Death in Paradise fans tuned in in their droves to watch Ardal O'Hanlon make his debut on the show this week. It was announced earlier this month that the Irish actor would be replacing Kris Marshall as Saint Marie's lead detective – and viewers weren't disappointed when DI Jack Mooney stepped up to solve his first mystery on Thursday night. DI Mooney and his daughter Siobhan were brought in for the season finale of the hit BBC show, and the episode closed with the pair deciding to make their home on the island.
Ardal O'Hanlon as DI Jack Mooney and Grace Stone as daughter Siobhan in Death in Paradise
The father-daughter duo initially thought they were on a relaxing Caribbean holiday after Humphrey hatched a plan so he could stay in London. But Jack soon finds himself caught up in a complex murder case involving a mayoral election, a setup, a long lost daughter and a cheating family man. As he settles into island life, the new detective is given a formal job offer from the Commissioner - when Death in Paradise returns in 2018, Jack and Siobhan will be living on Saint Marie permanently.
Fans of the show were clearly sad to see Kris's Humphrey Goodman go – but they gave his replacement the seal of approval on social media. "Really enjoyed #DeathInParadise. I quite like DI Mooney's quirks. And Dwayne and the Commissioner have been getting their best lines recently," one wrote. Another simply stated "I like Mooney. He can stay. #DeathInParadise."
Kris Marshall recently stepped down as DI Humphrey Goodman
Ardal – best known for playing Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted – recently spoke about what his character will bring to the popular series. "Ben [Miller]'s character was uptight. Kris's was more clumsy, and, I suppose, with me, they're going for something a little bit quirky on the island," he told the Radio Times. "I've tried to bring a certain kind of warmth to it. Mooney is quite friendly, quite genial and slightly underestimated because of it. Maybe there's some of the naivety that I've brought to other characters before."
Ardal has said his detective will bring something "a little bit quirky" to the island
Of the show's widespread popularity, he added: "There's no real jeopardy in the plots. No real peril for the detectives, but that is part of the appeal. It's light, fluffy drama, meant to entertain people in the cold nights of winter. The murders aren't gruesome, there's no gore-splattered screen. The attraction really is the puzzles – the ingenious mystery at the heart of it."