Midsomer Murders (1997– )

A Tale of Two Hamlets (24 Jan. 2003)

TV Episode   |  TV-14   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

A Tale of Two Hamlets (2003) Poster

When heirs of the aristocratic Smythe-Webster family are killed, Barnaby's investigation uncovers long-hidden family secrets.


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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

16 January 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
| The best episode of Season 6
Despite not being anywhere near as good now, 'Midsomer Murders' is still a show visited and re-visited with great pleasure. There are episodes better than others, with a fair share of disappointments especially in the later seasons, like with any show in existence, but when 'Midsomer Murders' was good it was good to outstanding.

"A Talent for Life" was a good, if not quite great, start to Season 6, followed by a decent "Death and Dreams" that sadly also got bogged down in instances of ridiculousness. The previous episode "Painted in Blood" was a departure, less grim and low-in-body-count, but nonetheless a good one.

The best of the sixth season to me is "A Tale of Two Hamlets". Not quite a 'Midsomer Murders' "elite" episode, being not by all means "action-packed" (which may test some people's patience) and with a slight lack of "iconic" scenes. But it sure does come close, and it is a great episode.

As always, the production values are top notch, with to die for scenery, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's occasional grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.

Meanwhile, the script is smart and thought-provoking with some nice quirky humour, a suitable grimness and colourful characters. Nothing felt inconsequential, everything had a point, everything intrigued and any loose ends were tied together nicely.

The story is hugely compelling, and never simplistic and never losing any of the maturity of most of the previous episodes. There is a lot going on mostly without being cluttered or rushed (remarkable for an episode that as ever is heavy in exposition), and that nothing is what it seems (didn't see the ending coming this time or the murderer's identity or motive), or very few people are who they seem adds to the complexity, while there are no out of kilter scenes. The twists, red herrings and turns, in classic 'Midsomer Murders' tradition, keep coming, and rarely in an obvious or press-the-rewind button. The characters are colourful, eccentric and not what they seem.

John Nettles as always is a joy as Barnaby, with Daniel Casey contrasting with him with ease, their chemistry as always a huge part of the episode's charm. Everybody else does a fine job too with no obvious weak links.

In conclusion, a great episode and the best of the season. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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