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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 July 2011
This follow-on series to Inspector Morse, which is probably the greatest ever British tv detective show, seemed doomed to suffer in comparison and yet over 20 episodes (and counting) it's more than lived up to expectations. It maintains Morse's languid, well-paced style that's at odds with most modern tv shows with their tight editing, camerawork courtesy of wobblycam, and their obsession with attracting young audiences. It continues to feature familiar actors, has high production values, unintrusive quality music, excellent familiar scenery, and has murder mysteries that are so convoluted nobody can figure them out.

Having praised the show, some aspects of the early episodes are uncertain and it takes a while to perfect the format. Early on there's an understandable need to link to Morse and so there are numerous attempts to shoehorn in references such as scribbled messages by Morse on crossword puzzles. Usually these homages don't work as well as they ought to and so thankfully, when the show finds its feet, references are used less often and with more effect. The oddest and most important of these links is the decision to morph Lewis's character into him becoming Morse. In the earlier series Lewis provided an interesting contrast to his curmudgeonly boss. He was content, was devoted to his family, and he employed dogged police methodology that would find the vital clue to the mystery while Morse was falling in love with the murderer and drinking beer.

Five years on, Lewis's wife is dead leaving him morose, so we see little of his home life other than to stress that he is lonely, and he solves crimes with brilliant deductive analysis. He even drinks lots of beer and listens to Wagner. At first this feels an odd change, as it seemingly ignores the Lewis character, but it makes sense as Morse's love of opera gradually grew on Lewis during the earlier series.

Lewis's sidekick of Hathaway also initially feels wrong, presenting a mish-mash of quirky sidekick features: he's a brilliant, enigmatic, computer literate, chain-smoking, ex-theologian with a funny walk. But when the role settles down, his relationship with Lewis is played effectively with frequent amusing exchanges and sparring when their contrasting viewpoints clash. The series also uses to good effect the various mysterious aspects of his past such as the reason why he gave up on theology. Over the course of the series he develops from being at odds with Lewis, to following his own hunches, to eventually supporting Lewis's hunches, a progression that feels realistic.

Making up the rest of the regular cast are Lewis's shouty boss Innocent, who takes over from Strange's role as the shouty boss. Innocent has little to do at first other than to complain about the press or budgets or whatever is necessary to take a contrary view to Lewis's to browbeat him some more. Pleasingly, her role evolves later on to her being more supportive of Lewis and hence it becomes more realistic. The pathologist Doctor Hobson (reprising her role from the later Morse episodes) is given meatier scenes and she has more of a rounded character than any pathologist on the show has had before. Her friendship with Lewis is believable although the unresolved romantic tension between them works best when it is hinted at rather than dealt with. As their scenes are usually played out over bodies, this means plot exposition can be delivered in a fun way.

As for the individual episodes, they are reasonably consistent. Series 1 and 2 are strong without a weak episode. The stories show a slight decline in series 3 and even more so in 4, but thankfully series 5 returns to the standard of the first two series. Out of the 20 I'd suggest that only series 3's Counter-Culture Blues probably won't get rewatched too often with its terrible acting, silly plot, and unoriginal idea that's been done better elsewhere. Aside from that one, the rest do well to introduce memorable characters while mixing in clues from literate sources such as Greek mythology, opera and art leading to revelations that aren't always the expected one that the most famous guest star did it. With a sixth series already commissioned and hints that a Morse prequel could be appearing soon, I hope that this annual piece of quality tv can continue for a while longer.
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on 12 October 2011
Kevin Whately, he who was the "bag man" for Morse, has developed the character of Robbie Lewis into not just a worthy successor to his old mentor, but a superior one.

The series thus far has seen Inspector Lewis grow into the role of mentor to Detective Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox) - and the two into a formidable team.

The scripts are marvelously convoluted and meticulously constructed, with strong performances by all regular actors as well as the liberally-used familiar top-drawer actors (although one episode in the second season is glaringly out of sync, rather pedestrian all round).

The photography/cinematography is top-drawer, none of the wriggly hand-held camera work that so irritates the viewer. Music is muted, complimentary and mostly classical/operatic, and dialogue is crisp, intelligent and riveting. (This is, after all, Oxford, not Romford.)

This is the second "complete" series - the first having been series one through four. A sixth series has already been set for the broadcast schedule, so not doubt there will be more iterations. I, for one, hope the series continues for much longer, as long as it can maintain the standard of excellence.

If only they would put the discs into a more compact case! The entire Morse collection of 30-odd DVDs is only three inches thick on my shelf, this group of 20 discs takes up a nearly half s foot! Just a niggle . . .

You'll not regret buying the entire collection if you don't already have the early sets - it's that good.
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on 13 April 2017
Thanks
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on 21 May 2017
Good programme and good value.
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on 30 November 2011
I loved the Inspector Morse series and was reluctant to watch this as I felt it could not compare. Well, it does not need to since it is a great series in its own right. Completely different to Morse but with the same components - intricate plot, red herrings, likeable characters with significant flaws and set in Oxford.

I can't wait for them to make more!
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on 14 March 2012
I have never seen the Morse series, but I am a great fan of murder mysteries and decided to try "Lewis". Oxford is a beautiful city in which to film, and the university buildings offer great interiors.

The plots are complex and layered, so much so that sometimes I had trouble keeping track of all the plots and subplots. Being a Yankee, I sometimes turned on the English subtitles to understand what was being said, as some of the accents were thicker than others.

The best part of the series is the evolution of the partnership of Lewis and Hathaway, his assistant, as well as Lewis's developing relationship with another regular series character. His troubles with his superior are also fun to watch.

I finished the last episode last night, and am sad to have no more episodes to look forward to.
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on 18 December 2011
I was actually backwards in watching this series in that I had found them on iTunes - which only had the latter series (4 & 5), and it got me interested in seeing what happened in the early season, so I ordered the box set to watch.

It's a great series of the friendship / partnership of Lewis and Hathaway, and the building romance of Lewis and Hobson.

Having visited Oxford several years ago, it's lovely to see familiar scenes. Quite enjoying the show. :D
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on 1 February 2012
After being a Morse fan for so long, I didn't think it possible that I would consider Lewis the superior series but I do. The connection between Lewis and Hathaway is much better than between Morse and Lewis. I also love that Barrington Pheloug is still doing the music for this series as in Morse. Absolutely fantastic.
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on 14 June 2012
Not all sequels to a highly successful drama are a success but Kevin Whately's portrayal of now promoted Detective Inspector Lewis and his accademically brilliant Sgt Hathaway played magnificently by Laurence Fox was a drama that was bound to succeed especially when one has the original creator of the Morse series in Colin Dexter writing the scripts.

The first pilot episode where we see DI Lewis return after a long work related job abroad brilliantly uses the flashbacks to his time as Detective Sgt with Morse, there is simply no escaping the fact that his partnership with the late Inspector is now being played out with his relationship with his yet to be Sgt Hathaway, but in this instance it is the Sgt and not the Inspector who is the intellect which is a very clever way or role reversal in this new drama.

One can almost see a re enactment of the events whereby the prime suspect for the murders in every episode is murdered resulting in a rollercoaster ride of did they or didnt they have anything to do with the killings.

This is the kind of script and storyline that made Inspector Morse such a huge success, nobody could really guess who did it, and with the accademic background of Oxford always in every episode the scripts and storyline were intelligent and of a quality that few other crime dramas could match.

Also Lewis is still greiving over the loss of his wife nearly three years earlier and the chemistry between himself and the pathologist Dr Laura Hobson who incidentally was the only other actor and cast member to have survived from the original Morse era.

Clare Holman has certainly improved with age, her radiant beauty is certainly not lost on Lewis but he has still not forgotten those wonderful years he had with his wife and keeps in constant touch with his children, he is not quite ready to start a serious relationship but Sgt Hathaway is always pointing out that Lewis must move on and that Dr Hobson clearly fancies him.

Throughout every episode we can clearly see there is a mutual attraction between them and it is left to Sgt Hathaway in the final episode to give Lewis a nudge in the right direction saying if you do not make the right move you are liable to loose her forever.

In one particular episode another Inspector called in to work on a case with Lewis and Hathaway tries to make his feeling known to Dr Hobson, but she will have none of it, without actually coming out and saying it she wants Lewis but he is still mourning his wife and Dr Hobson shows compassion towards him in this respect, its almost as if she is willing to wait for him until he can let go of the past.

Colin Dexter remains incharge of the new series and it is clear to see the distinct similarities in plot structure and relationship of Lewis and Hathaway,just the same as if we are watching the original Inspector Morse series.

Lewis is now the superior officer but unlike in Morse it is his Sgt Hathaway who is the intellect.

The character analysis and relationship between Morse and Lewis throughout their long partnership was beautifully played by both actors.

In this new series Dexter re uses the relationship between Hathaway and Lewis to magnificent effect.

According to the bonus disc in this box set showing background filming and interviews in 2006 when the new series was being filmed an amazing 11 million viewers tuned in to see the pilot episode which is a testimony to Colin Dexter and his script writers.

Dare i say it but i think this new series "Lewis" is even better than the original Inspector Morse.

Laurence Fox is simply stunning as the brilliant Cambridge graduate turned police officer, and in a way out shines his Inspector, but this is definately Kevin Whately's series.

The picture transfer and quality in the box set is first class as is the overall packaging and presentation.

The only disappointment was that so few episodes were produced compared to the original Morse series.

We are told in the bonus disc that each episode nearly two hours each in length cost a rather healthy £4 million to make, that's £1million an hour.

It's no wonder so few episodes were produced at this cost but Lewis can stand alongside Inspector Morse as the work of a truly gifted writer that being Colin Dexter.
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on 12 December 2011
This DVD arrived on time at a good price . The content is fine , we have followed the series so far and will view them all again in the new year . Sad !
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