Just about a week after its premier on BBC One, things aren’t looking too good for new crime series Death In Paradise.
Ben Miller stars in the lead role as Detective Inspector Richard Poole. Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf, The Crouches), Lenora Crichlow (Sugar Rush, Being Human), and French actress Sara Martins (C.I.D., Orpailleur) co-star in the BBC/France Télévisions 8-part co-production that one critic has labeled “nonsense”.
Per the BBC:
Death In Paradise is a fish-out-of-water story about a quintessential English cop posted to the Caribbean island of Saint-Marie. To anyone else it would be paradise, but for Detective Inspector Richard Poole (Miller) it’s hell!
From what I have been able to gather (and without giving away too much of the story) this Poole character is dispatched to Saint-Marie (actually Guadeloupe), to help solve a crime that the local police force is, supposedly, just too inept to do on its own. SMDH.
I’m glad to see so many actors-of-color working, but this sounds like it was doomed from the start. And it would appear that that sentiment is shared by some who have actually seen the program.
The Telegraph gave Death In Paradise 2 out of 5 stars, and said:
Much of the first 40 minutes was filled with perhaps the densest collection of Caribbean clichés ever assembled on British television. A goat wandered around the police station. Everyone took forever to do anything. The sinister beach-owning millionaire was having an affair, and so was his wife. The police force only had one car. The local detective was distracted by a radio cricket match (in England, by the sounds of things, even though it was evening in the Caribbean and therefore the small hours of the morning in Britain). It was hot. Poole’s luggage didn’t arrive. The locals thought of the Brits as uncool.
Amid this nonsense, a plot of sorts began to emerge, and it was actually pretty gruesome: a mix of double-crossing, police corruption and human trafficking. But the tone never reflected this. The background music, saturated colours and jaunty flourishes (chief offender: a hilariously bad CGI lizard in Poole’s beachside hut) made it seem at times like a macabre advertisement for a tropical juice drink.
The Yorker had this to say about the program:
From the painfully bad CGI lizard to the tin-pot police station, the fictional island of Saint-Marie is so swamped by cliché that it would fit better in a panto than the location for a grim web of corruption, murder and adultery. In fact, the ‘tropical paradise’ devised for Detective Inspector Poole (Ben Miller) to feel out of place in is so simplistically painted that it doesn’t feel exotic, it feels irritatingly British.
Furthermore, the fact that they have flown in an Englishman to help out the ‘backward locals’ is verging on patronising, and perhaps explains why the entire show is spent trying to make fun of the repressed Poole – to ultimately no end as he solves the case on his own.
I don’t know . . . it’s not looking too good for DIP right now. But these are only the opinions of a few. So if any of our readers in the U.K., who have seen the show, would like to chime in and give us their take on Death In Paradise, please do so. I’d really like to hear from the S&A faithful on this one.