Kevin Whately: DI Robert Lewis
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.