DEATH IN PARADISE “Beyond the Shining Sea: Parts One and Two.” BBC, UK. 07 & 14 February 2019. (Season 8, Episodes 5 & 6). Ardal O’Hanlon, Joséphine Jobert, Tobi Bakare, Shyko Amos, with Leemore Marrett Jr., Zackary Momoh, Nicôle Lecky, Indra Ové. Screenwriters: Sally Abbott (Part One), Roger Enstone (Part Two). Director: Jermain Julien.

   As you may recall, I unwittingly started watching this series with season eight, and I’ve continued on with it. There are now but two more to so, and then I will go back and do things properly and start way back at the beginning, with season one.

   I have, however, enjoyed all of them I have seen, and ranking them, after the first one of the season, these two come in a close second and third. It certainly helped that both episodes are based on the solution of “impossible crimes,” if not the small subset of that particular genre called “locked room mysteries.” In the first episode a young woman, a festival queen, is found stabbed to death after setting off in a small boat and around a headland then coming to shore where the villagers are eagerly waiting for her. Somewhere in that three minutes of time, while she was out of sight, she was murdered.

   There were no other boats in the area, and any swimmers or divers would have left wet footprints in the boat, and there are none. The solution is quite clever and is worked out perfectly, but after the killer is caught and confesses, there is more to the story. One prominent player is murdered and another seriously injured.

   The assailant can only be one of three people living on a rich man’s getaway island, but there is no boat on the island and there was no time for any of them to swim to shore, where the shootings took place, and return. The solution is a bit more contrived this time around, but it’s still quite adequately accomplished.

   It is only at the end of story that the viewer (me) realizes that what these two episodes were really designed to do was to pave the way for one of the players to make a dramatic exit from the series. This caught me by surprise. Personnel changes in a series as dramatic as this one don’t usually happen with two more episodes to go.