Midsomer Murders (1997– )
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A Talent for Life 

Something is fishy about the clubbing deaths of two local residents.


Sarah Hellings


David Hoskins (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
Honor Blackman ... Isobel Hewitt
Philip Franks Philip Franks ... Quentin Roka
Barry Jackson ... Dr Bullard
Jane Downs Jane Downs ... Dixie Goff
Richard Durden ... Duncan Goff
Alison Rose Alison Rose ... Angela Goff
John Warnaby John Warnaby ... Keith Scholey
Amanda Root ... Ruth Scholey
Jonathan Cullen Jonathan Cullen ... Melrose Plunkett
Suzanne Burden Suzanne Burden ... Rebecca Plunkett
Jeff Rawle ... Derrick Seagrove


When two bodies are discovered by the side of a fishing stream, Barnaby and Troy have yet more murders to solve. Isobel Hewitt had a zest for life that some can only hope for. She loves to drive her red Jaguar at top speed and generally enjoyed the finer things in life. Although loved by many, there were those who weren't quite so charmed by her. Margaret Seagrove was convinced that she was the member of the local fishing club using weighted lures in the local stream. Her nephew and his wife, with whom she resided, saw her as a burden now that she had spent most of her accumulated capital. The second victim is the local doctor, Duncan Goff, a well-known philanderer who had affairs with many of the local ladies. The police must first determine if both were intended victims or if one was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

3 January 2003 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bentley Productions See more »
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Did You Know?


Suzanne Burden plays Rebecca Plunkett in this episode. She returns in episode 12.7, Midsomer Murders: The Great and the Good (2009), in the role of Zukie Richardson. See more »


When Barnaby introduces himself and Troy to Derrick Seagrove, he identifies himself as "DSI Barnaby" - DSI is Detective Superintendent, while Barnaby is a DCI, Detective Chief Inspector. See more »


DCI Tom Barnaby: Surely he tested the door if his life depended on it.
Sgt Gavin Troy: Maybe it didn't occur to him.
DCI Tom Barnaby: Well he'd have been very stupid not to have double-checked that, wouldn't he?
Sgt Gavin Troy: Well, there's nothing to say murderers have to be members of Mensa, sir.
DCI Tom Barnaby: Do you see a lesson in all of this?
Sgt Gavin Troy: Always follow your first instinct.
See more »

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User Reviews

Solid Season 6 opener, if not a favourite
15 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" is one of the good solid episodes. At the same time it is just missing the extra missing that could have made it great or even a classic. "A Talent for Life" signalled the first time, and one of not many times, in the history of 'Midsomer Murders' where the identity of the murderer was not that surprising and easily guessable too early (personally suspected them very strongly before the halfway mark). Not necessarily due to suspects being too few, but there could have been more and the motives more imaginative than here.

The motive was also agreed not very interesting and pretty mundane and clichéd. Again agreed the show was at its best when the motives were either fresh, darker and more outlandish (though some, especially the Neil Dudgeon episodes, went too overboard on the outlandish to the point of absurdity and were convoluted at times too), here in comparison it was bland.

Didn't mind the character building and establishing the characters and such for the first twenty minutes, and it was quite interesting stuff and added a good deal to the characters, but at the same time it took a little too long to set up and get to the meat of the story.

However, 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.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice humour 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 keep coming, 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 him with ease. Honor Blackman absolutely relishes a juicy character, while Phillip Franks is strong too.

Overall, not a favourite but a solid season opener. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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