© ITV Pic/Mark Bourdillon
Dusk falls in Bleakridge, the most remote village in Midsomer, and a group of villagers walk the streets, reporting anyone who falls foul of the law. Welcome to Bleakridge Watch country. 'Code Red' sounds through their walkie talkies. One of their members, local butcher Angus Colton, is dead, lying frozen in his meat freezer...
Barnaby and Winter meet Angus' devastated sister, Maxine Lockston and her daughter Tara. They learn that Angus was investigating a recent spate of burglaries in the village, but hadn't identified the culprit. Next port of call is Ingrid Lockston, the Watch leader. She set up the Watch two years ago in honour of her brother Frank, Maxine's husband, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident. His killer was never found. Adrian Peck, Ingrid's lackey, tells the police that pub landlord Mitch McAllister hated Angus. At The Gallows, Barnaby and Winter learn from a beleaguered Mitch and his partner Lena, a mobile hairdresser, that the Watch are a total nuisance. Abuse of power is rife amongst them. Later in a dark field, an old barn is set alight...
Angus' post-mortem reveals strange restraining injuries on his wrists. Winter finds it odd that Angus made a Sam phone call to fellow Watch member Azeem Meer. Azeem tells him Angus wanted to borrow his digital camera for 'Watch business', but the camera is nowhere to be found. Ingrid causes tension with Maxine when she muscles her way into her niece Tara's affections. Maxine is distracted as she is secretly seeing Henry Marsh, local builder and bad boy turned good. Later that night, someone breaks into The Gallows and causes a flood. A sleepy Mitch tries to stop them but is hit over the head as the intruder escapes into the night... Barnaby and Winter track down the culprit - disgruntled ex-employee Adrian Peck - but Ingrid gives him an alibi and the police leave frustrated. Winter asks an awkward Kam out for dinner to talk about their drunken night in Dorset. Over ribs, they are coy about whether or not something happened between them. Both agree to be professional. Back in Bleakridge, Azeem is working late in his hardware shop when someone enters and selects a hammer from the display....
Next day Barnaby and Winter find poor Azeem bludgeoned to death and are perplexed to spot similar restraining marks. Winter discovers a stash of stolen goods hidden in the shop: Azeem was the village burglar. Barnaby then finds proof that Ingrid organised the burglaries to keep the village in check An outraged Watch turn on their leader. Meanwhile, Winter has spotted a photo of a barn on Azeem's cloud account, but finds it has been torched to the ground.
Amongst the debris, he spies a burnt-outcar... but whose is it? It belongs to mild-mannered Duncan Walton, a retired GP who runs a community cafe with his wife Barbara. Barnaby and Winter arrive to find Maxine informing best friend Barbara that she plans to move to Wales with Henry. Duncan tells the police the car was stolen two years ago on the day of Frank's hit-and-run. Meanwhile, Lena heads off to yet another hairdressing appointment and Mitch is suspicious: what is she up to? Kam finds traces of hair dye on Azeem's body. Believing Lena is connected to the murders, Barnaby traces her to a hotel. Uniform enter to find Lena dressed in full dominatrix gear with a blushing Duncan shackled to the bed. The mystery of the restraining marks is solved. Barnaby receives confirmation that Duncan's car killed Frank, but who was driving it? A fingerprint points to Henry Marsh. After his arrest, Henry explains that he stole the car but didn't hit Frank. Barnaby and Winter find out that Frank was abusive to Maxine and the final piece of the puzzle falls into place.... but who would go to such lengths to protect the person they loved?
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