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Death in Paradise is a French-British crime drama, created by Robert Thorogood, that premiered in 2011. It is a joint Anglo-French production between The BBC and France Télévisions.

The series focuses on the police department on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie,note  a British Overseas Territory. While the police commissioner is a local, the operative police work is led by a British detective, who invariably has to deal with the surprisingly high murder rate while trying to come to grips with the wholly foreign environment he's landed in. He's ably assisted by the local police force while they themselves are trying to figure out their new boss.

The show currently stars Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker, Tahj Miles as Trainee Officer Marlon Price and Shantol Jackson as DS Naomi Thomas.

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DI Parker was preceded by DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller) in Series 1 and 2, DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall) in Series 3 through 6, and DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon) in Series 6 through 9.

The show has a revolving cast of regulars, and none of the four main cast from the first series are still part of the lineup. Only the recurring characters Commissioner Patterson and Catherine Bordey (mother of one of the original detectives, and later Mayor of Saint Marie) remain from the premiere.note 

Thorogood has also written a series of novels which feature the original line-up from the first two series.


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Contains examples of:

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     Tropes A-M 
  • Absence of Evidence:
    • In one episode, automated door records, witness testimony, video footage, and the coroner's report all indicate that an out of shape scientist climbed alone up the side of a volcano at night to monitor some anomalous seismic readings, had a heart attack and died. Humphrey looks at the scene for a minute and asks why the man didn't have a flashlight...
    • In the 2021 Christmas special, Neville has his "Eureka!" Moment when he realises that the murder victim's apparent suicide recording has no sounds of the sea when he allegedly killed himself on the beach.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Angela Young keeps calling Fidel "Freddie" in "An Unhelpful Aid". Richard calls her "Helena" in the climax, decidedly not accidentally.
  • Accidental Murder: Pops up a few times, like the one time two lovers were fighting over a knife until one got stabbed purely by accident. He still had the presence of mind to dispose of some evidence, limp somewhere else and make it look like he caught a burglar red-handed, to give the woman he loved an alibi and keep her husband from finding out about them.
    • In "Tour de Murder", an argument results in a forceful shove that pushes the Victim of the Week over the edge of a bridge into a deep ravine. Attempts to Make It Look Like an Accident actually convince the police that it was murder.
    • In "Pirates of the Murder Scene", the killer fights back against their attacker and accidentally shoves them over the edge of a lighthouse rail.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: One episode's Running Gag has Humphrey trying and failing to solve a Rubik's Cube. When it's time for his usual "Eureka!" Moment, he keeps toying with it absent-mindedly until Florence points it out to him that he solved it unconsciously.
  • Action Girl: Detective Sergeants Camille Bordey and Florence Cassel are both physically capable and almost fearless:
    • In Season Two's "Death at the Clinic", Poole tries to demonstrate his theory that someone shoved the victim into a swimming pool; Camille has him in an excruciating armlock, before he explains (with difficulty) that she's supposed to be pretending to have no training in self-defense;
    • In the Season Five premiere, Florence catches a suspect trying to flee by boat by sprinting to the edge of the pier, leaping onto the awning of another boat passing between them, then leaping to the fugitive's boat and subduing him herself.
      J.P.: Now that's what I call no weaknesses, Dwayne.
      Humphrey: Gosh, you can say that again.
  • Acquired Error at the Printer: In "Written in Murder", D.I. Jack Mooney receives a batch of business cards identifying him as 'D.I. Jack Money'.
  • Acquitted Too Late: Plays a part in "In the Footsteps of a Killer"; eight years prior, a woman was arrested for murder and died in prison, but the team learn that she was actually innocent when a man she slept with on the night of the crime returns to the island to give her an alibi (he had an early morning flight out and so never realised she was in trouble until he returned), leading to the team re-opening the case.
  • Agent Scully: Poole is a dogged scientific rationalist, and immediately rejects any suggestion that a case might involve prophecies, miracles or curses.
  • The Alibi: A key part of the show. In at least one instance a suspect who seemingly had a cast-iron alibi (they'd seemingly unwittingly taken a photo of the murder in progress) and was ruled out by Humphrey turned out to be the guilty party after all (they'd left their camera on automatic in order to capture the picture, and were caught out when Humphrey noticed the large number of pictures where the camera angle wasn't changing). On another case, Neville determined that all four suspects could be accounted for at the moment of death, but eventually realised that the victim was killed by his own daughter when he saw her during a few seconds when she was alone, and he just took a few minutes to actually die rather than being instantly killed by his stab wound.
  • All There in the Manual: Viewers will notice that the uniformed characters wear the French Tricolour on their uniforms and "E II R" cap badges. This is because, in the show's fictional history, Saint Marie is a British Overseas Territory that previously belonged to the French.
  • Always Murder: Well, it is in the title.
    • Yes and no in “Predicting Murder” in that the woman who predicted her own death committed suicide while implicating her son-in-law in her death. The woman was terminally ill, believed that her son-in-law was responsible for her daughter’s/his wife’s death (he was), and felt that the only way she could get justice was to frame him for her own death.
    • There have been several episodes where it was suicide, with varying degrees of that being a spoiler. Of course, even when it is suicide, it never is as easy as just suicide...
  • Anachronistic Clue: In "An Artistic Murder", Humphrey discovers that a painting is a forgery because it features a lighthouse that wasn't built until 1929; two years after the artist committed suicide.
  • And Another Thing...: DI Mooney is a fan of asking some innocuous questions, going into some lengthy and pointless anecdote and then, just as he's leaving, hitting the suspect with really tough questions.
  • And Starring:
    • Don Warrington receives the "and" billing on episodes he appears in. Élizabeth Bourgine normally receives the "with" billing but gets the "and" billing on episodes where Warrington is absent. If neither of them appear, then the most prominent guest actor(s) receives the "with" billing.
    • Starting in Series 11, Élizabeth Bourgine receives the "and" billing while Don Warrington moves up to third in the opening credits.
  • Animal Assassin: In "A Deadly Curse", one Victim of the Week (who is deathly allergic to insect bites) is murdered when the killer releases a kissing bug in his cell.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Poole is adamant about rationalism in any case involving voodoo, magic, or even Catholicism, but also relies heavily on gut feelings, especially in "Missing a Body?", and is a follower of the Church of England. Camille and Catherine call him out on this hypocrisy in "Predicting Murder" and "A Dash of Sunshine."
  • The Artifact: The boat Roast Beef hasn’t been used since Poole was in the show.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: In "A Murder in Portrait", Ruby stops a fleeing suspect by dumping a trailer load of coconuts on hill, causing the suspect to swerve his scooter and crash. It is later revealed that coconuts continued down the hill and crashed through a wedding, resulting in an extremely irate bride. Ruby is called on the carpet by the Commissioner, who is also her uncle. He starts off by by telling her that what she did was reckless, but then goes on to say that a good police officer needs to be able to think on their feet, and that her actions resulted in the capture of the suspect, and that lead to the evidence which ultimately cracked the case, so as far as he is concerned, she did the right thing.
  • Artistic License – Law: All the main protagonists hold the rank of Detective Inspector (DI), which in real life would be one rank below the minimum required to lead murder investigations (they would need to be at least Detective Chief Inspectors (DCI) for that). The series also takes a number of additional liberties in its depiction of the British police system, but all of these can be excused by Saint Marie being so tiny that a standard police force would be overkill, allowing for some leeway in their organisational structure. Their previous history with the French might also play a part in the department's pecularities.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Much of the beach volleyball "game" is blatantly not legal play.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Poole.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: In "Written in Murder", DI Mooney stops a suspect from escaping by stuffing a banana up the tailpipe of his motor scooter. He comments that a potato would have been better, but he made do with what he had to hand.
  • Bandage Wince: In "A Stormy Occurrence", DI Poole tries to step out into a hurricane and gets hit in the head by a piece of debris. He winces when Camille cleans the cut on his head, and gets no sympathy from her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Most people have a hard time (at first) taking DI Goodman seriously, since he's socially awkward, accident-prone, and deferential to a fault in most public settings. Just don't think you can get away with murder in his jurisdiction.
  • The Big Board: Or rather the two small whiteboards that get pressed into action every episode with the pictures of the all the suspects and the crime scene stuck to them, along with various scribbles related to the case.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: In "Beyond the Shining Sea - Part 1", Ruby stops an overweight Loan Shark nicknamed Peewee by jumping on to his back as he runs past and clamping her hands over his eyes. Both Peewee and Ruby end up going off the jetty into the harbour.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": "A Deadly Curse": Poole, to Joel Maurice, who keeps interrupting The Summation to ask where the pirate treasure is.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: In "Spot the Difference", DI Poole finds himself solving the most confounding and embarrassing murder of his career during his birthday.
  • Bitter Almonds:
    • In "One for the Road", Humphrey smells bitter almonds on the murdered governor and announces she has been poisoned with cyanide.
    • In "A Murder in Portrait", Jack comments on the strong smell of almonds on the Victim of the Week and immediately comes to the conclusion that she was poisoned with cyanide. Which, while true, also turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • Blackmail: Proves to be a motive for some murders, such as in "Murder Onboard".
  • Black Widow: The motive for the murder in Season Five's "The Complex Murder."
  • A Bloody Mess: Deliberately invoked in "Death in the Salon" when the murderer covers their hands with red hair dye to convince witnesses that the Victim of the Week has already been stabbed before the murder actually occurs.
  • Bookmark Clue: Inverted in "Frappe Death Day" where DI Mooney becomes fixated on the fact that the Victim of the Week hadn't placed a book mark in the heavy tome he was reading before he was shot. Typically for the show, this Absence of Evidence turns out to be a vital clue.
  • Brick Joke: Happens in subtle and brilliant ways. Clues about the mystery are hidden in other episodes.
    • In "Death in a Clinic", an identity theft ring is uncovered in a private hospital. Fast forward to the next season, "Death of a Detective", one of the suspects mentions the same clinic in passing and later it turns out that the murderer stole someone's identity.
    • In "An Artistic Murder", a critical clue is hidden somewhere in an extremely boring book. One of the many excerpts read from it is about a local bird species, the fictional San-Marie Greene, but is unrelated to the current murder. A few episodes later,"'The Early Bird", the whole plot revolves around the same parrot.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: In "Erupting in Murder", Mayor Richards arrives at the observatory with a briefcase containing $5 million withdrawn from his secret bank account that is intended as a bribe to get the observatory to change the exclusion zone around the volcano.
  • British Stuffiness: Take a wild guess. If Poole's black suit doesn't give it away, his reluctance to embrace anything on the island will. A bit of a Running Gag in the pilot is Poole being slightly confused whenever anyone guesses that he's English.
  • Brits Love Tea: Poole delivers a Character Filibuster on its importance in the fourth episode as a means to stall some suspects while Camille searches their house. He spends the second episode, "Wicked Wedding Night", trying in vain across the island to find a decent cuppa. Much to his surprise, it comes from Camille's mother.
  • Bully Hunter: Richard Poole hates bullies - he doesn't go outside of the law to pursue them, but he's particularly scathing towards those criminals he catches who use such tactics.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Camille moves to Paris in series 4 to start a new career. She returns briely in series 10 to assist in solving a case after her mother is attacked during the investigation.
    • Mooney's daughter Siobhan goes off to university at the start of series 7; she returns at the end of series 8 and again in series 9 for her father's final episode.
    • Florence returns to the show in Series 10 after a series and half away, only to leave again midway through Series 11.
    • Richard Poole makes a brief appearance in the Series 10 two parter as either a ghost or a figment of Camille’s imagination.
    • Dwayne Myers returns for the 2021 Christmas special in time to help investigate an apparent suicide while Florence is on holiday.
    • Although she was never officially written out (she just disappeared when Dwayne left the island), Dwayne's girlfriend from Series 8, Darlene Curtis, reappears during Series 11, and ends up working at the police station as a civilian after getting herself involved in a murder mystery.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: D.I. Humphrey Goodman makes a poor first impression, on both his team and his suspects, being both klutzy and extremely disorganized (a Running Gag has him jotting notes on whatever random pieces of paper he has in his pockets; if he ever does remember to pack a notebook, he inevitably forgets to pack a pen); he is also clueless about a wide range of subjects, from home repair projects to online dating. But for all that, he is a brilliant detective who, like his predecessor Richard Poole, often notices the one "off" thing about any crime scene that turns out to be crucial to the whole mystery.
  • The Butler Did It: Discussed Trope in "Wicked Wedding Night." Turns out to be Right for the Wrong Reasons.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: In "Melodies of Murder", the murderer takes advantage of their band mate's post-gig ritual of playing music really loudly to mask the sound of the fatal gunshot.
  • The Cameo: Poole makes a reappearance in the Series 10 two parter.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In "Stumped in Murder", after the team confirm that a man framed for murder didn't actually commit murder (although he was basically guilty of driving the victim to suicide), Humphrey assures the other suspects that the man will be charged with a series of other crimes, including blackmail and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which all come together to create a sentence that would essentially amount to the same as a murder charge.
  • Candlelit Bath: The Victim of the Week takes a candlelit bath in "Until Death Do You Part", which turns into a Deadly Bath when her killer drowns her in the petal-filled tub.
  • Caught on Tape: In "In the Footsteps of a Killer", the team reopens an old case where the victim was shot while on the phone, and her murder recorded on an answering machine.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Dwayne.
  • Cliffhanger: Series Ten ends just before Neville Parker is about to tell Florence that he loves her.
  • Clock Tampering: In "Beyond the Shining Sea - Part One", the killer secretly sets a witness's phone five minutes ahead: leading her to believe that she last saw the Victim of the Week alive five minutes later than she actually had. This throws out the supposed timeline of the murder, and allowed the killer to murder the victim and still establish their alibi.
  • Closed Circle:
    • "The Man with the Golden Gun" is set on a millionaire's private island; there were only a specific group of suspects who could have committed the crime, and as the episode unfolds a storm traps the suspects and the detectives on the island until they have solved the case.
    • In "Murder on Mosquito Island", the team investigate the death of a survival instructor. He is found dead in the woods while giving a training course on a small deserted island off the coast of Saint Marie, with nobody present except himself and the five participants on the survival training course.
  • Clothing Combat: In "Murder Begins at Home", the Victim of the Week is strangled with their own neckerchief.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality:
    • The British detectives working on Saint Marie all dress differently to reflect their differing work ethics.
      • Charlie Hulme wears loud Hawaiian shirts as he is a hard-drinking Life of the Party and is only there to spend his last working years having fun.
      • Richard Poole is always dressed in black wool suit, despite the heat, as he wants to go back to London and adapting to the local climate would indicate that he was starting to feel at home on the island and that's the last thing he wants.
      • Humphrey Goodman wears lots of light linen jackets as he's eager to be on the island but knows he's also there to work and has to look presentable.
      • Jack Mooney falls somewhere between Poole and Goodman, dressing in bright colors but also in fabrics that are too heavy for the tropical climate, reflecting his cheerful personality but also that he'd only intended to come to the island for a short holiday before being unexpectedly dragooned into staying. He's also the most rumpled of the lead characters, symbolizing his depression in the wake of his wife's death.
      • Neville Parker wears jackets and ties to highlight how uncomfortable he is with being on the island, not unlike Poole before him. He's not as uptight as Poole, though, so his clothes are more colourful. As he becomes more settled on St Marie he takes to dressing very casually when off-duty.
    • One season two episode does the same with accessories, when the team all need to measure travel times: eager and by-the-book Fidel uses the station-issue stopwatch; science nerd Richard uses his own personal stopwatch; old-fashioned Dwayne uses his wristwatch; modern woman Camille uses her smartphone.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Camille had to make sure that Poole wouldn't accidentally offend anyone due to his tactless personality. When Goodman came along, she had to make sure his absentmindedness and tendency to wander off on wild tangents wouldn't hinder their investigations.
    • Florence took over minding Goodman after Camille left for Paris.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: In "Murder on the Airwaves", DI Mooney attempts to impress DS Madeleine Dumas by fetching her a coconut fresh from the tree. In doing so, he winds up dropping a coconut on her head: bruising her head and spraining her wrist.
  • Coffin Contraband: Apparently a local custom, as mentioned early on in "A Personal Murder". Specifically, people put the deceased's cell phone in his/her coffin, taking into account the possibility of the deceased sending a message from the grave. After Cedrik's death, Dwayne gets a text message from him declaring "I was murdered" as his dead body was being burned.
    DI Goodman: ...Isn't that a bit dangerous? Don't the batteries explode?
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: One murderer does this by confessing to murder with one lie and one significant omission. After he, impulsively, committed the murder, he cleaned up after it and then 'murdered' the victim again, in a different way. By leaving out what he did beforehand and confessing to the second murder as if he really thought he did murder the victim once the investigators began to poke, investigation would quickly reveal that the victim was already dead, leaving him having confessed to attempted murder (a serious crime, but not quite as serious as murder) and, the idea was, no longer a suspect for the real murder.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In one episode, Catherine made chicken soup for Richard when he was ill. In series 5, when Humphrey ends up in hospital, he also has chicken soup made for him; and unlike Richard, Humphrey actually enjoys it. She also threatens to make it for Neville Parker in Series 10 when he is admitted to hospital, but gives him some Hotpot instead.
    • After his death in the first episode of series 1, Charlie Hulme is mentioned in the fourth episode of series 1 (when Richard finds an old jigsaw puzzle in his house) and in the seventh episode of series 6 (when the team investigate an old murder case that he was in charge of).
    • DI Jack Mooney is mentioned in the third episode of Series 11, when the Commissioner takes Florence back to where she was shot, and where her fiancée Patrice was killed in Series 8.
    • Dwayne gets one in the fifth episode of Series 11 when his girlfriend from Series 8, Darlene, reappears and mentions that she rang him when she feared she was being set up for murder.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: In "Murder Begins at Home," the Victim of the Week turns up dead inside the police station, despite the fact that the station was locked from the inside, and the previous night he was on a horse-riding expedition several miles away with all of the suspects. DI Mooney and the team are naturally baffled as to why the murderer would kill him, then leave his body in the most conspicuous place possible. It turns out that isn't what happened; the murderer strangled him in a fit of rage, then dumped his body in town in the hope of making it look like the alcoholic victim had wandered in there looking for a drink and been the victim of a mugging that went wrong. However, the strangulation did not actually kill him, and he woke up a short while later looking for help, but couldn't find anyone due to a storm hitting the island. He broke into the police station through the window, then locked it again because of the storm, and was about to call the hospital when the asphyxiation triggered an underlying medical condition that caused a fatal stroke.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "The Stakes are High", the murderer turns out to be the victim's wife, thinking he was having an affair, unaware that the woman he'd gone to meet was actually his estranged daughter; if he had been honest with his wife about who he was going to meet he wouldn't have been killed.
    • Also a factor in "An Unholy Death"; the head of a local convent kills a nun because she believes that the priest she runs the content with was having an affair with the nun, as he had a reputation for similar dalliances in the past. After learning that she killed the nun, the priest reveals that the nun was his daughter.
    • "A Murder on the Plantation" sees the victim killed to speed up the process of his new girlfriend (and the killer's sister) inheriting the plantation so they could destroy it to avenge their father. However, it turned out that the victim was going to announce that he only had months to live due to a brain tumour that afternoon so if they'd have waited, they could have gained control of the plantation without comitting murder. Poole even points out that because they were caught, the will is void.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen:
    • In "A Murder on the Plantation", Roger Seymour was stabbed in the back with a machete, and used his dying strength to write the letters ' J O H' in his own blood, which are the first three letters of his killer's father's first name.
    • In "La Murder Le Diablé", the killer leaves a message written at both crimes scenes using a lipstick taken from the first victim.
    • Pasha Verdinikov writes the initials "A.S." on the seat of his piano bench in his own blood before he dies.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: In "Death of a Detective", a woman has assumed the identity of her sister. However, she had never read the novel on which her sister did her dissertation at Cambridge.
  • Cricket Episode: In "Stumped in Murder", the president and star player of Saint Marie's cricket club is found shot dead on the pitch after a night out.
  • Create Your Own Villain: In "The Perfect Murder", Goodman consoles the murderer's father, whom the murderer credited with teaching her the "lessons" she applied in deciding to commit murder.
    • Lampshaded earlier in the episode when Dwayne congratulates himself for inspiring JP to become a younger version of Dwayne, until Florence points out that Dwayne has created a younger competitor for the affections of St. Marie's females;
      Florence: We all create our own Frankensteins.
  • Crime Reconstruction: Jack Mooney has a tendency to perform his own little reconstructions, to the bewilderment of any onlookers.
  • Curse Cut Short: On episode 4 of season 6, Humphrey figures out that one of the suspects hid the murder weapon in the jeep's engine. When he explains it to the others, this is Dwayne's reaction.
    Dwayne: Man alive! That takes a big pair of-
    Humphrey: Er yes, thank you Dwayne.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: When an aging rock star is murdered in "Swimming in Murder", the killer arranges for him to die in the most rock-n-roll way possible: being electrocuted in a swimming pool. The killer hopes this will make him a legend and ensure the band's comeback is successful.
  • A Deadly Affair: In "Death in the Salon", the murderer is having an affair with her younger sister's fiancé and murders the Victim of the Week who threatens to expose it.
  • Deadly Bath: In "Until Death Do You Part", the Victim of the Week is a bride-to-be drowned in her bath on the final night of her week-long hen do.
  • Death in the Clouds: Parker and the team in the second episode of Series 11 are left with the mystery of who killed a skydiver mid air when their body is found stuck in a tree with a knife in his back. They assume that someone must have killed him on the plane he was jumping from and then threw the body outside, but video proves that he was alive when he jumped, and that no one went with him, leaving them confused. Turns out that the skydiver had deliberately jumped out of the plane at a different point to everyone else so that he could he reach the ground first, run to the airport and then confront the pilot of the plane when he landed several minutes later. They get into a fight, the pilot kills him, but has enough time to put the body back into the plane, take off, throw the body out of the plane where the victim originally jumped from, turn back around and then land before the rest of the sky diving party came back to the airport.
  • Deadly Prank: A deadly prank 40 years earlier provides the motive for the murder in "A Personal Murder". A group of boys threw a younger boy's hat into the river. In trying to retrieve it, he slipped into the river and hit his head on a rock. The others buried his body and swore never to tell anyone what had happened. Decades later, one of the conspirators decided to come clean, and one of the others silenced him before he could talk.
  • Dead Man's Chest: In "Switcharoo", the police find the body of a missing witness hidden in the chest freezer of his house.
  • Dead Person Conversation: In season 10 episode 6, Poole offers Camille some consoling words while Catherine's in a serious condition in hospital.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: It's a semi-common occurance of at least once a season where the killer will impersonate the victim (due to sharing similar builds, being seen from a distance or wearing something to conceal their face and voice).
    • In "An Unhelpful Aid", the culprit impersonates his (already deceased) brother, using his trademark bandana and diving equipment to assume his identity. He would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for the fact that his brother's corpse is later on found without the bandana (which the culprit tossed in the trash afterwards).
    • Richard Poole's demise in the season 3 premiere was because he realized that Sasha Moore, his best friend from college, was actually her supposedly dead sister Helen Reed.
    • In "Dishing Up Murder," after temperamental celebrity chef Robert Holt was stabbed to death by his son in a heated fight, the rest of his inner circle, who all hate him, conspire to cover up the crime to protect the son. This includes having Robert's brother Gary impersonate him for the soft-opening of Robert's new restaurant on St. Marie, setting up the opening so that nobody actually needs to see Robert.
    • In "The Healer", a faith healer has being masquerading as his best friend (who he killed) for decades. The Victim of the Week knew this but had no conclusive proof, and so arranged her suicide to look like she'd been murdered at his hands so that he'd face some sort of justice.
    • In "Tour de Murder", the killer's accomplice takes the place of the Victim of the Week at the start of a cycle race (wearing full cycling gear including helmet and wraparound sunglasses, and arriving just before the start of the race to prevent anyone getting a good look at them) to make it look like the victim died later than they actually did and allowing the killer to establish an alibi.
    • In the 2021 Christmas Special it turned out that the real Phillip Carlton had been murdered over 30 years earlier, that the person claiming to be him was in fact his wife's cousin/lover, who had taken over his life.
  • Deal with the Devil: In one episode, future victim Pasha Verdinikov, a famous pianist, claims that his mother made a deal with the devil to guarantee his talent.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The pilot sets us up to believe Sgt. Thomson will be one of the series leads. When she's revealed to have been the killer, Camille - who had been one of the suspects in the investigation before being revealed as an undercover detective - is established as the show's female lead.
  • Defective Detective:
    • Thankfully, and unusually for BBC, averted, Poole is mildly uptight compared to the locals but otherwise is a reasonably nice, well-balanced individual.
    • Similarly with Goodman: he's clumsy and can be very tactless, but is just as nice a guy.
    • Jack Mooney's a bit closer to this trope, since he's still in mourning over his late wife, but he's still pretty well-balanced and decent.
    • Parker is the straightest example. He is very neurotic and and has a delicate constitution, which drives others, especially Commissioner Patterson, around the bend.
  • Depraved Homosexual: In two episodes, Season 5 Episode 1 and Season 8 Episode 4, gay characters are depicted. Both times, they're the murderers.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Officer Ruby Patterson. In her early 20s, she has had 12 different jobs before becoming a police officer. She is really hoping that this will be the job that sticks. Sometimes her diverse range of previous occupations comes in handy during investigations; such as her stint as hairdresser allowing her to spot a high-end wig, or her time as a nail technician letting her identify a female suspect's nail polish shade on sight.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In one case, a man is framed for murder because he basically drove the victim to suicide, but the man framing him didn't take into account that the person he was framing had a rock solid alibi.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Sgt. Thomson in the pilot is involved in human trafficking and killed DI Charlie Hulme when he investigated Thomson's accomplice.
    • Doug Anderson in the sixth episode of season 2. He's a drinker and as it turns out, he worked with a friend in a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder scheme.
  • Disability Alibi: In "La Murder Le Diablé", the killer goes to great lengths to frame an alcoholic who suffers from blackouts when he drinks. The frame is solid except for one detail. To ensure the two crimes, the criminals left a message written in the first victim's lipstick at both crime scenes. However, the man the killer attempted to frame was illiterate and could not have written the messages.
  • Discreet Dining Disposal: Poole pours the chicken soup into a potted plant in "An Unhelpful Aid." He then has Dwayne and Fidel dump the evidence outside underneath a tree.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In "La Murder Le Diablé", Ruby tunes out the instructions JP is giving her because she is watching the butt of a fit young male climbing a ladder while wearing a pair of tight shorts.
  • The Ditz: Officer Ruby Patterson
  • Do-Anything Soldier: By necessity because the Honoré police station is small and has limited resources. The uniformed cops act as crime scene techs and participate in murder inquiries on top of their regular policing duties.
  • Domestic Abuse: In "Pirates of the Murder Scene", a much darker episode than normal, the Victim of the Week turns out to have been an abusive husband who suffered Death by Falling Over when his wife fought back for the first time.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Discussed Trope between Fidel and Dwayne while on a stakeout in "Missing a Body?"
  • Dramatic Irony: A few times, the murderers discover their crimes to be misled or pointless. For example;
    • In "A Murder on the Plantation", two siblings conspired to kill their boss (and for one, fiancee) for his inheritance, only to discover afterwards that he was terminally ill from a brain tumor (meaning he'd have been dead within a year) and planned to hand it them legitimately anyway.
    • "An Unholy Death" and "The Stakes Are High" both feature a death because a woman believed that an important man in her life was having an affair ("Unholy Death" sees a nun being killed by her Mother Superior because she's meeting with a priest who had been tempted in the past, and "Stakes" saw a man being killed by his younger wife because she believed he was having an affair), but in both cases the older man and younger woman were father and daughter.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • "Stumped for Murder" begins with the victim in the middle of a cricket pitch, apparently murdered, but as the investigation concludes it is revealed that the victim committed suicide; one of his 'friends' had spent some time blackmailing the victim by convincing him that he was responsible for the car accident that paralysed his son from the waist down, although the suicide was 'disguised' as murder by other suspects to try and 'frame' the blackmailer.
    • "Hidden Secrets" reveals the supposed locked-room mystery to be a suicide early on, motivated by an incurable fatal disease which the victim didn't actually have — his doctor had deliberately misdiagnosed him and provided medicine that would cause the symptoms under the guise of treating it, all with the goal of pushing the victim into this trope.
  • Dying Clue:
    • In "A Murder on the Plantation", the Victim of the Week writes the letters 'J O H' in his own blood.
    • Cedrik's cell phone sends Dwayne a message reading "I was murdered" as the burning was taking place following the funeral at the start of "A Personal Murder".
  • Electrified Bathtub:
    • An electrified swimming pool occurs in "Swimming in Murder". The killer arranges for a live set of studio lights to fall into the pool as the Victim of the Week is taking his daily swim.
    • In "Switcharoo", the Victim of the Week is drugged and then the killer places her in a full bathtub and drops in a hairdryer to make it look like a suicide.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: In "Flames of Love", Humphrey somehow accidentally changes his email notification sound to a whip crack accompanied by a "Ye-haw!", and cannot work out how to change it back. It goes off at several inopportune times during the episode.
  • Engineered Public Confession: One killer is a well-known and much-loved TV presenter, and The Summation takes place in the studio for his show. When he proclaims that nobody will ever believe Neville over him, Neville announces that the entire summation (including video evidence) has just been broadcast live on air.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Poole is prone to them, almost always after reading a book or hearing someone mention a phrase seemingly unrelated to the subject of the investigation. Goodman, Mooney and Parker all have their own moments as well, each in their own way.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: In the first episode, Richard throws an undercover Camille in the cells with a local thief and an unclaimed goat. She proceeds to mock and humiliate him, and the camera repeatedly cuts from her laughing, to the thief laughing, to the goat. Bleating. In a laughing sort of way.
  • Everybody Did It:
    • Done in "Dishing up Murder," when the son murdered his father. However, given that his father was an Asshole Victim, and had also manipulated and generally treated the other suspects around him like dirt, hardly anyone felt sorry to see him dead, and instead came up with a plan to protect the son by making the murder look like a robbery gone wrong.
    • In "Erupting in Murder", it turns out all of the suspects (bar one) committed the murder: two doing it for the money, and the third being blackmailed into it. The fourth suspect gets arrested on corruption charges.
    • In "Murder from Above," where a man's new bride is murdered, it turns out all three of his adult children from his first marriage were in on it together.
  • Evil Brit: A few of the criminals have been British ex-pats, from Cockney murderers to aristocratic crimelords.
  • Exact Words: When the team are investigating the murder of chess player Julius Rotfeld, suspect Maurice Holburne says to Neville "I didn't kill him over an ex-girlfriend, Inspector, I promise you." He did, however, kill him over an ex-boyfriend.
  • Faked Kidnapping: The daughter of the Victim of the Week and her boyfriend do this to try and get money to runaway in the first episode of series 11.
  • Fake Static: A video version of this is used in the 2021 Christmas special; when Neville tries to ask Florence out on a date over a video chat, he assumes that she didn't hear him because the screen froze, but Florence later admits to Catherine that she heard it and just isn't sure how to react.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • In "Unlike Father, Unlike Son," drug trafficker Jack Harmer, while awaiting trial for shooting and killing a pastor's wife after she stumbled upon him during a drug deal, is shot dead in his jail cell by a killer that would have had to pass through three locked doors and past Dwayne and JP. As Humphrey reveals, Jack's pregnant wife and brother had conspired in an attempt to break him out of prison. Their plan was for the guard, who they'd bribed, to pull the fire alarm, after which Jack would burst a fake blood pack underneath his shirt and fake being shot. They'd then sneak him out of the jail cell to a waiting car, and then smuggle him off the island. It didn't work out as planned. What they didn't know was that the guard in question was the secret lover of the woman that Jack had killed, had in fact witnessed her murder, and sent an anonymous typewritten note to the police that had led to Jack's arrest. Seeing an opportunity for revenge, after JP and Dwayne left the cell to search the courthouse, the guard proceeded to pull out his own gun and shoot Jack for real, just before Humphrey and Florence reached the cell.
    • In "Written in Murder", the victim and his wife hatched an elaborate plan fake the victim's death. Unfortunately for them, the victim's jilted mistress caught wind of said plan and took advantage of it to kill the victim for real.
    • In "Lucky in Love," the 'victim' initially faked her death to punish her husband and his mistress, but was subsequently discovered by her old friend as she prepared to leave on a boat and was strangled in a fit of rage.
    • In the second episode of the eleventh series, the Victim of the Week tries to frame his brother for assault with the help of his brother's wife so they can leave the island together. He accomplishes this by leaving an incriminating voice message, having the wife knock him unconscious with a golf club (the brother owns a golf course) and having the wife put the "assault weapon" in his locker. Unfortunately for him, the brother finds him (he knew about their affair but not the plan to frame him) and decides to kill him in a fit of rage.
  • Fanservice:
    • Poole swaps buttoned-up shirt and tie for prim striped pyjamas in "An Unhelpful Aid" - open all the way.
    • Both Camille and Florence (in the latter case, after she was promoted from uniformed officer to pl plain-clothes detective sergeant) often wear quite skimpy clothing at work.
  • Feedback Rule: Loud feedback occurs when a prominent academic steps up to the microphone to open the literary festival in "The Secret of the Flame Tree". The author's assistant is seen adjusting the sound board to kill the feedback. The scene is later important as it shows the assistant had the necessary technical skills to pull off the audio trickery that made the murder possible.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas:
    • Despite his stuffiness and general repression, Richard is uncannily prone to faux pas - whether it's badmouthing the Commissioner just as he walks in, ranting at the top of his lungs in public about a minor annoyance, or talking about spanking or orifices in polite company. Humph is considerably more sensitive, but can't resist the urge to act out methods of murder as he discusses them (complete with sound effects.)
    • Jack Mooney doesn't get off to the best of start's with the Commissioner with his first case on the island when he tries to explain badly why they had better re-open a cold case when new evidence is revealed, and somehow manages to imply that the Saint Marie Police force is incompetent.
    • Neville Parker mistakes Commissioner Patterson for his taxi driver, and it's all downhill from there. While the commissioner maintained respectful, if aloof, relationships with Neville's three predecessors, Richard included, he treats Neville with thinly-veiled contempt and (sometimes downright petty) hostility. Neville's many phobias and allergies don't help his case, or make his stay in a tropical climate easier.
  • Fictional Painting: "An Artistic Murder" centers around "The Girl from the Mermaid", the final painting by Saint Marie's most famous artist.
  • Film the Hand: In "Dishing Up Murder", a restaurant hostess does this when a guest attempts to film the temperamental celebrity chef (because the footage might have revealed that the chef had been killed earlier that day and was being impersonated by his brother.
  • Finger-Licking Poison:
    • The stamp variant occurs in "Ye of Little Faith": the murderer knows that the victim writes postcards each time she lands somewhere new, including licking stamps to send them, and uses this knowledge to poison the stamps and thus the vic. And in doing so gets an alibi since the actual death occurs on the ground while the murderer is still on an aeroplane en route.
    • Also done in "One for the Road," with the poison being in an envelope seal, with the twist being that the killer set the crime scene up to make it appear the victim had drunk the poison in a glass of champagne — thus getting an alibi by not having any opportunity to put the poison in the glass until after the victim was already collapsing.
    • In "Damned If You Do...", the Victim of the Week gets poisoned by a lethal dose of poison being placed on the pages of his journal before he retires to write a speech. The killer then poisons the dinner being eaten by everyone, including themself, with a milder dose in an attempt to make it appear he died from food poisoning.
  • The Finicky One: Poole to a tee. If it's not classic British food or weather, he's completely unhappy.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: He doesn't end up literally breathing fire, but in "Ye of Little Faith," Humphrey accidentally eats a Scotch bonnet pepper, thinking it is a tomato. He ends up being force-fed a large quantity of milk, as this the only alternative to taking him to the hospital.
  • Fish out of Water: Poole's British Stuffiness contrasts greatly with the relaxed approach of his co-workers on Saint Marie.
  • Foreign Queasine:
    • How Poole feels about the local cuisine, especially seafood. He is delighted when Camille's mother cooks him roast beef in "Predicting Murder."
    • Neville is similarly picky, but less out of an overdeveloped sense of disgust and more because his stomach physically can't handle it. Catherine's good about accomodating him.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Arriving in Paradise," Sgt. Lily Thomson's cell phone has the ringtone "I Shot the Sheriff". She's the one who murdered DI Charlie Hulme, whose death started the whole series and caused Poole to be sent to Saint-Marie.
  • For Want of a Nail: Many, many episodes revolve around near-perfect murder schemes that would've let the perps walk away scot-free if there hadn't been that one tiny detail, mishap or unexpected complication that ends up derailing their carefully crafted plan.
  • Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: DI Goodman likens how the Mystery of the Week of the "Old Times" episode was carried out to this puzzle. Fidel keeps trying to figure out the puzzle for the rest of the episode.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: The Victim of the Week did this in "Predicting Death". The murderer of the week had blood on his hands from a previous murder, which no one was able to prove until her body was discovered.
    • Zig-zagged in Series 11 ep.2 where a wife and her brother in law (who was also her lover) staged an attack on the brother in law, and then try and frame the husband for it by planting evidence and have the brother in law leave a fake message on the wife's mobile during the "attack" namedropping his brother. What they couldn't account for was that the husband was caught on CCTV having a cigarette at the same time, initially clearing him. It turned out that the husband then took a walk after his cigarette, saw his brother lying on the floor unconscious after the wife had knocked him out after the staged attack to make it look more real, and decided to finish him off, since he knew they were having an affair.
  • Frame-Up: Attempted in various episodes, notably in "Stumped In Murder," where a friend of the Victim of the Week attempts to make his suicide look a murder to set up someone who was blackmailing him,, "La Murder Le Diable," where the two killers try to make it look like it was an ex-employee of theirs who was prone to alcoholic blackouts, and Series 11 ep. 2 where a woman and her brother in law/lover try to frame the woman's husband's for an attack on his brother, but the husband is cleared because of a cast iron alibi. Subverted when it turned out that the husband did actually kill him, making it an odd case of Framing the Guilty Party, and Series 11 ep.5 where the killer tries to make it look like the care assistant gave the victim the wrong medication.
  • Freudian Slip: In "An Unholy Death", when DI Poole and DS Borday arrive at Darryl Dexter's digs, Poole is so distracted by the scantilly clad women he accidentally refers to him as "Mr. Sexter".
  • From Dress to Dressing: In "The Impossible Murder", the Victim of the Week is stabbed by their killer in the kitchen of a hotel. Not wanting their killer to go to prison for their murder, the victim uses a scarf to staunch the bleeding and walks upstairs in full view of the guests (who mistake his slight stumbling for him being drunk). Once in his room, he locks the door and stages the room to make it look like there had been a break-in. After hiding the scarf, he suffers a Time-Delayed Death on the floor, accidentally creating a Locked Room Mystery.
  • Funny Background Event: During JP's stag night at Goodman's beach hut, he slurringly reveals to Dwayne that every time he went to fetch more drinks for the two of them, he brought Dwayne some hardcore moonshine instead of regular rum, all the while Goodman is sitting in the background, staring blankly ahead. Dwayne takes the revelation in stride by gleefully telling JP he knew about that and always switched out the glasses, prompting JP to ask who got the moonshine instead. Cue Goodman keeling from his chair. What's even more funny: Come next morning he's none the worse for wear while JP and Dwayne are obviously still smarting from the past night. He's actually making breakfast for them.
  • Games of the Elderly: In "Murder on the Honor Express", D.I. Mooney has started calling bingo games on his days off. He is calling a game to room full of elderly women when Florence arrives to tell him there has been a murder. He says that he needs to finish calling the game or else the old women will riot.
  • Genius Ditz: Humphrey Goodman is a clumsy and tactless fellow whose only real competency lies in police work.
    • Occasionally Richard Poole strayed into this category, being an excellent detective who was nonetheless clueless about current events or contemporary culture:
      Poole: Can I ask where you were last night?
      Maurice: I was here.
      Poole: Alone?
      Maurice: No. I telephoned Beyonce, she came over and we had a wild night of hot, passionate sex.
      Poole: I see, and this "Beyonce" can vouch for that, can she?
      [Later]
      Camille: I can't believe you don't know who Beyonce is!
      Poole: Why people can't just give a simple answer to a simple question, I'll never know.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Catherine's bar, where the island's top cops go to unwind after a long week of solving a murder.
  • The Ghost: Fidel's wife and children.
    • JP's wife Rosie is an odd example; she's a recurring character in Series 5, but is an entirely offscreen presence after that. She eventually reappears in Series 10, played by a different actress.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Turns out to be the killer's motive in "Music of Murder", where a band's lead singer is shot dead on stage at their reunion gig.
  • Grilling Pyrotechnics: At the end of "The Complex Murder", Dwayne and Humphrey are grilling prawns. Dwayne asks Humphrey to spray the prawns with water. Humphrey picks up the wrong bottle and sprays the grill with the paraffin they had used to light it, turning the grill into a bonfire.
  • Henpecked Husband: Humphrey is clearly in awe of his wife Sally, and it's suggested that their relationship was unequal to the point of abuse. He becomes a lot more confident and able to make decisions for himself when she's not around, to the point, that despite spending the first episode after she left him acting like she was still coming to join him, when she comes to the island to get him back, he explicitly rejects her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the Season 10 finale, J.P. claims responsibility for assaulting a suspect when that assault was actually committed by Marlon, as Marlon would have been sent to jail if he was fired because of that accusation while J.P. gets out of it with a two-week suspension from a job he was about to move on from anyway and a mark on his permanent record (and it's all but explicitly stated that the Commissioner knows what he's doing anyway).
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "Predicting Death," the murderer needs to hide a body. What does he do? He dissolves most of the organs in lime, which only left a skeleton. Oh and he happens to be a teacher — and the anatomical skeleton in his classroom looks very real...
    • Poole's first case involves a book crucial to the murder being swapped with an innocuous one. While the detectives are baffled by what was so important in an old travel guide, the blood-stained real evidence sits unnoticed among a bookcase full of others.
    • One case for Parker had two weapons, specifically two golf clubs, used on the victim, one by his accomplice with the intention of just knocking the victim out, the other by the real killer a few minutes later. The club used by the accomplice was hidden in the killer's locker to frame him for assault when found with traces of blood, while the actual weapon was placed back with the other clubs to be overlooked. It was only because Naomi was so diligent that the real murder weapon was found.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Neither Richard nor Humphrey got on well with their families; Humphrey was bullied by his siblings and derided by his dominating father, while Richard was sent to a boarding school, where he was terrorised and abused by one of the staff.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The solution to "Now You See Him, Now You Don't" involves the use of a silenced gun. However, the weapon depicted is a revolver.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Averted — it is made clear that this is how the ignorant Poole views voodoo, but the writers have Shown Their Work when the locals correct him.
  • Homage: Danny John-Jules playing a character called Dwayne.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: A male version is the murder victim in a series 3 episode.
  • I Am Very British: Poole in particular.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: In "Death In The Clinic" Richard disrupts a spa because he's sure there was a murder, despite almost no evidence. The Commissioner is not happy.
    Commissioner: I'm going to let you run with this...for now. Not because I think you're right, but simply because there's something I've always wanted to say since I've joined the force: You've got 24 hours to solve this case. Do we understand each other?
  • I Call It "Vera": Poole has a telescope he calls 'Lucy'. Camille is incredulous that he named it.
  • I Choose to Stay: Hilariously subverted in the season one finale. When he's offered the chance to leave Saint Marie for a position back in England, Poole doesn't choose to stay; he gets along well enough with his team, sure, but he's not going to endure a tropical climate longer than he has to. Since the police force needs Poole's expertise, Commissioner Patterson uses every dirty trick in the book to prevent him from leaving, from delivering the news at the last minute (which forces Poole to try and solve the case in time to find a working phone that he can use to call back and accept) to pretending his mobile doesn't have a signal. Poole wraps up the case like always (and helps Fidel deliver his baby), so the episode still has a happy ending, but he's none too pleased when he misses his window and gets stranded on Saint Marie for the foreseeable future.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: In "Murder on Mosquito Island", Inspector Parker, who is allergic to mosquito bites, is in a virtual panic about having to visit a place the locals call 'Mosquito Island'.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: In "Death in the Clinic", Poole stops a fleeing criminal by grabbing a coconut and bowling it at him: a perfect full toss that hits him in the head and knocks him out. Poole immediately undercuts the moment by remarking that he hadn't expected that to work.
  • Indy Ploy: A variation where the villains are prone to this. A surprising number of almost-perfect murder schemes turn out to have been improvised in a few seconds of shock and desperation to cover up an Accidental Murder or inconvenient suicide. Makes you wonder what these perps might've been capable of if they'd had time to actually plan a crime.
  • The Infiltration: Florence get's recruited for an undercover operation by the Jamaican police during Series 11 as part of their investigation into a drug lord.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: In "Murder of the Airways", DS Madeleine Dumas is an internal affairs officer sent out from Paris to conduct an investigation into Jack's running of the Honoré police station following Florence's shooting. She is less than impressed by Jack's eccentric style of policing, even though the rest of the force—who are worried that Jack might be sent back to Britain—bend over backwards to convince her that he is a great leader and brilliant detective. However, after seeing Jack in action solving a murder, her final report is that while his administration could stand to be a little more professional and organised, he is effective at his job and Florence's shooting was not his fault. The Commissioner ends up seconding her to become Florence's replacement.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: The 2021 Christmas special reveals that Neville's plan to confess his feelings to Florence was cut off when she tried to slap a mosquito off his forehead and ended up accidentally hitting his nose, causing a serious nosebleed that made him lose his confidence.
  • Interrupted Suicide: A very dark version occurs in "Pirates of the Murder Scene". A woman is Driven to Suicide by her abusive husband. As she plans to throw herself off the local lighthouse. Her husband arrives to stops her from jumping. In the subsequent struggles, she pushes him over the railing to his death.
  • It's Personal: In "Murder Onboard", after a friend of Camille becomes the Victim of the Week, DI Poole is barely able to talk her out of arresting a suspect they're interrogating, who happens to be The Rival to said friend.
  • It Was All Of Them: The solution to Season Six's premiere, "Erupting in Murder."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Platonic versions of this are behind Humphrey and Mooney's reasons for leaving the island, as Humphrey has a chance to form a new relationship with an old girlfriend and Mooney decides he's ready to move on from his grief and return to the life he had before his wife's death, with their associates at Saint-Marie assuring both detectives that they approve of their decision.
    • This is the motive behind multiple cases, like supposed murder victims actually having committed suicide so their relatives can reap their life insurance (which is null and void in case of suicide), or one man who was accidentally stabbed by the woman he loved and then immediately made it look like he ran afoul of a burglar instead to ensure his lover wouldn't end up in prison for her mishap. Unfortunately, since every episode ends with the protagonist cops successfully solving the case, these noble attempts generally fail.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: In the 2021 Christmas special, Philip Carlton- the murder victim- is revealed to be an impostor who killed the original Philip Carlton years ago with his cousin/lover, who has been his wife ever since.
  • Improperly Paranoid: In the pilot episode, Poole is highly put-out to learn that there's been an undercover officer Camille investigating the same crime as him and no one bothered to inform him. Commissioner Patterson notes that an officer is suspected of corruption and if they'd revealed the undercover operation it could have jeopardised everything. Poole irritably points out that the corrupt officer is hardly likely to have been him, seeing as he's only been on the island a couple of days and was in London for the previous thirteen years.
  • Insult Backfire: Mixed with a side of Deadpan Snarker, but Poole gets perhaps the greatest of these in television history after apprehending the episode's perp. The perp of the week, a conman, had been impersonating the guard who had been hired to watch him when the exchange was made. While on a boat, the conman pulled an You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on the guard, and for the remainder of the episode was pretending to be buddy-buddy with Poole.
    Perp: I made you look pretty stupid, didn't I?
    Poole: ...Yeah. You did. And please, feel free to gloat about it through the entirety of your double-life sentence.
    Cue Oh, Crap! face from Perp as he is led away.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Dwayne is the oldest member of the team, Fidel is the youngest. They are clearly pretty good friends, and Dwayne even gives Fidel that pair of baby football shoes, an adorable sign of affection. When Fidel leaves the island after Season 2, the even younger JP takes his place to continue the pattern.
  • Ironic Echo: At one point in the pilot, Fidel muses about whether Poole will stay to be the new chief of the police station. Dwayne — who has been chafing under Poole's officious, prissy attitude — stubbornly barks "He's many things, but he's no chief." At the end, after doing several things that have begun to earn Dwayne's respect, Poole exposes the murderer and orders Dwayne to make the arrest. Without a moment's hesitation, Dwayne instantly replies "Sure thing, chief."
    • Similarly, after Goodman takes over following Poole's death, Dwayne comments that he is "no chief"; within a couple of episodes, he has started calling Goodman "chief" as well.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    • Poole's fever-induced description of Camille's mother's chicken soup in "An Unhelpful Aid" is colourful, if less than flattering.
    • In "Predicting Murder", Inspector Poole comments that a local cocktail consisted of nothing but rum, lime and ice, but somehow tasted like paint stripper.
    • In " Man Overboard," Florence, who is in a British Pub for the first time ever, is about to take a sip of a pint of Guinness when Jack starts to compare it to Marmite, a pretty divisive British foodstuff.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Poole is a pretty pompous, stuffy and uptight man and it's almost like he's allergic to having fun at times, but when it comes down to it he's pretty nice.
  • Just Between You and Me: The killer does this to Florence, who they have held at gunpoint while confessing in Series 11 ep.4 Their Evil Gloating gives Florence enough time to shoot them before they shoot her.
  • Justified Criminal: One suspect in season 2 is found to be stealing old medication from an upmarket private clinic to provide free healthcare for the island's poor. Poole and the team are so impressed that they agree to release him without charge and look the other way.
  • Karma Houdini: The murderer in "Dark Memories" is found to have fled the island before the police can catch him, meaning it is one of a very few episodes where the killer is not brought to justice. (This was the result of Real Life Writes the Plot, as the actor playing the killer suddenly died during filming.)
  • Kissing Cousins: The 2021 Christmas special reveals that Philip and Natasha Carlton were actually cousins and lovers who killed the original Philip Carlton so that they could take his identity and get away from the family that judged their relationship.
  • Laxative Prank: In "She Was Murdered Twice", the PA of the Victim of the Week was planning to do this to her boss. She sneaked into her boss's bedroom to swap one of her energy drinks for a powerful laxative, only to discover her boss had been murdered. She panicked and fled, knowing that there was no good way she could explain what she was doing in the room.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In a late series 4 episode, Humphrey is unsatisfied when one of the suspects confesses less than halfway into the episode, leaving a few seemingly minor loose ends (such as why the victim kept a roll of sticky tape in a locked safe) and without The Summation. He's right to be.
    • In his first episode, Parker questions the purpose of The Summation, since the team can simply make an arrest. Commissioner Patterson prods him into it since it's just something that detectives on the island do.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In season 8, episode 5, Florence foolishly pursues a suspect into a dark abandoned building with no backup, weapons, or even a flashlight, and gets shot as a result.
  • Leitmotif: Poole has one for when he finds an important clue, or has a Eureka Moment.
  • Locked in a Room: In "The Complex Murder", Dwayne and JP get locked inside a shipping container that is being used as a lock-up. We then discover that Dwayne - who has been riding JP all episode because of his fear of drowning - suffers from Claustrophobia.
  • Locked Room Mystery:
    • A literal description, though it turns out not a true example, in "Arriving in Paradise."
    • An example, though not a literal description, in "Wicked Wedding Night."
    • "Predicting Murder" and "Missing a Body?" as the emphasis is often on how the crime was committed as well as why.
    • "An Unholy Death" plays it straight with the murder of a novice nun in her locked cell.
    • "Hidden Secrets" goes the classic route. A surf instructor is shot inside a shed. The murder weapon is missing, the only door is locked and the wet sand outside the only window is completely undisturbed.
    • In "Unlike Father, Unlike Son", the Victim of the Week is murdered inside a locked jail cell behind two other locked doors.
    • The victim in "Rue Morgue" apparently committed suicide behind a locked and bolted door. Naturally, it's Never Suicide.
    • In "The Impossible Murder", the room was not locked, but the only ways to enter it would either have left visible disturbances (climbing to the window) or gone right past Humphrey's point of view (going up the stairs).
    • "Melodies of Murder" is a classic locked room mystery. A musician is found shot in his dressing room, the door locked and the gun in his hand. It looks like suicide, but an old fork on the floor and a missing guitar string make DI Mooney think otherwise.
    • "Switcharoo" begins with the team investigating what seems to be a straightforward suicide, as a woman was found in her bathtub with her plugged-in hairdryer, with both the hotel room and the bathroom doors locked from the inside, but visiting Detective Inspector Neville Parker notes that the victim was also wearing her mouthguard, which prompts him to rule out the idea of suicide.
  • Lotsa People Try to Dun It:
    • In "Murder on the Day of the Dead", the victim suffered both an attempted murder and an actual murder, although only the former has a witness.
    • In "She Was Murdered Twice", the body of a woman is found shot in bed at a company retreat. After Detective Humphrey investigates for a while, he quickly finds a prime suspect, who confesses to having shot the victim. After putting him in jail to await trial, the coroner's report comes in and says that she was strangled to death before she was shot, and Humphrey has to find the second killer. In the end, it's a subversion. There was only one killer, who strangled the victim in the heat of the moment, and immediately realized afterwards that he would become the prime suspect and would be caught. With nothing to lose, he tries to get sent to prison for attempted murder and a significantly shorter sentence. He shoots the corpse, and when the police start to close in, he "confesses" to having murdered the victim by shooting her. Then he just waits in his cell for the coroner to send the police on a wild goose chase. Humphrey ends up having to catch the exact same killer twice for the same murder.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: A mild case occurs in "The Secret of the Flame Tree", where a famous author keeps her severely addled sister out of public contact in an isolated bungalow on her estate. The sister actually wrote the author's most famous novel, and the author wants to ensure that no one ever discovers this.
  • Medication Tampering:
    • In "Death in the Clinic", the killer swaps the Victim of the Week's pain medication with a dose of botox strong enough to paralyze her lungs and cause her to suffocate.
    • In "Hidden Secrets", a doctor diagnoses his friend as suffering an incurable degenerative nerve disease, as part of a plot to drive him to suicide. The drugs his supplies him to 'treat' the condition are actually antipsychotics that will simulate the symptoms of degenerative nerve damage.
    • In Series 11 ep 5 it turned out that the killer that replaced the Victim of the Week's natural supplements with aspirin, which the victim was allergic to, and then tried to make it look like the care assistant that cocked up the medication round by giving the victim the wrong tablet.
  • The Mentor: Cedrik to Dwayne. Particularly early on in their relationship, he also served as a Morality Pet, as without his guidance Dwayne's life path would've been much different.
  • Mistaken for Servant: In "Switcharoo", Inspector Parker makes a poor first impression on the Commissioner when he jumps into what he thinks is his taxi and asks the driver to take him to the airport, only to discover that he has jumped into the Commissioner's car and is talking to the Commissioner.
  • Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: In one episode, Humphrey blocks a request by Camille to transfer to a different force, only to realise that he's harming her career prospects for a selfish reason. When he apologises to her and tells her that he resubmitted the transfer request on her behalf, he tells her "Someone once told me that mistakes don't matter, what matters is what you do to put them right."
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Whimsical humor pads many episodes, which contain some rather dark and gruesome (and at times rather heartbreaking) deaths.
    • The teaser often ends with the dramatic discovery of a corpse...then immediately goes into the bright, holiday programme-like visuals of the intro and instrumental of "You're Wondering Now". This may be deliberately invoked. This was particularly jarring when the corpse in question was Poole's and we then switched to the cheerful music and footage of a very much alive Poole dragging his suitcase across the beach...then back to everyone mourning him.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Camille and Florence are ridiculously beautiful and regularly show a lot of skin for someone conducting official murder investigations. Many of their outfits incorporate backless or semitransparent tops, combined with very short shorts. Partly justified by Saint Marie's hot climate, but among the police force they're always the most scantly clad member by far - the male cast exclusively wears either suit (Poole/Goodman/Mooney/Parker) or uniform (Dwayne/Fidel/JP/Marlon). Averted by Ruby and Naomi who’s skirt, which was part of their uniform was/is knee length, and Madeleine, who primarily wore loose trousers.
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • The first Victim of the Week in "Wicked Wedding Night". Poole even remarks during the Summation Gathering that the case made no sense till he realised that the first victim had never been the intended target.
    • Inverted in Humphrey's second episode, where the poisoning victim was the target all along, and was killed by the person thought to be the target of the attack.
    • In "Wish You Weren't Here", the first Victim of the Week dies after drinking a cup of coffee order by her boss. The drugged coffee would not have killed her had she not gone for a swim, where she passed out and drowned. This is what initially confused DI Mooney, as it seemed the murder relied on the murderer knowing the victim would take a midnight swim, which was a spontaneous decision.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The 2021 Christmas special ultimately reveals that "Philip Carlton" had been dealing with this for years after he and his cousin/lover killed the original Philip Carlton and took his identity, with "Carlton" planning to kill himself and expose the deception.

     Tropes N-Z 
  • Never Suicide:
    • In "The Secret of the Flame Tree'', a young student seemingly throws herself to her death off a cliff in imitation of a literary suicide. However, one look at her suicide note is enough to make Humphrey suspicious that this was not a suicide.
    • In "Man Overboard", the prime suspect of the current investigation is found dead in an office locked from the inside with a gun in his hand, but Goodman and Mooney were suspicious even before the man received a phone call about a restaurant booking he'd made for that evening.
    • In "Murder from Above", a bride-to-be seemingly throws herself to her death off her hotel balcony. Everybody, including the Commissioner, wants to write this off as a suicide, but Mooney can't move beyond the fact that she painted one thumbnail before jumping.
    • "Switcharoo" begins with the team investigating the apparent suicide of a woman found in her bathtub with her plugged-in hairdryer, both the hotel room and the bathroom doors locked from the inside. However, visiting Detective Inspector Neville Parker notes that the victim was also wearing her mouthguard, which prompts him to rule out the idea of suicide as she would hardly be concerned about the long-term condition of her teeth if she was about to kill herself.
    • In "Chain Reaction," a nurse is found in a room that has been locked from the inside and in full view of at least three patients for an hour before they realised she was dead, all evidence seems to support the idea that she ground pills into her drink and killed herself in that room. However, Parker is sceptical of this when he realises that the nurse had set an alarm to give him further medication two hours after her body was found, something she wouldn't have bothered with if she was truly about to kill herself.
    • In Series 11 ep.4, a man is found dead in a locked and bolted office with a gun in his hand, and with a suicide note written on his computer, but Parker is suspicious when he learns that a drug lord is visiting the victim, and Florence (who's working undercover for said drug lord) leaves him a message on his Dictaphone.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Usually played straight, if the evidence points very neatly to one suspect, or the police think that that they have the case solved halfway the episode, then you can almost guarantee that it will not turn out to be that person. However Series 11 ep.2 played with Thanks to a Frame-Up by his wife and her brother in law/lover, all the evidence points to the fact that it was the husband, but he caught on CCTV having a cigarette at the time of murder, so Parker clears him, only for it to turn out to have been him along.
  • New Meat: Series 4 introduces JP Hooper, a police officer who is fresh out of Police College. Dwayne takes advantage of the new guy's naivete while showing him the ropes.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: In "Music of Murder", the bassist of the Venerators, after being discovered by Richard to be the one who did it, is dragged away and rants about how he'll be remembered forever. Richard expresses his doubts. The guy's just a bassist, after all.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: At the end "Switcharoo", the Commissioner remarks to Inspector Parker that he is not looking well. Parker responds that he is fine, followed by "No sugar please, Doris" and then passes out.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Frappe Death Day", JP asks Ruby what her most embarrassing moment was. She starts by saying:
    "I hope you've got a strong constitution, because it's starts with a goat and ends with me being arrested..."
  • No Pronunciation Guide: English members of the cast often struggle with French terms, and vice versa. "Saint Marie" and "Honoré" are common stumbling blocks, being mentioned as often as they are.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: In "Rue Morgue", Camille is summing up interview results while Humph frets over his ex-wife turning up unannounced. When challenged, he's able to recite everything Camille said back to her... before seguing straight back into fretting.
  • Not So Above It All: Poole's British Stuffiness does relent occasionally, but he often doesn't show it in public.
  • No, You Hang Up First: JP and Rosie do this in "Dishing Up Murder". Dwayne gets sick of it and resolves the situation by taking the phone out of JP's hand and hanging up for him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Inspector Chris Ricketts in "Amongst Us" acts like a bumbling tourist, while secretly breaking into sealed crime scenes and leading investigating officers off the trail. Subverted. He's entirely innocent, except in that he really is so bumbling and incompetent that he completely missed the criminal and got his star witness killed.
    • Appears to be Jack Mooney's favoured interview tactic.
  • Obviously Evil: "Pilot of the Airwaves" features only one suspect who can plausibly be the killer, and indeed he is. The mystery is based around his apparently watertight alibi as he was supposedly live on television at the time the murder took place.
    • Series 11 ep.4 features only one person who can be the killer once Parker rules out suicide, and it is indeed them. The main conflict of the episode is how the team can investigate the murder without breaking Florence's cover, since she working for the killer (who is also a drug lord) in a undercover mission for the Jamaican Police.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Saint Marie Police Force is supposedly large enough to justify having a full-time Commissioner wearing the rank of a Chief Constable. Yet, the Honoré Police Station only employs four officers (two detectives and two uniformed constables) despite being responsible for the island's largest town (which has a well-regarded university and a regional airport) and is almost always closed before sundown.
  • Of Course I Smoke: In "The Stakes are High", D.I. Mooney and the team are reenacting the events leading up to the death of the Victim of the Week. Mooney, who is playing the role of the victim, lights up a cigar—as the victim had done—and immediately starts coughing.
  • Off on a Technicality: The fraudsters in "An Unholy Death" are not charged at the end due to a lack of evidence, as Poole ruefully explains.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Done deliberately in "Death in the Clinic". Poole is convinced that surgeon's eyesight is failing and hands him a piece of paper which he claims contains the name of a personal injury lawyer one of his patients had engaged. Poole asks him if he has ever heard the name. The surgeon glances at the list and says he's never heard of him. Poole replies:
    "I'd be amazed if you had. That's my shopping list. It says 'bananas and sunblock'."
  • Old-Fashioned Copper:
    • Dwayne is a very mild example. He's the most casual about protocol of the team, and occasionally advocates stirring up witnesses to get information.
    • Met officer Doug Anderson in "A Dash of Sunshine" is a darker case - he treats policing like being in a gang, and bullies and harasses Richard for preferring scientific methods. He also turns out to be the killer, as he hired a friend to kill his wife in exchange for previously personally killing the friend's wife.
  • Once a Season: Beginning with Series 2, every finale features the DI faced with the dilemma of whether or not to return to England:
    • Richard is offered the opportunity to be transferred back to London at the end of Series 2, and actually does go back for a while, but decides he misses Saint-Marie.
    • Humphrey is asked to return home by his estranged wife in Series 3, and by his father in Series 4, although in the former case Humphrey decides he prefers his new life, and in the latter his father changes his mind after realising his son is a good detective.
    • Series 5 is an exception, but Series 6 returns to it as Jack must decide whether or not to accept the offer of a permanent position on the island.
    • In Series 8 Jack decides to go back to England when his daughter Siobhan has a personal crisis at university, and is on the ferry to the airport when he suddenly has his "Eureka!" Moment and has to abandon his trip home to solve the case, and there isn't going to be another flight back for the foreseeable future. The Commissioner is so grateful he arranges for Siobhan to be flown over.
    • For the latter half of Season 9, new DI Neville Parker was initially just confined to the island for medical reasons for a few weeks when he initially assumed that he was just stopping in to sign off on a particular case. However, a talk about facing challenges with one of the suspects in a case inspires him to decide to remain on the island.
  • Once per Episode: Richard will insist people think about things "logically." Humph will trip or knock something over while trying to deliver The Summation.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Murder on the Honoré Express", Florence's new boyfriend stops by the station to meet her colleagues. The only one there is J.P., who thinks Patrice is Dwayne's replacement. He asks Patrice if he is the "new guy", and Patrice replies "I suppose him". J.P. then goes to say that he hads big shoes to fill, how much Florence misses the last guy, and how he needs to "keep things warm" till Dwayne gets back.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted: Fidel's baby daughter is Rosie, and JP's wife is Rosey.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In "Ye of Little Faith," the Victim of the Week has been poisoned, and nobody has been able to find the poison or work out how it has been administered. The killer then plants the poison at the scene of the crime to try and frame somebody else, but this inadvertently gives the police the information they need to solve the case.
  • ...Or So I Heard: In "In the Footsteps of a Killer", the team find credit card charges on the statement of one of the suspects from a business called Cupid's Arrow.
    JP: It's a high end lingerie shop on the other side of the island.
    (Curious looks from the other three)
    JP: So I've heard.
  • Outranking Your Job: By a ridiculous degree. Whenever the Honoré Police Station is short staffed, Commissioner Patterson steps in to help out and do the work of a beat cop despite ostensibly being in charge of policing for all of Saint Marie.
  • Patricide: The murderer In the first episode in Series 11, who killed her own father.
  • Phone-In Detective: In "An Unhelpful Aid", Poole is able to solve a murder while lying delirious in his sickbed, being fed information by Dwayne and Fidel.
  • Phoney Call: Vital to the solution of a seemingly impossible murder in "The Blood Red Sea". The wife of the Victim of the Week answered a call from her husband's phone. However, the call was made by her accomplice on her husband's phone, and she was talking to empty air.
  • Pinocchio Nose: If forced to keep a secret, JP becomes uncomfortably hot and itchy, which absolutely everyone comments on.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Features in the fourth episode of the tenth season; when a nurse attempts to poison her patient's hot chocolate, the patient realises what she's doing and causes a distraction so that she can switch the cups.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: In "The Perfect Murder", the snooty governor-elect of the neighbouring island Anton Burrage insists that his surname is pronounced "Bur-RAJ". The commissioner, who has known and despised Burrage for decades, says it is pronounced "Borridge" (rhyming with porridge).
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: The Commissioner in Series 2, Catherine in Series 4.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Gary Carr left the show and Fidel's absence is explained as the character having taken a job on another island.
    • Sara Martins departed the show in Series 4. Camille was written out by by having her take an undercover assignment in Paris as a way of advancing her career.
    • Mooney's daughter Siobhan goes off to university at the start of series 7, only a couple of episodes after the character was introduced.
    • Dwayne Myers departs after Series 7, going on a round-the-world sailing trip with his father to reconnect after decades of estrangement.
    • DS Florence Cassell after the Series 8 two-parter "Beyond the Shining Sea." However she returns at the start of Series 10, but ends up back on the bus again halfway through Series 11.
    • Both Madeleine and Ruby are in Paris at the start of Series 10, and don’t seem to be returning anytime soon.
    • J.P accepts a new job on a different island at the end of Series 10.
  • Race for Your Love: Humphrey gets Dwayne to drive him to the airport to say goodbye to Martha. Her plane was already going down the runway when they get to the airport, so Dwayne drive alongside the plane, and Humphrey tries to catch Martha's attention through the window. By the time Martha does look out the window, Humphrey and Dwayne had fallen behind the plane.
  • Rank Up:
    • Over the course of the second series Fidel studies for, takes, and passes his sergeant's exam.
    • Florence's promotion from Police Sergeant to Detective Sergeant is altogether more sudden and only a few episodes after she joins the team.
    • JP experiences a similar rank-up to Fidel in the course of the ninth series.
    • Naomi also get's a similar rank-up to Florence in Series 11.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The common factor behind the departures of the first three Inspector characters.
    • Ben Miller enjoyed working on the show, but suffered because Poole wore wool suits despite the heat and humidity (Poole was often shot from the waist up because Miller would wear shorts and sandals to try and deal with the heat). He departed the show because he wanted to be with his family but his wife couldn't stand the tropical climate (she also discovered that she was pregnant shortly after the first series began filming, with Miller's departure causing tension between the two).
    • Kris Marshall had his family with him while shooting his first series and was quite proud of sending his daughter to a local school and seeing her learn French. But his wife didn't want to be spending half the year in the Caribbean after the two had their most recent child. When Marshall returned from filming a series, his youngest son didn't even recognize him; he quit the show the next year. Marshall later also noted that his departure came as he was considering moving after his son began going native, with his academic results beginning to falter.
    • Ardal O'Hanlon similarly grew homesick and began missing his wife and children due to the long time away shooting the series. He also admitted that he was worried his stand up comedy skills were getting rusty and that he wanted to get back into comedy.
    • A Series 7 episode ran into trouble when the actor playing the murderer died of natural causes midway through filming. The episode was hastily rewritten so the character has already fled the island by the time Mooney manages to crack the case. The episode was dedicated to the actor's memory.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Poole initially views his assignment as this, and it's implied his London Met colleagues dislike him and also see it this way.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: In Season Five's "A Personal Murder", Dwayne is unsettled to find that his mentor, who convinced him as a child to turn his life around and take his schooling seriously, had a shameful secret of his own to cover up. He even starts to doubt his own worth, wondering if his mentor took an interest with him out of guilt and not because Dwayne was actually worth the effort. Humphrey reassures him that his mentor was a good man: if he hadn't been, he couldn't have inspired sufficient devotion from Dwayne and others to look closer into his death and catch his murderer.
  • Recycled INSPACE: Jonathan Creek, just where it's sunny.
  • Red Herring:
    • They set up enough ominous shots of Camille during the first part of the pilot to make you think that she's the one who shot Charlie Hulme, and then they have her revealed as an undercover cop investigating the man Charlie Hulme was killed while investigating.
    • There is basically a variation of this in the second episode; the entire team are focused on the death of a bride on her wedding day, but Poole eventually determines that the true target was someone else and the bride's death was just an accident.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The killer of "A Deadly Party" boldly makes an appointment to murder the Victim of the Week and does so, barely managing to elude the police for most of the rest of the episode. And he'd already been dead for three years!
  • Resigned in Disgrace: "Political Suicide" begins with Saint Marie's commerce minister resigning in the face of a scandal, having been caught having an affair with an aide. He turns up dead later that evening, having apparently committed suicide by gunshot to the chest; however, Humphrey quickly determines that the shot was from the wrong angle - indicating a murder despite the presence of a suicide note. It turns out that the victim was running a gun-smuggling operation, and was using the scandal as an opportunity to fake his Suicide by Sea so he could "vanish" and continue his business abroad, hence the suicide note. However, his wife found out and shot him dead before he could put the finishing touches on his escape.
  • Revisiting the Cold Case:
    • In "In the Footsteps of a Killer", DI Mooney reopens a 7 year old murder case when a witness comes forward and provides an alibi for the woman originally convicted of the crime (who subsequently died in prison). The witness had left the island before the crime was discovered, and never returned until now.
    • In "Melodies of Murder", DI Mooney has to reopen a 30 year old cold murder—originally investigated by Commissioner Patterson—when the husband of the victim announces that he has new evidence regarding the murder, and is promptly murdered himself.
  • Right Behind Me: This happens in "Murder Onboard".
    Dwayne: Chief, the Commissioner-
    Richard: Wants us to focus on the bootleggers, I know. But he's going to have to wait. He's probably busy anyway tucking into some lobster or swallowing an overpriced bottle of plonk...
    Commissioner: Or standing behind you.
    Richard: Or standing behind me. And as a gentleman and a scholar, able to take a joke in the spirit it was intended.
  • Romantic False Lead: The murderess police officer in "Arriving in Paradise" plays the same mildly flirtatious role that Camille takes on in episode two onwards.
  • Rubik's Cube: International Genius Symbol: Played with in "Stumped in Murder". Humphrey finds a Rubik's Cube in the evidence and starts attempting to solve it to take his mind of his personal problems. He fails completely until he has his "Eureka!" Moment. He rushes to The Big Board and starts rambling to himself, twisting the cube without looking at it as he does so. Florence then points out that he has solved it.
  • Running Gag:
    • The lizard in Poole's house. Poole is thrown off by him at first, but by series 2 has given the little guy a name (Harry) and is feeding him. After Poole dies, Humphrey continues the tradition, as does Mooney after Goodman's departure, though he needs a bit of persuading from Siobhan initially. Parker wants to get rid of Harry, and is treated like a Jerkass for it, but grows to like him.
    • Goodman scribbling case notes on anything he can find (tissues, playing cards, restaurant menus) rather than having a notebook.
  • Saying Too Much: In "Murder on the Day of the Dead", Finn Anderson apparently receives a voicemail from his wife in which she is being attacked by someone with a knife. He runs to find DI Mooney to inform him that he believes his wife has just been murdered, but Mooney finds it curious that he would say she was murdered, rather than attacked, and correctly guesses that he already knew his wife was dead.
  • Scenery Porn: Honoré Bay, and Saint Marie Island in general.
  • Science Hero: Poole. Facts and forensics always win out over spiritual and supernatural explanations.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: One victim was using the false name Nadia Selim as a way of letting the police know the name of the person she suspected (correctly) would try and kill her- Aidan Miles.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Played with; Poole is almost always seen wearing an impeccable black suit... which, in the tropical climate of the Caribbean, tends to make him look rather hot and sweaty.
  • Shear Menace: In "Death in the Salon", the Victim of the Week is stabbed to death with a pair of hairdressing scissors.
  • She's Got Legs: Both Camille and Florence have lovely legs which the series makes an effort to emphasize every so often.
  • Ship Tease: Poole and Camille get one at the end of "A Murder on the Plantation", when Camille mistakes Poole for the blind date her mother has set her up on until she is corrected and pointed in the right direction.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The murder of Poole at the start of "Death of a Detective" bears a strong resemblance to Hercule Poirot's description of what he would consider to be the most interesting hypothetical murder to solve at the start of The ABC Murders and later used as the premise for Cards on the Table. The only difference is that the setup to the crime involves a game of charades rather than bridge.
    • At the end of an episode involving a murdered bird-watcher there's a mini-Reveal that the Saint Marie green parrot is actually extinct, the last breeding pair having been killed by a hurricane two years ago. Dwayne and the manager of the parrot sanctuary where the murder took place start quoting the "Dead Parrot Sketch".
    • The first episode of Series eight is entitled "Murder on the Honore Express". Not only does the episode centre around a murderer being stabbed to death on a moving vehicle, but DI Mooney even comments at one point that the only solution is that all the passengers were in on it together (even though this is not actually the case and he dismisses his own claim).
  • Show Some Leg: Neither Camille nor Florence are shy about showing off their shapely legs in pretty much every episode, usually by wearing very short shorts while on duty. Ironically, the dresses they tend to change into for private outings, while undoubtedly sexy as well, are often much more concealing.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the first episode, after Camille's been arrested she makes some mocking comments about Poole's uptight nature. Without blinking an eye, Poole coolly points out that she's the one behind bars, not him, and that she's been arrested on a boat connected to people smuggling. The snide jabs quickly stop.
  • Sibling Triangle: In "Death in the Salon", the murderer is having an affair with her younger sister's fiancé. This turns into A Deadly Affair when the Victim of the Week threatens to expose the affair, and the murderer decides that Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • Significant Anagram: In "Written in Murder", Mooney gets his "Eureka!" Moment when he realises that Otis Falconer—a mysterious suspect they have not been able to locate—is an anagram of Francis Toole, the Victim of the Week.
  • Significant Reference Date: "Murder on the Day of the Dead" explicitly dates the day of the murder to 1 February 2018, which is also the episode's original airdate.
  • Sibling Murder: The killer in the third episode of Series 11.
  • Skeleton Key Card:
    • DI Mooney uses his credit to slip the lock on an empty house rented by one of the suspects in "Written in Murder".
    • A Victim of the Week uses a playing card variation to enter the closed and locked police station in Series 8.
  • Slipping a Mickey:
    • In "Switcharoo", the killer drugs the Victim of the Week by putting sleeping pills in her champagne so she is passed out when they place her in an Electrified Bathtub.
    • In "Death in the Salon", the murderer spiked the Victim of the Week's iced tea, causing her her pass out before the actual murder occurred.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Although the default set-up of the police force is three men and one woman, this trope has been constantly Zigzagged the longer the series has drawn on. To summarise:
    • Series 1 - 7 plays this trope straight, except for the first half of series 4 when both Camille and Florence were in the team.
    • Averted during series 8 when Ruby joins the police force, and again in series 9 when Madeline replaces Florence.
    • Series 10 goes back to three men and one woman.
    • Series 11 starts with two males and two females on the team with the arrival of Naomi, but when Florence leaves again, it's down to two males (Neville and Marlon) and one female (Naomi), only to go back up to two females later when the Commissioner recruits Darlene to work at the police station as a civilian.
  • The Sociopath: The murderer or the victim has been this at least twice.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The jaunty, upbeat theme tune invariably crashes in just as the Cold Opening ends with the discovery of a gruesome death. (The remix of the theme introduced in Series 10 makes for significantly less dissonance.)
  • Spoiler Opening: The Reveal in the very first episode about Camille being a major character instead of just a one-shot role falls a bit flat in light of how prominently she's featured in the opening sequence. The same thing also foreshadows that episode's murderer of the week by way of conspicuous absence from the intro.
  • Spotting the Thread: In the first episode of Season 9, the team solve the crime when they realise that the man who had been framed for the crime was illiterate; the true killers had left messages around the bodies, which the man they had framed couldn't have written.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: The theme song is a bright and sunny, Caribbean tune which plays up the "paradise" part of the show, in contrast to its darker theme of violent death.
  • Strange Cop in a Strange Land: In the two part "Man Overboard", Humphrey, Florence and Dwayne travel fro Saint Marie to London in pursuit of a murderer. While this is Humphrey's old stomping ground, Florence—and especially Dwayne—are well outside their comfort zone. Humphrey takes a certain pleasure in being the one playing guide for once
  • "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder: Done in "A Dash of Sunshine", although the first murder is not seen; having already taken place in another country.
  • Strictly Formula: A common complaint about the series is its rigid adherence to its structure, to the point that every single season finale has had a temptation to return to England offered to the lead detective. (Although, as any fan of the original Law & Order can tell you, a strict adherence to structure can be charming in and of itself.)
  • Suicide, Not Murder:
    • In a series 1 episode, an elderly woman makes a voodoo prediction about her own death at the hands of a "scarred man" and then dies in suspicious circumstances the next day. As it turns out, she had long suspected this particular scarred man of her daughter's murder, and she faked her own murder at his hands in order to get the police to investigate him again.
    • Played with in a series 4 episode. It was suicide, although the victim had help from one of the 'suspects', who was a doctor lying about the victim having a terminal illness in order to manipulate him into taking his own life.
    • In "Stumped in Murder", the Victim of the Week commits suicide, but the first person on the scene hides the weapon and suicide note, making it look like murder.
    • In a series 7 episode, a woman is poisoned at a spiritual healing event. She took the poison herself (she was terminally ill), but, as planned, her actions led Mooney to discover a murder the preacher had comitted 30 years earlier.
  • The Summation: At the end of every episode, after Poole's/Goodman's/Mooney's/Parker's "Eureka!" Moment.
  • Summation Gathering: Poole always performs this. Lampshaded in "Death of a Detective" when Camille prepares to summon the suspects after new-boy Goodman solves the case, only for him to ask "why?". He goes through with it, and carries on with it thereafter because he enjoyed it the first time. Mooney keeps up the tradition during his run, presumably after seeing Goodman do it in London, and assuming that's how the Saint Marie Police operate. Parker questions why the team needs to go through the trouble, but by that point it's just expected.
    • Averted in "Pirates at the Murder Scene", where Jack confronts the murderer with just himself present. Jack decides to do this because the culprit had suffered years of Domestic Abuse at the hands of the victim and Jack didn't want to traumatise her anymore by revealing what had happened in front of the other suspects. He also had sympathy for her plight.
    • Series 11 ep.4 also didn't have a summation gathering, instead Florence get's the killer to confess while the killer holds her at gunpoint.
    • Series 11 ep. 8 also doesn't have a summation gathering, as the detectives instead confront the murderer on his own without the other suspects, likely because his motive involved the relatively sympathetic goal of avenging his secret male lover.
  • Superdickery: In a Season 1 episode, a woman Dwayne has a one-night stand with is found murdered the next morning. The preview implies dramatically that Dwayne is a suspect, but in fact Poole only treats him as one for about five minutes (because he is annoyed that the others didn't invite him out for drinks with them), and then dismisses the idea.
  • Super OCD: Poole. He'll spend a whole case obsessing over a minor out-of-place detail that, naturally, turns out to be the key to the whole mystery.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Florence for Camille as the glamorous Detective Sergeant with a French accent, and JP for Fidel as the idealistic overkeen young cop. Averted with Humphrey as, unlike Poole he is friendly & likeable, clumsy, volunteered for the job, dresses appropriately and is married (although not happily). Mooney appears to have some of the traits of Goodman (Friendly, likable, ferocious appetite), but isn't as clumsy, and is a widower with a daughter.
    • Averted with Neville Parker, who is nothing like Jack before him, but does share some traits of Richard Poole - uptight, and uncomfortable on the island.
    • Marlon seems to be a younger version of Dwayne.
  • Talking to the Dead: In "A Murder in Portrait", Jack holds a conversation with a photo of his dead wife as he debates with himself whether he should allow himself to go on his first date since she died.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: In "Damned If You Do...", the killer poisons the stew being eaten by everyone in an attempt to make the murder look like food poisoning.
  • Tempting Fate: In "The Perfect Murder", one of the suspects, on the phone with his accomplice, tells the other not to worry, "I've spoken with the policeman they have on this, and he's an idiot."
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • "Predicting Death": A lady foretells her own death in front of Dwayne and poisons herself in the classroom of the man she believes killed her daughter to frame him. Ironically she killed herself in plain view of the evidence that could bring him to justice.
    • "Death of a Detective": Poole as well. Realizing that the woman claiming to be Sasha Moore, his best friend from college is her supposedly dead sister Helen Reed, he leaves (and gets sent to the island) enough clues to expose her as his killer.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: In "Melodies of Murder", Dwayne's father Nelson moves in uninvited to Jack's shack and makes himself at home: much to Jack's annoyance.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Poole's reaction to having to ride in the sidecar of Dwayne's motorcycle.
    • Goodman's initial reaction to same, until he discovers that he enjoys the experience.
  • Those Two Guys: Dwayne and Fidel. Later, Dwayne and Hooper after Fidel's departure.
  • Throwing The Match: In "The Perfect Murder", the Victim of the Week is killed when she attempts to expose a scheme to fix the outcome of a series of beach volleyball matches.
  • Time-Delayed Death:
    • In "The Impossible Murder", the Victim of the Week is stabbed by their killer in the kitchen of a hotel. Not wanting their killer to go to prison for their murder, the victim staunches the bleeding and walks upstairs in full view of the guests (who mistake his slight stumbling for him being drunk). Once in his room, he locks the door and stages the room to make it look like there had been a break-in. After hiding the blood-soaked scarf he had used to stem the bleeding, he expires on the floor.
    • In "Murder Begins at Home," the victim was strangled, but not fatally (although the killer did believe he was dead), but the strangulation triggered an underlying medical condition a short while later that caused a fatal stroke. This explains how the victim's body ended up in the police station even though it was locked from the inside.
    • The victim in the first episode of Series 11, who after being stabbed by his own daughter managed stem then bleeding enough to drive a couple of minutes up the road to a payphone, only to die while phoning for an ambulance.
  • Too Good to Be True: In "Predicting Death," all of the evidence points to one person. Naturally, Richard feels it's all too neat.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: In "Murder Most Animal", local zookeeper Xander Sheppard is found shot in the back with a poisonous dart, and a tranquilizer rifle is found discovered just inside the zoo fence. Later, J.P. gets shot in the butt with a tranquilizer dart by Ruby while the two of them are trying to arrest an animal smuggler.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The main setting of the series, being set on a fictional tropical island in the Caribbean.
  • Two Dun It: The murderers in "The Blood Red Sea," "The Complex Murder," "Murder At The Polls", and the 2021 Christmas special.
  • Two-Part Episode: There have been two so far, both of which wrote out major characters (and the first of which also introduced the show's new lead): "Man Overboard" featured filming in England, and ends on a cliffhanger when the team's prime suspect is murdered. "Beyond the Shining Sea" features two distinct, but linked cases, and is also noticeably Darker and Edgier than usual.
    • Another two parter happens in Series 10. Nobody is written out, but two previous characters do make a return.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Detective Sergeant Angela Young in "An Unhelpful Aid".
  • Unconfessed Unemployment: One of the suspects in "Murder Begins at Home" claims to have been on a sabbatical from work for three months. However, when the police contact his employer, they learn he has actually been suspended for anger control issues. And he hasn't told his wife.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: They set shots of Camille up in the pilot to make you think that she's the killer, or at the very least, she's involved in Charlie Hulme's death. Then it's revealed she's an undercover cop investigating James Lavender for human trafficking.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The Series 8 two-part story "Beyond the Shining Sea" is very consciously styled as Darker and Edgier.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In "Tour de Murder", a suspect confesses to having shaved the brake pads on the Victim of the Week's bike, seemingly causing him to suffer a fatal crash on a sharp bend above a ravine. However, the victim was murdered before the sabotage could come into effect.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Used in "A Personal Murder" to slay the Victim of the Week (who suffers from sleep apnea and bad heart).
  • Vow of Celibacy: Played for Drama in "An Unholy Death", as part of the murder motive when a nun is found asphyxiated at the island's convent. The priest attached to the convent had previously broken his vow and fathered a daughter, who then came to the convent looking for him and joined to get close to him. The mother superior, who was in love with the priest and was trying to keep him from breaking his vow again, misinterpreted their affection and killed the daughter.
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: The show is set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, described in Episode 3.3 as a "pretty island" that is "situated in the Eastern Caribbean Sea" and "one-tenth the size of its north-west neighbour Guadeloupe"; this would make Saint Marie about 63 square miles (160 km2) in size. Saint Marie is a British Overseas Territory, but about 30% of its people are of French culture due to previous history, with the language still widely spoken.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Humphrey Goodman. Humphrey's father is convinced that Humphrey is wasting his life playing a game of cops-and-robbers instead of becoming a barrister like him (and his brother). In "Unlike Father, Unlike Son", Humphrey's father comes to the island to convince him to come back home to England for his ex-wife, Sally. Finally having had enough of trying to please his father, Humphrey tells his father that he is a very good detective and that he is happier on Saint Marie than then he ever was in England and is staying there. After watching his son solve the case, Humphrey's father realises he is happy for him to remain in Saint Marie.
    • Since the murder took place in the island's courthouse, Humphrey gets to deliver The Summation in a courtroom, exactly as if he was a barrister; consciously or unconsciously, he plays up the role of an attorney in front of a jury to the fullest while his impressed father looks on.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: In "Dishing Up Murder", the Victim of the Week Robert Holt, was an obnoxious celebrity chef who was loathed by his entire inner circle. Robert cheated on his girlfriend and partner (both romantically and professionally), dominated and abused his son, blackmailed his homosexual sous chef, had an affair with his pastry chef, and had allowed his brother Gary to take the fall for a crime he had committed. So when his own son killed him in a heated argument, everyone else in the inner circle proceeded to work together to cover up the crime, by putting the body in the freezer so that the time of death couldn't be determined, then proceeded with the soft-opening as if nothing was wrong (with the brother posing as the victim), and making sure there was an outside witness around when they pretended to "discover" the body.
  • Why Couldn't You Save Them?: The murder in "Man Overboard" is revealed to be based around a variation of this; the victim was a sailor who took both his sons out sailing during a storm, and the son he attempted to save drowned while his other son was found and rescued by another boat. The father left his wife and surviving son because he couldn't cope with the guilt of his decision, but when the son found the father years later, he staged an elaborate murder in a fit of rage.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Invoked in the episode "Wicked Wedding Night", when a bride is killed on her honeymoon and the groom later states that he'll never love anyone as much as her. Poole eventually determines that the bride's death was actually an accident; the killer intended to kill someone else, and shot the bride because she was standing in the window and the sun behind her stopped the killer seeing her properly.
  • You Need to Get Laid: At the end of "The Complex Murder", Dwayne tells Humphrey that he doesn't need a boat, he needs a girlfriend.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: In "Wish You Weren't Here", DI Mooney is looking after a pet mongoose/polecat/ferret thing named Sherman until an acquaintance can persuade his wife to allow it in the house. The animal escapes and Mooney buys a replacement. While Mooney is at the bar, Ruby examines Sherman Mk. II and remarks to JP that DI Mooney might want to hold off on giving this Sherman to Darnell. When JP asks why, she says because Sherman Mk. II is a girl.

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