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HALL OF FAMEon 18 August 2008
After six years, 19 episodes and all of WWII, Foyle's War -- one of the best of British mysteries -- comes to a close. The three episodes in this set take place in 1944 and May of 1945. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, played by Michael Kitchen, has reluctantly returned to duty. He had resigned his job and gone into retirement, tired to the bone when criminal activities were swept under the rug in the name of the expediency it was said was needed for the war effort. One too many times he had been told to ignore the secret actions of the government or to ignore the activities of a highly placed person.

Foyle is a taciturn man, even sad. He has lost his wife and his son is a fighter pilot. In 1939 Foyle desperately wanted to join up, but was told by his superiors that his talents would be far better utilized where he was. Foyle is a dedicated, no-nonsense cop. He's respectful to authority and the rich, but he isn't intimidated. If a person has committed a crime, especially one that could damage Britain's war effort, Foyle will never let up until the crime is solved and justice -- by the book -- is done. His return from retirement is because, whatever his misgivings, an appeal to his sense of duty has been made. He is returning to his old job because the man who took his place has been murdered. Assisting him will be members of his old team. Samantha Stewart, played by Honeysuckle Weeks (a great name), had been Foyle's driver. Stewart is an energetic, curious young woman, brave when she needs to be, who has earned Foyle's respect. She has emerged from the war years as a capable, confident woman. As the war winds down, however, she needs to discover what her own plans will be. Detective sergeant Paul Milner is played by Anthony Howell. Milner lost a leg in the Norway campaign and was assigned to Foyle as his sergeant. He had to build back his confidence. By now Milner is a full member of Foyle's team, thoughtful and as dedicated a cop as Foyle. He plans to make policing his career.

In the three complex cases in this last set, we'll encounter the murder of a cartographer in a highly classified Air Ministry project concerned with strategic bombing (Plan of Attack); multiple murders which involve an ambitious young doctor at a psychiatric hospital where the patients are servicemen, as well as a 15-year-old run-away (Broken Souls); and a murder and suicide just days before victory over Germany implicating a smooth politician and a doctor from Austria (All Clear).

This series is one of the best mysteries from Britain in part because the writing is of a high order. Anthony Horowitz conceived the idea, wrote many of the scripts and closely supervised the rest and remained the power behind the program. The production values have been consistently high. A great deal of effort has been made to establish the look and style of England during WWII. The cast that backs up Kitchen is first rate.

Most of all, the series works so well because of Michael Kitchen. He is an excellent, subtle, versatile actor whose long career includes the amusing and reprehensibly egoistic doctor in Reckless, the well-intentioned but naive king utterly outmaneuvered by Francis Urquhart in House of Cards Trilogy, Vol. 2 - To Play the King, and the unprincipled charlatan who finds himself facing Inspector Morse. Inspector Foyle is a serious, thoughtful man of high principles, who keeps most of his feelings to himself. He is not without a sense of wry humor, but dour is as good a description of Foyle as any other. He is utterly without sympathy toward career criminals or those who try to impede or make money from the war effort. Kitchen has made Christopher Foyle his own.

And now, at the conclusion of All Clear, the unconditional surrender of Germany has been signed and the church bells are pealing. Foyle has made unmistakably clear that he will retire for good now. As dour and at times as uncommunicative as he can be, we know that he has had a quiet hand in Paul Milner's advancement and that his association with Samantha Stewart might possibly continue, this time because of his son. Christopher Foyle gave us a good run for our money. We'll miss him.
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on 17 September 2008
Personal relationships feature strongly in this last series of Foyles War. We clearly see the depth to which the characters have grown together. Like separated plants in a pot their roots entwined. There's pain in parting but with the hope that freedom and the end to war brings. Foyle's son, returns from the RAF to the lady (Sam) he passed over for another. Sam has waited in the hope that he would return to her, although perhaps she can never say it. The major who waits to return home to loved ones. A promoted detective and wife await the arrival of their first born. Happy endings, new beginnings. I hear we maybe treated to 'Foyle in Peacetime'. I can't wait! Let's hope Amazon increase the available stars in the rating before then because 5 stars may once again simply not to be enough.
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on 16 November 2011
Excellent drama series, highly recommended to those who haven't seen it before or if you want to watch again.

This three DVD set runs from Apr 1944 -- May 1945

The three episodes included on this DVD set are as follows...
(Sequential Episode Numbers in brackets)

1 (17) "Plan of Attack"
Milner and DCS Meredith (Foyle's replacement) arrest a racketeer, a map-maker is found hanged in local woods, after confiding in a local German Catholic priest. Milner is the subject of an attempted assassination, and Foyle is reluctantly called back from retirement to help solve both cases.

2 (18) "Broken Souls"
Foyle's aquantance Josef Novak, a psychiatrist at a nearby military mental-health institution, meet for a chess game, and later Dr Worth is murdered at Novak's institution.
Finding a missing East End boy in the Hastings area is taken up by Sam. Meanwhile Fred Dawson, a former Prisoner of war, arrives back to find his wife and child being helped on his farm by a German POW. Suspecting his wife Rose of an affair with Johann and he resents the easy manner the German has with his wife and son.

3 (19) "All Clear"
VE Day, Foyle joins the councils' celebration committee where he meets Major John Kieffer again. ("Invasion" series "Four"). When a committee member is killed, the celebrations take a back seat, as Foyle sets out to uncover the murderer delving into dark secrets that the Allied forces wish to keep hidden.

These three episodes were originally made to be the last ones, due to the series being axed, with 'All Clear' as the last. Such was the outcry for a return, another three episodes were made and the next DVD series 6 is the result.

Be warned (UK Only):
DVD Series sequence is different from TV Series Sequence.
(Episodes do run in same order though)

DVD "Series 5" is a little misleading to UK audiences, as on TV these three episodes broadcast on ITV as Series Six. This is because ITV Broadcasted Series Four as just two episodes, and then Series Five as again just two episodes. On DVD these two series were combined onto one DVD Set "Series 4".
So this DVD "Series 5" is ITV Series Six and the next DVD set "Series 6" is ITV Series Seven. Confusing huh?

Rumour has it another Series is being made to be shown on ITV in 2012. This will be advertised as (on ITV) Series Eight, and when eventually released on DVD it will be "Series 7"...

... So be assured, you are not missing a DVD box set from your collection!!!
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on 14 May 2008
This series kept up its high standards for production, acting and script right from the first episode. It's been clever and entertaining, and unlike crime series in more modern settings (e.g., CSI), has been very human. The settings have seemed very accurate as far as the war years -- I can't say since I hadn't been born yet -- and the situations between the characters are very interesting. I'm sorry to see the series end with these final episodes and can only hope that the producers might bring back the characters in a new series, say, Foyle's Peace?
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'Foyle's War' is one of those marvelous ITV productions that tells the tales of England during World War II. It is set in Hastings, East Sussex, near the beaches of South East England, during 1942 and 1943. Foyle's War tells the story of Christopher Foyle, played by Michael Kitchen, Detective Chief Superintendent, whose job is to keep the peace on the home front during WWII. Helping Foyle is Detective Sergeant Paul Milner, played by Anthony Howell. He was a policeman before the war and lost a leg in a fierce battle and returned to the force by the urging of Foyle. Samantha Stewart, a beauty on her own, is played by Honeysuckle Weeks and is a member of the Mechanized Transport Corps. She is conscripted to drive for Foyle. She sticks her nose in police business and it turns out she is also quite good at helping in their investigations.

Foyle wants to join up but is talked into staying where he is most needed. And this war causes more crime and more stresses. The crimes are now involving the black market, illegal gambling, sabotage, and the day to day thefts and murder.

" Perhaps the most quiet, still, laconic detective you'll ever see on television, Foyle's M.O. never varies: quite observation, desert dry wit, zero reaction upon even the most extreme provocation, and carefully chosen, clipped, spare sentences that sum up much, much more than one first assumes. Nothing seems to ruffle Foyle, although it's clear he feels deeply about his colleagues and about his duty. That dedication to duty, and even more, his dedication, love, and utmost respect for the law, keeps Foyle constantly at odds with others who see the war as yet another excuse to flout the conventions of the legal systems - as well as a convenient bypass for committing morally questionable actions." Antony Severs

' Foyle's War' serves as a means for telling stories about the war, and how civilians coped with the pressures and circumstances with the coming changes. Foyle, is always even-handed and tolerant. As a professional reviewer has said " It is amazing what intelligence and talent can do on television without ever mugging or shouting."

'Foyle's War' is one of the more entertaining, realistic depictions of World War II. It is so well written and acted, I have recommended it to everyone I know. I was saddened to view the end of the series.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-25-08

The Real History of "Foyle's War"

Foyle's War: Sets 1-5 Bundle (Amazon.com Exclusive)

Foyle's War: Sets 1-5 Bundle (Amazon.com Exclusive)
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"Foyle's War" is a British police television drama which is set during and after the Second World War. Early episodes take place in Hastings in the south of England, site of the Norman Conquest in 1066, but sometimes other locations are used, for instance London.

The main character is Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen), whose official title is Detective Chief Superintendent. But when he presents himself, he usually just says: "My name is Foyle. I'm a police officer." He is a modest man.

His driver Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) appears in all episodes, while Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell) appears in most episodes.

"Foyle's War" was first broadcast on television in 2002, and it is still running. A new season is scheduled to be broadcast in 2015. As soon as a season has been broadcast on television, it becomes available on DVD.

"Foyle's War" is an outstanding drama, for three reasons: (1) it is entertaining; (2) there is a challenge: can you figure out who is guilty and who is innocent before the truth is revealed? (3) It is educational, because it shows the basic facts of life in England during and after the Second World War.

Most episodes begin with several story lines. At first the viewer does not know how they are connected with each other. Eventually one of the story lines, perhaps even two, will lead to a crime, or two crimes, which Foyle and his team will have to investigate.

The crimes committed are often based on or inspired by real historical events. Historical accuracy is an important element of the project, although there are a few cases, where historical accuracy has been violated. To give just one example: in the episode titled "Bad Blood," set in 1942, streptomycin is used to cure a patient, but this drug was not developed until 1943.

I noticed an internal inconsistency regarding Foyle's family: Foyle is a widower. In one episode he visits the cemetery where his wife is buried. According to the tombstone she was born in 1902 and died in 1932. So far so good. Foyle has a son whose name is Andrew (Julian Ovenden). In one episode Andrew says he was eight years old when his mother died. If this is true, he was born in 1924. But this cannot be true, because it does not fit the general story line:

In 1940, when the story line begins, he is ca. 20 years old. He has finished school; when the war began in 1939, he was studying at a university. He has joined up and is in training to become a pilot. In other words: he was born in 1920, and when his mother died in 1932, he was 12. If he was born in 1924, he would be 16 in 1940; too young to study at a university and too young to join the war effort as a pilot.

"Foyle's War" is created by screenwriter Anthony Horowitz who is also the author or the co-author of most episodes. All episodes are well written and all actors play their roles very well. Each episode is a self-contained story which runs for ca. 90 minutes, but at the same time there is long-term development, from one season to the next, from the beginning of the war to the end of it, and beyond.

War brings out the best and the worst in people. On the home front, war creates new crimes, such as stealing food and petrol, known as racketeering. During the war many government institutions are shrouded in secrecy. Many people are not allowed to talk to outsiders about their jobs. Some of them may use the high level of secrecy to commit a crime or to protect a person who has committed a crime because he or she is considered essential for the war effort.

When Foyle tries to investigate crimes committed on the home front, he is often rebuffed by people in high places. But he does not back down. The more someone tries to keep him out, the more he will try to find out what goes on behind closed doors. His argument is something like this:

"Victims of theft and murder deserve justice, even though we are in the middle of a war. If crimes like theft and murder are allowed to take place, we are no better than the enemy."

Each episode raises questions about legality and morality. What does the law say? And what is the right thing to do?

One reason for the high quality of this drama is the British understatement, as opposed to a typical US action drama, where there can be shooting and fighting all the time. In most cases, "Foyle's War" is not hectic. The pace is slow, but still intense. Since each episode runs for ca. 90 minutes, there is time for reflection and time for a moment when no one says anything. Foyle does not talk much, but he listens carefully to other people and he observes every detail around him. When he talks, his lines are usually short and clear. He is a person of authority, not because he can beat somebody up, but because of his honesty, integrity, and his sharp mind.

While the war and the crimes committed on the home front are serious, there is also room for a bit of humour from time to time. The funny situations are often created by or connected with Sam, whose character is quite different from that of Foyle. The two characters complement each other very well.

Series five (broadcast and released on DVD in 2008) comprises three episodes which are set in 1944-1945:

** "Plan of Attack"
** "Broken Souls"
** "All Clear"

I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to reveal any details about these episodes. All I will say is sit back and enjoy the show. But please be careful: you may easily become addicted!

PS # 1. Anthony Horowitz - the creator of "Foyle's War" - has also written a book about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes: The House of Silk (2011, 2012)

PS # 2. For background information about the drama, see The Real History Behind Foyle's War by Rod Green (first edition 2006, second edition 2010).
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"Foyle's War, Set 5" had been considered, in its moment, possibly the last of a British historical drama/mystery/police procedural series, created and largely authored by Anthony Horowitz (Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Complete Collection (24 Disc Box Set) [DVD];Midsomer Murders Set 12 [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]), for which he deserves our unstinting praise and thanks. The series, which was made by Britain's ITV, debuted in Britain in 2002. It debuted in the United States, on PBS stations, in 2003. Overall, it has been just superb, as each episode combined a mystery, most of them reasonably strong; and solid history, insights into the little-known problems and domestic scandals of the British homeland during the years of World War II. This set of three all new feature-length episodes brings the story to 1945, as the war finally winds down, and Foyle and his team do their best to prepare for uncertain futures.

Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa [DVD] [1986];Reckless [DVD] [2007]) has played the title character, police detective Christopher Foyle, with distinction since the series' premier. It has been Foyle's burden, although he would have much preferred to be more actively involved in the war effort, to investigate civilian crimes in the small, historic south coast English town of Hastings; a town obviously directly in the German line of fire. Kitchen had been quoted as saying he could see no future for a series to be entitled "Foyle's Peace:" thus, it seemed likely the series might well come to an end with this fifth helping, though, ultimately there was a sixth, set in the immediate postwar period.

Throughout, Kitchen received strong support from Anthony Howell (Shadowlands [DVD]) as detective Paul Milner, and Honeysuckle Weeks (Falling [DVD]) as his driver Samantha Stewart. Julian Ovenden (Cashmere Mafia - Complete Series [DVD] [2008]) played Foyle's son Andrew. The three, approximately 100 minute episodes each are:

Episode 1, "Plan of Attack." set in April, 1944. Milner's unyielding investigation of a transportation fraud has far-reaching consequences. They are most noticeable at a nearby, secret mapping facility; and an ecumenical religious conference, held at Hastings, that is considering the historical question of the morality of the continued Allied bombing of Germany. Featuring Michael Jayston (Nicholas and Alexandra [DVD] [2002]), this is an estimable episode.

Episode 2,"Broken Souls," set in October 1944. At a nearby psychiatric clinic treating troubled soldiers, a doctor's murder turns up a satisfying amount of skullduggery among patients and staff. It also complicates Foyle's friendship with Dr. Josef Novak, the Polish Jewish refugee who heads the clinic; illuminates the situation at homeland German prisoner of war camps, and considers the problems of soldiers returning home after years away. It features Phyllida Law (The Winter Guest (1987) [DVD]),and Graham Crowden (Waiting for God - Series 1 [DVD]). Some may find this episode slow, but I found it very emotionally fulfilling.

Episode 3,"All Clear," set in May, 1945, as all Britain waits for formal announcement of war's end. Foyle is pressured into joining a high-level local committee to keep public order during the celebration to come. But that end comes too soon for two men; the one, a victim of a stabbing, the other, apparently a suicide. As has sometimes happened during this series, the villain is rather overt from the beginning. Still, a shameful, covered up wartime incident is exposed, and the problems of returning soldiers are considered, as are the problems of everyone wondering what they'll do in peacetime.

All things end, even the worst of wars, and the best of TV series. This set, while it was thought for a while to be the last, is not the least of FOYLES WAR. It's a must for British mystery lovers.
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on 17 July 2014
Brilliantly-acted, and a good antidote to a busy day. The period of the time is perfectly conveyed and Michael Kitchen portrays an understated Detective with few words but penetrating facial expressions which say so much! I was left wanting more and sad that this was the last in the series. The location of the series (Hastings and South Coast) is very much a part of the charm evoking a less frenzied past, despite the mad period of wartime. I shall buy the earlier episodes!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 August 2011
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

After this series, I hope the cast had a much-deserved, lengthy party to celebrate their success. It should come with a health warning: "This series is addictive!"
If you are not careful, you will find yourself settling down in a relaxed atmosphere with friends and family to watch these programmes, perhaps swapping series boxes. Later, over drinks you might have a friendly chat during which these programmes will come up just casually, usually with unanimous agreement that they are well-written, researched carefully, sensitively acted and filmed with a hawk's eye to ensure accuracy.

Well done, Anthony Horowitz "et al". All good things don't actually have to come to an end; it's just a silly rumour, so how about getting together again for ... ?
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on 2 September 2015
This is one of the best series i've ever seen on television. The episodes are so much more than murder mysteries of which there is no shortage. These storys give a real flavour of the times and the issues facing an increasingly exhausted country at war. Even the plight of ordinary germans caught up as POW's or in other roles receives sympathetic intelligent treatment which is refreshing.
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