Death in Paradise season 12 full season guide: plot, cast, and more

Death in Paradise season 12 cast
(Image credit: BBC / Red Planet Pictures / Denis Guyenon)

Death in Paradise season 12 starred Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker, seeing the cop solving more murder mysteries on the fictional island of Saint Marie. And he even had a love interest in Sophie! Plus, the makers promised some big twists in the series, which they certainly delivered. The series has now aired but is still available to watch and enjoy.

The plot of the opening episode saw a group of astronomers gathering on the cliffs of Saint Marie to watch Jupiter and Saturn align — a once-in-a-lifetime planetary event. 

But one of them, renowned professor Bertrand Sworder, is murdered! Neville and Namoi investigate, while Darlene reveals she has passed her police exam.

Meanwhile, episode three — which is a corker — sees an estate agent murdered during the sale of a beautiful beach. This episode is notable for some great twists. 

Episode four sees the team heading to Saint Barnabas, where Naomi is attending her best mate's wedding. But, in true Death in Paradise fashion, the bride's father is murdered!

Episode five sees the arrival of The Commissioner's long-lost daughter, played by Genesis Lynea, who Silent Witness fans will remember as Simone.

As for episode six, it features Neville receiving an anonymous letter telling them a murder is about to be committed. Not long after, he and Naomi are called to the harbor when a body is pulled from the ocean. 

The victim suffered blunt trauma and it is soon suggested that his disgruntled wife may be a person of interest. Marlon returns after taking a short holiday following his disappointing exam results. As for the last two episodes of the series, well let's just say a lot happens!

Here's everything you need to know about Death in Paradise season 12...

Death in Paradise season 12 release date

Death in Paradise season 12 began on Friday, January 6, 2023, at 9 pm on BBC One. The series has now ended but can you can still watch it on BBC iPlayer.

Death in Paradise season 12 is available on BritBox in the US.

Meanwhile, Death in Paradise season 13 will be screened in 2024.

Death in Paradise season 12 plot

The BBC gave an overview of the series, saying: "The new series kicks off with the mysterious death of a celebrity astronomer and a change of job for Darlene. We also meet a bunch of Preppers digging in for the apocalypse on a Saint Marie hillside, when the end comes dramatically early for one of them. An impossible killing on a boat takes the team to a beautiful beach under threat, and an apparently straightforward domestic murder twists into what could be Neville's greatest ever challenge..."

Neville also has a love interest! Yep, Sophie (Chelsea Edge) enjoyed Christmas dinner with Neville and while there weren't exactly sparks flying there is romance in store. The trailer for the new series sees Neville and Sophie poised to kiss on the beach. However, will Neville get his heartbroken? And can Neville finally get over Florence?

Neville and Sophie in Death in Paradise season 12

Are Neville and Sophie destined to be just a holiday romance? Or could it grow into something stronger? (Image credit: BBC / Red Panet Pictures / Denis Guyenon)

What happened in episode one?

People: (L-R) Miriam Sworder (SARAH WOODWARD), Sunil Singh Kirmani (AMIT SHAH), Jeremy Herbert (KEVIN ELDON), Sally Blake (ALEXANDRA MOLONEY), Bertrand Sworder (CHRISTOPHER VILLIERS)

The stargazers at the centre of the first mystery of the season, but who's the killer?! (Image credit: BBC / Red Panet Pictures / Denis Guyenon)

A group of stargazers gathers on the Saint Marie coast, but one of them, professor Bertrand Sworder, falls to their death. Neville concludes that the victim was pushed rather than jumped, largely due to the fact they have torn out a crossword and not finished it. The suspects all have potential motives. Meanwhile, the Commissioner is having a personal crisis. Having discovered he has a daughter, he's now not sure he wants to meet her. What would happen if they didn't like each other? Catherine tries to supply wise words, but the Commissioner remains torn. 

Sophie is back in Saint Marie and heads over to see Neville where she's introduced to Harry the lizard. She tells Neville that she only has time for a holiday romance, but that seems enough for Neville and they share their first kiss.

Neville eventually cracks the case after working out a clever trick involving a rope ladder!

What happened in episode two?

Does Death in Paradise love a locked room scenario or what?! Here's another one! When a member of a commune is found dead in an apparently locked bunker, Neville is left with a huge puzzle. With working cameras just outside the only entrance, how was the victim murdered? Among the suspects is Justin (played by Robert Webb), who has a huge motive as he believes the victim was having an affair with his wife. 

Meanwhile, Neville has to come to terms with Sophie leaving the island. Is this the end of their relationship? Or might Neville be tempted to follow her to England later in the series?

What happens in episode three?

An estate agent, a boat driver and two clients are taken to a private beach for a potential sale. However, while the boat driver and the two clients are on the beach, the estate agent is murdered while apparently by herself on the boat. Who did it? And why? Neville quickly works out she was a con woman trying to sell the clients a beach she never owned. Matters are further complicated when the team discovers the victim was having a fling with one of the clients, Peter (John Michie). 

There's a nice twist in this case which we won't spoil. The episode also sees Neville making contact with an apparent friend, DC Andrew Buckley (Kent Riley) working on fraud cases in the UK. But it an odd turn of events Andrew is seen arriving in Saint Marie at the end of the episode...

What happens in episode four?

Naomi heads back to her home island of Saint Barnabas for her friends wedding, but things take an unexpected twist when the father of the bride is murdered. Neville, Marlon and Darlene arrive on the island to solve the case. It appears obvious as the victim helpfully named as his ex wife as plunging the blade into his chest. However, Neville doesn't believe it's that obvious and of course he's right! 

Meanwhile, Neville gets a text from Sophie who says she's missing him. After consulting Marlon for love advice, Neville bravely texts back he's missing her too. Plus, The Commissioner learns that his daughter is visiting Saint Marie. He tells Catherine that he must meet as she's travelled all this way to finally see him.

What happens in episode five?

The episode opens with the arrival of The Commissioner's long lost daughter. Meanwhile, the team invesigate the murder of a former children's home resident. With the apparent killer standing over the victim with a bloodied blade, it doesn't look the hardest of cases. But, as ever Neville, has his own theories. The Commissioner has trouble bonding with his daughter, but after some harsh words from Catherine he finally opens up.

What happens in episode six?

Cara Theobold in character as Rose Dalton, wearing a dark blue dress with a pink and orange floral print, and with a tote bang slung over her shoulder

(Image credit: BBC)

Spoilers! So a dramatic one! Neville is disturbed when he receives a letter that someone will be murdered today on Saint Marie. But when the inevitable happens it looks like an easy case.

When her husband is murdered, cleaner Rose is the obvious chief suspect. It looks even worse for her when Neville discovers she has a lover. But where the case gets really interesting is when Neville runs into esteemed criminologist David Cartwright. Cartwright initially gives Rose an alibi in that she was cleaning his house at the time of the murder.

But then Neville suspects of him playing games when he then says that he can't alibi Rose for the whole time. The question Neville wonders is: does Cartwright have an alibi?

Neville thinks he has Cartwright for the murder, but then the criminologist tells the cop his DNA evidence won't cut it in court. For once, Neville loses his cool and when Cartwright is found murdered, the Commissioner arrests Neville for his murder! Surely Neville isn't a killer?

What happens in episode seven?

Well, following Neville's arrest on suspicion of killing David Cartwright, DI Karen Flitcroft from the Department of Policing Standards arrives to investigate. CCTV footage shows an agitated Neville visiting the victim shortly before he was found dead, which as far as Flitcroft is concerned proves his guilt — so she advises the team members that if they are convinced of their inspector's innocence, they must prove it quickly.

There's an array of other suspects, but then Neville, now in jail, comes to a shocking conclusion: only Sophie had the opportunity to be the killer! It turned out that Sophie blamed Neville for the death of her sister and had framed him for Cartwright's murder. Neville is a free man again, but can he ever get over Sophie's betrayal?

What happened in episode 8?

Neville is reeling after his discovery about Sophie. He doubts that he can go on as a cop on Saint Marie because the island has too many memories for him. He even, remarkably, still has a picture of Sophie on his phone. He goes for a quiet drink, when obviously someone in the bar gets murdered. Neville tells The Commissioner he wants to quit and he says he will confirm his decision after the case. Neville eventually goes to see Sophie in jail, who tells him she never had any feelings for him. But seeing Sophie and solving the case seems to provide some kind of closure for Neville and he decides to stay.

Death in Paradise season 12 cast

Death in Paradise - the Commissioner, Neville and Naomi

Look who's back! The Commissioner, Neville and Naomi will all return for the new series. (Image credit: BBC / Red Planet / Denis Guyenon)

Ralf Little returned as DI Neville Parker for Death in Paradise season 12.

Don Warrington — the only surviving cast member from the show’s first-ever episode — was back as the Commissioner.

Elizabeth Bourgine, who’s been in the show since the second-ever episode, again plays Catherine Bordey. Plus Tahj Miles (Officer Marlon Pryce), Shantol Jackson (Sergeant Naomi Thomas), and Ginny Holder (Darlene) all starred.

Genesis Lynea also joined the show as The Commissioner's daughter.

Who guest stars in Death in Paradise season 12?

A worried Justin (Robert Webb) in Death in Paradise season 12 episode 2

Robert Webb guest starred in episode two. (Image credit: BBC / Red Panet Pictures / Denis Guyenon)

Guest stars include Chelsea Edge (I Hate Suzie), Robert Webb (Peep Show), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Black Sails), Jo Martin (Doctor Who), Christopher Villiers (Top Secret!), Kevin Eldon (Sanditon), Amit Shah (Happy Valley), Jo Hartley (After Life), Barney Walsh (The Larkins), John Michie (Coronation Street), Fiona Button (The Split), Okorie Chukwu (Kate & Koji), Gamba Cole (The Outlaws), Cara Theobald (Downton Abbey) and more.

Did Josephine Jobert return as Florence?

No. Florence at the end of series 11 said she needed time away from Saint Marie. So the door has very much been left open for Josephine Jobert to return one day. But she didn't appear in season 12.

Did Ralf Little leave Death in Paradise at the end of season 12?

No, while Neville threatened to quit at the end of Death in Paradise season 12, he eventually decided to remain on Saint Marie despite all the trauma. 

Is Camille Bordey in Death in Paradise season 12?

No, Camille isn't in season 12 of Death in Paradise. She did though at least get name-checked by her mum Catherine in the first episode of season 12.

Is Kris Marshall in the new series of Death in Pardise?

Humphrey was introduced to DI Neville Parker

Kris Marshall as Humphrey (Image credit: BBC)

Well, almost! Kris Marshall made a return to Saint Marie but for sister show Beyond Paradise. In the spin-off, he plays DI Humphrey Goodman, who is now a cop in Devon with his fianceé Martha (Sally Bretton). In the final episode of the first series of Beyond Paradise, he returns to Saint Marie and meets up with Neville!

Beyond Parasie Martha and Humphrey

Humphrey and Martha in spin off Beyond Paradise (Image credit: BBC)

Is there a trailer?

Well, sort of there's lots of mini trailers, here's a big moment...

Is Death in Paradise still being made?

Yes, Death in Paradise is still being made. So expect Death in Paradise season 13 in 2024!

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!