Appellate Judge James A. Stewart is packing his bulletproof vest for a visit to Midsomer County.
Our reviews of Midsomer Murders: Barnaby's Top 10 (published September 24th, 2011), Midsomer Murders: Set 13 (published September 10th, 2009), Midsomer Murders: Set 15 (published May 19th, 2010), Midsomer Murders: Set 16 (published September 22nd, 2010), Midsomer Murders: Set 17 (published January 27th, 2011), Midsomer Murders: Set 18 (published September 24th, 2011), Midsomer Murders: Set 19 (Blu-ray) (published February 20th, 2012), Midsomer Murders: Set 20 (published May 31st, 2012), and Midsomer Murders: Set 21 (published December 26th, 2012) are also available.
Since British audiences have witnessed murders regularly in Midsomer County since 1997, there probably isn't anyone in the county—or anyone with a British TV license—who doesn't recognize Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles, Bergerac). Nettles' Barnaby isn't as colorful as food-obsessed Henry Crabbe, cranky Jack Frost, devious antiques dealer Lovejoy, or even wisecracking teachers Trevor Chaplin and Jill Swinburne, to name just a few popular British TV sleuths I've passed judgment on recently. Still, his quiet, patient investigations make Midsomer Murders consistently entertaining.
Digital Spy wrote that Nettles will be retiring in 2011 on ITV, but there are still a few more sets of his cases to be released here before that last episode—at least with Nettles—runs.
Midsomer Murders: Set 14 includes four 92-minute mysteries, each on its own disc:
• "Death and Dust"
• "Picture of Innocence"
• "They Seek Him Here"
• "Death in a Chocolate Box"
Set 14 seems a bit lighter than Set 13, the last one I reviewed, with two episodes—"Picture of Innocence" and "They Seek Him Here"—going especially heavy on the light stuff. In "Picture," Barnaby's "house arrest" in which he's almost never at home, an irritant to the detective nominally handling the case, gives John Nettles a chance to do more than throw a few droll lines into questioning. Watching him sneak around on a case, do a slow burn as he sits down to a gourmet dinner meant for an imposter, and deal with questions from Joyce about a past romance is fun. The movie set setting of "Seek," with its comic riffs on filmmaking, leads to several scene-stealing guest turns. As with Set 13, the casting directors have done their homework, populating Midsomer with all sorts of offbeat characters, acted well. You'll see an occasional familiar face, like Stephanie Cole (Doc Martin) or Chris Barrie (Red Dwarf), but even the ones you've never heard of excel.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic picture and the sound are good, if not showy.
The only extra here is a text bio of Caroline Graham, who wrote the novels that introduced Inspector Barnaby.
This set of Midsomer Murders is a good blend of light and moody stories that'll appeal to anyone who likes a police procedural done with British style.
Not guilty. From here, it looks like Nettles will quit on top.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
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