Death Comes to Pemberley (Episode 1): My First Impression

Death Comes to Pemberley is based on a bestselling novel … by veteran mystery author P.D. James. Her 2011 whodunit is a sequel to Austen’s most famous work. In Pemberley, Darcy and wife Elizabeth, now wed for six years and the parents of two children, find themselves caught up in a murder investigation after a body turns up on the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s ancestral home. -BBC

(Click to read the blog post: Who is the ‘Real’ Mr. Darcy?)


Episode 1 Recap:

Screenshot from 2013-12-28 060102The episode begins with two maids screaming back to Pemberley. Upon arriving downstairs in the kitchen, they confess to having seen the ghost of Mrs. Riley.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 022642

Screenshot from 2013-12-28 011734Upstairs, Elizabeth is preparing for the ball, and I’m going to assume that she’s a little overwhelmed by all her responsibilities. To make things more stressful, the hustle and bustle has left Darcy in a VERY irritated mood. He takes his irritation out on Elizabeth, which doesn’t please her at all. She mutters, “How dreary that all good things must come to an end.


FotoFlexer_Photo Darcy scribbles something onto paper then gives it to Elizabeth. It reads: I love you. She smiles, giggles, and all is forgiven.

.Screenshot from 2013-12-28 012209Georgianna (Darcy’s sister) later tells Elizabeth, “You have brought such laughter into Pemberley,” and expresses her longing to be in a happy relationship herself, and hints that she has her heart set on someone.

.FotoFlexer_PhsssotosssColonel Fitzwilliam (Georgianna’s cousin) arrives at Pemberley! Strolling with Elizabeth through the garden, he confides in her his new-found appreciation for Georgianna. Elizabeth advises the Colonel to wait until after the ball before confessing his feelings to Georgianna / Darcy.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 012803Elizabeth, on her way home after visiting a boy named Will (no idea who he is still), she bumps into a woman in the forest – the lady rumoured to be the ghost of Mrs. Riley.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 013157Henry Alveston arrives at Pemberley. Immediately, it’s obvious that Georgianna has her heart set on this gentleman – and not on Colonel Fitzwilliam.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 013258Mr. and Mrs. Bennet arrive!


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 013312The scene then moves away from Pemberley to an inn. Captain Denny steps out of that inn, telling Wickham, “I was told to give you this. It’s the last favour I’m doing for you. I want no part in this.” And, provoked by Wickham’s nonchalance, Denny goes on to say, “You’re selfish, utterly selfish. You know nothing, do you, about women or how they truly feel!”


FotoFlexer_Photo2Lydia joins the two officers. She, Wickham, and Denny soon set off by carriage. The compartment is charged with tension as Denny is still very, very pissed.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 013943SO pissed that Denny bangs on the carriage roof, ordering the vehicle to a halt. He climbs out and marches off into the forest, yelling, “You’re on your own! I’m finished with it!” Wickham jumps out of the carriage and pursues Denny into the forest as well.


fffThe scene returns to Pemberley. Outside the window, Darcy sees a disturbing sight: a lady is screaming in a carriage that’s speeding down the lane.

It’s Lydia. She’s in shock and bursts into tears as she explains how Wickham and Denny got angry with one another, went off into the forest, after which two gunshots were heard. She was certain that Wickham was dead.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 014506Darcy, we know from P&P, isn’t very fond of Wickham. And so he’s outraged that he has to deal with Wickham again, and exclaims to Elizabeth, “Am I never to get that man out of my life?”


ssssssssssssThen comes the comic relief as Mrs. Bennet tries to comfort Lydia.

Mrs. Bennet: We must try to remain positive, my dear, and hope at least that he died in a duel.
Lydia sobs even harder.
Mrs. Bennet: It’s such a noble way to die!


FotoFlexer_PhotodddWith a team of servants, the gentlemen set out to search for Wickham & Denny.


FotoFlexer_Photo4They find Wickaham, totally drunk, hovering over the dead body of Captain Denny, crying, “My only friend and I killed him! It’s my fault!”


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 020048As soon as Darcy returns to Pemberley, he tells Elizabeth that he has to contact the Magistrate – this very night. He can’t wait until tomorrow. He must be above suspicion, as Wickham is his brother in the eyes of the law. (Brother = brother-in-law by marriage)

Arriving at the Magistrate’s home, Darcy accounts to the gentleman all that occurred. And the Magistrate tells Darcy, ominously, “Your position is a most delicate one. Murder has been committed on your property by a man none other than a brother of yours…”

Darcy looks like he’s going to be ill.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 020506As the corpse of Captain Denny is examined, an interesting discovery is made: Denny was hit by something hard, on the forehead and then on the back.


sssssThe mystery deepens. Elizabeth spies Colonel Fitzwilliam burning a letter; we’re left to assume that this letter might have something to do with Wickham or Denny’s death.


2When Wickham sobers up, he accounts to Darcy and the Magistrate a different version of how the evening went down. Wickham claims that Denny was already in a terrible state by the time he arrived, and Wickham fired his pistol not at Denny but at the attacker fleeing through the trees – and missed. Wickham then reloaded and fired again for help.


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 020831Wickham urges the men to quickly find the assailant, at which point the Magistrate declares that Wickham is at present the only suspect they have.

Wickham is flabbergasted and outraged. He? The assailant? Why would he kill his only friend? Yes, he and Denny had fought, but it’d been nothing more than a quibble. Wickham clarifies that Denny had been angry at him because he (Wickham) had planned to take Lydia to the Pemberley ball, even though they hadn’t been invited.

“There is a murderer out there, somewhere, and you—!” Wickham exclaims, “—you are wasting time.”


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 021422Despite Darcy’s growing conviction that Wickham is indeed innocent, the Magistrate concludes that Wickham must be charged with murder. Besides Wickham’s own drunken confession at the crime scene (“My only friend and I killed him! It’s my fault!”), the Magistrate adds that thirty pound notes were discovered in Wickham’s hat, and that if this money proved to be Denny’s, Wickham would then have a motive to kill.

“Prepare yourself, Darcy,” says the Magistrate, rubbing salt in the wound…again. “If he’s found guilty, you know the outcome…”

Dun dun dun…


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 022428
Screenshot from 2013-12-28 022430A few rooms away, Elizabeth is going through the fireplace, and discovers pieces of the letter Colonel Fitzwilliam burned last night.


FotoFlexer_PhotosssThe episode ends with Wickham being hauled away by the constables…

I wonder whodunit — who killed Denny?


Screenshot from 2013-12-28 021214First Impression: It’s difficult to watch Death Comes to Pemberley as a Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, because, in my humble opinion, there’s no real sense of DCTD having anything to do with Jane Austen and her characters.

By the end of Episode One I actually forgot I was watching a P&P sequel. So, as a sequel, I would say DCTP is a great disappointment [for now]. But DCTP as a Regency Gothic Mystery – I think it’s worth the watch, though I don’t find the show terribly engrossing.

Firstly, the way the narrative unfolds lacks a sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. It’s rather slow. But it’s not dull. The episode has left me curious enough to want to watch Episode Two.

Secondly, the focus is so much on the mystery itself that Lizzie & Darcy’s relationship hasn’t yet been raised to a more intimate level. I’m hoping this will develop as the series moves along.

Actually, there is ONE engrossing element to the series: it’s the VISUALS. It’s absolutely stunning! Breath-taking, really!

Screenshot from 2013-12-28 013709


Preview of Episode 2:

2 thoughts on “Death Comes to Pemberley (Episode 1): My First Impression

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