Brits are great at producing crime shows. Their police procedurals are some of the most entertaining television shows one could watch. There’s a show that started back in the late 1990s called Midsomer Murders. Midsomer is a fictional county with what seems like endless villages. I had watched an episode of this show from time to time on our public broadcasting network, but I never really got attached to it. This summer’s weather in Arkansas has been brutally hot. That, plus the fact that I have a Firestick (offers various streaming services) attached to the flat screen I have in my office, prompted me to search one day for some interesting tv fair. I ran across some twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders one day, and I decided to start watching the series from the beginning.
Let me say from the beginning that two to three people murdered on each episode in a scarcely populated village is far from being realistic. Furthermore, twenty some years of episodes, with each one highlighting the murderous shenanigans in a different village seems far beyond farfetched. How many villages could any county in Great Britain have? Beyond that hard-to-swallow aspect of the show, the evolution of technology, hair styles, automobile models, diverse ethnicities and main characters present an interesting study, if you will.
The show begins with the main character Chief Detective Inspector Tom Barnaby and his sidekick Detective Sergeant Jones. They are stationed in a town called Causton. They regularly flash their credentials when introducing themselves as being with CID (Criminal Investigation Division) from Causton. There’s a good amount CDI Barnaby’s personal life interjected into the show…not too much, just enough. We see his wife and adult daughter, who sometimes are drawn into the mysteries the show presents. The earlier episodes, which began in the late 1990s lack some of the slickness displayed in those of the iPhone era, however, the perennial invitation for the viewer to tag the murder before Barnaby is always there. I feel pretty good about myself, since I developed a keen eye for identifying the murderous culprits about three-quarters of the way through most episodes.
It’s interesting how Midsomer evolved in many ways through the decades. One such evolutions has been the presence of people of color on the show. The earlier episodes had few people of African, Asian or any other ancestry beside European. It’s almost like I turned on the tele one day and there be ethnic diversity in one of the quaint villages of Midsomer County. I know little about rural Great Britain, but I’ve been under the impression that most rural areas have few people of color. Regardless of what real life presents, I commend the producers of Midsomer Murders for answering the call of the times by including people of color in the high jinks associated with the crime that dates to early Biblical times.
Midsomer murder has provided me with some good entertainment for summer 2022. Most of it doesn’t really imitate life very well, but I give it a one hundred for trying.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.
I lived in a small village in England in 1976. It was a very different culture, compared to the USA.
You are right – most people of colour in he UK are immigrants or children/grandchildren of immigrants who came after WWII to work, and therefor settled mainly in the larger industrial areas. It’s only in the last two or three decades that they have started to move into more rural areas, so English village life is still quite traditional.
I love Midsomer Murders and still watch reruns several times a week!