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If You Like a Little Comedy With Your Murder, Try 'Agatha Raisin'
February 10, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 4 comments

Whether or not it was a deliberate strategy, British TV producers were smart to have begun exploring the lighter side of murder.

The third season of the detective drama Agatha Raisin, which becomes available Monday on Acorn, exemplifies that approach.

Agatha, played by Ashley Jensen (top), is a public relations woman turned private investigator who takes murder itself with appropriate gravity.

But she moves in a world full of quirky people, including herself. So the path to solving these crimes, which of course she always does, is littered with amusing and bemused side paths.

In the manner of numerous British dramas, especially those based on book series, Agatha Raisin divides each season into a number of self-contained episodes that really become made-for-TV movies. This third season, for the record, includes four.

A viewer can, therefore, walk into any of these episodes cold and not require any further background information to enjoy the mystery.

In "The Deadly Dance," Agatha is hired by the wealthy heiress Tiggy Laggat-Brown (Anna Wilson-Jones) after Tiggy receives one of those glued-together ransom notes. It threatens to kill her daughter Cassandra (Abigail Carter-Simpson) if Cassandra goes through with her plan to marry a young man who is not of their social class.

Tiggy isn't quite sure why anyone would make such a threat since everyone loves Cassandra. Tiggy, not so much, but her daughter is very well-liked.

So Agatha starts hanging around the Laggat-Brown place, eventually meeting Tiggy's husband Jeremy (Steve Brown Sheppard), who also has no clue why anyone would object to Cassandra's marriage. Then there's Felicity Felliet (Elle McAlpine), Cassandra's best friend from forever, and she also can't imagine anyone wants to harm Cassie.

Polite as this world seems, eventually gunshots ring out, and other guns appear, and an actual dead body shows up. In Agatha's kitchen. Right next to a cake.

Helped by her sidekick Toni Gilmore (Jodie Tyack), who sometimes gets sidetracked when her dog goes missing, Agatha eventually peels back some of the rich facades and figures out who really feels how about whom.

Agatha sets her own tone as the investigation rolls on and deepens. Rather than dressing in traditional somber investigative attire, for instance, which would be consistent with the world in which she's moving, she wears a lot of flowers.

In the wider picture, Agatha has a somewhat fluid love life, though, at this point, she is married to James Lacey (Jamie Glover). That doesn't affect her relationship with either young Roy Silver (Mathew Horne), who helps her with investigations, or Bill Wong (Matt McCooey), a cop and a pal.

Agatha is more overtly sensitive to the perception among some of her acquaintances and colleagues that she relies on an extraordinary amount of luck and coincidence to solve many of her cases. She resents this, which naturally enhances the amusement each time some random encounter gives her a critical clue.

Agatha Raisin isn't The Irishman. It's counterpoint, really. We can use both.

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Tammy Sara
This is a fun, smart series - definitely not on a level with Poirot but fast paced & humorous. Episode 1 is a hoot! Agatha fulfills her lifelong dream of retiring to the country but finds it hard to fit in. The early episodes show Aggie’s cynical, hardened side, but she softens as she finds friends & love.
Feb 15, 2020   |  Reply
Agatha and James are not married. But the show and books it's based on are great. Don't expect the characters to be the same in TV as in the books, because they're very different.
Feb 11, 2020   |  Reply
Veronica R
Love the show very much I hope she can keep it .??
Feb 11, 2020   |  Reply
I find this series pretty vacuous. There's almost no Detective investigatory action, just mostly gossip and unauthorized snooping. After fairly weak banter, few interesting quirky residents, they eventually get around to springing the murderer at the very end. Very often that killer is someone out of left field or the like. If you want almost no plot, watch this for the alleged comedy.
Feb 11, 2020   |  Reply
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