"Midsomer Murders" is an English murder mystery series based on the Chief Inspector Barnaby books by Caroline Graham. It is about the attempts of two police officers of the Barnaby family to solve various murder cases in the fictional rural English county of Midsomer. The long-running series began on the ITV television station 1997, and has since undergone numerous changes to its cast of characters.
The series originally focused on Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby (John Nettles), an officer who lives in the county town Causton, home of Midsomers' Criminal Investigation Department. While Midsomer is a picturesque and apparently peaceful rural county, it has a remarkably high murder rate. Thus, Barnaby has a high caseload at all times. Many of the murders featured on the show are darkly comical (such as one case in which a woman is murdered with a wheel of cheese), and the series generally has a humorous tone. It often focuses on numerous customs and institutions of rural England.
Starting in the 14th season, Tom Barnaby was replaced as the main character by his younger cousin, John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon). Many other notable long-running characters, including Barnaby family members Joyce Barnaby (Jane Wymark) and Cully Barnaby (Laura Howard), have come and gone over the years. Sarah Barnaby (Fiona Dolman) is a more recent addition to the Barnaby's, first appearing in the 14th season.