Watching Kris Marshall’s final scene as DI Humphrey Goodman in Death in Paradise, we suddenly had a flashback to 2003 classic Christmas movie Love Actually.
But as Humphrey declared his love to Martha in the middle of a restaurant, there was no trace of Marshall’s irritating character in that movie: the cocky, horny sandwich delivery man Colin Frissell.
No – Marshall instead channeled the spirit of Colin Firth’s linguistically challenged Jamie.
As you’ll remember, the heartbroken writer fell in love with his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia while on holiday. He then went home, learned her language at night classes, and returned to propose to her in Portuguese at the restaurant where she was a waitress. So romantic!
It’s a tactic that worked for Jamie, so Humphrey clearly decided to give it a try, too.
Humphrey had left the sunny Caribbean island of Saint Marie as part of a delegation to London to solve the case of a murdered fisherman, liaising with the Met police’s DI Jack Mooney.
But London, conveniently, was where Martha was now living.
To backtrack: having realised he was madly in love with her after a holiday fling in Saint Marie, Humphrey was overcome with FEELINGS. But he missed the chance to confess his love before Martha left to take a new job in London, despite an airport dash (also reminiscent of Love Actually, but less successful and with no angry security people).
So as Humphrey came to London for his final episodes, it was an ideal time to take control of his destiny. He took a while to get around to it, but after encouragement from recently-widowed Mooney, he went to see Martha.
The first time he visited her at work he completely blew it, as Martha pointed out the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. But after solving his case, Humphrey had an epiphany and it was time for a second go.
Our protagonist burst into the restaurant and gave a long speech in front of all the customers, earnestly telling Martha: “The thing is, paradise is very much what you make it. Or more to the point who you make it with.”
He added: “There’s no point in me being in the Caribbean if you’re going to be over here, because where you are is where my paradise is, and where you are is where I want to be. I love you.”
And then it was time for the moment of truth: would she have him? “I think this is the bit where you kiss me,” she said, and that was the last time we saw Humphrey.
Add in a Romeo and Juliet style balcony and a bit of Portuguese, and you’ve basically got Jamie’s proposal to Aurélia in Love Actually. A restaurant full of people listening to a declaration of love and rooting them on? Check. A surprise appearance from a lover the woman thought she’d never see again? Check. A man agreeing to uproot his life and move to a new country so he can be with the woman he loves? Check. Happily ever after? (Hopefully) check.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news