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Lewis Series VI: Everything Much Change, Even in Oxford
this really is the final appearance of Detective Inspector Robert “Robbie”
Lewis, Masterpiece: Mystery really
ought to play it up more. Kevin Whately’s
character has been a PBS fixture for years, dating back to his stint as second
fiddle to John Thaw’s Inspector Morse.
However, ITV seems to think he will be back in a format yet to be
determined. In any event, Lewis will
most likely investigate his final case with Detective Sergeant James Hathaway
in Lewis Series VI (promo here), which begins
this Sunday on most PBS outlets.
opener Down Among the Faithful begins
a rough patch for DS Hathaway, who will spend most of the episode in a neck
brace thanks to a fender bender. The
former seminarian also finds aspects of their latest case distasteful. The victim in question was a clinical psychology
research fellow, whose experiment attempted to irreparably undermine his
subjects’ religious faith. Bafflingly,
the late Reuben Beatty also moonlighted as a psychic, causing much resentment
from his fortune telling colleagues. Faithful is a pretty straight forward procedural,
but it is a nice example of how the series addresses hot button topics (in this
case euthanasia) in a manner that should not perturb ardent partisans for
Hathaway gets a break in Ramblin’ Boy. He will spend most of the episode on holiday,
volunteering for a do-gooder mission in Pristina. It does not sound like much of a vacation to
Lewis either, so when he uncovers a Croatian connection to his latest case, he
does not hesitate to call on Hathaway.
a body supposedly cremated is discovered in a dumping ground, Lewis follows the
trail from the funeral parlor to its dodgy co-owner, Peter Falkner, who has a
long history of stymieing the Thames Valley constabulary. Presumably, he had another body incinerated
in the place of the embalmed corpse, but the tricky part for Lewis will be
figuring out who that might be. DC Alex
Gray will do his best to pinch hit for Hathaway, but Lewis has other things on his
mind, including finally putting the moves on the ever patience Dr. Laura
Hobson, his forensic colleague.
this episode delivers some long awaited payoff for series loyalists. There has always been nice chemistry between
Whately and Clare Holman and they ease into their late middle aged romance in a
mature, believable manner. Likewise,
Babou Ceesay is appealingly earnest as Gray, while former Doctor Who Peter
Davison (also familiar to Masterpiece
Mystery viewers as Campion) plays
Falkner with snide relish. Clearly
setting the stage for character life changes, Ramblin’ is one of the strongest episodes of the entire series, in
part because of the way it temporarily breaks format, only to bring it all back
together at the end.
or not Intelligent Design is the
final episode of Lewis, it will be
the end of an era. Hathaway is back from
the Balkans and he is moodier than ever.
In contrast, Lewis is pleased as pie with the way things are going with
the good Dr. Hobson. The latest vic was
not so happy in his relationship.
Richard Seager, a chemist and advocate of the theory of intelligent
design (in Oxford, really?), just served a prison sentence for a drunk driving
fatality. On his first night of freedom, he was lured out to his driveway and
run over with the same fateful Jaguar (in a nice hat-tip to Morse).
the family of his victim does not exactly mourn his passing, it seems the
deceased was still planning to divorce his long suffering vicar wife. Lewis and Hathaway will have plenty of
suspects, some of whom will not survive to see the closing credits. The Sergeant will be particularly troubled by
this, leading him to question his career choice.
should rest assured, nobody will leave Lewis
in the manner Dan Stevens’ Cousin Matthew exited Downton Abbey. Laurence Fox notably
closes his run on the show by appearing with his uncle, Edward Fox, who plays
the college master, Dr. Yardley, with his patented British upper-crustness. Fittingly, the investigative narrative is a
cut above average and the scenes between the retirement-planning mentor and his
disillusioned protégé are endearing but suitably restrained.
Endeavour, the chronicles of the
young Morse, is well positioned to inherit the Lewis-Morse viewership, it is
not hard to envision how the Lewis franchise could continue in a less demanding
fashion for Whately. Holman is a well
established character by now, who could easily become the focus, periodically
consulting on cases with now just plain Robbie Lewis at home. Rebecca Front’s Chief Superintendent Jean
Innocent is still a perfectly good mum and DC Gray could easily be bumped up to
DS. This is all speculation, but that is
what mystery fans do.
has been a rare warhorse in the Masterpiece Mystery stable that has
improved with age. Lewis, Hathaway, and
Holman are likably human, but they also have more than a bit of attitude. They all enjoy a pint or two as well, which
hardly hurts, either. The formula really
works here, so it would be nice if ITV can reconfigure it. Regardless, Lewis series VI is easily recommended for British mystery fans when
it premieres on PBS this Sunday (6/16), concluding two weeks later (6/30).
Labels: Inspector Lewis, Masterpiece Mystery