- “Mess and I are very old friends.”
- ―Humphrey Goodman
He is despatched to Saint Marie to investigate the murder of his predecessor, Detective Inspector Richard Poole. After solving the case, he remains on the island until he realizes that his love for Martha Lloyd is stronger than his connection to the Caribbean.
Humphrey is portrayed by Kris Marshall.
Humphrey is assigned to Saint Marie after the murder of Detective Inspector Richard Poole. Clues from Richard's investigation helped Humphrey reveal the motive and the killer's identity; Humphrey commented that Richard had "solved his own murder." Humphrey stays on in Saint Marie after his wife Sally announced she would not be joining him on the Caribbean island. He became the chief inspector of Honoré Police Station, and took to Richard's old habit of announcing the murderer in front of all the suspects and his police team. He is very clumsy, often forgetting things or finding himself with nothing to take notes on; he embraces Caribbean life much more than his predecessor. He has a knack at being able to solve murders instantly, looking at the meaning of small details, much like his predecessor. For Humphrey, moving to the Caribbean has been an exciting and unexpected adventure. He’s won the respect and trust of his team and also made good friends of them along the way.
He is married, but his wife Sally announced she was leaving him via answering machine message shortly after he arrived on Saint Marie. Since then he had developed an attraction to Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey and has admitted this to her. He has inherited Richard's shack and his pet lizard Harry. Unlike Richard, he has attempted to embrace the island culture rather than rejecting it, though he often mistakenly falls into tourist behaviour, and his dress marks him out as an outsider to locals.
Disorganized, distracted and incredibly accident prone, Humphrey often struggles to avoid putting his foot in it – but this doesn't stop him from being an absolutely brilliant detective. Humphrey’s shambolic exterior and continual insistence on writing his notes down on random bits of paper hide a cunning instinct for solving murders. It’s second nature for Humphrey to think outside the box and approach each case from a unique and surprising angle. To the observer his methods seem random and tangential, but spend some time working with Humphrey and you’ll quickly realize that his eccentric and sometimes bizarre methods of detection always get a result.
His approach to solving crimes is similar to Richard's. While Richard focuses on the fundamentals "means, motive and opportunity", Humphrey's aim is to answer the questions of "who, how and why". He obsesses over small details, possessing the ability to make a rapid series of deductive connections while appearing crazy. Because of his childhood, spending a lot of time with his Aunt Mary, working on puzzles and conundrums, he will often come up with a riddle or puzzle related to the case in question.
Despite his intelligence as a police officer, Goodman is extremely clumsy, and a recurring joke is him tripping or having accidents to such a degree that his colleagues physically screen him from potential danger. He also mangles proverbs, a behavior Camille also exhibited during Series 1 when she would attempt English sayings but would mistranslate key words with synonyms.
Sally was Humphrey's wife at the time he was sent to Saint Marie. She told him on the answerphone that she was not going to move to Saint Marie, and that their marriage was over (3:1 Death of a Detective). In 3:8 Rue Morgue, she visited him on Saint Marie to give their relationship another go, but he rejected her offer because he had already fallen in love with Camille Bordey.
Humphrey fell in love with Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey, often coming close to revealing his feelings for her. He tried to stop her leaving when she requested a job in Paris, but conceded. He shared a passionate kiss with her just before she left the island (4:4 Until Death Do You Part).
Humphrey meets Martha in 5:8 Flames of Love when he nearly runs her over. It turns out that he had previously know her back in London. She had worked at a coffee shop and frequently served Humphrey a "milky hot chocolate and sometimes a blueberry muffin." Then she comes to stay with Humphrey for the first four episodes of series 6, but he never gets chance to tell her that he loves her.
In 6:5 Man Overboard - Part One, Humphrey is back in London, following a case. He attempts to visit Martha but the bar where she works is closed. In 6:6 Man Overboard - Part Two, he visits her a couple more times, finally declaring his love for her and his intention to move back to London so he can be with her.