Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Midsomer Murders

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/midsomermurders_621.jpg
John Nettles as Inspector Barnaby and Jason Hughes as DS Jones.

Eastwood: ...Barnaby is about to have the bolt of inspiration that cracks the case, solves the murders and the artifact-smuggling ring, and find out that the postmistress is getting off with the vicar, who's secretly her uncle.
Lothar: How many times have you seen this episode?
Eastwood: Dunno, they all blur together after a while. It's a new one, Troy isn't in it.
Exterminatus Now; also, living rooms across the UK
Advertisement:

British Mystery of the Week drama (1997 to present) about a police detective and his younger colleague operating in the fictional English county district of Midsomer, which appears to consist almost entirely of picturesque little villages, mostly named after the scheme "Midsomer X" - Midsomer Parva, Midsomer Mallow, Midsomer Worthy, etc. note 

Has a bad case of Never One Murder (and a murder rate that ITV actually started making fun of in their adverts for this—the editors at Radio Times counted 321 homicides in the first 14 series), with the killer frequently Beneath Suspicion until five minutes from the end of each two-hour episode. Many episodes featured a Special Guest who turned out to be the murderer.

Has a brilliantly apt, lilting theme tune.

Advertisement:


This show provides examples of:

  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: In "Shot at Dawn", a woman being chased by a hay baler attempts to flee directly away from it. Granted that turning may not have helped as the baler was being steered, but she could have at least tried, as it would have taken time for the baler to turn.
  • Abandoned Hospital: Much of the action of "The Silent Land" centres around a supposedly haunted abandoned TB hospital.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In "The Dagger Club", The Gambling Addict is playing poker in an attempt to win his way out of debts. After going all in, the woman who holds his gambling debts goads him into betting more: his share of the book store he co-owns, and the missing manuscript that is the MacGuffin of the episode. He accepts, and loses. When it turns out he never had the manuscript, the woman claims his wife's share of the book store as well, as recompense.
  • Accidental Murder:
      Advertisement:
    • The first Body of the Week in "Left for Dead" occurs as a result of a Staircase Tumble when two characters are struggling at the top of the stairs. Although pushed, it was an accident and no murder was intended. The later murders, however...
    • Played with in "Wild Harvest". The murder of the chef was intentional but the murderer didn't know that the chef's husband (and the murderer's ex-husband) would take up drinking again. It's set up in such a way that Barnaby, while questioning her, is faking that he's still alive to get the name of the poison before the murderer realizes she accidentally killed her ex... before we cut outside to show that both of them are still alive, having been treated for their poison.
    • What is chronologically the first death in "Midsomer Life" was a case of the accidental murder. The victim had been trying to escape from someone who just intended to scare him off when he suffered a fatal heart attack. The attacker hid the body in the woods, and its discovery 10 months later triggered a string of actual murders.
    • The third murder turns out to have been accidental in "Send in the Clowns" — the murderer triggered an alarm system while snooping around a slaughterhouse, and when the victim came around jostled a heavy wagon while trying to hide, which went going and knocked the victim on the automatic slaughter line (and left the victim too dazed to move away before the line went to the gassing room).
  • Adult Fear: Well...yes, it's a murder mystery series, and it's reached the point of self-parody. However, some of the psychology in Midsomer makes for some more specific adult fears:
    • That the people that are a threat to you are likely to be people you know and love: colleagues, neighbours, friends, spouses, your children...
    • Being harmed or killed because of Mistaken Identity — or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    • Being killed for reasons that you find ridiculous, simply because some else saw it as Serious Business.
    • That despite your love and care, your child becomes an Enfant Terrible.
    • On the flip side of that, your child becomes the target of a predator.
    • That you are always being watched (Midsomer has no secrets that a semi-competent Blackmailer couldn't sniff out with minimum difficulty).
    • That any mistake — no matter how minor — will come back to bite you in terrible and creative ways.
  • Agents Dating: It has a Running Gag around this: every time Sergeant Jones goes out for dinner with his officer girlfriend, Barnaby (either the old one or the new one) calls him because there's been a development in the case, usually another murder. Apparently the Running Gag of Tom Barnaby's Eureka Moment striking whenever he's out with his wife is contagious.
  • Animal Assassin:
    • In "Wild Harvest", the first Victim of the Week is tied up in a forest, doused with truffle oil, and left to be gored to death by a wild boar.
    • In "The Town That Rose From the Dead", once victim is killed by being constricted to death by pythons.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: In "Night of the Stag", a village leader wants to restart an ancient tradition where one night a year, the men of one village would descend on the neighbouring village and ravish the women; thereby ensuring genetic diversity in the villages. One of the women in the neighbouring village is very keen on the idea and says she will leave the door open for him. However, she is not happy when he ignores her and goes for her daughter instead.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Most of the nobility/very old established families are complete assholes, more obsessed with their lineage and money than with murders.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Inverted when Tom reminisces on an unpleasant country club:
    "Apart from the snobbery and the extortionate fees, there was the matter of me arresting the treasurer for murdering his mistress!"
  • Asshole Victim: at least three quarters of the dead people.
    • The truly unfortunate cases, though, are the ones where the murderer goes after the Asshole Victim's (usually but not always) innocent family instead.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Not entirely sure why the sabre fencing in "The Sleeper Under The Hill" is done with the pointy end when sabre is a slashing weapon. The coach's technique is also awful.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: "The Straw Woman" had a village deciding to go ahead with a festival despite the vicar being burnt to death. The replacement vicar was then also murdered.
  • Auto Erotica: In "Country Matters", The Vicar confesses to meeting her (married) lover in his van in a field. Although she claims they were just talking, the flashback shows the van start rocking almost as soon as they get in.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Nearly half the couples seen. In one case, a woman was not only a witness to her husband's bizarre murder (see Grievous Bottley Harm), she calls out corrections when the murderer misses.
  • Ax-Crazy: At least some of the murderers caught in the series.
  • Baby's First Words: In "Breaking the Chain", John and Sarah Barnaby spend the episode trying to get their daughter Betty to say her first word. John wants it to be "Dada" and Sarah wants it to be "Mama" but eventually Betty says "dog" instead.
  • Bad Habits: Jones disguises himself as a nun to trap a murderer in "A Sacred Trust".
  • Bad to the Last Drop: While drinking a cup of canteen coffee in "Down Among the Dead Men", Barnaby asks:
    "Is this coffee or silt?"
  • Baguette Beatdown: In "Shot at Dawn", a pair of wheelchair bound old duffers from Feuding Families get into jousting match with baguettes that interrupts Inspector Barnaby's dinner.
  • Ball Cannon: In "Last Man Standing", the first Victim of the Week is killed by being tied in the cricket nets in front of a bowling machine, which is then used to bowl twenty cricket balls at him at high speed and batter him to death.
  • Bar Brawl: In "Midsomer Life", a brawl erupts in the local pub between a group of entitled out-of-towners and the locals who are sick of being patronized. Inspector Barnaby gets punched in the face while trying to break it up.
  • Barsetshire: The titular Midsomer district.
  • Batter Up!:
    • A cricket bat is used as a murder weapon in "Dead Man's Eleven".
    • Jones gets knocked out with a cricket bat in "Last Man Out", and killer would have beaten him to death with it had not Barnaby showed up.
  • Beachcombing: In "Saints and Sinners", an archeological dig is searching for the bones of a local saint is threatened by a group of detectorists camped in the next field looking to raid the site for the trove the saint was supposedly buried with.
  • Bear Trap: In "Country Matters", a woman pretends to be caught in a bear trap as part of an elaborate sexual roleplay.
  • Becoming the Mask: The leader of the hippie commune in "Death in Disguise" originally started the place as a scam to fleece gullible new-agers. However, along the way he has started to truly believe in the ideas he is preaching - much to the chagrin of his less idealistic partner-in-crime.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: In "The Silent Land", a prankster dresses up as a bedsheet ghost in order to disrupt a ghost walk. However, the killer takes advantage of the distraction to murder the second Victim of the Week.
  • Behind the Black: Barnaby manages to pull off this trope from time to time. One notable instance occurs in the Series 7 episode "Sins of Commission".
  • Beneath Suspicion
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: In the backstory for "Death in a Chocolate Box", this led to Lord Holm's arrest for murder. Finding his wife dead, he picked the murder weapon and was immediately arrested by the police officer who committed the murder. He was confused enough that he allowed himself to be convinced that he had committed the crime and then blacked it out.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: One way to guess correctly who the murderer is with depressing frequency is to pick the one who is the only likable one of the lot.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Lots...
  • Bitter Almonds: In "The Town That Rose From the Dead", the second victim of the week is murdered by being forced to drink from a cyanide laced flask. Barnaby, Winter and Kam all notice the smell of bitter almonds.
  • Blackmail: Lots of it, and a prime cause of death.
  • Blue Blood: They run into quite a few of these, as is the standard in a British mystery, nearly all of whom are Upper-Class Twits- or the murderer.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: A classic example in "The Sleeper Under the Hill".
  • Body Horror: Jane Rochelle's burns from "Judgement Day" are not a pretty sight, especially her hand.
  • Bookcase Passage: In "Blood Wedding", Barnaby a finds a priest hole/secret passage concealed behind a bookcase. Most tellingly, the passage leads to the room where the first murder was committed.
  • Book-Ends: Tom Barnaby's final episode ends with the new guy being called out on his first Midsomer murder investigation - in Badger's Drift, the location of the murder that started the series.
  • Bound and Gagged:
    • In "Left for Dead", the murderer leaves Tom Barnaby bound and gagged on a mattress in the cellar. He has to be rescued by Jones.
    • In "The Dark Rider", the killer attempts to remove someone who is afraid of the dark from the line of succession by driving them into a permanent state of trauma by leaving them bound and gagged inside a priest hole.
  • The Boxing Episode: "The Noble Art". When a famous 1860 bareknuckle boxing bout is restaged in Midsomer Morchard with great pomp, dead bodies begin to pile up for Barnaby.
  • Break the Cutie: One particularly depressing episode saw a sweet-natured, ill-used suspect being cleared, only to realise that everyone she'd ever cared about or respected had been toying with her or manipulating her for their own ends. This destroys her sweet nature and turns her into an amoral Gold Digger, as she decides to Pay Evil unto Evil; everyone else was only out for themselves, so why shouldn't she take advantage of others?
  • British Brevity: No season is longer thn 5 episodes.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Tom Barnaby goes through a few of these. Including one where a police inspector (married to a former sergeant) singlehandedly arrested an old lord for bashing his wife's head in, then quit the force to become a psychologist and attempt to rehabilitate the murderer. Except she'd killed the wife (who'd been sleeping with her husband) and pinned it on the lord, then killed the people who might have brought the matter back up: a blackmailer and her husband, who had slept with the lord's wife while she was in the cells...
    • Another episode had Barnaby's favourite band at the centre of a series of murders. Needless to say, by the time the case was closed, he wasn't so keen on the band any more.
    • In one episode, he meets a retired cop. They hit it off so well Tom starts taking his advice when looking into buying a new home, to Jones' consternation. So of course, it turns out the guy was a human trafficker.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: "The Pudding Club", an exclusive club restricted to members of the elite Devington School's students who are pursuing careers in diplomacy. On the surface, it's just a "boy's club" that regularly eats "puddings"note . In reality, it's a front for an illegal art-smuggling ring, with the members using their positions to smuggle valuables out of foreign countries and into the school proper, to be sold off to finance the school whenever it needs the money.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In the pilot, no less. Also appears once or twice later on.
    • Subverted in "Shot at Dawn", where the prospect is raised with respect to a newly-engaged couple who are unaware that her mother and his father have been carrying on for decades; the mother only laughs and says that she's been very careful to ensure none of her children are the result of the affair.
    • Forms part of the backstory to the murders in "Dark Secrets". Once Barnaby realises this, the murderer becomes obvious to him.
  • Bullet Dancing: In "The Village That Rose From the Dead", a Crazy Jealous Guy does this to man who cuckolded him in preparation for shooting him for real.
  • Buried Alive: The Victim of the Week in "Saints and Sinners" is buried alive in an archaeology trench.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Jones. Will anyone EVER treat him nicely? (Troy and Scott also received this treatment, but had a tendency to bring it on themselves.)
  • The Bus Came Back: DS Jones makes a return in "Last Man Out".
  • Buzzing the Deck: Done with murderous intent in "The Flying Club". The murderer is flying a light plane and chases the second Victim of the Week, who is on the ground. The murderer buzzes him low enough to strike his head with the landing gear of the plane, killing him. During the Motive Rant at the end, Barnaby acknowledges it was an exceptional piece of flying.
  • Cacophony Cover Up:
    • In "Murder by Magic", the killer uses the sound of gunshot being used in a magic trick to mask the sound of the gunshot they used to kill one of their victims.
    • In "Blood on the Saddle", the killer uses the noise of a mock gunfight being conducted in the main arena to cover the rifle shot he uses to murder the first Victim of the Week.
  • Candlelit Bath: In "Last Year's Model", a sleazy music producer and his mistress are holding a candlelit Two-Person Pool Party when they are interrupted by Barnaby.
  • Captivity Harmonica: A flashback in "Death in a Chocolate Box" to when the second Victim of the Week was in prison shows him playing the harmonica. When his new probabtion officer (the first Victim of the Week) enters, he pays a mocking note.
  • Car Fu:
    • The first Victim of the Week in "Death and Dust" gets out of his car to clear a fallen tree on the road, and is run down by the car that has been tailing him. It later turns out to be a case of Murder by Mistake.
    • In "The Glitch", the first Victim of the Week is knocked off her bike by a car. The driver then reserves over the top of her, killing her.
    • In "Death in the Slow Lane", the first Victim of the Week is killed when the murderer puts the vintage care he had just started in gear; causing it to move forward and resulting in the victim being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on the crank handle.
  • Cat Scare: Happens in "A Rare Bird" when Jones is searching a taxidermy studio. One cat turns out to be alive and makes Jones jump when it moves.
  • Caught on Tape: In "The Ballad of Midsomer County", the killings all centre around a murder accidentally recorded on a master tape 20 years earlier, with the master tape then being hidden.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: In "Hidden Depths", Barnaby and Scott get locked in a cellar where there is no cell reception.
  • Character Name Alias: In "The Curse of the Ninth", the first Victim of the Week (who is a classical violinist) rents a safe deposit box using the name of composer Anton Bruckner.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: The series is famous for its ridiculously high murder rate (even for a detective series). Depending on population estimates, the rural county of Midsomer has a crime rate beaten only by a few countries. At least once a character managed to survive being involved in one case... only to get murdered when he gets involved in a second case a few years later.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The show never actually explains what happened to Scott. His absence in the episode that introduces his replacement Jones is explained (he called in sick — Jones was a temporary replacement), but by the next episode Jones is there to stay without Scott being mentioned again.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: In one episode, the (first) Victim of the Week is found in a stone circle. A local Druid sect that uses it as a holy place is quickly suspected.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: In "The Creeper", the B-plot (which is tangentially related to the murders) concerns a burglar known as the Creeper who has been robbing wealthy country homes, including that of the Chief Constable. When Barnaby finally identifies the Creeper, it turns out to be this trope.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: A highly successful and kind-hearted psychiatrist is oblivious to the fact that all three of her children are sociopathic, gleeful serial killers who murdered her husband (their own father) because they wanted her all to themselves, and hated him for wanting to spend time alone with her. They repeat the process for anyone they deem is getting too friendly with their mum - including Barnaby.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Dudley Carew in "Murder on St. Malley's Day".
    • Properly Paranoid: There really is a secret and sinister purpose to the Pudding Club... just not the one he thinks.
  • Continuity Nod: In episode one of series 2, a minor character, Miss Beauvoisin, works as an assistant at an estate agents. In a later episode she turns up, having taken over the business. By later series, every time someone is selling their house and a sales board is put up, it's for the Beauvoisin Estate Agent.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: In "The Killings of Copenhagen", the murderer trusses up one of the victims and places them on a conveyor belt leading into an industrial baker's oven.
  • Cool Old Guy: DCI Tom Barnaby evolved into this as the series centred on him went on and in one episode it's revealed he was an ex-member of MI-6.
  • Cool Old Lady: DS Ben Jones' all-knowing Gossipy Hens gran is considered this by DCI John Barnaby.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: In "Ghosts of Christmas Past", Jerkass Digby lights a cigar from one the candles on the dinner table as a taunt at one of the other guests who is not allowed to smoke.
  • Country Matters: The way Dennis pronounces the word "Constable" in "The Killings at Badger's Drift" leaves no doubt as to what he means.
  • Courtroom Episode: Much of "Last Year's Model", takes place in a courtroom during the trial of woman who was arrested for murder the year before, as Barnaby starts to have serious doubts regarding her guilt.
  • Covered in Gunge: In "The Glitch", a vandal known as 'the Bucket Man' is attacking cars in a village and dumping paint mixed with glue over them. The murder pours paint over his last intended victim to try and make it look like the work of 'the Bucket Man'. Ironically, his intended victim was actually the real Bucket Man.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Blood on the Saddle". It becomes rather hilarious to southern/western residents of the United States as well...
  • Cracking Up: Scott once cracks his knuckles in anticipation of taking on a particularly annoying suspect. Barnaby stops the car and tells him in no uncertain terms that he will not tolerate Police Brutality.
  • Cramming the Coffin:
    • The 'body buried in the grave beneath a coffin' is used in "Beyond the Grave".
    • This is attempted in "Four Funerals and a Wedding", but rain washes away the dirt and exposes the body before the coffin can be placed in the grave. Also, the victim was the deacon who was supposed to be performing the funeral service.
  • Crime Concealing Hobby: On occasion, the crimes are committed because of the hobby, which are Serious Business in Midsomer and cause for any number of reprehensible activities from adultery to blackmail to creative accounting. One episode has a mentally-disturbed woman murder people who might interfere with the local tourist attraction (a miniature village), a Social Climber murders any potential witnesses that saw her driving drunk (which would have barred her from entering the village social club), etc.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: "The Sicilian Defence" revolves around a chess tournament and a computer chess game. As it takes place in Midsomer, needless to say there are more than a few unbalanced personalities involved. The killer leaves chess notations in the pockets of the victims.
  • Cricket Episode:
    • "Dead Man's Eleven" (series 3)
    • "Secrets and Spies" (series 11)
    • "Last Man Out" (series 19)
  • Crime After Crime: "Talking to the Dead" is a textbook example. The original crime (which the viewer only learns about after several murders) was the comparatively minor one of stealing goods that were already stolen. When one of the crooks they were stealing from discovered them, the murderer killed him and blackmailed his accomplice into helping him dispose of the body. However, things quickly escalated and he committed three subsequent murders to prevent his crimes from being discovered, and would have committed a fourth if Barnaby had not caught him.
  • Crime Magnet: Okay seriously, Tom should just lock Joyce in the house. Every time she goes somewhere, murder ensues.
  • Crossdresser: Gerald Hadleigh from the series 1 episode "Written in blood".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Day to day life in Midsomer is apparently so boring without a bit of homicide that murderers dedicate their brain cells to devising really bizarre ways of bumping people off. Specifically, victims have been:
    • Tied up and covered in truffle oil while a boar is set loose
    • Had their wheelchair hijacked via remote control and subsequently steered into the path of a milk float.note 
    • Tumble-dried to death.
    • Pinned to the lawn with croquet hoops while wine bottles are catapulted at them.
    • Knocked out, had a hollowed-out TV with a hole in the top shoved over their head, and wine poured into the TV until they drown.
    • Broiled to death in an industrial sterilizer.
    • Had their head crushed with a giant wheel of cheese.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: There is one in the nursery where the first murder occurs in "A Christmas Haunting" It starts banging its cymbals as the body hits the floor.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: The first two victims in "The House in the Woods" are garrotted by a killer hiding in the backseat of their car.
  • Dead Animal Warning:
    • In "Death in Chorus", artist Connor Simpson is shocked when a pig's heart is nailed to his cottage door.
    • In "The Axeman Cometh", a campaign of harassment against Gary Cooper sees a dead sheep dumped on his tennis court, a gutted pig placed in his trout stream, and a skinned rabbit strung up in his garage.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: After an artist is murdered in "The Dagger Club", her dealer immediately triples the price of all of her artworks.
  • Dead Guy on Display: In "A Dying Art", the killer places the bodies of their victims as parts of sculptures on display in a sculpture park.
  • Deadly Bath: First murder victim in "Echoes of the Dead" is found submerged in a petal-strewn bath, dressed as a bride.
    • The first Victim of the Week in "Fit for Murder" is drowned in a flotation pool at a spa. Joyce discovers the corpse when she goes for treatment.
  • Deadly Disc: In "Written in the Stars", the murderer uses a razor-edged disc to slice the throat of the third Victim of the Week.
  • Dead Man Honking:
    • Not dead but unconscious. The Teaser to "The Silent Land" ends with Joyce crashing her car. The scene fades to the credits with the horn blaring as Joyce slumps unconscious on the steering wheel.
    • In "Death and the Divas", an attempted murder by cutting the victim's brake lines end with the intended victim face planted on the steering wheel and the horn blaring.
  • Dead Man's Chest: A dismembered body is placed in a wicker hamper and left in a railway station in "Echoes of the Dead".
  • Dead Man's Hand: In "Blood of the Saddle", the third Victim of the Week in a string wild west themed murders is found slung over the saddle of his horse with a dead man's hand planted in his fist.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Barnaby's are this, at times.
    • In 'Midsomer Life', 'Midsomer Sonning' is full of these.
  • Death by Falling Over:
  • Death by Irony: Some murderers have a dark sense of humour in addition to a malicious streak, so many victims are killed either by what they loved, or what they had used to torment others.
  • Death by Looking Up: In "The Dark Rider", one victim is lured outside his ancestral home and looks up just in time to see a gargoyle toppling on top of him.
  • Decade-Themed Party: In "Dance with the Dead", the village of Morton Fendle is obsessed with the now disused WWII airfield based there. They hold a 1940s themed dance that the Barnabys and Jones attend.
  • Defective Detective: Averted, unusually for the genre. Both Barnabys are well-adjusted and cool-headed with stable family lives, and their sergeants also have their heads screwed on pretty effectively too.
  • Defenestrate and Berate: "Ring Out Your Dead"
  • Depraved Bisexual: Midsomer Murders is not usually flattering in its depiction of bisexuals — especially female bisexuals.
    • One of the victims in "Not In My Back Yard", who was using seduction to manipulate several people of both sexes.
    • In Dance With The Dead, a missing woman had half the village wrapped around her little finger, charming people of both sexes in order to ensure that she could maintain her comfortable, "free spirited" lifestyle without having to deal with unpleasant things like morals or responsibility. While Barnaby supposes that she used sexual favours to get her own way, most of her targets seemed to be genuinely smitten and protective of her, rather than lusting after her.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Some. Though, everybody's depraved, so it's kind of hard to tell...
  • Detective Mole:
    • DI Mark Gudgeon from NIS takes over the investigation in "Painted in Blood". Problem is, he was the one who committed the murder.
    • Sgt. Trevor Gibson in "Sleeper Under the Hill" turns out to be involved in the killings and does his best to throw Barnaby and Jones off the trail. He ultimately falls victim to his partner in crime.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • DI Mark Gudgeon and his NIS underlings in "Painted in Blood".
    • Sgt. Trevor Gibson in "Sleeper Under the Hill".
  • Dirty Old Man: Major Teal spends almost every moment he is on screen either perving on women, or talking about it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Death of a Stranger: Simon Tranter, father of Grahame Tranter, who walked out and disappeared 30 years before the story.
  • Disconnected by Death: In "Breaking the Chain", Barnaby is talking to a suspect who is on his mobile phone to one of the other suspects. The suspect turns to Barnaby and remarks that he heard sounds of struggle and then the phone went dead. Barnaby hurriedly races to the scene and arrives in time to save the next victim who has been left in a room that is filling with gas.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal:
    • Barnaby does this with a cup of acorn coffee in "Death in Disguise". Leads to a That Poor Plant moment.
    • In "The Axeman Cometh", Jack 'Axeman' McKinley, who is The Alcoholic, avoids falling Off the Wagon when pressed into sharing a bottle of vodka to commemorate a fallen band mate by secretly pouring each glass into the plant beside him.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': In "Country Matters", The Vicar confesses to meeting her (married) lover in his van in a field. Although she claims they were just talking, the flashback shows the van start rocking almost as soon as they get in.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: In "Blood Will Out", the Victim of the Week is a bully who thrashes his stepdaughter with belt.
  • Doomed Appointment: In "The Noble Art", one of the suspects finds her flat broken in to and ransacked. She calls Barnaby and tells him she will tell everything about what is going on, but that she is too scared to stay in her flat, and arranges to meet Barnaby at the statue of a local boxer. As she hangs up, she hears someone entering the flat. Barnaby and Jones wait at the statue and, when she doesn't show up, go to her flat and find her dead.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Happens in "The Curse of the Ninth" as young woman prepares to take a shower, unaware that an intruder has just broken into her home.
  • Drinking on Duty: Every single episode involves Barnaby and his sergeant having a pint. Gotta wonder if they might solve the mysteries faster if they weren't perma-buzzed...
  • Driver Faces Passenger: Troy sometimes does this with realistic results (see below).
  • Drives Like Crazy: It's a wonder Barnaby kept letting Sgt. Troy drive.
    Barnaby: Troy! ... You were driving on the wrong side of the road.
  • Dry Crusader: A sect of these appear in "The Night of the Stag".
  • Ear Ache: The third Victim of the Week in "Blood Wedding" is killed by having a hatpin thrust into her ear.
  • Edible Bludgeon: In "Schooled in Murder", the first Victim of the Week is pinned beneath a set of shelves and has a large wheel of cheese dropped on her head.
  • The Eeyore: The Reverend Giles Shawcross in "The Sword of Guillaume".
  • Empathy Doll Shot: In "A Sacred Trust", a flashback to a mercenary attack on an African village shows a girl dropping a doll that is then trampled by one of the soldiers.
  • Enfant Terrible: At least two episodes have had children as the murderer (though one just masterminded the whole thing using his mentally-retarded uncle to do the killing).
  • Enhance Button: Usually Averted due to the show's rather classic detective approach. There's one in "Days of Misrule", though.
  • Entitled Bastard: A common trait among the gentry and "old families" of Midsomer County. In one episode, one such gentleman brushes off accusations of conspiracy to commit murder by saying that, as a scion of England's old wealthy families, "we make our own rules." (And he has nothing on the episode's murderer.)
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: One Jerkass cigarette executive turns out to be into this, as revealed by his wife. As there was a recent strangling recalling a similar series or crimes decades ago, it's yet another reason to suspect him. The murderer was actually his boss, who murdered his blackmailer and tried to pin it on the previous killer, a hotel owner who ended up stabbed in the shower by his mother when she thought he'd started killing again.
  • Eureka Moment: Barnaby gets a lot of these from offhand remarks by his wife or daughter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One murderer takes a small boy who he knows to be the witness to his crime out on a boat ride. Then Barnaby has his Eureka Moment and heads for the dock, expecting the worst... only to find the kid unharmed, with the murderer saying he couldn't kill him.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Illicit affairs probably make up half the secrets Barnaby uncovers.
  • Evil Brit: Pretty much everybody but the recurring characters is a lying, perverted, murdering hypocrite.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: "Master Class": An elderly piano virtuoso takes a talented young girl under his wings. It turns out that she is secretly his daughter from an incestuous relationship, and that he wishes to conceive a genetically superior child with her to save Britain from degeneracy.
  • Faked Kidnapping: In "Faithful Unto Death"
  • Faking the Dead: In "Habeus Corpus", the murderer fakes his own murder, and then fakes his corpse being stolen before the police arrive (It Makes Sense in Context) as part of a particularly elaborate plot to take revenge on someone.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: The third Victim of the Week in "Let Us Prey" is shackled to a bed and then impaled by a falling chandelier.
  • False Confession: In Death of a Hollow Man, Colin Smy confesses to killing Esslyn after he thought he saw his son David change the blade of the razor used. He shortly afterwards withdraws the confession after David is cleared.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: In "Death and the Divas", it is revealed that when a younger sister had an illegitimate baby, her older married sister registered the baby as hers and raised the girl as her own.
  • Fatal Method Acting: In "Death of a Hollow Man" the actor playing Salieri in a production of Amadeus accidentally cuts his own throat when the prop razor he was supposed to use is switched out for a real one backstage. For extra irony, Salieri in the play survives having his throat cut. invoked
  • Feedback Rule: In "The Dark Rider", Sarah Barnaby is plagued by feedback while attempting to narrate the Civil War reenactment. She keeps yelling at her sound engineer Andy to fix the problem.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Alice Krige's character in "Secrets and Spies". Trained by MI-6 to setup Honey Traps.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: In the episode "The Straw Woman".
  • Fictional Province: The show is set in the fictional Midsomer County.
  • Flat Joy: One episode centers around the filming of a Scarlet Pimpernel movie. When the guillotine falls on an aristocrat, the revolutionaries have less-than-enthusiastic reactions.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: It seems every other episode opens with Barnaby getting dragged to his wife's latest hobby group. Given that the episode then reveals they're all a bunch of immoral murderers, adulterers and thieves, it's no wonder she ends up looking for a new one.
  • Food Slap:
    • "Not In My Back Yard" opens with a heated argument about an experimental design house being built in a traditional village where a woman hurls a glass of champagne in the architect's face. Needless to say, she becomes the first Victim of the Week.
    • In "Death in Chorus", a dispute between two choir directors erupts into a brawl when one of them (played by Peter Capaldi) throws a drink in the other's face in the pub.
  • Footprints of Muck: In "The Great and the Good", the murderer uses the schoolteacher's boots to plant muddy bootprints on her doorstep as part of a Gaslighting scheme to convince her that she might be the killer. Circumstances intervene to make the bootprints less effective than they might have been, but seeds of doubt are planted in her mind.
  • Forklift Fu: In "Sauce for the Goose", Victim of the Week Dexter Lockwood is crushed by a forklift before being dumped in a sterilizer.
  • Freudian Excuse: Often a factor for a Sympathetic Murderer, ranging from taking revenge on those who'd terrorised them as children, or were raised in particularly hostile environments.
    • Nastily subverted, however, in Death and Dreams, where the someone appears to have a trope-type Freudian Excuse, but doesn't...instead, they all have a rampaging and lethal version of the Oedipus Complex (a more literal Freudian excuse). The three children of Banraby's psychiatrist friend saw their father die in a climbing accident, which we're lead to believe is the cause of their obsession with keeping their mother with them. Then it turns out the two older children killed their father for daring to be affectionate with their mother!
  • Frying Pan of Doom:
    • In "Signs of Commission", an intruder in the hall is knocked out by the housekeeper wielding a frying pan.
    • In "Last Year's Model", the Victim of the Week is murdered by being bludgeoned to death with a heavy saucepan.
  • Full-Boar Action: In "Wild Harvest", the first Victim of the Week is tied up in a forest, doused with truffle oil, and left to be gored to death by a wild boar
  • Gaslighting: "Beyond the Grave", as well as "The Great and the Good".
  • Geographic Flexibility: The villages often gain features and places previously unseen or unheard of. The series is filmed in locations all around England and Wales. It shows. But, surprisingly, it mostly averts California Doubling. The use of this trope is to be expected, given how the series is one of the Long Runners of British TV and is set in a small fictional English administrative region with a predominantly rural, old-timey character.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "Perfect Village" competition in the episode "Judgement Day" is arranged by a magazine called "Country Matters". The episode also makes a reference to Hamlet.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Actually averted with Troy, who's a bit of a homophobe and never considers lesbians as arousing.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Although the series has never shied away from depicting some spectacularly nasty murders, viewers are generally spared the worst of it. "The Sword of Guillaume", however, averts this trope to the point of horror.
  • The Grand Hunt: In "Death of a Stranger", Barnaby investigates a murder that takes place during a fox hunt, and has a village full of toffs as suspects.
  • Grave Robbing: In "Habeus Corpus", the body of a dead man is stolen from his bed minutes after he is pronounced dead, and then the body of a woman who died five months previously is dug up and stolen from her grave.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In "Not In My Back Yard", the first Victim of the Week is done in with a broken bottle.
    • In another, the guy is tied down to the lawn while the murderer uses a small catapult to hurl filled bottles at him. His wife sees the whole thing and corrects the murderer's aim.
  • Gulliver Tie-Down: In "Small Mercies", the first Body of the Week is found in a miniature village: staked down and tied to the ground like Gulliver.
  • Hand Gagging: In "Blood Wedding", the murderer clamps a hand over the mouth of the third Victim of the Week before killing her by thrusting a hatpin into her ear.
  • Hand of Death
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: In "The Oblong Murders", a woman walks in on Jones while he is in the shower and is obviously enjoying the view. He hurriedly grabs a washcloth to cover himself.
  • Handy Cuffs: In "Death in a Chocolate Box", Tom for some reason—possibly lingering respect as the murderer was someone he had once looked up to—handcuffs the murderer the with their hands in front of them. The murderer feigns sickness, then whacks Tom in the face and then dashes away, on to the Railroad Tracks of Doom.
  • Happier Home Movie: In "Hidden Depths", a has been celebrity who used to host a TV quiz show is shown at home watching a video of a command performance where he got to meet Princess Diana. He constantly rewinding and re-watching the part where Diana shakes his hand.
  • Happily Married: Tom Barnaby and his wife Joyce, who are apparently the only happily married couple in Midsomer.
    • There are a few other Happily Married couples, they're often the murderers.
  • Headless Horseman: In "The Dark Rider", a character masquerades as the headless horseman from local legend in order to frighten the aristocrats.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: In "Dead in the Water", Barnaby is watching a pornographic video that was used to blackmail one of the suspects. Joyce walks in and asks him what he's watching. As he tells her, she starts tilting her head with her eyes glued to the screen. She then asks him if he fancies an early night.
    • Also the footage of Jenny Frazer in "Secrets and Spies", going off Jones's facial reactions.
  • Heir Club for Men: The murders in "The Sword of Guillaume" ultimately stem from a bizarre attempt to secure an heir for her son, who a brain-damaged, quadriplegic confined to wheelchair following an accident. The plan involved arranging a marriage then extracting sperm to impregnate the wife.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In "The Glitch", Tom steals the murder weapon (a rally car) in order to get to where the killer is about to strike next as fast as possible.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "The Sleeper Under the Hill", a criminal hides a stolen painting on his wall, claiming that is a forgery of the famous painting.
  • High-Voltage Death: In "The Dagger Club", the first two victims are electrocuted by booby-trapped roulette wheels.
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: The British equivalent (yokel moonshiner?) appears in "Night of the Stag", brewing a particularly potent hooch known as 'the Beast'.
  • His Name Is...: Classic case in "The Glitch". The mechanic leaves a message for a friend indicating he knows who the murderer is, but he's murdered before they can talk. He leaves a cryptic clue at least.
  • Historical Longevity Joke: Barnaby once asks his sergeant how old he thinks Barnaby is. He replies that he's done speed dating, not carbon dating.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Murderers with a sense of poetic justice deliberately invoke this. For example, a malicious game show host who thinks of himself as a wine connoisseur gets a taste of his own medicine when his victims force him to take part in a deadly quiz show where they slowly drown him. In wine.
  • Hollywood Silencer: In "Murder By Magic", one of the victims is shot with a revolver that is later stated to have had a sound suppressor on it to explain why no one heard the shot.
  • Home Counties: Where Midsomer district is supposedly located (or is it set in The West Country?)
  • Hot Librarian: Sarah Sharp, the village librarian in "The Silent Land". She deliberately dresses to invoke this trope because she knows the effect it has on one particular man who is obsessed with her.
  • Human Sacrifice: The killings in "Murder by Magic" ultimately centre around an ancient human sacrifice, and someone's attempt to recreate in the present day although this is a misdirection.
  • Hunting "Accident": "Ghosts of Christmas Past".During a Christmas family reunion, there's a pheasant shoot scheduled. The unsuspecting victim picks up the gun, says it feels heavier than usual, pulls the trigger and Kablooie. The cartridges slipped into her pocket were too small, meaning they slid down the barrel and didn't fire (or eject) until the victim loaded another set in thinking the last shot was a dud. What's worse is that, according to The Coroner, this is actually a very common accident when hunting is involved. Had the threat for there to be two victims not been made, it would've been ruled a genuine accident
  • I Drank What: In "The Night of the Stag", Barnaby drinks half a pint of cider from a barrel that has a dead body floating in it. It causes him to throw up even before the body is discovered.
  • Identical Grandson: Relatives of two characters from "The Killings At Badger's Drift" appear in "Dead Letters", played by the same actors.
  • If I Can't Have You...: A common motive, particularly for murderers foolish or unlucky enough to fall in love with the local womaniser/Gold Digger/fly-by-night.
  • I Have Your Wife: In "Faithful Unto Death", the wife of a local businessman is kidnapped. Her husband is sent photographs of her bound to a chair and looking bruised and battered along with ransom demands (and the usual exhortation not to contact the police). The wife is actually the mastermind of the scheme, and is using it to extract cash from her husband before he is murdered.
  • I Know Kung-Fu: A particularly silly example occurs in "Death in a Chocolate Box". Barnaby and Jones enter a room to find the elderly Lord Holm assaulting a woman. Lord Holm drops in a boxing stance:
    Lord Holm: I used to box at Eton!
    Sgt. Jones: Yeah? I did karate at Causton Comp! (immediately grapples and immobilizes Lord Holm)
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: An early episode had Joyce in a bar with friend who ordered two large whiskies and soda, then asked Joyce if she wanted anything.
  • Impairment Shot: Happens when the first Victim of the Week is poisoned in "The Killings of Copenhagen".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The third Victim of the Week in "The Ballad of Misdsomer County" is killed by having a beach umbrella thrust through his chest.
    • One victim falls from a sawed floor onto a farming device, sending three or four spikes through his torso.
  • Implausible Deniability: One guy is caught in bed with a young man. His next words during the interrogation are "I'm not gay".
  • Improbable Weapon User: The murderer in "Murder on St. Malley's Day" turns out to use a giant decorative spoon as a bludgeoning weapon to crack open the skulls of his victims.
  • Inescapable Net: In "A Rare Bird", the killer uses birding nets to entangle his first two victims before killing them. Justified as birding nets have a very fine, almost unbreakable mesh, and the killer only needs them to hold long enough for him to deliver the killing blow/shot.
  • Inheritance Murder: One episode had a rich Jerkass tell two or three people they'd be the sole inheritors of his fortune (without informing the others), just so that they'd show up to the reading and discover they got nothing. Since he's episode's first victim, and some of the claimants follow him, there is naturally suspicion about this trope being in play.
  • Instrument of Murder: The first Victim of the Week in "The Curse of the Ninth" is a violinist who is strangled with one of his own violin strings. The second is a violist who has the strings of his viola covered in powered strychnine, causing him to inhale a lethal dose as he plays.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In a season 1 episode Barnaby unwittingly eats some cake laced with marijuana. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Irish Priest: Father Behan in "A Sacred Trust". Being Catholic, however, does not spare him from the same fate as so many of his Anglican counterparts.
  • Iron Maiden: In "Talking to the Dead", one of the victims is murdered by being shoved in an iron maiden that has a mechanism that automatically extends the spikes.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In "The Ballad of Midsomer County", a murderer is accidentally Caught on Tape when he commits a murder in a recording studio; not realising that the victim had been recording at the time.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: In "Four Funerals and a Wedding", it is raining heavily at the third eponymous funeral. So heavily that the rain washes away the dirt in the grave that is concealing the body of the next victim: the woman who was supposed to be officiating at the funeral service.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: While drinking bad coffee in "Down Among the Dead Men", Barnaby wonders if he is drinking coffee or silt.
  • Jack the Ripoff: In the episode "Echoes of the Dead", Barnaby recognises the murders as recreations of famous murders of the early 20th century, except for the last one, which he's not able to place. When the murderer is caught, Barnaby asks about it, and the murderer shrugs and says, "I was in a hurry and I couldn't think of anything".
  • Javelin Thrower: In "Written in the Stars", the second Victim of the Week is done in with a thrown spear using a stolen Bronze Age spearhead; which is unusual even for Midsomer.
  • Joggers Find Death: In "Murder by Magic", the second Victim of the Week is discovered by one of the suspects out jogging in the woods.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: When the UK's secret service gets involved in a case involving an ex-spy, Barnaby's job becomes infinitely more difficult, as they can cut off his investigation at any time, with no reason required or given.
  • Kinky Spanking: There is an episode where three women offer specific roleplaying sex scenarios, one of which involves the woman finding the guy in her stables and deciding to punish the thief then and there with her riding crop. Crosses over with Comedic Spanking when Barnaby finds a client while holding the crop. The client, unaware the dominatrix is unavailable due to the murder investigation, sees nothing wrong and bends over, giggling all the while.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: In "Death in Disguise", Barnaby is puzzled by how the Victim of the Week was stabbed while all of the suspects were on the other side of the room. After a Eureka Moment while watching a game of darts, he realises the victim was killed with a thrown knife, and then learns that one suspect had been a knife-thrower in a circus.
  • Lame Excuse: In "Days of Misrule", Tom attempts to get out of a team-building exercise by claiming to have tendonitis:
    Tom: I think my tendonitis is flaring up again.
    Joyce: It was your other arm before.
  • Lead Police Detective: Inspector Barnaby, who eventually retires and passes the baton to Inspector Barnaby.
  • Letterbox Arson: In "Murder of Innocence", a murder is attempted by pouring petrol through the letterbox of a cottage and following it with a flaming rag.
  • Life's Work Ruined: In "Orchis Fatalis", someone takes revenge on an orchid collector by pouring weedkiller over his priceless orchid collection.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: In "Written in the Stars", the Victim of the Week is part of a gathering observing a total eclipse. As the hill is plunged into total darkness by the eclipse, he is bashed over the head by a rock. A bystander screams as the sunlight returns and she sees the body.
  • Like Brother and Sister: DS Nelson and Kate Wilding. They're best of friends, but Kate eventually worries she's stifling him and ships him with a junior policewoman.
  • Long List: At the start of "The Killings of Copenhagen", Sarah unfolds the instructions for assemble the crib; which just keeps unfolding till it reaches the floor.
  • Long-Runners: Fifteen years and counting.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The motive in "Breaking the Chain". The killer sets out to eliminate everyone they see as standing between their lover and success; including his brother.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: As alluded to in the title "Left For Dead", a kid who was seemingly killed 19 years prior turns out to be alive, brain damaged, and locked in a cellar convinced by a couple that he was their lost child. When he finally figures out his true identity, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Magic Brakes: "Death and the Divas".
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In "The Oblong Murders", one killing was committed by loosening the gas line to the stove on a boat, causing the boat to fill with gas. The killer then called the victim as she arrived back on the boat, knowing that she always lit a cigarette while talking on the phone. Result: one 'accidental' explosion.
  • Make It Look Like a Struggle: In "Dead in the Water", a jeweller conspires with some of his friends to rob his own store. The jeweller is left Bound and Gagged in a chair in the vault, but one of the robbers decides to make he scenario look more realistic by smacking him hard in the face.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In "Death in a Chocolate Box", a woman who was cuckolding her husband in a big way was doing it by getting arrested on a Friday night, and then having sex with police officers in the cells.
  • McGuffin: In “Shot at Dawn”, Tom Barnaby has proof of who the murderer is in a box, and even refers to it as a “McGuffin” when Ben Jones asks him what it is.
  • Meaningful Name: One Posthumous Character named Roger fathered at least four children, only one of them legitimate. As Scoot so tactfully puts it, "Roger by name and roger by nature".
  • Medication Tampering: The second Victim of the Week in "Death in Disguise" is killed when the murderer deliberately withholds their heart medication as they are suffering a heart attack.
  • Mercy Kill: While still murder under UK law, the killer in "Blue Herrings" was actually performing one of these. The killer's aunt faced a slow, undignified and agonising death from her terminal illness, and as the closest thing to a daughter the older woman had, her niece couldn't bear to watch her suffer.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Troy does this to a local lord in "Market for Murder".
  • The Mistress: As likely as not, a mystery might involve this or adultery.
  • Mockspiracy: In one of the episodes, a Conspiracy Theorist believes the Pudding Club (an association of college students and alumni, started when the students pooled their funds to afford desserts) is an Illuminati-esque organization that secretly controls the world. Naturally, this is dismissed by Barnaby, even when the theorist is murdered. It turns out the club is a conspiracy, but nothing so grand as World Domination: the students tend to end up in diplomatic positions around the world, and use them to smuggle cultural artifacts back to the school, which sells them off to keep itself funded.
  • Molotov Cocktail: In "Left for Dead", the murderer attempts to kill one victim by firebombing her house with a Molotov cocktai. The attempt fails, but only just, and the victim is hospitalized.
  • Monochrome Casting: The producer, Brian Tru-May, got fired for telling the Radio Times that they didn't cast non-white actors, or have non-white characters, because they wanted to remain "the last bastion of Englishness". Indeed. Apparently "the last bastion of Englishness" involves a murder rate higher than The Wire. This has been averted in more recent episodes, which feature a more diverse cast.
  • Monster Protection Racket: In "Crime and Punishment", the neighbourhood watch in a remote village faces having its funding cut as crime has dropped 70%. The organizer of the watch bullies one of her subordinates into staging a series of burglaries so the watch can justify its continued existence.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Honoria Lyddiard from the first series episode "Written in Blood" still keeps the corpse of her dead brother Ralph Lyddiard in her house, despite him dying several years earlier of aids. Honoria's sister in law (and Ralph's wife) Amy is understandably horrified of this when she discovers it.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Secrets and Spies"
  • Murder by Inaction: There's one where a snobby wine lover is tied to his lawn while the murderer is catapulting wine bottles at him. His wife has been taken to the window and her wheelchair disabled in order to make her watch the whole thing (though the murderer remains unidentified). When she sees the bottle miss, she calls out corrections in aim to the murderer. The next morning, the police arrive but she of course didn't see anything.
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • The first victim in "The Glitch".
    • And the first victim in "A Sacred Trust". As Barnaby points out, one nun in glasses looks much like another in the dark.
    • The first victim in "The Maid in Splendour", who was in the wrong place at wrong time in the wrong clothes.
    • The victim in "Death and Dust" is run down because he is driving the intended target's car.
  • Murder by Remote Control Vehicle: In "Shot at Dawn", the murderer uses remote control vehicles several times, either by crashing a vehicle the victim is in or using a vehicle to chase someone down.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Many episodes feature people who think this.
  • Murder Simulators: Discussed and played literally in "Bantling Boy".
  • Mushroom Samba: In the episode "Faithful Unto Death", straight-laced Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby tries some (special) brownies while interviewing a possible witness and subsequently comes over all giggly and walks along the top of an ornamental wall, all the while attracting confused looks from his Sergeant and the Coroner.
  • Mutually Unequal Relationship: In one episode where a school headmaster telling everyone about how he was childhood friends with one of the school's boardmembers, to his irritation (he seems to have viewed the man as The Team Wannabe).
  • Naked Apron: "Destroying Angel". Barnaby arrives to question a middle-aged, male suspect only to find him doing a spot of baking wearing nothing but an apron.
  • Narrowed It Down To The Guy I Recognise: More than once, the most famous of the guest stars turns out to have done it. (On the occasions when they're not the one to whom it was done.)
  • Never Mess with Granny: Especially if she was a secret war hero.
  • Never One Murder: Subverted in "Painted in Blood," when there really was only one murder.
    • "Dead in the Water" is another exception, although there was a second attempted murder.
    • Also played with in "Blue Herrings". Though there are many deaths, most were natural or accidental. Only one was a murder, and it was played as a Mercy Killing.
    • "Country Matters" also has only a single murder.
    • Lampshade Hanging on this in one episode:
    Sgt Scott: Sir, I just got here, and we already have three bodies.
    DCI Barnaby: It has been remarked upon before, yes.
    • In the atypical episode "Last Year's Model" there is only one murder and that happened ten months prior to to the events of the episode.
  • Never Suicide: "Dance with the Dead" begins with what appears to be a Suicide Pact gone wrong. Of course, being Midsomer, it is never suicide.
  • New Media Are Evil: "Picture of Innocence". The plot revolves around Digital vs Traditional Photography. Subverted in which both sets of photographers are as bad as each other.
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands: Many an episode features characters whom Barnaby has known for years, but whom the audience has never seen before and for the most part will never see again.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: One episode has Barnaby be removed from a case because his wife is tangentially connected to it. His replacement being a perfectly intolerable little dipstick, Barnaby gets to the witnesses first without mentioning he's not on the case.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The village of Upper Warden is down hill, while the village of Lower Warden is up hill.
  • Not In My Back Yard: The title (and main theme) of an episode. Unpopular development plans often end in murder in Midsomer.
    • In one episode a group of locals was willing to go to the European Court of Human Rights in order to stop a supermarket from being built in a village.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: In the episode "Death of a Hollow Man".
    • And again in "The Magician's Nephew".
  • Obfuscating Disability
  • Obfuscating Insanity: In "Talking to the Dead", the murderer pretends to have gone gibberingly mad; having been driven into a dissociative state by something he encountered in the woods. His act is very convincing, and it takes Barnaby some time to rumble him. By the end of the episode (after the murderer confesses), Barnaby starts to think he may no longer be acting and may be genuinely going mad.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: The phrase is used when Barnaby figures out one suspect had children not by her husband but his father. He won't tell, leading to her saying the phrase... and it's all for moot since one of the daughters was listening at the door.
  • Offing the Offspring: The murderer in "Days of Misrule". The kid was such a Jerkass that his dad still manages to be a Sympathetic Murderer.
  • Off the Wagon:
    • In "The Creeper", the first Victim of the Week is an alcoholic writer (played by Rik Mayall) who falls off the wagon when his asshole publisher (and former friend) rejects his book idea, and the hands him a bottle of 65 year old brandy. He gets drunk, and several humiliations follow, ending in his murder.
    • In "Night of the Stag", the fanatical leader of the local Dry Crusaders is a recovering alcoholic. He falls off the wagon hard when the local Hillbilly Moonshiner leaves him a jar of the local hooch: an exceptionally powerful brew known as 'the Beast'.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • In "Midsomer Rhapsody" a motorcyclist is decapitated by a length of piano wire strung across the road at neck height.
    • In "The Sword Guillaume", the first two victims are beheaded with a medieval longsword.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Standard formula for a British cop show.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper:
    • Inspector Barnaby and pretty much any other standard police detective in Midsomer county. Goes hand in hand with the very British attitude of Doesn't Like Guns.
    • One episode has Scott Cracking Up on learning they're dealing with an annoying suspect. Barnaby stops the car and makes it very clear he won't tolerate that sort of behavior.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In "Fit for Murder", Barnaby and Jones find a large amount of incriminating evidence when they search the house and vehicle of a pair of suspects. Barnaby points out the murders were methodical and carefully premeditated, and scarcely the work of someone who leave incriminating evidence (that they had no reason to keep) where any search would reveal it.
  • Overtook the Series: Originally based on four (now seven) books by Caroline Graham.
  • Paid-for Family: One episode has a woman paid by her clients to act as a loving wife.
  • Parental Favoritism: Regularly, especially in upper-class families where the Heir Club for Men is in effect. A particularly sad example is the family in "Habeas Corpus," where the mother clearly favours her son over her daughter...to the point that she let her daughter blame herself for her father's life-changing climbing accident when he scaled a rope to rescue her after she froze up...despite knowing that her son had deliberately greased the rope to sabotage his sister in a climbing race they often ran. She wails that he couldn't possibly have known the consequences of his actions, and didn't want him to live with that guilt, or for his sister to hate him. Instead, she lets her daughter live with the self-loathing and give up her beloved climbing hobby as a result. Everyone present at this confession is thoroughly disgusted with her.
  • Parental Incest: Heavily implied between the Rainbirds in the pilot.
    • "Master Class": An elderly piano virtuoso takes a talented young girl under his wings. It turns out that she is secretly his daughter from an incestuous relationship, and that he wishes to conceive a genetically superior child with her to save Britain from degeneracy.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": In "Market for Murder", the password on the Reading Group's secret share market account is 'Gerald'; the name of the late husband of the group's founder (whom she could not go five minutes without mentioning in conversation). Somewhat more acceptable than normal, given that she was borderline obsessed with his memory and probably could not help herself in using his name as her password.
  • The Peeping Tom: In "The Great and the Good", the first victim of the week is a peeping tom who is spying on the attractive local schoolteacher. As his turns out, his voyeurism is only tangentially connected to the reason for his murder, but it does serve as a useful Red Herring.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: In "Death by Persuasion", the first Victim of the Week is stabbed in the neck with a poisoned quill pen.
  • Phoney Call: In "The Oblong Murders", Jones gets trapped in a bedroom while conducting an undercover investigation. He calls Barnaby to rescue him but - because he cannot let the person he is with know that he is a cop - he pretends to be calling a friend. Calling Barnaby 'matey' initially confuses the Inspector, but he soon figures out what is going on.
  • Pick a Card: In the episode "Ghosts of Christmas Past", a boy who wants to be a magician when he grows up does an actually-quite-clever version of the trick while being interviewed by Barnaby and Scott about the murder, and his explanation of how he did it (including the fact that he arranged matters to have his own choice of card come up at the end) inspires Barnaby's later Eureka Moment.
  • Pinned to the Wall:
    • The first Victim of the Week in "Blood Wedding" is pinned to the wall with an antique sword.
    • The second Victim of the Week in "Last Man Out" is nailed to a tree with a cricket stump.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Fiona Conway does this (literally with the pizza boy) in "Not In My Back Yard".
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Troy is homophobic, and his language reflects it. Barnaby doesn't normally let such comments slide (and Troy is usually punished by the plot gods), but even he has his moments.
  • Pop the Tires: Happens in an episode to Troy. Troy repays the favor at the end of the episode, preventing the murderer from escaping.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Barnaby uses the trope in one episode to get two individual murderers not to confess, but to witness that they saw the other committing a murder.
  • Produce Pelting: Jones gets pelted with tomatoes while he is is undercover in a cult in "The Oblong Murders".
  • Prongs of Poseidon: In "Small Mercies", the second Body of the Week is done in with a trident that was part of a Neptune costume.
  • Protest By Obstruction: In "Left for Dead", a group of protestors protesting a new bypass use tactics like sitting in front of the excavators, chaining themselves to a tree and to a cottage that is scheduled for demolition, etc.
  • Pursued Protagonist: "The Night of the Stag" opens with the first Victim of the Week being chased through an orchard at night.
  • Put on a Bus: Sergeant Troy is promoted and transferred up north. He returns for the episode "Blood Wedding".
    • Similarly, Sergeant Scott goes on a Long Bus Trip - Barnaby mentions that he "called in sick" but the character is never heard from again.
    • Sgt. Jones leaves identically to Troy, with a promotion and transfer.
    • Sgt. Nelson is recruited for a long-term undercover operation.
  • Rain of Blood: A church bellringer starts pulling on a rope during bellringing practice, only to be splattered with blood dripping through the ceiling from the belfry.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: As the first Victim of the Week is being Buried Alive in "Saints and Sinners", her hand thrusts up through the earth in a desperate attempt to escape. But it is a futile gesture, and the hand collapses even as the next scoopful of earth buries her completely.
  • Razor Floss: In "Midsomer Rhapsody", a piano wire is strung across a road at head height and decapitates a motorcyclist.
  • Real After All: At least two episodes featuring somebody taking advantage of or inventing a place's haunted reputation have ended with indications that the place really is haunted.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Sergeant Scott bemoans his transfer to Midsomer has ended him up in "the Sticks".
  • Red Herring: All over the place — it's a murder mystery after all. Special mention must go the the aptly named "Blue Herrings", where the initial deaths are accidents, not murders: the sad but understandable reality of a retirement home. The only real murder is a Mercy Kill by a very Sympathetic Murderer.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns:In "Down Among the Dead Men", two suspects are arguing over a shotgun when they slam it down on the floor and it goes off, blowing a hole in the ceiling. Particularly egregious as the gun in question is a Purdey, generally regarded as the finest shotguns ever made.
  • Retro Universe: Kind of. It's clearly set in the Present Day (mid 1990s-early 2000s), but the atmosphere is very rustic and sort of a Genre Throwback to the golden age of English detective fiction in the inter-war period.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: In "Death in a Chocolate Box", the murderer attempts to escape from Barnaby by hitting him while the car is stopped at a set of boom gates waiting for a train to pass. The murderer leaps out of the car and attempts to dash across the tracks ahead of the oncoming train. They don't make it.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Dudley Carew in "Murder on St. Malley's Day" is a conspiracy theorist who believes that there's a secret and sinister purpose behind the Pudding Club at the Devington School, claiming they're an Illuminati-esque group responsible for murder and mayhem on a global scale. He's right about there being a sinister purpose, alright, but it's nothing so grand as that: it's art-smuggling under a guise of diplomatic immunity.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: The final denouement in "Let Us Prey" takes place during a flood that is threatening to engulf the village, and in particular destroy the crypt that lies at the centre of the mystery.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The killer's motive of 'Ghosts of Christmas Past'. His sister Claire married into the family the story revolves around where she drew the suspicion of her sister-in-law, Jennifer, who hired a private detective to go into her past where it was revealed Claire had a criminal record of possessing drugs and stealing. To try and get her away from Lydia, Jennifer forced her mother to claim several family heirlooms were stolen and put on sale in auctions without her knowledge, causing Claire to be charged before she was Driven to Suicide. When her brother found out, he murdered both of them.
    • The motive for Death's Shadow, where the murderer wanted to avenge the accidental death of his illegimate son by killing the boys who had accidentally killed him 30 years earlier.
  • Running Gag: Barnaby's Once an Episode Eureka Moment (usually interrupts whatever he was doing with his family, like dinner ot his daughter's play). Also Jones getting a call (either from Barnaby or related to the case) forcing him to interrupt his date with his girlfriend.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: In "Talking to the Dead", a dealer in stolen goods takes advantage of the reputation of the local woods for being haunted by playing eerie noises to keep the locals away on the nights when his deals go down. Cue the ending where that very dealer unexplicably dies in those very woods. Of fright.
  • Self-Referential Humor: At one moment, the brass band from the episode "Things That Go Bump in the Night" plays the series' main theme.
  • Serious Business: Some of the murders have unbelievably ridiculous motives (to anyone but the murderers). One woman ends up killing three people because her driving drunk would bar her from joining the village social club for life.
    • Another episode, "Picture of Innocence," has the local photography club divided into love and hate of digital photography. Both sides take every single opportunity they can find to disparage the other, making even the Hatedom Serious Business.
    • Justified in "Small Mercies"; the murderess is mentally handicapped and fixated on the miniature village. She literally can't understand why it's not right to kill people for "messing it up".
  • Shaggy Search Tecnique: In "Faithful Unto Death", Troy is searching an attic when backs into a wall, and falls straight through the secret door he was searching for.
  • Shameful Source of Knowledge: Several episodes have characters not reveal information that could have prevented someone's death, as this would also force them to reveal that they're cheating on their spouse or involved in shady deals with other inhabitants of Midsomer.
  • Shaming the Mob:
    • In "Night of the Stag", Barnaby has to talk down an angry mob that the murderer has whipped into a frenzy and is sending to kill Barnaby and Jones. By revealing the murderer's true motivation for the crimes, he is able to buy enough time to regain control of the situation.
    • One episode has a bunch of ex-military thugs brought in by a local landowner to scare Irish Travellers off the village commons. Barnaby is warned in time and points out that what they are doing is highly illegal, and threatens to have an Armed Response Unit sent in. The goons back off, and Barnaby later tells an admiring Troy that Midsomer doesn't have such a unit.
  • Shared Family Quirks: One episode has Barnaby figure out two women are related when both use the same bizarre Malaproper despite not living near each other, just in time to save the Asshole Victim.
  • Shear Menace: In "The Made-to-Measure Murders", a large pair of tailor's scissors are used as the murder weapon.
  • Shot at Dawn: "Shot at Dawn" opens with a soldier being executed by firing squad during World War One for cowardice and desertion. His CO administers the Coup de Grâce, then throws up.
  • Shout-Out: To the famous album cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road. An artist/forger hides errors in his forgeries as a joke. One landscape painting, which he claimed to be centuries old, includes four men in the distance who on close inspection are clearly John, Paul, George, and Ringo. ("The Black Book")
  • Significant Anagram: In "Blood Wedding", the cryptic inscription 'Cast no sin here' Barnaby finds on the back of an old photo, is actually an anagram for Catherine's son.
  • Skeleton Key Card: One episode has Barnaby and Jones trying to get inside a closed building in a hurry (his daughter's wedding is coming up). Jones tries to open the lock with Barnaby's credit card, leading to a still-locked door and a very annoyed Barnaby.
  • Slashed Throat: The method used by the murderer to dispose of his two victims in "The Great and the Good".
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Shows up a few times, whether as "sleeping up the ladder" or actual romance.
  • Sleepwalking: In "The Great and the Good", the killer takes advantage of the local schoolteacher's sleepwalking, combined a little strategic Gaslighting, to make her believe she might be the murderer.
  • Slut-Shaming: "A Sacred Trust" involves some romantic liaisons, including one girl shamed by her involvement with a jock for telling the police about it.
    • A plot point of "Schooled in Murder" is that a victim's daughter was about to be expelled from school, as she was on a scholarship from her mother's employer, but the scholarship contained "moral terms" which the victim had broken by having an affair.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: The gloomy vicar in "The Sword of Guillaume". Naturally (for this programme), he's given a sign just at that moment.
  • Social Climber: Midsomer County is positively littered with people who would do anything to ingratiate themselves with the local gentry and become part of them... up to and including murder.
  • Spoiler Title: If you know the alternate name for the profession or the character's nickname, it's no surprise who the killer in "The Axeman Cometh" is.
  • Staircase Tumble:
    • The first Victim of the Week in "Death in Disguise" suffers Death by Falling Over after being shoved down a staircase during a struggle (although this was more-or-less an accident).
    • The first Body of the Week in "Left for Dead" turns out to be a case of Accidental Murder; suffering Death by Falling Over after being shoved down a flight of stairs during an argument.
    • The first victim in "Ghosts of Christmas Past" is given fatal injuries as a result of being pushed down the stairs, but her family believe it to be an accident. Since someone has already made threats to the family, Barnaby is certain it was murder.
  • Stalker Shrine: Revealed just before the climax of "A Rare Bird".
  • Start to Corpse: Extremly varied, with some episodes starting with a murder (Death of a Hollow Man) and others taking almost 45 minutes before anybody is murdered (Faithful unto Death).
  • Stepford Smiler: Chief Superintendent John Cotton, coupled with Beware the Nice Ones. Or vice versa.
  • Sticky Fingers: In "Down Among the Dead Men", one of the suspects is a kleptomaniac cleaning woman who is being blackmailed by one of her clients. When Barnaby discovers her secret, she shows him a room crammed to the brim with objects she has stolen from her employers.
  • Stopped Clock: Abused in at least one episode to make a murder look like a suicide.
  • Stress Vomit: One character immediately starts vomiting when she learns the guy she's been banging through the whole episode is actually her nephew. He doesn't really react to that, given that he also just learned he's the product of Brother-Sister Incest.
  • Stylistic Suck: The movies in "Death and the Divas". Complete with wooden acting and poor effects. This is justified, as they were supposed to be low budget horror films from the late '60s and early '70s.
  • Suicide Pact: "Dance with the Dead" begins with what appears to be a suicide pact gone wrong. Of course, being Midsomer, it is Never Suicide.
  • Surprise Incest: In "The Fisher King", a man had 'spread his seed far and wide' — you could hardly turn a corner without finding one of his bastards. One couple didn't meet until they were both in graduate school in Canada and got married, only later realizing they were half-siblings; she was totally squicked, he lost his mind at the thought of losing her and tried to 'fix' the problem through religion. He ends up killed by his "official" father for unrelated reasons.
    • A character in "Dark Secrets" immediately vomits upon learning the employee she'd been having an affair with was her nephew, the nephew himself being the product of Brother–Sister Incest.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When John Nettles left the series, DCI Tom Barnaby retired, to be replaced by his decades-younger and somewhat more energetic cousin DCI John Barnaby, who still looks fairly close in age. They did hang a lampshade on it in the episode where John Barnaby was introduced, but really, it's like they're not even trying. The name at least might be chalked up as an Enforced Trope due to the show being called "Inspector Barnaby" in certain other markets (France, Italy, Germany, and Japan according to The Other Wiki).
  • Sword Fight: "Blood Wedding" features attempted murder by mace, and the would-be victim grabbing a sword to defend himself.
  • Tag-Along Actor: Cully's actor boyfriend rides along with Barnaby and Jones to research the role of a detective sergeant. It's a comment of his that gives Barnaby the Eureka Moment.
  • Taking the Heat: In "Death of A Hollow Man", a father tries to take the blame for a murder after thinking that his son did it. The son had merely spread Vim on some cakes that the victim ate on stage.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The first crime in "A Vintage Murder" involves the wine being served at a wine tasting at a winery being poisoned.
  • Tank Goodness: In a murder that is unusual even by Midsomer standards, the first Victim of the Week in "The Town That Rose From the Dead" is run over by a tank.
  • A Taste of the Lash: In "Blood Wedding", Barnaby goes to question The Vicar only to find him flagellating himself in church.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: In "A Rare Bird", one of the suspects is a vegetarian taxidermist. He regards his work as giving animals a second life.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In "Schooled in Murder", Sarah is teasing John about his current case and the Stepford Smilers at the centre of it, claiming that she could be a perfect wife as well. He replies:
    "Why would I want perfection when I've got you. <beat> Um, that didn't come out quite right, did it?"
  • That One Case: George Meakham's obsession with the original Strangler's Wood murders.
  • That Poor Plant: In "Death in Disguise", Barnaby is given a cup of acorn coffee, which he surreptitiously tips into a plant. When he returns on a different day and is offered another cup, he declines, then comments to Troy that the plant looks a bit peaky.
  • Theme Serial Killer:
    • "Echoes of the Dead" featured a killer who based his murders on old murder cases, such as George Joseph Smith.
    • In "Death and the Divas", the killer's theme is the horror movies of a particular actress.
    • In "The Ballad of Midsomer County", the killer leaves items associated with the eponymous folk song with the bodies of his victims.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In "Judgement Day", when Midsomer Mallow's youth orchestra is shown rehearsing.
  • Theme Naming: Most of the villages are "Midsomer *blank*".
  • They Have the Scent!: "The Night of the Stag" opens with a Pursued Protagonist being chased through an orchard at night by armed men with hounds.
  • This Bear Was Framed: An episode has a killer use a saber tooth tiger skull to make marks on the body to hide the real cause of death.
  • Throwing the Fight: In "Last Man Out", a match-fixing ring is rigging the outcome of games in a semi-professional cricket tournament. The match fixers are initially suspected when two cricket captains are murdered, but the match fixing is a Red Herring and has nothing to do with the killings.
  • Translation by Volume: Tom Barnaby once mentions that it used to be all you had to do to be understood by a foreigner: speak loudly and slowly or shout.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car: "Dark Secrets" opens with a flashback to 1975 where a brother and sister are involved in an accident where their speeding car runs off the road and into the river; leaving them biith trapped in the sinking car. This accident proves pivotal to several murders that take place 25 years later.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • This is generally a problem in Midsomer: apparently its residents are so used to murder and mayhem that they completely disregard personal safety, even when they know they may be a target. A knock on the door in the middle of night, or with nobody in view? Go outside and investigate! Hear the obvious sounds of a break in? Loudly shout "who's there?", giving away your location in the process, and go to confront them, unarmed. Have a phone in your hand when you're under threat? Don't use it — just drop it immediately or, if you can't manage to be that clumsy, leave a cryptic voicemail just before your imminent death. Suspect you know who the murderer is? Don't phone the police — go and talk to the possible killer privately, revealing that you know their identity as you do so.
    • The second victim is frequently someone who knows who the killer is and tries to blackmail him or her. Because what could possibly go wrong when you blackmail a cunning, ruthless murderer?
    • The first victim in "Blood will out". Rushing a person who is pointing a loaded shotgun at your chest? Not a good idea, Bridges.
      • Then again, it was never explained why Bridges had a loaded shotgun lying on his desk, and it is entirely possible that he was thinking of killing himself anyway.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
    • One episode has two primary school kids sneaking vodka and cigarettes.
    • This was a major plot revelation in "Left for Dead" (series 11). A group of four kids allow another kid to tag along while they smoke and drink. When that kid gets uncomfortable, they torture him, drown him in a river, and toss his body down a well.
  • Trust-Building Blunder: DCI Tom Barnaby's (predictable) contempt towards team building exercises is on display in "Days of Misrule" when he is forced to go on one by the new chief superintendent. Hilarity Ensues.
  • *Twang* Hello: In "Blood Wedding" one of the suspects puts a longbow arrow into a tree next to Barnaby's head. He claims it was an accident, but there is every indication it was intended as a warning.
  • Two Dun It: "The Creeper", where the killers turn out to be a mother and daughter-in-law killing to protect a family secret.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: In "Last Year's Model", a sleazy music producer and his mistress are getting in on in the Jacuzzi, discussing how his wife is about to go to prison. They are interrupted by the doorbell. They soon realise that is Barnaby and that he is not going to go away.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Inspector Martin Spellman in "Picture of Innocence".
  • Unwilling Suspension: Happens to John Barnaby in "Death in the Slow Lane".
  • Uranus Is Showing: In "Written in the Stars", Jones in researching astronomy as background to the case. He uses the opportunity to tell Barnaby "Did you know Uranus is 14 times larger than the Earth?".
  • Vapor Trail: In "Crime and Punishment", the killer douses a barn in petrol and then leaves a trail of petrol leading away from the barn. The killer then ignites the trail to set fire to the barn.
  • Vehicular Assault: In "Faithful Unto Death", the killer murders the first Victim of the Week by using their larger, more powerful car to force the victim's car to collide with a trailer full of logs, killing her.
  • Vehicular Sabotage:
    • In "Death in the Slow Lane", one of the murders was committed by shearing through the steering linkage on a car, causing it to crash while going round a sharp bend.
    • And in the episode "Master Class", one couple's car has its brake-line cut, leading to a near-fatal crash.
    • The episode "Death and the Divas" from season 15 also had a death involving this.
    • In "The Flying Club", the fuel line on a stunt plane is cut during an airshow.
  • The Vicar: Almost a prerequisite for any whodunit set in an English village, though dog collars appear to be the Midsomer equivalent of a Red Shirt. If you're a clergyman in Midsomer, chances are you'll either be horribly murdered or unmasked as a horrible murderer before the credits roll. Of particular note is the Reverend Stephen Wentworth, played brilliantly by Richard Briers in the episode "Death's Shadow". Another honourable mention should go to Mark Gatiss's Giles Shawcross in "The Sword of Guillaume".
  • Violent Glaswegian: Midsomer tends to adhere to "if they're not from England, they're a bad 'un," but there's a particularly high chance that if you hear a Scottish accent, you've found the killer. Or at least an abusive spouse/con man/local thug. Which makes it mildly hilarious when an English killer adopts a Scottish persona because "everybody trusts a Scot."
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In "The Night of the Stag", John Barnaby ducks behind a stack of barrels before throwing up after drinking a pint of cider from a barrel with a body floating in it.
  • Vorpal Pillow:
    • In "The Axeman Cometh", the second Victim of the Week is smothered with a pillow as he lies drunk in the back of his Cadillac. The killer then shoves the car into the swimming pool.
    • The first Victim of the Week in "The Creeper". This instance is more realistic than many examples as the victim was drunk, drugged and there were two people holding the pillow over his face.
  • War Reenactors: Given the event takes place in Midsomer, it should come as no surprise that the annual Civil War recreation in "The Dark Rider" results in murder.
  • What a Drag: One victim in "Blood on the Saddle" is killed by being lassoed and dragged along behind a horse.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cully's husband, Simon, is never seen or heard from after their wedding.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: The victim in "Judgement Day" was sleeping with at least three different women (one of whom was paying him for it) until he got pitchforked through the chest in the first five minutes. He was also a petty thief and a vandal with a serious attitude problem, so there are plenty of suspects.
  • With This Ring: In "Schooled In Murder", John Barnaby buys a ring for his wife for their 15th anniversary. However, while distracted by Jones, he accidentally feeds the ring to his dog Sykes. He then has to fabricate reasons to keep the dog with him till he can, um, retrieve it.
  • Woman Scorned: Quite a few cases. Patricia Blackshaw in "The Black Book", for one.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In "Faithful unto Death", a woman uses make-up to fake bruises and persuade her lesbian lover that her husband has been abusing her, and uses this to incite the lover into killing the husband.
  • Wrench Whack: The first Body of the Week in "The Flying Club" is done in by a blow to the back of the head with a wrench.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In "Death in a Chocolate Box", Barnaby rubs a pencil over the notebook in the Victim of the Week's office to discover the last thing he wrote was a letter. Although Barnaby only gets the last part of the note, it is enough to tell him the letter exists and may have been the reason why he was murdered.
  • Yandere: quite a few of the murderers in the 1st series.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: In one episode with a medieval fair/tourney.
  • You Do Not Have to Say Anything
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nonlethal variation: The wife of an aristocrat has been cheating on him with his brother, and several murder victims were trying to tell him this. Once the murderer (the husband, who truly loved her to the point of not wanting people to reveal her affairs) is caught, the brother is eager to continue the relationship in the open, only to be told that she's now very rich, and has no intention of going down in rank.
  • You Look Familiar: After the first few seasons, it was not at all unusual to see guest stars that had already appeared come back as a totally different character. Most notably, "They Seek Him Here" had at least SIX actors that were previously on the show, with all of their roles being entirely new.
  • You Make Me Sic: In "Death and Dust", a woman (a retired English teacher) receives an anonymous note, warning her about her fiance's past affairs. The note turns out to be from her children who do not want her to remarry. When she finds out, she delivers a stinging response that ends with:
    "And you don't need a comma between 'Hepworth' and 'and'. It's completely redundant."
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: In "Blood Will Out", the Victim of the Week (an Asshole Victim if ever there was one) is threatening to thrash the killer with his belt. The killer grabs the loaded shotgun that was laying on the desk to defend herself. The victim makes his final mistake by goading her that she doesn't have the guts to pull the trigger. Wrong.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Charlotte Cameron in "Death in the Slow Lane".

Top