12 June 2010

A Jolly Good Murder

Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks in Foyle's War.

Among the many things that summer brings (humidity, bare legs, gin cocktails) is the return of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery. And this year one of my favourite detectives is back—Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle—in Foyle’s War.

Set in the English seaside town of Hastings during World War II, the series focuses on Foyle, played by the incomparable Michael Kitchen, who is frustrated to be stuck solving local crimes instead of helping with the war effort. But as we soon discover, there’s plenty of work for Foyle to do. Accompanied by his driver, the ever cheerful Samantha “Sam” Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks), and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), who lost a leg in the early days of the war, the steadfast and methodical Foyle fights the enemies at home.

Foyle is the epitome of the reserved Englishman. Even while having a gun pointed at his head, he exhibits grace under pressure. He rarely raises his voice; with Foyle, a slight twitch of his mouth can speak volumes. He takes his time observing the people and events around him while allowing us to enjoy his intelligence and dry wit.

Brigadier: What was it? A heart attack?

Foyle: Well, you might say that. He was shot in the chest.

His dogged determination and strong sense of right and wrong lets us know that in the end, justice will prevail. And he drinks scotch. What’s not to love?

After the show was cancelled (bad ITV) someone there with a brain decided to renew it and three new episodes just aired (oh how I miss the old Mystery with its wonderful Edward Gorey opening but that is for another discussion). The new episodes take place right after the war has ended but they are just as good as the prior ones. They will most likely be shown again during the summer but if you don't want to wait (and who does?) they are available now on Netflix. I know I shall be spending more time with Foyle before the summer is over.

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