Lewis 3.02 The Quality of Mercy (2009, TV) – 6/10 review

Kevin Whately: DI Robert Lewis
Laurence Fox: DS James Hathaway
Clare Holman: Dr. Laura Hobson
Rebecca Front: Ch. Supt. Innocent
Maureen Beattie: Professor Denise Gregson
Geoff Breton: Joe Myers
Bryan Dick: Phil Beaumont
Abby Ford: Isabel Dawson
Daisy Lewis: Emma Golding
Ronan Vibert: Simon Monkford
Writer (inspired By The Original Novels By) Inspector Morse: Colin Dexter
Writer (Screenplay): Alan Plater
Producer: Chris Burt
Director: Bille Eltringham

Lewis 3.02 Quality of Mercy, The (2009)

An actor is murdered during a performance of The Merchant of Venice and it seems he was universally disliked, if admired for his thespian ability. Hathaway pursues a side-case involving a small-time crook and stumbles on to something that forces him to reevaluate his relationship with Lewis.


When Kevin Whately is smiling and chummy and cheerful, he is quite good and eminently watchable. When he is not, as the writers keep insisting on here, he just looks like he is trying to grow more folds of skin. This includes repeated subtly meaningful comments regarding his own bereavement (his wife was needlessly killed before the series began, both artistically and plot-wise) before culminating in a number of strong scenarios late on. As ever, Whately isn’t quite up to the task. You can see him acting. They remind you of similar scenes in parent show Inspector Morse and remind you, once more, how brilliant John Thaw was. The episode is largely well written until the end when the murderer suddenly gives up. Intellectually, it’s quite interesting but dramatically unsatisfying. Perhaps appropriate for a show centred on a hallowed centre of learning.

This Lewis episode contains mild swear words and unpleasant scenes.


One thought on “Lewis 3.02 The Quality of Mercy (2009, TV) – 6/10 review

  1. I thought exactly the same things:

    1. Why oh why are they sticking with all this rubbish about Lewis’ dead wife?

    2. Also all that rubbish about ‘Oh he’s so private. No, you’re so private, Hathaway’ and ‘Should I tell him now or later’ was pointless.

    3. Why did the murderer give up so easily at the end?

    Good review, thanks. Said all the things I would have said.

    I have to say though, I liked it better when Hathaway was reticent without all this extra stuff. The writers should realise that some things are more interesting to the viewers when they don’t have potential ‘reasons’ shoved down their throat.

    Yet I keep watching because as you put it, despite its dramatic weaknesses, the series has a good intellectual side to it. Plus Laurence Fox is hot!

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