John Nettles as Inspector Barnaby and Jason Hughes as DS Jones.
...Barnaby is about to have
the bolt of inspiration
that cracks the case, solves the murders and the artifact-smuggling ring, and find out that the postmistress is getting off with the vicar, who's secretly her uncle.
Lothar: How many times have you seen this episode?
British Mystery of the Week
drama (1997 to present
) about a police detective and his younger colleague operating in the fictional English county district of Midsomer
, which appears to consist almost entirely of picturesque little villages, mostly named after the scheme "Midsomer X
" - Midsomer Parva, Midsomer Mallow, Midsomer Worthy, etc.
Has a bad case of Never One Murder
(and a murder rate that ITV actually started making fun of in their adverts for this—the editors at Radio Times
counted 321 homicides in the first 14 series), with the killer frequently Beneath Suspicion
until five minutes from the end of each two-hour episode. Many episodes featured a Special Guest
who turned out to be the murderer
Has a brilliantly apt, lilting
This show provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: Played with in "Wild Harvest". The murder of the chef was intentional but the murderer didn't know that the chef's husband (and the murderer's ex-husband) would take up drinking again. It's set up in such a way that Barnaby, while questioning her, is faking that he's still alive to get the name of the poison before the murderer realizes she accidentally killed her ex... before we cut outside to show that both of them are still alive, having been treated for their poison.
- Agents Dating: It has a Running Gag around this: every time Sergeant Jones goes out for dinner with his officer girlfriend, Barnaby (either the old one or the new one) calls him because there's been a development in the case, usually another murder. Apparently the Running Gag of Tom Barnaby's Eureka Moment striking whenever he's out with his wife is contagious.
- Animal Assassin: In "Wild Harvest", the first Victim of the Week is tied up in a forest, doused with truffle oil, and left to be gored to death by a wild boar.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Most of the nobility/very old established families are complete assholes, more obsessed with their lineage and money than with murders.
- Asshole Victim: at least three quarters of the dead people.
- The truly unfortunate cases, though, are the ones where the murderer goes after the Asshole Victim's (usually but not always) innocent family instead.
- Attack of the Town Festival: "The Straw Woman" had a village deciding to go ahead with a festival despite the vicar being burnt to death. The replacement vicar was then also murdered.
- Awful Wedded Life: Nearly half the couples seen. In one case, a woman was not only a witness to her husband's bizarre murder (see Grievous Bottley Harm), she calls out corrections when the murderer misses.
- Bad Habits: Jones disguises himself as a nun to trap a muderer in "A Sacred Trust".
- Barsetshire: The titular Midsomer district.
- Batter Up: A cricket bat is used as a murder weapon in "Dead Man's Eleven".
- Behind the Black: Barnaby manages to pull off this trope from time to time. One notable instance occurs in the Series 7 episode "Sins of Comission".
- Beneath Suspicion
- Beware the Nice Ones: One way to guess correctly who the murderer is with depressing frequency is to pick the one who is the only likable one of the lot.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Lots...
- Blackmail: Lots of it, and a prime cause of death.
- Blue Bloods: They run into quite a few of these, as is the standard in a British mystery, nearly all of whom are Upper-Class Twits- or the murderer.
- Bluffing the Murderer: A classic example in "The Sleeper Under the Hill".
- Book Ends: Tom Barnaby's final episode ends with the new guy being called out on his first Midsomer murder investigation - in Badger's Drift, the location of the murder that started the series.
- Broken Pedestal: Tom Barnaby goes through a few of these. Including one where a police inspector (married to a former sergeant) singlehandedly arrested an old lord for bashing his wife's head in, then quit the force to become a psychologist and attempt to rehabilitate the murderer. Except she'd killed the wife (who'd been sleeping with her husband) and pinned it on the lord, then killed the people who might have brought the matter back up: a blackmailer and her husband, who had slept with the lord's wife while she was in the cells...
- Brother-Sister Incest: In the pilot, no less. Also appears once or twice later on.
- Subverted in "Shot at Dawn", where the prospect is raised with respect to a newly-engaged couple who are unaware that her mother and his father have been carrying on for decades; the mother only laughs and says that she's been very careful to ensure none of her children are the result of the affair.
- Forms part of the backstory to the murders in "Dark Secrets". Once Barnaby realises this, the murderer becomes obvious to him.
- Butt Monkey: Poor Jones. Will anyone EVER treat him nicely? (Troy and Scott also received this treatment, but had a tendency to bring it on themselves.)
- Casting Gag:
- In "Picture of Innocence", Liza Goddard guest stars as a character who partly drives the plot, but only actually appears in the last couple of minutes of the episode. She's someone who Tom Barnaby says he used to date, briefly, about 30 years ago. In The Eighties, Liza Goddard had a recurring role opposite John Nettles in Bergerac as someone who had a flirtatious relationship with the Jim Bergerac.
- In "The Magician's Nephew", which shares its title with the C. S. Lewis book of the same name one character is played by Ronald Pickup, who had voiced Aslan in the BBC adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia.
- Characters Dropping Like Flies: The series is famous for its ridiculously high murder rate (even for a detective series). Depending on population estimates, the rural county of Midsomer has a crime rate beaten only by a few countries.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The show never actually explains what happened to Scott. His absence in the episode that introduces his replacement Jones is explained (he called in sick — Jones was a temporary replacement), but by the next episode Jones is there to stay without Scott being mentioned again.
- Circle of Standing Stones: In one episode, the (first) Victim of the Week is found in a stone circle. A local Druid sect that uses it as a holy place is quickly suspected.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Dudley Carew in "Murder on St. Malley's Day".
- Continuity Nod: In episode one of series 2, a minor character, Miss Beauvoisin, works as an assistant at an estate agents. In a later episode she turns up, having taken over the business. By later series, every time someone is selling their house and a sales board is put up, it's for the Beauvoisin Estate Agent.
- Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: In "The Killings of Copenhagen", the murderer trusses up one of the victims and places them on a conveyor belt leading into an industrial baker's oven.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: In "Ghosts of Christmas Past", Jerkass Digby lights a cigar from one the candles on the dinner table as a taunt at one of the other guests who is not allowed to smoke.
- Country Matters: The way Dennis pronounces the word "Constable" in "The Killings at Badger's Drift" leaves no doubt as to what he means.
- Cowboy Episode: "Blood on the Saddle". It becomes rather hilarious to southern/western residents of the United States as well...
- Cracking Up: Scott once cracks his knuckles in anticipation of taking on a particularly annoying suspect. Barnaby stops the car and tells him in no uncertain terms that he will not tolerate Police Brutality.
- Cramming the Coffin: The 'body buried in the grave beneath a coffin' is used in "Beyond the Grave".
- Crazy People Play Chess: "The Sicilian Defence" revolves around a chess tournament and a computer chess game. As it takes place in Midsomer, needless to say there are more than a few unbalanced personalities involved. The killer leaves chess notations in the pockets of the victims.
- Cricket Episode:
- "Dead Man's Eleven" (series 3)
- "Secrets and Spies" (series 11)
- Crime Magnet: Okay seriously, Tom should just lock Joyce in the house. Every time she goes somewhere, murder ensues.
- Cymbal-Banging Monkey: There is one in the nursery where the first murder occurs in "A Christmas Haunting" It starts banging its cymbals as the body hits the floor.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: The first two victims in "The House in the Woods" are garrotted by a killer hiding in the backseat of their car.
- Deadly Bath: First murder victim in "Echoes of the Dead" is found submerged in a petal-strewn bath, dressed as a bride.
- The first Victim of the Week in "Fit for Murder" is drowned in a flotation pool at a spa. Joyce discovers the corpse when she goes for treatment.
- Dead Man's Chest: A dismembered body is placed in a wicker hamper and left in a railway station in "Echoes of the Dead".
- Death by Looking Up: In "The Dark Rider", one victim is lured outside his ancestral home and looks up just in time to see a gargoyle toppling on top of him.
- Defective Detective: Averted, unusually for the genre.
- Defenestrate and Berate: "Ring Out Your Dead"
- Depraved Bisexual: The murderer in "Not In My Back Yard", who was using seduction to manipulate several people of both sexes.
- Depraved Homosexual: Some. Though, everybody's depraved, so it's kind of hard to tell...
- Detective Mole: Sgt. Trevor Gibson in "Sleeper Under the Hill" turns out to be involved in the killings and does his best to throw Barnaby and Jones off the trail. He ultimately falls victim to his partner in crime.
- Dirty Cop: Sgt. Trevor Gibson in "Sleeper Under the Hill".
- Drinking On Duty: Every single episode involves Barnaby and his sergeant having a pint. Gotta wonder if they might solve the mysteries faster if they weren't perma-buzzed...
- Drives Like Crazy: It's a wonder Barnaby kept letting Sgt. Troy drive.
... You were driving on the wrong side of the road
- Dry Crusader: A sect of these appear in "The Night of the Stag".
- Edgy Sexuality: Brother/Sister, Gay Mortician, Cross Dressing Writer, Father/Son abuse, Lesbian Neighbors, Older man/Teenaged girl - and that's just the first three episodes. Secret brothel owners in episode four. Older man/Teenaged boy and Church Minister Adultery in episode five. Gay child and Choke sex episode six. Adultery, Religious S&M, and Spring/Fall Marriage in episode seven.
- Edible Bludgeon: In "Schooled in Murder", the first Victim of the Week is pinned beneath a set of shelves and has a large wheel of cheese dropped on her head.
- The Eeyore: The Reverand Giles Shawcross in "The Sword of Guillaume".
- Enfant Terrible: At least two episodes have had children as the murderer (though one just masterminded the whole thing using his mentally-retarded uncle to do the killing).
- Enhance Button: Usually Averted due to the show's rather classic detective approach. There's one in "Days of Misrule", though.
- Entitled Bastard: A common trait among the gentry and "old families" of Midsomer County. In one episode, one such gentleman brushes off accusations of conspiracy to commit murder by saying that, as a scion of England's old wealthy families, "we make our own rules." (And he has nothing on the episode's murderer.)
- Eureka Moment: Barnaby gets a lot of these from offhand remarks by his wife or daughter.
- Even Evil Has Standards: One murderer takes a small boy who he knows to be the witness to his crime out on a boat ride. Then Barnaby has his Eureka Moment and heads for the dock, expecting the worst... only to find the kid unharmed, with the murderer saying he couldn't kill him.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Illicit affairs probably make up half the secrets Barnaby uncovers.
- Evil Brit: Pretty much everybody but the recurring characters is a lying, perverted, murdering hypocrite.
- Faked Kidnapping: In "Faithful Unto Death"
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: The third Victim of the Week in "Let Us Prey" is shackled to a bed and then impaled by a falling chandelier.
- Fatal Method Acting: In "Death of a Hollow Man" the actor playing Salieri in a production of Amadeus accidentally cuts his own throat when the prop razor he was supposed to use is switched out for a real one backstage. For extra irony, Salieri in the play survives having his throat cut.
- Flat Joy: One episode centers around the filming of a Scarlet Pimpernel movie. When the guillotine falls on an aristocrat, the revolutionaries have less-than-enthusiastic reactions.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: It seems every other episode opens with Barnaby getting dragged to his wife's latest hobby group. Given that the episode then reveals they're all a bunch of immoral murderers, adulterers and thieves, it's no wonder she ends up looking for a new one.
- A Fête Worse Than Death: In the episode "The Straw Woman"
- Forklift Fu: In "Sauce for the Goose", Victim of the Week Dexter Lockwood is crushed by a forklift being dumped in a sterilizer.
- Gaslighting: "Beyond the Grave".
- Geographic Flexibility: The villages often gain features and places previously unseen or unheard of. The series is filmed in locations all around England and Wales. It shows. But, surprisingly, it mostly averts California Doubling. The use of this trope is to be expected, given how the series is one of the Long Runners of British TV and is set in a small fictional English administrative region with a predominantly rural, old-timey character.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Actually averted with Troy, who's a bit of a homophobe and never considers lesbians as arousing.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Although the series has never shied away from depicting some spectacularly nasty murders, viewers are generally spared the worst of it. "The Sword of Guillaume", however, averts this trope to the point of horror.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: In "Not In My Back Yard", the first Victim of the Week is done in with a broken bottle.
- In another, the guy is tied down to the lawn while the murderer uses a small catapult to hurl filled bottles at him. His wife sees the whole thing and corrects the murderer's aim.
- Hand of Death
- Happily Married: Tom Barnaby and his wife Joyce, who are apparently the only happily married couple in Midsomer.
- There are a few other Happily Married couples, they're often the murderers.
- Headless Horseman: In "The Dark Rider", a character masquerades as the headless horseman from local legend in order to frighten the aristocrats.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: In "Dead in the Water", Barnaby is watching a pornographic video that was used to blackmail one of the suspects. Joyce walks in and asks him what he's watching. As he tells her, she starts tilting her head with her eyes glued to the screen. She then asks him if he fancies an early night.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: In "The Sleeper Under the Hill", a criminal hides a stolen painting on his wall, claiming that is a forgery of the famous painting.
- His Name Is...: Classic case in "The Glitch". The mechanic leaves a message for a friend indicating he knows who the murderer is, but he's murdered before they can talk. He leaves a cryptic clue at least.
- Home Counties: Where Midsomer district is supposedly located (or is it set in The West Country?)
- Hunting Accident: "Ghosts of Christmas Past"
- I Drank What: In "The Night of the Stag", Barnaby drinks half a pint of cider from a barrel that has a dead body floating in it. It causes him to throw up even before the body is discovered.
- Identical Grandson: Relatives of two characters from "The Killings At Badger's Drift" appear in "Dead Letters", played by the same actors.
- I'll Take Two Beers Too: An early episode had Joyce in a bar with friend who ordered two large whiskies and soda, then asked Joyce if she wanted anything.
- Impairment Shot: Happens when the first Victim of the Week is poisoned in "The Killings of Copenhagen".
- Implausible Deniability: One guy is caught in bed with a young man. His next words during the interrogation are "I'm not gay".
- Irish Priest: Father Behan in "A Sacred Trust". Being Catholic, however, does not spare him from the same fate as so many of his Anglican counterparts.
- Jack the Ripoff: In the episode "Echoes of the Dead", Barnaby recognises the murders as recreations of famous murders of the early 20th century, except for the last one, which he's not able to place. When the murderer is caught, Barnaby asks about it, and the murderer shrugs and says, "I was in a hurry and I couldn't think of anything".
- Life's Work Ruined: In "Orchis Fatalis", someone takes revenge on an orchid collector by pouring weedkiller over his priceless orchid collection.
- Like Brother and Sister: DS Nelson and Kate Wilding. They're best of friends, but Kate eventually worries she's stifling him and ships him with a junior policewoman.
- Long Runners: Fifteen years and counting.
- Madwoman in the Attic: As alluded to in the title "Left For Dead", a kid who was seemingly killed 19 years prior turns out to be alive, brain damaged, and locked in a cellar convinced by a couple that he was their lost child. When he finally figures out his true identity, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- His name is Bradley. A shout-out to To Kill a Mockingbird (B Radley)?
- Magic Brakes: "Death and the Divas".
- Mata Hari: Alice Krige's character in "Secrets and Spies". Trained by MI6 to setup Honey Traps.
- Mistaken for Servant: Troy does this to a local lord in "Market for Murder".
- The Mistress: As likely as not, a mystery might involve this or adultery.
- Monochrome Casting: The producer, Brian Tru-May, got fired for telling the Radio Times that they didn't cast non-white actors, or have non-white characters, because they wanted to remain "the last bastion of Englishness". Indeed. Apparently "the last bastion of Englishness" involves a murder rate higher than The Wire.
- Murder by Cremation: "Secrets and Spies"
- Murder By Inaction: There's one where a snobby wine lover is tied to his lawn while the murderer is catapulting wine bottles at him. His wife has been taken to the window and her wheelchair disabled in order to make her watch the whole thing (though the murderer remains unidentified). When she sees the bottle miss, she calls out corrections in aim to the murderer. The next morning, the police arrive but she of course didn't see anything.
- Murder by Mistake: The first victim in "The Glitch".
- And the first victim in "A Sacred Trust".
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Many episodes feature people who think this.
- Murder Simulators: Discussed and played literally in "Bantling Boy".
- Mushroom Samba: In the episode "Faithful Unto Death", straight-laced Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby tries some (special) brownies while interviewing a possible witness and subsequently comes over all giggly and walks along the top of an ornamental wall, all the while attracting confused looks from his Sergeant and the Coroner.
- Naked Apron: "Destroying Angel". Barnaby arrives to question a middle-aged, male suspect only to find him doing a spot of baking wearing nothing but an apron.
- Narrowed It Down To The Guy I Recognise: More than once, the most famous of the guest stars turns out to have done it. (On the occasions when they're not the one to whom it was done.)
- Never Mess with Granny: Especially if she was a secret war hero.
- Never One Murder: Subverted in "Painted in Blood," when there really was only one murder.
- "Dead in the Water" is another exception, although there was a second attempted murder.
- Also played with in "Blue Herrings". Though there are many deaths, most were natural or accidental. Only one was a murder, and it was played as a Mercy Killing.
- Lampshade Hanging on this in one episode:
Sgt Scott: Sir, I just got here, and we already have three bodies.
DCI Barnaby: It has been remarked upon before, yes.
- New Media Are Evil: "Picture of Innocence". The plot revolves around Digital vs Traditional Photography. Subverted in which both sets of photographers are as bad as each other.
- New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: Many an episode features characters whom Barnaby has known for years, but whom the audience has never seen before and for the most part will never see again.
- No Badge? No Problem!: One episode has Barnaby be removed from a case because his wife is tangentially connected to it. His replacement being a perfectly intolerable little dipstick, Barnaby gets to the witnesses first without mentioning he's not on the case.
- Not In My Back Yard: The title (and main theme) of an episode. Unpopular development plans often end in murder in Midsomer.
- Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: In the episode "Death of a Hollow Man".
- And again in "The Magician's Nephew".
- Obfuscating Disability
- Officer and a Gentleman: The phrase is used when Barnaby figures out one suspect had children not by her husband but his father. He won't tell, leading to her saying the phrase... and it's all for moot since one of the daughters was listening at the door.
- Offing the Offspring: The murderer in "Days of Misrule". The kid was such a Jerkass that his dad still manages to be a Sympathetic Murderer.
- Off with His Head!: In "Midsomer Rhapsody" a motorcyclist is decapitated by a length of piano wire strung across the road at neck height.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: Standard formula for a British cop show.
- Old-Fashioned Copper: Inspector Barnaby and pretty much any other standard police detective in Midsomer county. Goes hand in hand with the very British attitude of Doesn't Like Guns.
- Orgy of Evidence: In "Fit for Murder", Barnaby and Jones find a large amount of incriminating evidence when they search the house and vehicle of a pair of suspects. Barnaby points out the murders were methodical and carefully premeditated, and scarcely the work of someone who leave incriminating evidence (that they had no reason to keep) where any search would reveal it.
- Overtook the Series: Originally based on four (now seven) books by Caroline Graham.
- Paid-For Family: One episode has a woman paid by her clients to act as a loving wife.
- Parental Incest: Heavily implied between the Rainbirds in the pilot.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: In "Market for Murder", the password on the Reading Group's secret share market account is 'Gerald'; the name of the late husband of the group's founder (whom she could not go five minutes without mentioning in conversation). Somewhat more acceptable than normal, given that she was borderline obsessed with his memory and probably could not help herself in using his name as her password.
- Pick a Card: In the episode "Ghosts of Christmas Past", a boy who wants to be a magician when he grows up does an actually-quite-clever version of the trick while being interviewed by Barnaby and Scott about the murder, and his explanation of how he did it (including the fact that he arranged matters to have his own choice of card come up at the end) inspires Barnaby's later Eureka Moment.
- Pinned to the Wall: The first Victim of the Week in "Blood Wedding" is pinned to the wall with an antique sword.
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Fiona Conway does this (literally with the pizza boy) in "Not In My Back Yard".
- Pop the Tires: Happens in an episode to Troy. Troy repays the favor at the end of the episode, preventing the murderer from escaping.
- Pursued Protagonist: "The Night of the Stag" opens with the first Victim of the Week being chased through an orchard at night.
- Put on a Bus: Sergeant Troy is promoted and transferred up north. He returns for the episode "Blood Wedding".
- Similarly, Sergeant Scott goes on a Long Bus Trip - Barnaby mentions that he "called in sick" but the character is never heard from again.
- Real After All: At least two episodes featuring somebody taking advantage of or inventing a place's haunted reputation have ended with indications that the place really is haunted.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Sergeant Scott bemoans his transfer to Midsomer has ended him up in "the Sticks".
- Retro Universe: Kind of. It's clearly set in the Present Day (mid 1990s-early 2000s), but the atmosphere is very rustic and sort of a Genre Throwback to the golden age of English detective fiction in the inter-war period.
- Running Gag: Barnaby's Once an Episode Eureka Moment (usually interrupts whatever he was doing with his family, like dinner ot his daughter's play). Also Jones getting a call (either from Barnaby or related to the case) forcing him to interrupt his date with his girlfriend.
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: In "Talking to the Dead", a dealer in stolen goods takes advantage of the reputation of the local woods for being haunted by playing eerie noises to keep the locals away on the nights when his deals go down.
- Self-Referential Humor: At one moment, the brass band from the episode "Things That Go Bump in the Night" plays the series' main theme.
- Serious Business: Some of the murders have unbelievably ridiculous motives (to anyone but the murderers). One woman ends up killing three people because her driving drunk would bar her from joining the village social club for life.
- Another episode has the local photography club divided into love and hate of digital photography.
- Shameful Source Of Knowledge: Several episodes have characters not reveal information that could have prevented someone's death, as this would also force them to reveal that they're cheating on their spouse or involved in shady deals with other inhabitants of Midsomer.
- Shared Family Quirks: One episode has Barnaby figure out two women are related when both use the same bizarre expression despite not living near each other, just in time to save the Asshole Victim.
- Shout-Out: To the famous album cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road. An artist/forger hides errors in his forgeries as a joke. One landscape painting, which he claimed to be centuries old, includes four men in the distance who on close inspection are clearly John, Paul, George, and Ringo. ("The Black Book")
- The mentally disabled young man hidden from sight is named "Bradley." B Radley Shoutout to To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Two episodes are shoutouts to Dorothy L. Sayers; the one with the mushroom poisoning uses the same mushroom as in Documents in the Case; another centers around change ringing—-Nine Taylors.
- Episode/Orchis Fatalis, dealing with obsessed orchid breeders/growers, could be a shoutout to Nero Wolfe.
- One of the murders in Night of the Stag is the murder of St Thomas Becket in all but name. The episode's Big Bad even orders the killing by asking his two henchmen "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"
- Skeleton Key Card: One episode has Barnaby and Jones trying to get inside a closed building in a hurry (his daughter's wedding is coming up). Jones tries to open the lock with Barnaby's credit card, leading to a still-locked door and a very annoyed Barnaby.
- Sleeping with the Boss: Shows up a few times, whether as "sleeping up the ladder" or actual romance.
- Slut Shaming: "A Sacred Trust" involves some romantic liaisons, including one girl shamed by her involvement with a jock for telling the police about it.
- A plot point of "Schooled in Murder" is that a victim's daughter was about to be expelled from school, as she was on a scholarship from her mother's employer, but the scholarship contained "moral terms" which the victim had broken by having an affair.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: The gloomy vicar in "The Sword of Guillaume". Naturally (for this programme), he's given a sign just at that moment.
- Stalker Shrine: Revealed just before the climax of "A Rare Bird".
- Stepford Smiler: Chief Superintendent John Cotton, coupled with Beware the Nice Ones. Or vice versa.
- Stopped Clock: Abused in at least one episode to make a murder look like a suicide.
- Stress Vomit: One character immediately starts vomiting when she learns the guy she's been banging through the whole episode is actually her nephew. He doesn't really react to that, given that he also just learned he's the product of Brother-Sister Incest.
- Stylistic Suck: The movies in "Death and the Divas". Complete with wooden acting and poor effects. This is justified, as they were supposed to be low budget horror films from the late '60s and early '70s.
- Surprise Incest: This was in an episode where a man had 'spread his seed far and wide' — you could hardly turn a corner without finding one of his bastards. One couple didn't meet until they were both in graduate school in Canada and got married, only later realizing they were half-siblings; she was totally squicked, he lost his mind at the thought of losing her and tried to 'fix' the problem through religion.
- A character in "Dark Secrets" immediately vomits upon learning the employee she'd been having an affair with was her nephew, the nephew himself being the product of Brother-Sister Incest.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When John Nettles left the series, DCI Tom Barnaby retired, to be replaced by his decades-younger and somewhat more energetic cousin DCI John Barnaby, who still looks fairly close in age. They did hang a lampshade on it in the episode where John Barnaby was introduced, but really, it's like they're not even trying. The name at least might be chalked up as an Enforced Trope due to the show being called "Inspector Barnaby" in certain other markets (France, Italy, Germany, and Japan according to The Other Wiki).
- Sword Fight: "Blood Wedding" features attempted murder by mace, and the would-be victim grabbing a sword to defend himself.
- Tag-Along Actor: Cully's actor boyfriend rides along with Barnaby and Jones to research the role of a detective sergeant. It's a comment of his that gives Barnaby the Eureka Moment.
- That One Case: George Meakham's obsession with the original Strangler's Wood murders.
- Theme Tune Cameo: In "Judgement Day", when Midsomer Mallow's youth orchestra is shown rehearsing.
- Theme Naming: Most of the villages are "Midsomer *blank*".
- This Bear Was Framed: An episode has a killer use a saber tooth tiger skull to make marks on the body to hide the real cause of death.
- Translation By Volume: Tom Barnaby once mentions that it used to be all you had to do to be understood by a foreigner: speak loudly and slowly or shout.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
- One episode has two primary school kids sneaking vodka and cigarettes.
- This was a major plot revelation in "Left for Dead" (series 11). A group of four kids allow another kid to tag along while they smoke and drink. When that kid gets uncomfortable, they torture him, drown him in a river, and toss his body down a well.
- Trust-Building Blunder: DCI Tom Barnaby's (predictable) contempt towards team building exercises is on display in "Days of Misrule" when he is forced to go on one by the new chief superintendent. Hilarity Ensues.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Inspector Martin Spellman in "Picture of Innocence".
- Unwilling Suspension: Happens to John Barnaby in "Death in the Slow Lane".
- Vehicular Sabotage: "Death in the Slow Lane". The episode "Death and the Divas" from season 15 also had a death involving this.
- The Vicar: Almost a prerequisite for any whodunit set in an English village, though dog collars appear to be the Midsomer equivalent of a Red Shirt. If you're a clergyman in Midsomer, chances are you'll either be horribly murdered or unmasked as a horrible murderer before the credits roll. Of particular note is the Reverend Stephen Wentworth, played brilliantly by Richard Briers in the episode "Death's Shadow". Another honourable mention should go to Mark Gatiss's Giles Shawcross in "The Sword of Guillaume".
- What a Drag: One victim in "Blood on the Saddle" is killed by being lassoed and dragged along behind a horse.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Cully's husband, Simon, is never seen or heard from after their wedding.
- Who Murdered The Asshole: The victim in "Judgement Day" was sleeping with at least three different women (one of whom was paying him for it) until he got pitchforked through the chest in the first five minutes. He was also a petty thief and a vandal with a serious attitude problem, so there are plenty of suspects.
- With This Ring: In "Schooled In Murder", John Barnaby buys a ring for his wife for their 15th anniversary. However, while distracted by Jones, he accidentally feeds the ring to his dog Sykes. He then has to fabricate reasons to keep the dog with him till he can, um, retrieve it.
- Woman Scorned: Quite a few cases. Patricia Blackshaw in "The Black Book", for one.
- Wrench Whack: The first Body of the Week in "The Flying Club" is done in by a blow to the back of the head with a wrench.
- Yandere: quite a few of the murderers in the 1st series.
- Ye Olde Butchered English: In one episode with a medieval fair/tourney.
- You Do Not Have to Say Anything
- You Look Familiar: The actor who plays John Barnaby first appeared on the series a decade earlier as a murder suspect, a sleazy gardener who hits on Barnaby's wife.
- John Nettles himself, who starred in another detective show, Bergerac, set in Jersey.
- It's not unusual to find the stars of other detective shows cropping up in Midsomer as guest stars, very often being unmasked as murderers or ending up as victims. Guest stars from previous episodes also turn up from time to time in different roles, which can be amusing if they got killed during their earlier appearance.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Charlotte Cameron in "Death in the Slow Lane".