Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Foyle’s War

(UK, 2002)

It is 1940, England is at war and it’s not going so well. British forces have been defeated in Norway, even though they outnumbered the Nazis 13,000 to 2,000. They are getting their butts whipped in Belgium and France, too. Dunkerque is not far in the future. Christopher Foyle is a detective in Hastings, Sussex, in the south of the country, doing his bit on the home front. A lot of his cases involve profiteering and the black market, but murderers don’t take a holiday just because there’s a war on.

This is the kind of series the British do so well. Foyle is quiet and easy to dismiss as rather plodding, a little like Columbo in a way, though he is always well-turned-out. And anyone who thinks that of him is in for a rude surprise. This series was so popular that when, in 2007, ITV cancelled it, they had to bring it back due to popular demand. As of 2015 there have been eight seasons of three or four episodes each, and there will be no more. Each 90-minute episode is largely self-contained, but external events move right along with the progress of the war.

Foyle’s sidekick is pert and plucky Samantha Stewart, a uniformed driver from the Mechanized Transport Service assigned to the police. She is far too smart to just sit in the driver’s seat, and soon is part of his investigation team, which also includes an amputee veteran. Sam is played by an actress with a really delightful name: Honeysuckle Weeks. I would have said her parents should be ashamed of themselves, but she obviously is okay with it, as her full name is Honeysuckle Hero Susan Weeks. She could have gone with Susan, but where’s the fun in that?