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Richard Poole is the chief and main character in Death in Paradise, yet in Season 3 they just kill him off with practically not so much as a by your leave.

Was there any explanation of why, or just the actor retiring?

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Ben Miller, who played Richard Poole, chose to leave the show after Series 2 ended, as he felt that the constant filming in Guadaloupe was putting too much of a strain on his family, who couldn't be there with him.

There's no specific word on why the producers killed Poole off, as opposed to writing him out some other way, but given that Miller had quit between seasons, they had to write him out of Series 3 as quickly as possible (because he wasn't going to stick around for filming). Killing him off then gave them a convenient way to introduce his successor, Humphrey Goodman, in a sort of "passing the torch" fashion.

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