'Death in Paradise' Names Don Gilet as New Lead Detective for Season 14

Don Gilet in "Shetland" Season 8

Don Gilet in "Shetland" Season 8

(Photo: BBC/Silverprint Pictures/Mark Mainz)

Few things in life are certain, but the constant turnover within the police department on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie might be one of them. Heading into its fourteenth season, Death in Paradise has officially named its fifth actor to take over the role of lead detective. 

Don Gilet, a long-running star of popular soap EastEnders and an actor who has appeared on shows ranging from Shetland to Doctor Who, will join the popular crime drama for its annual holiday special this Christmas, before the new season airs early next year. He'll play Detective Inspector Mervin Wilson, who arrives on the idyllic island from London, and apparently isn’t overly pleased with his new surroundings. 

Gilet replaces outgoing lead Ralf Little, who exited the series after five seasons. His DI Neville Parker left the island with his will they / won't they love interest DS Florence Cassell (Josephine Jobert), presumably to live happily ever after. 

“Being offered the new lead role in Death in Paradise feels like a deeply loved and incredibly precious jewel has been placed in my hands. This is a big show, with a big heart and the love continually grows for it. It is my intention to never lose sight of that and to remain grateful, humbled, and dedicated," Gilet said in a statement. "Even during those testing times when every sinew is screaming at me to run off the set and dive into the sea, swimming pool or an ice-cold beer – whichever happens to be closer at the time!”

Gilet has recently begun filming in Guadeloupe, alongside returning series regulars Don Warrington as Commissioner Selwyn Patterson, Shantol Jackson as DS Naomi Thomas, Ginny Holder as Officer Darlene Curtis, Élizabeth Bourgine as Catherine Bordey, and Danny John-Jules as Officer Dwayne Myers.

“We could not be happier to welcome Don to the series," Director of BBC Drama Lindsay Salt said in a statement. "Already known to BBC viewers from the likes of Sherwood, EastEnders, and Doctor Who, he’s long been one of the U.K.’s most exciting actors. Death in Paradise is in brilliant hands - roll on Christmas!”

Though Death in Paradise has only been renewed through Season 14, its future seems pretty secure. After all, it's already spawned two spin-offs alongside the flagship series, Beyond Paradise, featuring former Death in Paradise lead Kris Marshall, and the Australia-set Return to Paradise, which just started filming. (Plus, one doesn't expect that they'd go to the trouble of recasting the seires' lead for a fifth time if the show was set to end.)

“Don is an amazing actor and we’re delighted that he’s joining us as the show enters another exciting new era," Tim Key, Executive Producer for Red Planet Pictures, said. "We’ve got huge plans for the new series and beyond, and I can’t wait for the audience to meet Mervin and to see what we’ve got in store..."

Gilbert will make his onscreen debut in Death in Paradise's annual festive episode this Christmas, which is expected to air on both sides of the pond this December. Season 14 will arrive in early 2025. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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