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A Little Bit of Cookery, A Little Bit of Crime,
This review is from: Pie In The Sky - Series 1 - Part 1 [DVD] (DVD)
"Pie in the Sky Series 1,Part 1" a British mystery television series that happily mixes cooking and crime, was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is a comedy/crime/drama that debuted in March 1994 and ran for five series.
The show stars Richard Griffiths (a Tony-winner on Broadway for "The History Boys," also the film of the same name, The History Boys [DVD] ; he's also featured in the Harry Potter films); and make no mistake about it, along with his everyman looks, the man can act. I saw him in "The History Boys" on Broadway, and his performance certainly rated that Tony. He plays Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe, an intelligent, sensible, mild-mannered man, who, after 25 years on the force, has lost his hunger for what the job can provide, and is ready to pack it in and open his own restaurant, "Pie in the Sky." But the police force isn't ready to let him go. So he bounces back and forth, cooking delectable steak and kidney pies, and solving crimes. "The Times [U.K.]" describes the show as "as much a pleasure for culinary enthusiasts as it is for crime fans," and, by Jove, I think they've got it.
Griffiths receives solid support from Maggie Steed (Shine On Harvey Moon - 25th Anniversary Edition [DVD] ), as Margaret, his accountant wife, who's not all that pleased at suddenly finding herself a restaurateur. The rest of the company, led by Malcolm Sinclair (Casino Royale  [DVD]) as ACC Freddy Fisher, with whom Crabbe trained, and worked; and Bella Enahoro (Mister Johnson [DVD]) as the particularly lovely D.S. Sophia Cambridge, also turn in excellent performances, among others. The producers haven't stinted on guest stars, nor on extras; streets and cop shops bustle as they should. Nor has the BBC stinted on location filming: the fictional restaurant "Pie in the Sky," was located on the Old Town High Street in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, in premises that were then a florist, but have since become a restaurant called "Pie in the Sky."
The five episodes at 49 minutes each are:
1 The Best of Both Worlds- Crabbe gets shot, his retirement delayed.
2 The Truth Will Out- Restaurant begins, along with police corruption.
3 An Innocent Man- Many food regulars, but one needs investigated.
4 Once a Copper- Seafood menu time, & a dead man returns.
5 A Shot in the Dark- Red herring and smuggling make a mixed menu.
The series was created by Andrew Payne, who has also written some of its best, strongest episodes. The mysteries are, by and large, as in the first series, intelligent, surprising, ingenious and original, and the cooking tips are helpful and fun. Mind you, the mysteries are mild: there isn't even a murder in this batch. There are hardly any car chases; in fact, we never even see Crabbe getting into, or out of a car, let alone running: the shows are evidently carefully crafted to respect his girth, and his dignity. The shows are entertaining and enjoyable - I like the byplay at the restaurant, and the cop shop, and think someone's been cooking up something tasty.