The reclusive lives of an elderly eccentric couple come under police scrutiny when a social services investigator is murdered.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Mary Bingham
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Eddie Stanton
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Selina Stanton
Lucy Briggs-Owen ...
Verity Stanton
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Maggie Viviani
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Ben Viviani
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Adam Grace
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Gerry Dawkins
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Laurence Fletcher
Abigail McKern ...
Josie Parker
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Storyline

Barnaby's wife Sarah arrives to take up her job as a head mistress at Causton School. Officious social worker Gerry Dawkins has an awkward encounter with an artists' colony run by horse whisperer Maggie Viviani after a fruitless visit to elderly recluses William and Mary Bingham. Two days later his corpse is fished from a river. Through the offices of their bitchy daughter, stable owner Selina Stanton and her roguish husband Eddie, a prospective Euro M.P. Barnaby visits Mr. and Mrs. Bingham, who are hospitable but vague. Mary however furtively asks him to return to see her but is killed soon after. Thirty-five years earlier the Binghams' son and daughter, Robin and Jennifer, died when their car plunged into a river. Robin's body was recovered but Jennifer was never found and has forged a new identity for herself, reuniting her with Selena. Once more Jones comes to Barnaby's rescue when he confronts a killer whose family, unsurprisingly for Midsomer, has dark secrets. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Crime | Drama | Mystery

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30 March 2011 (UK)  »

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16:9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neil Pearson, Haydn Gwynne and Jeff Rawle all starred together previously in "Drop the Dead Donkey" (1990). See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, as the car speeds away from the manor the woman has her window down and is waving to a little girl. As the car goes out of control, during the weaving you can see the window is still down, but when the car crashes into the lake, the woman is trapped in the car because her window is rolled up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Robin Bingham: Dad, please!
William Bingham: Get out!
[yells]
William Bingham: Get! Out!
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Connections

References Doctor Dolittle (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An improvement but a long way from a return to form
26 February 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When in its prime (a vast majority of Seasons 1-9), 'Midsomer Murders' was a great show and one that is watched and re-watched frequently. Seasons 10-13 became more uneven, with three of the show's worst episodes coming from Seasons 11 and 13, but there were a few solid episodes and "Blood Wedding" and especially "Master Class" were gems.

After John Nettles retired and Neil Dudgeon and the new character of John Barnaby took over, 'Midsomer Murders' just hasn't been the same, most of the reasons being detailed later in this review. Not all the John Barnaby-era episodes are awful, but too many were average at best and some were lame. "Dark Secrets" is an improvement over the okay at best "Death in the Slow Lane". But classic 'Midsomer Murders' or a return to form? No.

There are plenty of good things here. The production values as usual are wonderful, 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.

Jason Hughes does his best to give an amusing charm and Fiona Dolman is pleasant enough in her debut. In support, an enjoyably hammy Edward Fox (if at times overdoing it) and wonderful Phyllida Law stand out. Sykes once again steals every scene he appears in, that's one adorable and funny dog. There is also one of the show's most imaginative murder methods in some time involving a pile of newspapers.

Neil Dudgeon looks more comfortable and a little less pompous and demeaning, but still plays the role a little too heavily and humourlessly. His chemistry with Jones, who is still a bit dumbed down but nowhere near as much a dolt as in the previous episode, is still bland but fares a little better with Dolman. The supporting characters are either bland or over-the-top, instead of being colourful and eccentric most of them are just nasty. Jeff Rawle isn't in the episode long enough to make much of an impression.

The script also feels too heavy and charmless, while the story is preposterous (yes even for latter years 'Midsomer Murders') while not only taking things too seriously and dragging out familiar themes too long but also for such dark themes doesn't feel dark enough. The ending, motives and murderer (all suspectable very early on) are all too obvious too soon.

In conclusion, better than "Death in the Slow Lane" but a return to form it isn't. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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