The curse cast upon the detective inspectors of Death In Paradise's St. Marie may at long last be ending. Following the conclusion of Season 12, the BBC has confirmed that the long-running tropical island set mystery series has been recommissioned for two more seasons, taking the show's count up to Season 14 and on the air through 2025. More importantly, despite the show having hit a season number divisible by three, this recommissioning will not include a casting turnover, with lead Ralf Little, who plays DI Neville Parker, returning for Season 13.
Since Death In Paradise's debut, the series has had problems holding on to leading men. Original star Ben Miller, who played DI Richard Poole, exited the series after two seasons, citing filming on the French island of Guadeloupe for months on end as too hard on his family. The show killed Poole off at the beginning of Season 3 and replaced him with DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall). Marshall fronted the series through Season 6 when the birth of his daughter also led him to exit the production. Rather than murder another leading man, the series set up a more realistic choice to have him transfer to London, placed by DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon).
O'Hanlon followed the tradition set by his predecessors and exited the show ahead of Season 9, whereupon Little took up the leading role as DI Neville Parker. As Season 12 of the series set up an arc that looked like it would take Parker away from the island once and for all, fans we sure history was about to repeat itself. Between his love interest, Sophie, framing him for murder and his broken heart at discovering she was a con artist, Parker seemed determined to head home if he survived that long. However, the series finale ended with him changing his mind, confirming the character will return for Season 13, at least for now.
Little’s return in Season 13 will take him into his fifth season on the series, making him the series’ longest-running lead. However, the actor suggests that just because he’s lasted this long doesn’t mean he won’t be heading back to London eventually with a new lead actor taking over and that it won’t necessarily be another lovelorn white dude. “The show is extremely positive and brave in its choices,” he told The RadioTimes when asked about the possibility of a female lead. “And if they feel like that’s the right next move, then that’s what they’ll do.”
Considering the BBC has just launched a spinoff series Beyond Paradise, which features the return of Kris Marshall’s DI Goodman, now working as a detective in the fictional rural English hamlet of Shipton Abbott, that leaves Death In Paradise open to change up the show’s formula, since they now have two detective series with white male leads. However, if there are planned changes afoot, fans will have time to get used to them, as Season 13 is currently confirmed to be bringing back the core cast for a new season, as well as a couple of Christmas specials, a sign of how much of an institution the series has become.
Little will be joined by Shantol Jackson (Yardie) as DS Naomi Thomas, who herself was a replacement for the show’s previous sidekick, Joséphine Jobert, starting in Season 11. (The show’s original secondary lead, Sara Martins, left the show for good in Season 10.) As for the rest of the ensemble, both Don Warrington (Rising Damp) and Élizabeth Bourgine (Murder in the Somme), the only cast left from Season 1, are expected to return, as are more recent additions Ginny Holder (The Capture) and Tahj Miles (Small Axe).
Death in Paradise Season 13 has not yet a set release date but is expected to debut sometime in 2024. Seasons 1-12 are available in the states on BritBox.