Top positive review
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Graduating to 5-star class
on 11 February 2005
I'd previously rated Series 1 of FOYLE'S WAR at four stars. I'm happy to report, after finishing the Series 2 discs, that the ongoing British telly miniseries has graduated to five stars. It's superb, and I'm desolate that I must wait until 2005 for the release of Series 3 that's airing now in the UK. (Of course, if I move to England ... Nah, the wife would never go for it.)
Michael Kitchen is Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, who's been ordered to remain at his post as homicide investigator for Hastings and its environs; he'd much rather be doing his bit for King and Empire fighting the Nazis across the Channel. Indeed, his son Andrew (Julian Ovenden) is a flying officer with the RAF. The two other series regulars are Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks), the army's Auxiliary Territorial Service enlistee assigned as his driver, and Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), Foyle's assistant inspector returned to home front duty after being wounded during the disastrous British invasion of Norway.
The delight to be found in the four episodes of Series 2 is the underlying complexity of each plot, the tip of which is a murder being investigated by Foyle and Milner. Yet, even as the layers of the onion are peeled away, the viewer is still surprised at the intricacy of the solution, most of which is unraveled in the depths of Foyle's mind and revealed to the audience at the end, and which has ramifications that ripple far beyond the simple presence of a local corpse.
As in Series 1, the storylines of 2 encompass so much more than a tawdry homicide or two: homosexuality in the RAF, collaboration between British Big Business and the Nazis, black market commerce in luxury food and petrol, and skullduggery by Franklin Roosevelt's personal emissary sent to negotiate the Lend Lease.
My personal favorite episode is number four, "Funk Hole", wherein Foyle is relieved of his duties after being reported as having expressed seditious and defeatist statements while cowering in a London air raid shelter during a Luftwaffe bombing attack. The labyrinthine explanation for that was totally unexpected. Moreover, it looks like Sam and Andrew are to be an "item" - surely to be continued in Series 3. Indeed, at one point when Sam accompanies Andrew to a showing of "Gone With the Wind", we see her out of uniform, dressed in civvies, and with a smashing hairdo. Blimey, what a bird!
FOYLE'S WAR is sumptuously fleshed out with period costumes, automobiles, hairstyles, and commercial brand names. This is first class, period entertainment. Would that American TV was so good.