Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Inspector Lewis, Back for Season V
seasons already—time sure flies when you’re sending snotty intellectuals up the
river. Detective Inspector Robbie Lewis
is just the man to do it. Never a member
of the Oxford establishment, the Geordie transplant has an old fashioned bourgeoisie
sense of decency that will bring him into conflict with the smart set from time
to time during the fifth season of Inspector
airs as part of the current season of Masterpiece Mystery, beginning this coming Sunday on most PBS outlets.
circumstances surrounding the murder in The
Soul of Genius, the first case of the new season for Lewis and his
Sergeant, DS Hathaway, does not inspire any special outrage, but it is
something of a head-scratcher to the level headed detective. An eccentric scholar obsessed with Lewis
Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark has been
killed, perhaps due to an academic rivalry.
An amateur detective complicates their investigation, annoying Lewis no
end. However, when he learns she is
trying to make sense of her own son’s untimely death, it brings out his natural
Generation of Vipers, Lewis feels similar compassion for
Miranda Thornton, an Oxford lecturer who was perhaps hounded into committing
suicide by internet trolls when her confidential online dating video was leaked
to a gawker-esque website. He has no
patience for the moral dissembling of the proprietor, or for the brusque
indifference of her former lover.
Unfortunately, the detectives find themselves in a spot of bother,
thanks to a hostile press. Generation might be the season’s least
complicated mystery, but it has some of Kevin Whately’s finest moments as the
outraged Lewis this time around.
also gets a tad bit annoyed with some of his suspects in Fearful Symmetry. He rather
likes Marion Hammond, the S&M photographer.
It is the swinging Garlands’ non-cooperative attitude that chaffs
him. Unfortunately, Tom Garland’s
ambitious employee, Nick Addams and his reluctant wife took up the boss’s
invitation for a night of whatever. When
they came back, they discovered the babysitter brutally murdered in their
bed. It turns out she had posed in a way
to resemble her photo-shoot with Hammond, whom the Garland’s coincidentally
patronize. Featuring Spandau Ballet’s
Gary Kemp as Garland, Symmetry is
probably the darkest installment of season five.
the fifth season ends with its strongest offering, featuring its biggest name
guest star, David Soul (from Starsky
& Hutch) appearing as an American academic not long for the world. Dr. Paul Yelland advocates genetic screening
to identify those prone to “dangerousness” before they actually commit
crimes. This line of academic inquiry is
controversial and evidently deadly.
Naturally, the local leftist professional protestors disrupt his speech
and they do not sound particularly rational when questioned after Yelland’s
murder. However, Lewis and Hathaway’s
investigation suggest campus love affairs and professional resentments might
have played a greater role in his demise.
is the chemistry between Whately and Laurence Fox’s Hathaway that makes Lewis click so well as a series. While last season gave them several
particularly nice bonding moments, this year’s batch somewhat neglects the
development of their personal-professional relationship. It is still pleasant to watch them work
In the British press, Morse author Colin Dexter
speculates the future of Inspector Lewis might
be limited to one more go-round. The good
detective is at retirement age it seems and both leads are reportedly ready to
move on. However, Fox has established a
strong enough character to merit a Hathaway
spin-off, thereby continuing the Morse apostolic tradition, should he
decide to pick up the torch. Though not
quite as strong as series four (as aired by PBS rather than ITV), this year’s season
is still considerably more enjoyable than most workaday crime television. Cordially recommended for British mystery
fans, Inspector Lewis returns to Masterpiece Mystery this Sunday (7/8)
continuing through July 29th.
Labels: Inspector Lewis, Masterpiece Mystery