Press Centre

Midsomer Murders

  • Episode: 

    1 of

  • Title: 

    Death By Persuasion
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Sun 13 May 2018
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    8.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 20 2018 : Sat 12 May - Fri 18 May
  • Channel: 

    ITV
 
 
Death By Persuasion
 
When a young girl slips away from a Jane Austen weekend dressed in period attire, and is found stabbed in the woods, DCI Barnaby and DS Winter need to look back in time to find the killer.
 
***
 
Careful not to be seen, Samantha Berry slips away from Whitcombe Grange dressed in Georgian period attire on her way to a secret rendezvous. Unaware that a drone is filming her, she is stabbed to death by an unseen assailant…
 
With Kam away on a course, Barnaby and Winter meet locum pathologist Petra Antonescu. Clearly taken by Winter, she informs them that the victim was stabbed with a feather quill pen. Barnaby is puzzled to find a syringe lying nearby. Tracing Samantha to the Grange, Barnaby and Winter meet owners James and Kitty Oswood who explain they recently bought back Kitty’s childhood home to host Jane Austen experience weekends. Winter learns from the Oswoods’ rebellious daughter Polly that Samantha kept asking questions about the house and village. Local GP Solomon Franks, a guest at the event, was mysteriously absent at the time of the murder and Barnaby looks for connections. Samantha is found to be a journalist with a special interest in the village’s new delivery service for prescriptions - by drone. Barnaby notes that her mobile is missing. As an unknown person watches drone footage of the murder, Barnaby tracks down Gemma Christie, a villager who runs a Jane Austen fan club in competition with the Oswoods. At her tea room, Gemma says she never met Samantha, but evidence suggests she is lying. Meanwhile Winter meets drone boss Doug Vaughan and pilot Ronin Chow who deny using cameras on their drones. That night at drone HQ, a mystery figure breaks in and sets fire to Ronin’s laptop… 
 
The discovery that the destroyed laptop contained drone footage shines a light on Ronin’s shady past. At the post-mortem, Petra reveals that Samantha was killed by poison and the syringe had traces of morphine. Barnaby interviews James’ mother Mary Oswood, the pharmacist helping to run the drone trial, whose vague answers about the morphine only deepen his suspicions. Samantha’s phone records take Winter to James’ father, ex-headmaster Walter Oswood. His alibi for the murder forces doctor Solomon to come clean and admit to taking morphine for pain relief. As a drone delivers a secret package to the Grange, James receives a threatening email - but what has he been caught doing?  
Sarah attends the Georgian ball event at the Grange to help with her book research, while Barnaby finds Samantha’s hidden mobile. When someone discharges a shotgun into the ballroom, Winter gives chase, catching uninvited guest Gemma. She is not the culprit however, as evidence later points to Doug Vaughan. Winter discovers photos on Samantha’s phone relating to a historical fire at the Grange and the man responsible – Johnny Fullerton - who then went to prison. Winter finds out that Johnny was Samantha’s father, providing a clue to Samantha’s real motive for coming to the village. Barnaby catches Polly and Ronin smuggling contraband via drone. This leads Ronin to confess that he filmed Samantha’s murder and suspects Ray Fryer, husband to Kitty’s sister Nell, but it’s clear he’s got it wrong. Later something clicks for Ronin but before he can reveal anything he is murdered by a drone… 
 
Ronin’s murder directs the investigation towards Doug who is found guilty of blackmailing James over his secret affair with Ray Fryer. When Winter finds spy footage on Doug’s computer, it gives Barnaby the final piece of the jigsaw. Racing towards the Grange, Barnaby and Winter find themselves playing with fire as they confront the killer…. 
 
Character Biographies
 
JAMES OSWOOD (SAMUEL WEST)
(40s) A laid back devil-may-care type, worked in the City but has returned to the village and set up Gorgeous Georgians with his wife. Superficially successful but underneath a conflicted man.
 
CATHERINE 'KITTY' OSWOOD (CLAIRE SKINNER)
(40s) Newly returned to the village with husband James, she is anxious to make Gorgeous Georgians a success and restore her family home.
 
POLLY OSWOOD (JODIE TYACK)
(18): James and Kitty's pink/purple-haired daughter, bolshy and full of attitude, going out with Ronin, big heart.
 
DOUG VAUGHAN (KARL THEOBALD)
(40s) The village dweeb as a youngster, Doug has transformed himself into a successful businessman who sees himself as a visionary futurist. He is in fact driven by a sense of inferiority having been bullied at school by James.
 
ELEANOR 'NELL' FRYER (ABIGAIL CRUTTENDEN)
(40s) Kitty's sensible, sound and protective sister, runs the local pub with her seemingly reliable husband. A measured and modest presence.
 
RAY FRYER (NICK GLEAVES)
(50s) Gentle giant and pub landlord, an ex-copper turned publican, a critical mass in the village who struggles with buried emotions.
 
WALTER OSWOOD (PAUL SHELLEY)
(60s) James' Dad, a former headmaster who was forced into early retirement, misses his former status and now has too much time on his hands.
 
MARY OSWOOD (GEORGIE GLEN)
(60s) James’s stepmother and pharmacist, wife to Walter.  She manages the drone trial for the surgery, officious and not altogether happy about this venture for the village.
 
GEMMA CHRISTIE (SUSIE BLAKE)
(40s) The head of the local Georgian group and owner of a local tea room dedicated to her heroine, Jane Austen. She is a self-appointed expert on all things Regency. Old-school in her attitudes.
 
JANE EVERARD (THALISSA TEIXEIRA)
(20s) A plain Jane English rose, also a member of the Georgian group who works as receptionist at the local GPs. She is superficially shy but underneath, witty and ready to bloom.
 
RONIN CHOW (CHRIS LEW KUM HOI)
(20s) Works for Doug, a gamer who is into Polly, the drone aficionado and electronics whizz but also someone who desperately wants to get out of the village.
 
SOLOMON FRANKS (JOHN MACMILLAN)
(30s) The local GP, hunk who is somewhat stiff, brooding and proud. Everyone's Mr Darcy. Aloof but suddenly finds himself drawn to Jane.
 
SAMANTHA BERRY (LOTTIE RICE)
(20s): First victim, driven and determined, a terrier of a journalist.
 
PETRA ANTONESCU (ANAMARIA MARINCA)
(20s) A straight talker who disarms Winter.