Midsomer Murders

Season 1 Episode 1

Written in Blood

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Mar 22, 1998 on ITV

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
52 votes
  • After a meeting of the Midsomer Worthy Writer's Circle, the host is found naked and dead in his home. Barnaby and Troy must find out who would kill such a respectable citizen and why.

    The Midsomer Worthy Writer's Circle, a rather rag-tag group of would - writers, invite best-selling author, Max Jennings, (John Schrapnel) to be a guest speaker at one of their meetings. The group's leader, Gerald Hadleigh, (Robert Swann) is not at all keen to have Jennings at the meeting but he reluctantly agrees when he is out-voted by the other members. The surprising thing is, that we find Max Jennings just as eager to address the group, a fact that his wife, Selina, (Una Stubbs) finds most intriguing, as addressing small groups of unknown writers is certainly not her husband's usual style.

    During the meeting, Jennings patiently answers questions and gives advice to the gathered group members, even listening patiently as the extremely snobbish Honoria Lyddiard (Anna Massey) drones one about the supposedly impressive family history she is writing. It is clear to some who are present that Gerald Hadleigh and Max Jennings are not at all keen on each other. Have they met before or is Hadleigh telling the truth when he says that he dislikes Jenning's style of writing?

    When Gerald Hadleigh is found battered to death and naked in his bedroom the following day, DCI Barnaby (John Nettles) and DS Troy (Daniel Casey) have very few leads to go on. Nobody from the Writer's Circle has any idea who the killer may be and in spite of their best efforts, they are unable to track down Max Jennings, who is supposedly in Denmark on business.

    A local taxi driver remembers delivering a woman to Gerald Hadleigh's house but does not know her identity. All that is known is that Hadleigh's wife died before he came to live in Midsomer Worthy and that he has lived a quiet, respectable batchelor's life ever since.

    All efforts to trace the woman and the missing Max Jennings prove futile until Jennings is found dead in a seaside hideaway. The autopsy shows he was poisoned but how, why and by whom remains a mystery just as big as that of who killed Gerald Hadleigh. With two murders to solve, the detectives have their hands full until they stumble across what may be the answer to everything and, if they are lucky, stop a homicidal maniac from killing again.

    A brilliant and suspenseful episode with a spine-tingling twist at the end that will leave you shocked. Watch this episode and be thoroughly entertained.
  • A touch of history behind a murder.

    This episode started off very differently from most episodes - though it still did have a murder. The murder set the scene to work out what it actually had to do with the second murder in the episode of the secretary of the bookclub.

    Max was certainly an interesting character and while on some level certain aspects of him were predictable it still fit his overall character.

    This episode was well paced and what makes it a favourite with me still is the history about the boy in the painting - it's not often you hear the full story of a character in an episode and that makes it special to me.
  • I love this epsiode, ever since watching the pilot, I have been hooked on this series ever since. What a great country town to live in.

    I love this epsiode, ever since watching the pilot, I have been hooked on this series ever since. What a great country town to live in, and what a better policeman to patrol other than Inspector Barnaby, I live in Australia and behind in epsiode so its great to see the series from start to finish. my fav part in this ep is when Tom finds out that he allergic to his daughter\'s cat. This ep has everything, comedy, mystery and is very intriguing to watch.
  • As many brilliant and shocking twists as a great book

    As many brilliant and shocking twists as a great book

    Written in blood is the first regular Midsomer Murders episode after the pilot and certainly not the least one. Following up the brilliant pilot I had high expectations of this episode… which all came true. The episode is very faithful to the book by Caroline Graham and deals with some more controversial subjects. The characters and other storylines involving the writing circle were great.

    The start of the episode can be called a shocker, playing in Northern Ireland, we witness a boy killing his own father with a shotgun. Although this old murder isn’t directly mentioned during the police inquiry it perfectly fits into the puzzle. After this shocking flash back we witness a meeting of the Midsomer Writing Circle. They have a special guest, the best-selling author Max Jennings. From the moment Jennings enters the meeting we can already discover some sort of tension between Jennings and some of the members. Everything turns worse when the leader of the Circle is murdered that night. The murder and the disappearance and death of Jennings shortly after the first murder is only the first problem DCI Barnaby and Sgt. Troy have to deal with.

    The acting in this episode is also perfect. Not forgetting to mention Anne Masey (she also played the somewhat disturbed Lady of the manor in the inspector Morse episode Happy Families) is brilliant in the role of Honoria Lydiard.

    I think the episode is one of the best of the series and a very classic one, I only had a feeling the ending when they discover the newspaper article was coming a bit to fast. I was hoping they were working towards the motive from earlier in the episode. The killer in the episode is really one to give you nightmares. Even if you think you know the motive there is a very shocking twist in the last five minutes. The motive for the murder of Max Jennings is absolutely brilliant, so is the killer. All with all a brilliant and good episode to start an excellent crime-drama.