and their ridiculous shenanigans. At one point, Barnaby consults a character played by Alice Massey (who was great in "Written in Blood") and she actually says, "I'm the left hand who doesn't know what the right hand is doing," or something to that effect, confirming again just how silly the British are when it comes to international espionage. "Secrets and Spies" is among the 10 worst "Midsomer Murders" episodes.

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Below expectation

Author: Dmitry Sterkhov ( from Russia
29 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My favorite screenwriter of all those who work for Midsomer Murders is Michael Aitkens, but this time it has been his failure, to my mind. It's obvious that he's exploiting the same tricks that he used in his previous works and, judging by this episode, he starts running out of ideas (I haven't seen The Sword of Guillaume yet). First of all, as in all his episodes, the first murder occurs very late, half an hour after the beginning of the series - remember "Vixen's run" or "The Axeman cometh" or "Shot at dawn". Then, again this motive of revenge which was significant both in "Vixen's run" and "Shot at dawn", I don't even speak about "The Axeman cometh" - in the end Jenny Frazier pronounces the same words that were spoken by Jack McKenley: "They deserved it". But, unlike "The Axeman cometh", "Secrets and Spies" is a very unconvincing episode, the motives that moved Jenny to murder are doubtful, the skull matters absolutely far-fetched (no wonder they never showed it in use!), the espionage theme played no in the full tune. As being a big fan of Aitkens, I was extremely disappointed, he totally fell into the self-plagiarism. I hope, that "The sword of Guillaume" will not bring me into the same disillusion. An extraordinary poor episode.

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