The last time we met inspector Barneby from Midsomer Murders, I barely talked about the series itself and, frankly, I remember nary a thing about that episode. So I cannot tell you whether this was already a problem back then, but when I recently watched some more recent Midsomer Murders, I noticed that the denouement is invariably terrible.1 This particular episode is an excellent example.
The set up is already quite convoluted, but it all comes to a rather ridiculous climax with inspector Barneby and the murderer spending the last ten minutes of the episode explaining to each other, in painfully bad dialogue, the highly implausible events that are supposed to have taken place.
They do not mention the chess game at all, so perhaps it wasn’t implausible. Or perhaps they didn’t notice it, because it takes place on the edge of one scene, barely visible in a couple of shots. As a consequence, the reconstruction was not easy:2
Pretty much the whole centre is conjecture. I am quite confident that white’s king’s side is correct and it really looks like black has fianchettoed his dark-squared bishop. As white is shown playing b3, I assume something must be on the a1-h8 diagonal in the centre. I have put a pawn on d4, but I could have just as well put it on c3.
Because of this uncertainty, there is really very little I can say. A disappointing end, perhaps, but that fits perfectly with the show we’ve been discussing.
Realism: 4/5 Everything seems fairly plausible, but the margins of error are huge. So take the score with a generous helping of salt.
Probable winner: Too early to tell. It could be any one. Even Zach Galifianakis.
1. [In fact, I’m starting to suspect that people are only watching it out of habit. Or perhaps for the theme tune waltz. Or the recurring chess scenes.] ↩
2. [But without this diagram editor it would’ve been even harder..] ↩