Well, this news came out of the blue. One of the most revered British actors in the comedy arena – Rowan Atkinson – is to don the heavy coat and pipe of Georges Simenon’s classic fictional detective, Jules Maigret, in two new ITV adaptations. First seen in print in 1931, Maigret went onto to feature in 75 Simenon-penned novels. ITV, without a Poirot and a Foyle, and Agatha Christie doing a runner back to the BBC, has re-invested in Maigret, a series we last saw on the channel in 1992, starring the equally incomparable Michael Gambon.
In its final season, The Mentalist toys with some new story formats. This week Jane’s on the outside, as Lisbon goes undercover. How will the loved-up couple cope with prison bars between them? You could be forgiven for thinking you’ve switched to the wrong channel, as this episode starts with that most un-Mentalist of standards, a car chase. A young couple sticks up a charity ball to steal a luxury car; he gets away, but she’s busted. In order to track down her boyfriend, who’s wanted in several states and has some overseas contacts the CIA is interested in, Lisbon gets to share a prison cell with the defiant girl.
Deep in the heartland of St Marie, a group of flabby office rats is taking on a team-building exercise. After a day of running, climbing and swimming in the National Park, it’s time for a spot of murdering, as the boss-lady of the travel agency is found shot in her tent. We’re used to this formula of a group of newcomers somehow finding themselves in an isolated situation, either all having an alibi, or, in this case, none having an alibi. There does seem to be a lack of motive, though no shortage of suggestive evidence.