Midsomer Murders (1997– )
7.2/10
216
6 user 1 critic

The Sleeper Under the Hill 

The gruesome discovery of a farmer's eviscerated body in an ancient stone circle is made just days before the spring equinox.

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(as Nick Laughland)

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(screenplay) (as David Lawrence), (based on characters by)
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Tamzin Malleson ...
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Sergeant Trevor Gibson
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Evan Jago
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Leticia Clifford
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Ezra Canning
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Caradoc Singer
Claudia Harrison ...
Eleanor Preston
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Aidan Hardy
Colin Tarrant ...
Eric
Justin Shevlin ...
Alex Preston
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Storyline

Alex Preston is murdered and his corpse placed in the Crowcall stone circle in a field on his land. He was intending to plough the field, setting him at odds with the New Dawn druids, all of whom have alibis. His wife Eleanor was two-timing him with her fencing instructor, and local cop Trevor Gibson destroys her alibi but when Leticia Clifford, a leading druid, is killed in the same way as Alex, crimes of passion are ruled out. As Barnaby and Jones disagree over the possibility of Gibson's involvement Barnaby seeks the advice of local historian Caradoc Singer, hoping to discover if the killings were motivated by greed or bound up with popular superstitions such as the Sleeper Under the Hill. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

21 September 2011 (UK)  »

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16:9 HD
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Trivia

The druid woman suspect makes a reference to the Spring equinox being two days away, yet when Jones misses a call on his mobile, the date is shown as 28th April. This would be over month past the Spring equinox. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Evan Jago: Whitney, come. Whitney! C'mon, Whitney.
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User Reviews

 
Okay but not great
28 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 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 Sleeper Under the Hill" is better than those two episodes, but just falls shy of being one of the "good" episodes of Season 14 (like the surprisingly good "The Oblong Murders").

There did seem to be some sloppy writing in "The Sleeper Under the Hill", and no these are outside of the errors pointed out in the previous reviews. One of the deaths tries to make the viewer believe that it happened in full sight which didn't seem that easy to believe. It is agreed that the motives for the murders weren't as satisfying as they could have been, not quite coming together in terms of sense. In a case with strong motives, very shaky alibis but surprisingly few suspects, Gibson was too obvious a suspect too early, one very quickly gets the feeling that he either knew more than let on or was personally involved and it did seem strange that Barnaby and Jones would spend as much time disagreeing over something like that.

Following his final appearance in "The Oblong Murders", Bullard now has a replacement and she is nowhere near as strong a character. Kate is just too bland with not much of a personality. Some of the pacing could have been tighter too.

However, "The Sleeper Under the Hill's" production values as always are top-notch, 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 haunting theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

Scripting provokes some thought and it doesn't take itself as overly seriously as other John Barnaby-era episodes. The story is mostly interesting and has enough twists and turns to keep one engrossed, really liked that throughout things were not what they seemed and the red herrings proved good diversions that didn't take away from anything at all.

Neil Dudgeon is more comfortable and has more of a personality than his first three episodes in the lead role, and Jason Hughes is helped by that Jones isn't written as much of an idiot as in the first three episodes of the season and that Barnaby isn't quite as condescending towards him. The supporting cast all do well, particularly Robert Pugh.

In conclusion, okay but not great. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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