John Barnaby is a cousin of Tom Barnaby, he is a Detective Chief Inspector, first appearing in The Sword of Guillaume. Portrayed by Neil Dudgeon, the character of John Barnaby replaced his cousin Tom as the chief protagonist in the series. This change became necessary when John Nettles announced his retirement.
Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby was transferred from Brighton CID to Causton CID after his older cousin, Tom, retired. The character appears in the first full-length episode, Death in the Slow Lane where he is being shown round Midsomer by DS Ben Jones, former sidekick to the other Barnaby. When it is revealed that he has a degree in psychology, he ended up getting some rubbing from Jones. It was only after a rocky start that the two made a formidable team. John is married to Sarah and, before the birth of their daughter Betty at the end of The Killings of Copenhagen, they didn't have any children. Instead they have a dog called Sykes and live in a large country cottage. While investigating his first murder in Midsomer, that of a local DJ being crushed to death at girls' traditional boarding school, he also ended up having a dangerous encounter with the killer at the end. He was saved at the last minute by DS Ben Jones. In the following episode, Dark Secrets, John was joined by his wife Sarah while he investigated the murder of social worker Gerry Dawkins. In the episode Echoes of the Dead, John investigated the death of Dianne Price - which was a copycat of the Brides in the Bath murder centuries earlier. The Oblong Murders saw Barnaby look into the disappearance of Lucy Oliver, daughter of some friends of Dr George Bullard. This was also the last time Barnaby and Jones worked with Bullard. In The Sleeper Under the Hill, Barnaby solved the murder of Alex Preston but also disagreed with Jones over the involvement of local cop Trevor Gibson. Barnaby found himself in danger again in The Night of the Stag when he and Jones investigated the murder of Peter Slim - a revenue inspector who was found dead in a cider vat. Over at Midsomer Priory in A Sacred Trust, he and Jones investigated when Mother Thomas Acquinas is strangled. His final appearance with Jones is Schooled in Murder. In The Christmas Haunting, Barnaby was paired up with DS Charlie Nelson for the first time. The Killings of Copenhagen, Barnaby teamed up with DS Charlie Nelson and two Danish detectives to investigated the murder of Eric Calder. In the same episode he became a father for the first time when Sarah gave birth to their daughter Betty.
Personality and appearance
Sarah is John's wife and they appear to have been married some years before their arrival in Midsomer. In Schooled in Murder, they invite Ben and Kate to join them for dinner to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. Like Tom and Joyce's, John and Sarah's marriage is a very happy one. They have a dog called Sykes and in the last episode of series sixteen they end up having their first child, a daughter called Betty.
John is Tom Barnaby's cousin, whom he takes over from when Tom retires. John arrived in Midsomer to take his place before his wife Sarah joined shortly afterwards. The two of them seem to be particularly close considering that they joined forces to solve a case in The Sword of Guillaume. They are also seen together in Tom's last episode, Fit for Murder when he is announces he is retiring, which Joyce and Cully find weird.
Ben was the first sergeant to work alongside John Barnaby, who moved to Midsomer to take over from his older cousin. Ben eventually left and was transferred to Brighton CID, after becoming DI. He also sent them a Christmas card, but addressed it to Sykes the dog.
Charlie is the second sergeant to work alongside the new DCI. They first meet in The Christmas Haunting.
Kate met John and Ben in The Sleeper Under the Hill, and eventually gains the detectives respect. She doesn't shock either. Her last appearance is A Vintage Murder. She worked with all of them on their cases, and then when DS Charlie Nelson. She is replaced by Dr Kam Karimore in the next series.
Ned Barnaby is John's father who was first mentioned, though unnamed at that point in the episode Let Us Prey as John was beginning to doubt whether he would be a good father. Ned was shown in a old childhood photo of John's. John clearly had good memories of his father as he fondly recalled them going to a football match together. Ned would later arrive in Midsomer to visit his family during the episode The Point of Balance, he would try to get John to "lighten up" and live life a lot more as he felt John was too serious.