Death in Paradise fans were left in shock on Thursday when it was revealed that Ardal O'Hanlon will be leaving the show after season nine - and discussions have already begun about who could replace the actor following his four-year stint on the show. While the main character of the series has always been played by a male actor, with Ben Miller and Kris Humphries both previously playing detectives on the island, could Ardal's replacement by the first leading female officer?
Who will replace Ardal?
Shyko Amos, who plays Ruby in the show, previously opened to HELLO! about the prospect of having a women in charge, saying: "I love Ardal, he's my detective, we have camaraderie [but] anything that is just different, anything that makes the show evolve and change, I mean why not? It would be amazing if that is what they decide, it would be great!" The series recently introduced a new character, DS Madeleine Duma, who will be DI Jack Mooney's right hand woman in season nine - so could she take on the main job?
READ: Ardal O'Hanlon quits Death in Paradise after filming season 9 – find out why
Ardal has quit the show after four years
Speaking about joining the show, actress Aude Legastelois previously said: "I'm thrilled that I've been given the opportunity to continue my role as Madeleine and to rejoin the cast of Death in Paradise. I can't wait for Madeleine to be fully integrated into the Honoré Police team and for the viewers to get to know her further."
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Ardal announced that he would be leaving the show on Wednesday, explaining that he was ready to explore new opportunities. "I've spent the last four summers in Guadeloupe playing DI Jack Mooney (solving over 20 murder cases in my time there!)," he said. "It's been a hugely rewarding and unforgettable experience, working with incredibly talented actors, directors and crew while discovering a magical part of the world. However, it's time to move on and explore other opportunities - preferably nearer the Arctic Circle. I'm confident that Death in Paradise will go from strength to strength and viewers will share my enthusiasm for Jack’s successor!"