Midsomer Murders (1997– )
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Birds of Prey 

Investment in a secret invention leads to an apparent suicide in Midsomer Magna, and a plan to steal valuable falcon eggs leads to another death.


Jeremy Silberston


Michael Russell (screenplay), Caroline Graham (characters)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Nettles ... DCI Tom Barnaby
Daniel Casey Daniel Casey ... Sgt Gavin Troy
Jane Wymark ... Joyce Barnaby
Laura Howard ... Cully Barnaby
Barry Jackson ... Dr Bullard
Kate Buffery ... Mallory Edmonton
David Calder ... George Hamilton
Alexandra Gilbreath ... Naomi Sinclair
Robert Morgan Robert Morgan ... Julian Shepherd
Rosalind Knight Rosalind Knight ... Eleanor Macpherson
Sheila Shand Gibbs Sheila Shand Gibbs ... Jane Macpherson
Anton Lesser ... Eddie Darwin
Candida Benson Candida Benson ... PC Sarah Pearce
Janet Maw Janet Maw ... Eileen Hamilton
Trevor Cooper ... Sean Moorcroft


The police investigate the apparent suicide of Julian Shepherd who drowned after driving his car into a nearby river. Shepherd along with several other local residents had invested money in Charles Edmonton's latest invention, a fuel-less transportation system. Edmonton, despite his advanced years, instilled a good deal of confidence in his investors but Shepherd was facing severe financial difficulties and urgently needed his investment to be returned. Troy meanwhile finds himself working with the comely PC Sarah Pearce who, as a wildlife liaison officer, is investigating the illegal sales of birds of prey and their eggs. The two cases come together when a birds' egg collector is found dead after a visit to the Edmonton estate. As the number of dead bodies begins to climb, Barnaby realizes that there is something far more sinister at play. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

31 January 2003 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Stereo)



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 anamorphic
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Did You Know?


Rosalind Knight plays Eleanor Macpherson in this episode. She returns in episode 14.7, Midsomer Murders: A Sacred Trust (2011), in the role of Mother Jerome. See more »


[first lines]
George Hamilton: As long as George is kept out of the way and no-one sees him in a week, we'll all be done.
Mallory Edmonton: That phone never stops ringing.
George Hamilton: Oh, refer them to me; I'll handle it.
Mallory Edmonton: You handling Julian Shepherd?
George Hamilton: Let's just ignore him.
Mallory Edmonton: No, he's making trouble, George; I don't want anything to go wrong.
George Hamilton: All right. I'll see to it.
See more »


References The Dam Busters (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

Season 6 ends on a high
18 January 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Despite not being anywhere near as good now, 'Midsomer Murders' is still a show visited and re-visited with great pleasure. There are episodes better than others, with a fair share of disappointments especially in the later seasons, like with any show in existence, but when 'Midsomer Murders' was good it was good to outstanding.

"A Talent for Life" was a good, if not quite great, start to Season 6, followed by a decent "Death and Dreams" that sadly also got bogged down in instances of ridiculousness. "Painted in Blood" was a departure, less grim and low-in-body-count, but nonetheless a good one. Next was, for me, the best of the season "A Tale of Two Hamlets".

"Birds of Prey" isn't quite as good, but is still a very good episode and a close second best to "A Tale of Two Hamlets" as far as Season 6 episodes go. Agree though that the motives for the murders are somewhat bland and clichéd for a show that can dream up some devilishly over-the-top and twisted motives (that is when it didn't get over-outlandish or convoluted like it did later). The conclusion is clever if also somewhat too easily wrapped up.

As always, the production values are top notch, with to die for scenery, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's occasional grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre. Agreed too that the music during the African spear murder scene was cool and a very clever fit.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice quirky humour (such as the booking-a-holiday subplot with Joyce), a suitable grimness and colourful characters. Nothing felt inconsequential, everything had a point, everything intrigued and any loose ends were tied together nicely.

The story is hugely compelling, and never simplistic and never losing any of the maturity of most of the previous episodes. There is a lot going on mostly without being cluttered or rushed (remarkable for an episode that as ever is heavy in exposition), and that nothing is what it seems, or very few people are who they seem adds to the complexity, while there are no out of kilter scenes. The twists, red herrings and turns, in classic 'Midsomer Murders' tradition, keep coming, with several neatly interwoven subplots, and rarely in an obvious or press-the-rewind button. The characters are colourful, eccentric and not what they seem.

John Nettles as always is a joy as Barnaby, with Daniel Casey contrasting with him with ease, their chemistry as always a huge part of the episode's charm. Jane Wymark charms, with her subplot bringing some welcome humour, her chemistry with Nettles is as ever great. Everybody else does a fine job too with no obvious weak links.

Overall, a very good episode, Season 6 ends on a high. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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