Foyle’s War: Series One

This is one of my favorite series, especially as it is a very authentic and detailed historical mystery series set during WWII in Britain. The attention to authenticity and the small features and aspects from clothing to dialogue to the cars and streets is what makes it such a treat to watch. Each episode (which is almost a small feature film given that they run anywhere from an hour and forty minutes +  to an hour and twenty+) is based on an actual event that took place at the time. It has great characters, most particularly in the reserved and deeply honourable Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen) and the ebullient, positive and slightly eccentric Samantha Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks).

The premise is that Foyle, a police inspector during the Second World War is stuck at home investigating murders and thefts, looting and blackmail while an international war is being fought and he feels that he could serve better in another capacity. When we first meet him he is petitioning to be allowed to work for the War Office. Instead, he is told that he is needed right where he is and is summarily issued a driver, since he apparently never learnt. Given the shortage of men, a young woman from the MTC is pulled to be his driver. Sam Stewart is possibly the last possible person one can imagine Foyle working with as she is endlessly curious and talkative. In fact, Foyle tells her straight off: “I think that we should get one thing straight from the beginning. You don’t ask me what I’m doing, you don’t ask me what I’m  investigating; you simply take me where I want to go. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir. Completely, sir.”

I love how quickly that changes. Before long they are discussing the cases as they drive:)

Paul Milner is the other main character, but I’ll be honest and just admit his character never interested me much. He was rather dull and his storylines never really improved him in my estimation.

There are four episodes in the first series: The German Woman (a.k.a. The Pilot), The White Feather, A Lesson in Murder and Eagle Day.

The White Feather,  is a fascinating ep, especially how Foyle handles the situation. Charles Dance turns in another excellent performance as a creepy, nasty “gentleman”, Guy Spencer, who is an anti-Semetic, pro-Nazi bigoted blackguard. Milner shows up at one of his speeches and actually starts to believe in his filth, helped along by his own unhappiness over his war injuries. At the end, Foyle makes it very clear to Paul that Spencer is absolutely wrong and that further, Milner’s betrayal of Foyle’s trust by his dealings with Spencer and by talking about Foyle behind his back to Spencer are not to be taken lightly. Foyle says that he and Paul, and Sam, need to be able to trust each other completely and know that they are all on the same side.

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