Blu-ray Review: Midsomer Murders (Series 18)

If there’s two things I enjoy, it’s murder mysteries and rural English houses and estates. Midsomer Murders is the Reese’s Cup of bringing both elements together in a tasty delight. The series reminds us that even in the most charming and wholesome of lifestyles, there’s a corpse out among the rolling hills and scenic views. How can an area that’s overwhelmed by antiques be covered by blood? What sort of person can kill amongst the quaint? That’s what audiences discover over the course of six movie-length episodes on Midsomer Murders: Series 18.

“Habeas Corpus” is somewhat a twist on the normal murder investigation for DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon), Sgt Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee) and new Forensic Pathologist Kam Karimore (Manjinder Virk). Instead of finding the killer of a dead body, they have to find what happened to a dead body. Rich guy Gregory Lancaster’s corpse has vanished before the undertaker can bag him. Who would want the stiff? But later another person’s body goes missing from a grave. Barnaby and crew dig up quite a few clues on the locals to uncover the body snatchers. “The Incident at Cooper Hill” brings a few aliens to the countryside. Cooper Hill is near a military base and attracts a lot of UFO spotters drawn by mysterious lights in the sky. A forest ranger’s death is blamed on aliens. Barnaby and Nelson get to bring a touch of The X-Files to the rustic land. “Breaking the Chain” features murder during a cut throat cycling competition. The winner of one leg dies shortly after. Barnaby learns just how nasty things can get on two wheels where every team needs to win to survive. The highlight of the episode is Nelson putting on the racing spandex.

“A Dying Art” puts Angels Rise on the cultural map with the arrival of a Sculpture Park. However things quickly go bad when the owner’s body turns up dead amongst the masterpieces. The suspect seems to be easy since a non-family member was the only person in the will to inherit the property. But that lead goes dead since he’s the real killer’s next victim. Barnaby looks for clues in the symbolism in the various sculptures on display for deeper clues. “Saints and Sinners” excites the village of Midsomer Cicely when a dig uncovers the bones of a saint. Things go bad when the next remains uncovered belong to the leader of the excavation. Barnaby pulls out more things from the ground. “Harvest of Souls” gives us the Wall of Death at a country fair. This is a motorcycle stunt space that upsets a local horse stable. The feud between the two places leads to a body count although it’s up the Barnaby to see if the killing is revenge or a third party.

Midsomer Murders: Series 18 keeps up the two elements that makes it such a fun show to watch. The murders are intriguing. The countryside locations are inviting. Halfway through an episode, there’s a desire to visit “Midsomer” on your next vacation. Although you really want Barnaby to catch the killer so you will return from your vacation. The most startling mystery of this 18th season is why DS Nelson gave up his badge at the end. From what can be gathered from various English newspaper websites, Gwilym Lee merely wanted to take on other acting opportunities. He brought so much to the screen during his three seasons with Midsomer as his beat. His sweaters will be missed.

The videos is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p resolution really makes your eyes get lost in the country life. The audio is 2.0 DTS-HD MA. The mix allows you to enjoy sounds of old estates and the peaceful countryside. The movies are subtitled.

Behind-The-Scenes Habeas Corpus (4:20) focuses on the cast and stunt folks dangling off cliffs.

Behind the Scenes The Incident at Cooper Hill (5:11) focuses on the effects for close encounter. They show off the UFO.

Behind the Scenes Breaking the Chain (3:59) has DCI Barnaby point out that there’s a trend in his life of people getting killed to start his cases.

Behind the Scenes A Dying Art (4:56) talks about creation of the sculpture park.

The Dogs and Babies of Midsomer (4:04) focuses on Barnaby’s baby and dog at the home. He points out that you use twins so you can catch the kid that’s in the right mode. There’s outtake footage. Plus a question of why you write a baby’s dialogue in the script.

Introduction to Dr. Kam Karimore (2:25) gives us an update on the new pathologist.

RLJ Entertainment & Acorn present Midsomer Murders: Series 18. Starring: Neil Dudgeon, Gwilyn Lee & Manjinder Virk. Boxset Contents: 6 episodes on 3 Blu-ray discs. Released: September 20, 2016