Midsomer Murders (1997– )
7.7/10
282
5 user

The Oblong Murders 

Barnaby sends Jones undercover into a New Age cult to investigate the disappearance of a young woman who entered an introduction course and then never left the movement.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Will Knightley ...
Richard Albrecht ...
Mr Oliver
Heather Tobias ...
Mrs Oliver
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Paddy Powell
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Sophie Stanton ...
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Freddie Raft
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Dominic Segal
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Blaze Leadbetter
Simon Day ...
Combover Guy
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Storyline

Dr. Bullard asks Barnaby to investigate when friends' daughter Lucy Oliver goes missing after joining the Oblong Foundation,a new age group leasing a house from Ruth Lambert,whose parents died in an explosion on their boat. Ben Jones goes undercover as a new inductee and hears group leader Dominic Segal take a call implying there has been foul play. Local publicans the Powells tell Barnaby that Lucy argued with Oblong's directrix Freddie Raft before leaving but Ruth denies this. However it is discovered that Ruth's parents loaned a large sum of money to somebody,leading Barnaby to believe that they may have been murdered by the payee. If having his dog trained by Dr. Bullard's formidable sister was not enough he once more finds himself confronting a killer,the perpetrator of the Oblong murders. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Plot Keywords:

boat | cult | dci | laptop | willow tree | See All (37) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 May 2011 (UK)  »

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16 : 9
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end, Barry Jackson walks away from Barnaby declaring his intention to go on a fishing vacation in Ireland. This was Jackson's last appearance in the series. He did a couple of minor roles in 2012 and passed away from undisclosed sources on December 5, 2013. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Max Fuller: [answering enterphone] Yes?
Max Fuller: Yes, of course. This is a surprise.
Max Fuller: How awful.
Max Fuller: Not at all, come on up. It's the, uh, third floor.
See more »

Connections

References Miami Vice (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A good Season 14 episode?
28 February 2017 | by 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 for reasons detailed in reviews for the previous Season 14 episodes. Season 14 on the most part was very disappointing, with "Echoes of the Dead" and "Night of the Stag" faring worst. "The Oblong Murders" however is one of few pleasant exceptions, with things that were major problems in the previous three episodes and since not being a problem here.

By all means "The Oblong Murders" is not one of the best 'Midsomer Murders' episodes or a classic. It is true that the first early murder is incidental to everything else, to me too incidental. Totally get the reasons detailed in a previous review, but the investigation of this murder being completely neglected for most of the episode until later on didn't work. It just to me felt that it had been forgotten about, suddenly remembered and then attempts were made to compensate, the explanation was plausible enough but it just felt underdeveloped, because while it wasn't the main focus it was still important and wasn't treated so.

However, for Season 14 "The Oblong Murders" was a rare good episode and is easily one of the best John Barnaby-era episodes. For one thing, Jones and his undercover subplot features prominently and instead of being a dumbed-down dolt his charm and cheeky humour is back (meaning that Jason Hughes can actually do plenty with what he's given) and the subplot brings some welcome humour sorely missing since the show became uneven and stale. John Barnaby is more support here, but is less humourless and condescending here and functions more as a detective. Neil Dudgeon is more comfortable than he was before.

The story is silly in places, with a couple of credibility-straining moments but is more focused, very intriguing and easier to follow but also less obvious than the previous episodes, with a final solution that's actually clever and unexpected even if the motives are not exactly inspired. "The Oblong Murders" bids a sad farewell to Bullard, done well in the episode but the character will be sorely missed especially as his replacements have been nowhere near as great characters (especially the current one). Sykes as always steals every scene he's in.

Production values cannot be faulted as usual, it's beautifully and atmospherically shot with suitably picturesque scenery. 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 script is better balanced and more interesting than most John Barnaby-era episodes.

Acting is very good with characters much better than the bland and pantomimic ones seen previously, Charity Wakefield and Barbara Flynn fare particularly well out of a strong female cast and all the leads are much better here.

In summary, surprisingly good if not one of the best. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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