25 Days of Crime-Mas Day 3: Midsomer Murders is still killing it

Midsomer Murders XXlThe Miniature MurdersNeil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby
Midsomer Murders XXlThe Miniature MurdersNeil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby /

Midsomer Murders is one of the longest-running TV crime dramas, and Acorn TV has just premiered a new season. It’s our pick for Crime-Mas Day 3.

We’ve reached Day 3 of our 25 Days of Crime-mas countdown, and today we’re going across the pond for our first British TV crime drama. Midsomer Murders has been going strong on ITV since 1997, and can be viewed in the U.S. on Acorn TV.

Acorn has just released the entire series 21 (or season 21 for American viewers!) on Dec. 1, giving mystery buffs four new episodes. That may sound like a short season, but each episode is like one mystery movie—both in length and feel. Midsomer Murders has the feel of a classic crime drama, but it’s always fresh and new.

So why should you start watching now?

More than 100 episodes

More from TV Crime Dramas

Like any show that’s been on for 20+ years, this one has a lot of episodes. There are 126 of them, counting the four that are part of Midsomer Murders series 21. That means once you get addicted (and you will), you’ll have plenty of episodes to binge-watch.

And while almost every episode involves a murder or two (it’s in the title after all), it’s astonishing the number of different ways to die the show has come up with. If you like straight-up murder mysteries with family fights or business deals gone bad, there are episodes like those. If you prefer your crime dramas with a bit of a spooky twist, then you can watch episodes that have more occult elements in them.

The show even had an episode where it went international, sending its trusty detectives over to Copenhagen! However you like your investigations, this show has something for you.

The Midsomer Murders cast

There have been cast changes on Midsomer Murders, which isn’t surprising given how long the show has been on. But almost all of them have been a success.

John Nettles starred for the first 13 seasons as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. After his decision to move on, Neil Dudgeon replaced him, playing Tom’s cousin John who also happened to be a DCI! Dudgeon has proven to be just as capable and even more charming than his fantastic predecessor.

Between the two of them, they’ve shared five junior partners. Currently, John’s partner is Detective Sergeant (DS) Jamie Winter, played by Nick Hendrix. Crime drama buffs will recognize him from playing Adrian Cooper in the first season of Marcella.

Midsomer Murders XXlThe Miniature MurdersNeil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby
Midsomer Murders XXlThe Miniature MurdersNeil Dudgeon as DCI John Barnaby /

What is Midsomer Murders about?

As the title indicates, Midsomer Murders follows a pair of detectives who travel between villages in the fictional Midsomer County investigating murders and other deaths. Most of them introduce the cops (and the viewer) to the quirky residents and different happenings in each village, too.

The new season includes a murder in the world of ballroom dance, while past episodes have had settings like the competitive cycling circuit, a cricket tournament, a winery, a dairy, and a rural area rumored to be a hot spot for aliens!

Related Story. 5 great TV crime dramas on Acorn TV. light

Why you should watch

TV crime dramas have gotten darker and more complex over the years, but Midsomer Murders is just a good, no-frills crime show. Since each episode is longer than the traditional hour-long show the cases are usually more developed; it’s not one of those shows where you can figure out the killer right at the top.

But the biggest motivator for checking this series out is its cast. There hasn’t been a weak link in the show, and everyone will have their favorites. Nettles and Dudgeon are both great in different ways. Eagle-eyed viewers will know Jason Hughes, who played DS Ben Jones from series 9-15, from Marcella, Waking the Dead and Death in Paradise.

Episodes to watch

“The Flying Club” (series 16, episode 4) features John Barnaby and DS Charlie Nelson, played by Gwilym Lee (Bohemian Rhapsody). Lee is a standout amongst all the actors to fill the partner role and the episode has an excellent mystery involving feuding families, airplanes, and romance.

“Murder by Magic” (series 17, episode 2) thrives on guest appearances by former Silent Witness star Amanda Burton and Primeval alum Andrew Lee Potts. Burton is positively perfect as the mom of a famous magician who’s massively overbearing and a huge thorn in Barnaby’s side.

And of course, the four new episodes of series 21 are a fine place to jump in—because all of the episodes are self-contained, you can start anywhere and still enjoy the show!

Next. See the full Crime-mas schedule. dark

What do you think of Midsomer Murders? Which TV crime dramas are making your list for the 25 Days of Crime-mas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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