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YMMV / Midsomer Murders

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Only serious crime-novel readers know that the series began as an adaptation of a series of detective novels by Caroline Graham.
  • Anvilicious: The Straw Woman certainly hammers a couple straw men.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Scott could be considered one, being either awesome for not being Troy or awful for not being Troy.
  • Complete Monster:
    • The killer from season 7's "The Straw Woman"—Agnes Waterhouse—is a sociopath obsessed with the "perfect death" with a liking for burning their victims alive. To eliminate potential obstacles, the killer traps the local consulate in a straw woman and has him burned alive and screaming; murders the consulate's gay lover and attempts the life of a doctor by setting their clothes alight with phosphorous; and murders the innocent schoolteacher Liz Francis by bludgeoning her with a candlestick and setting her alight. The killer pins the blame on their rival and nearly commits murder-suicide with her ward Alan Clifford, and when asked by a grieving Dan Scott why they murdered Liz, the killer's only response is a cheerful smile and a remorseless affirmation of "I had to".
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    • The killer from season 12's "The Black Book"—Patricia Blackstone—seeks to increase the value of their collection of paintings by the famed artist Hogson. After being outbid on a Hogson painting, they track down the seller, an old woman in her 80s, and torture her hideously by burning her on a stove before murdering her. Tracking down a man involved in a forgery ring, they tie him up and spend a long while working on him with a knife to get information before dispatching him as well. Finally slashing the throat of an art dealer, they confess their intention was to make sure their own collection was worth more by eliminating forgeries, showcasing a penchant for Cold-Blooded Torture that surpasses many other killers.
    • The killer from season 14's "Echoes of the Dead"—David Orchard—is a seemingly-kindly individual who in truth is a depraved and sadistic monster hiding behind false piety. After being dumped, the killer snaps and begins a killing spree, posing their victims in the style of famous murder cases. The killer brutally murders those they deem to have "sinned towards God" and drowns a young woman who had been in a relationship outside of marriage; strangles and dismembers another who planned to marry her lesbian lover; and brutally beats to death an elderly couple with a sledgehammer, even attempting one last kill before being stopped. Upon capture, the killer attempts to play themself as a victim, but is called out by Barnaby as just a madman with a god complex.
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    • The killer from season 15's "Schooled in Murder"—Hayley Brantner—to assure they aren't seen as "weak" by the town, turns to murder to feel empowered. The killer targets everyone whom they feel has put them down in the past, crushing an old schoolmate's skull with a wheel of cheese; garroting another man to death; stabbing her husband through the heart with a cheese needle; and leaving a woman and her guiltless husband to be trampled to death by cows. After their final two attempted murders are foiled, the killer's self-pitying Motive Rant is thrown right back in their face as a shallow excuse for their uniquely long line of victims.
  • Deconstruction: "Last Year's Model" does this in several ways. Firstly, we find out that the person Barnaby arrested might in fact be innocent of the crime. Secondly, a large portion of the episode is courtroom drama focusing on a murder that occurred months ago. Finally, the gambit they use to trap the real murderer is both extremely risky and almost fails.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Sykes.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Magnificent Bastard: Season 4’s “Destroying Angel” introduces Evelyn Pope, a local upstanding resident of Midsomer Magna, who hides a devilishly sharp mind behind an unassuming warm maternal personality and kind nature. Figuring out the truth of Karl Wainwright’s death and Gregory Chambers disappearance from the vaguest clues, she decides she can’t allow the conspirators to get away with murder or framing an innocent woman. Armed only with her wits and a natural ability to mimic voices, she masterminds a series of events leading to the conspirators deaths, agonizingly poisoning one and having another crushed to death before finally setting up the conspiracy's weakest member to unintentionally kill the ringleader when she tries to silence her. Each death relying upon her accurately predicting how they would react if put in the right circumstances, all the while sowing the seeds that cause the last member's breakdown and confession of everything to the police following the last death. Despite being only a frail elderly person, even amongst the many murderers to plague Midsomer, few came close to Evelyn’s level of cunning or brilliance which was matched only by her natural charm and kindness, with even Inspector Barnaby admitted to liking her.
  • Memetic Mutation: Not internet, but a running gag in general British popular culture; while Inspector Morse was already joked about for the sheer numbers of murders in a medium-sized city like Oxford, this show takes it to even more ludicrous levels in the rural setting.
    • Given a hilarious Lampshade Hanging in episode 3 or season 9, where Barnaby asks about a death and is told that it was natural causes, "surprising as it may be in Midsomer".
    • Queen Elizabeth II of the UK herself has actually asked (of the producer, Brian True-May, at the opening of a studio): "Why does anybody move to Midsomer anymore? They're just going to get murdered."
    • Note that Midsomer is actually a county, not a village as it is often misreported (perhaps understandably, since the same two policeman seem to be responsible for every single town and village within it), though many of the villages (especially in the earlier episodes) still have ludicrous enough murder rates in their own rights to qualify. Never mind wondering why anyone lives there; wonder why there is anyone left alive.
    • According to a Radio Times feature on the show, there were no less than 239 murders (plus 11 suicides, 11 accidental deaths and only 7 deaths by natural causes) over its 14 series—making it about 17.1 homicides per series and 2.7 per episode. If each season corresponds to a year, then Midsomer's murder level is roughly 1/6 of that of London (pop. 8 million). The Third Estate blog assumed that Midsomer has roughly the population of the rural county of Somerset and each episode covers a typical week (meaning about 140 people die a year); that would give Midsomer a murder rate of 17-per-100 000, 12-times higher than the UK average, with only 5 countries in the world having a higher murder rate per capita.
  • Narm:
    • "Screw you, grandma!" ("Days of Misrule", series 11)
    • What should've been a horrifying death scene in the opening of "The Straw Woman" (the victim being burned alive in a wicker man) is ruined by the hilariously out-of-place stock screaming effects.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize
    • Actually averted with the episode featuring Orlando Bloom, since it was before he was famous. He's actually a murder victim.
    • Happens again with an episode featuring a before he was famous Henry Cavill. His character ends up being the first murder victim.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Generally not the aim of the show, however it may have its moments.
    • "The Sword of Guillaume": A burglar discovers a creepily-smiling decapitated head while rooting around in the victim's dark bedroom.
    • "Death's Shadow": One of the three victims of the episode is killed when the murderer sets his caravan on fire. The killer watches as their victim burns to death, at first screaming for help, before merely pleading as to why he had to die this way.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Considering the series is a Long Runner, many many British actors have played bit parts in it before they became famous.
  • Special Effects Failure: The movies that appear in "Death and the Divas" have several. Including one with poorly made rubber suit monster and a one with an obvious rear projected background. This was deliberate, seeing as in-universe they were low-budget horror movies made in the 70s.
    • In a different sense, those movies (which were supposed to be made in the 70s) were obviously filmed using modern cameras, averting the expected Video Inside, Film Outside look.
  • Values Dissonance: In one of the earliest episodes, Troy refers to a lesbian couple as “a couple of old dykes”. He’s not called out for it and it’s mostly just Played for Laughs. Nowadays this kind of blatant homophobia would be considered a lot less acceptable. In later episodes, homophobia remained part of Troy's character but Barnaby and others would call him out on it.

Example of: