Friday, March 30, 2012

Foyle's War

When war reached the shores of Great Britain, Christopher Foyle, a policeman and veteran of the Great War, requested a move from his police work in Hastings to an assignment in the war effort. Fortunately for Hastings, that request was denied.

Foyle's War is the gripping story of war's effect on England, especially in the southern coastal town of Hastings. The story is told in 22 episodes, each 100 minutes long. That is plenty of time to explore many aspects of life during wartime -- disruption of services, food shortages, uncertainty, fear, vengeance, bombings, treason, relations between civilians and military, propaganda, exploitation, and so on. And it is plenty of time to get to know the complex characters brought to life by filmmaker Anthony Horowitz. When dealing with crime during the daily stresses of wartime, even small breaches of the law are significant. So, too, are incidents of murder, which seems to happen a lot in Hastings.

The series opens in 1940 and progresses through the war and into the beginning of the nation's recovery.

The main character is, of course, Christopher Foyle, played by Michael Kitchen. He is relentless and wise. His keen sense of justice and his unquestionable honesty make him a clear leader and fearsome foe for those on the wrong side of the law.

Foyle's War is a surprisingly personable look into England during World War II through the eyes of Foyle and his co-workers, especially Sergeant Paul Milner, played by Anthony Howell and Samantha (Sam) Stewart, played by Honeysuckle Weeks, Foyle's driver. Each person, each relationship, is well-developed and we see the strengths, weaknesses, and quirks of them all. Even characters who have a lesser role -- Foyle's son Andrew, a fighter pilot with the RAF, and Sergeant Ian Brooke ("Brookie") who works at the Hastings police station, for example  -- are multi-dimensional and full of life. Character development was certainly a strong element of the series.

My knowledge of World War II, especially the European Front, is limited. But Foyle's War allowed me to see into the heart and mind of the British people during this period; it showed the impact that war had on a nation; and it satisfied my hankering for a good police show.

Tom and I thoroughly enjoyed the series, both times we watched it through. But we're not the only ones who loved it. Of the 92 customer reviews on Amazon for the boxed set of series 1-5, 83 viewers gave the show five stars. And most of the others who rated it three or four stars did so because of the quality of the disc on which it was recorded.

A pretty good recommendation, I'd say!

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