Death in Paradise’s sun-soaked crime solving is the perfect cure for a case of the January blues

DI Humphrey Goodman and co return for a soapy scuba-dive - and a lot of screaming - in series five

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It’s that time of year again. We are poor and a little podgy. The Christmas decorations have been stored away for another year, we’ve dragged ourselves out of our festive pyjama bottoms and back to the office where we’ll barely see natural light all day… Yep, those BBC schedulers certainly know their audience when they bring Death in Paradise back to our telly screens each year to cheer us all up.  

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I can hardly believe this is the sun-soaked crime drama’s fifth run, that we’ve been leaving our chilly couches and escaping to the sandy beaches of Saint Marie for half a decade.

You’d think the whole thing would be getting a bit old by now. But, as the rain beats against our living room windows, the Caribbean cops and their formulaic crime solving are still as soothing as aftersun. 

We meet back up with Honoré’s police force at Catherine’s beach bar. Florence, JP and Dwayne are sipping beers and feasting by the water’s edge, but DI Humphrey Goodman is nowhere to be seen.

He’s purchased himself a rusty old boat and a sailor’s hat, determined to take to the waters that surround the crime-ridden island and coast the waves.

He doesn’t get much time to acquaint himself with his new vessel though, because out on the ocean another boat has become a crime scene…

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Millionaire environmentalist Dan Hagen (played, albeit briefly, by Downton Abbey’s Julian Ovenden), has been shot dead on his yacht while his team of four marine biologists – including new wife Laura and ex-girlfriend Nikki – are collecting samples from the coral reef below the boat. 

His wallet and watch have been stolen. A toy soldier has been placed at the scene.

Could it have been a robbery at sea? The work of a pirate gang? Maybe. But there weren’t any other boats in the area at the time… 

And so begins Humphrey’s latest brain-teaser. An investigation that features blood-curdling screams, uncovers weaknesses in his police force, shines light on a shady criminal deal and sees one member of the team show off some seriously kick-ass stunts. 

It’s not a spoiler to say that Humph eventually gets to the bottom of it, having his moment of realisation while waist-deep in the surf wearing a suit. He always does, doesn’t he?

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Death in Paradise series 5 starts tonight at 9:00pm on BBC1