Midsomer Murders (1997– )
7.4/10
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Habeas Corpus 

When a wealthy landowner's body goes missing on the night of his death, a sinister web of secrets and lies is exposed in the village of Little Malton.

Director:

Alex Pillai

Writers:

Rachel Cuperman (screenplay), Sally Griffiths (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Neil Dudgeon ... DCI John Barnaby
Gwilym Lee ... DS Charlie Nelson
Fiona Dolman ... Sarah Barnaby
Manjinder Virk ... Dr Kam Karimore
Helen Baxendale ... Rose Lancaster
Navin Chowdhry ... Sonny Desai
Emma Cunniffe ... Rev. Melissa Ackers
Alastair Mackenzie ... Felix Lancaster
Ciarán McMenamin ... Craig Coffley (as Ciaran McMenamin)
Clive Merrison ... Caleb Southwood
Sarah Middleton ... Ellie Loxley
Joseph Mydell ... Dr Isaac Vernon
Elizabeth Rider ... Bobbie Loxley
Diana Quick ... Hermione Lancaster
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Storyline

Gregory Lancaster dies of pneumonia but when the undertakers arrive the body has vanished, even though his family were in the room below and soon afterwards the body of Lydia Dryfield, the family's former nanny, is dug up from its grave to disappear. Melissa Ackers, the vicar, is not popular with Mrs Lancaster and her daughter Rose, who suspect an affair with Rose's boy-friend Craig Cossley whilst millionaire Sonny Desai, childhood friend of Gregory's heir Felix wants to buy the house from him. New pathologist Kam Karimore presents evidence incriminating both Craig and Felix - Sonny's opportune appearance also puts him in the frame. When two, far from dead, people also disappear Barnaby must identify who claimed on two occasions. Habeas Corpus. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 2016 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diana Quick plays Hermione Lancaster in this episode. She previously played the role of Clare Bonavita in episode 8.2, Midsomer Murders: Dead in the Water (2004). See more »

Goofs

When the undertaker and assistant arrive to pick up Gregory Lancaster's body, they proceed upstairs without any stretcher, gurney or other way to convey the body back down the stairs and out to the (presumably) waiting hearse. See more »

Soundtracks

Main Theme
Composed by Jim Parker
Theremin played by Celia Sheen
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User Reviews

 
'Midsomer Murders' goes body-snatching
7 April 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When in its prime (a vast majority of Seasons 1-9), 'Midsomer Murders' was a great show and one that is watched and re-watched frequently. Seasons 10-13 became more uneven, with three of the show's worst episodes coming from Seasons 11 and 13, but there were a few solid episodes and "Blood Wedding" and especially "Master Class" were gems.

After John Nettles retired and Neil Dudgeon and the new character of John Barnaby took over, 'Midsomer Murders' just hasn't been the same on the most part. Season 14 was a disappointment outside of "The Oblong Murders" and "A Sacred Trust", with "Echoes of the Dead" and "The Night of the Stag" being show low-points. Season 15 was inconsistent, being a case of starting promisingly and then took a three-episodes-in-a-row strange turn with "Written in the Stars" before finishing on a good note. Season 16 was mostly good, especially "Wild Harvest", with the only disappointment being "Let Us Prey". Season 17 was a mixed, with the first two episodes being watchable but uneven and the other two, particularly "A Vintage Murder", faring better.

"Habeas Corpus" starts Season 18, and it's quite a bizarre opener and sadly not really in a good way. Also somewhat of a dull one.

There is a good deal to like still certainly. The production values cannot be faulted as usual. It's beautifully and atmospherically shot with suitably picturesque scenery. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the haunting theme tune is one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre. It is also hardly surprising that the episode has a soundtrack of its own because the music here adds so much to the character and atmosphere of the episode.

Some of the atmosphere at times is suitably creepy and most of the acting is good. Gwilym Lee's Nelson is likable and charismatic, Betty is adorable and Sykes steals every scene he's in though Season 18 got to a stage where he was deserving of fresher material. Fiona Dolman has been growing on me since her and Barnaby's relationship was made more interesting. Of the supporting cast, Helen Baxendale and Diana Quick are very good. Oh and while never being a big fan of Kate, though "A Vintage Murder" was an exception, the photographic touch for continuity's sake (perhaps) was a very nice and charming one.

Neil Dudgeon however is both pretty wooden and sleepwalks through his role, and Kam not only has much less appeal than Kate she is also a very cold fish with a condescending air, very difficult to warm to. While the supporting cast do a good job, too many are left with little to do to shine properly.

Unfortunately, the story is pretty weak. Some nice ideas, and a few are intriguing, but too many are unresolved and left hanging or veer into plain silly and convoluted territories. There is far too much padding too, much of the episode feels like pedestrian filler and then the final 20 minutes or so tries to cram in too much and feels rushed. The subplot with the missing toys was too overstretched and forced, with a far too obvious culprit that it beggars belief how it took long to figure out.

Just for the record, did not mind a change of pace, 'Midsomer Murders' is no stranger to that and has done it well in the past but with so much filler, not enough mystery and a high body count but uncharacteristically low on the murder count "Habeas Corpus" felt decidedly bloodless and dull.

Overall, watchable but bizarre and bland. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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