Lewis 3.04 Counter Culture Blues (2009, TV) – 2/10 review

Kevin Whately: DI Robert Lewis
Laurence Fox: DS James Hathaway
Clare Holman: Dr. Laura Hobson
Rebecca Front: Ch. Supt. Innocent
Helen Baxendale: Caroline
Simon Callow: Vernon Oxe
David Hayman: Richie Maguire
Anthony Higgins: Franco
Joanna Lumley: Esme Ford
Hilton McRae: Mack
Perdita Weeks: Kitten
Writer (inspired By The Original Novels By) Inspector Morse: Colin Dexter
Writer (Original Story): Nick Dear
Writer (Screenplay): Guy Andrews
Producer: Chris Burt
Director: Bill Anderson

Lewis 3.04 Counter Culture Blues (2009)

Lewis is thrilled to find an old famous rock band involved in his latest case but when a possible misdemeanour turns to murder… Man, I can’t even write it, man.

2/10

Staggeringly poor murder mystery episode that is incompetently written and directed. The cast are largely quite good, especially given the astonishing sequence of events that their characters are unconvincingly put through. At one point, Lewis name-checks Morse and his methods and proceeds to layout the suspects and victims using condiments. Morse never did that. However, it is the introduction of what appears to be a mechanical Sarlacc that proves to be the element that raises the eyebrows the most and you spend the remainder of the episode suppressing groans of dismay until it inevitably is used in the fake-exciting climax. This is an atrocious end to an otherwise decent season.

This Lewis episode contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and substance abuse and gun violence.

Links

Lewis 3.03 The Point of Vanishing (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
Ben Aldridge: Daniel Rattenbury
Zoe Boyle: Hope Ransome
Ophelia Lovibond: Jessica Rattenbury
Jenny Seagrove: Cecile Rattenbury
Michael Simkins: Manfred Canter
Julian Wadham: Tom Rattenbury
Writer (inspired By The Original Novels By) Inspector Morse: Colin Dexter
Writer (Screenplay): Paul Rutman
Producer: Chris Burt
Director: Maurice Phillips

Lewis 3.03 Point of Vanishing, The (2009)

Steven Mullan is brutally murdered and suspicion immediately falls upon the family of a girl he disabled by driving a truck into her car. He was targeting the girl’s outspoken atheistic father, Tom Rattenbury, but the effect was equally devastating. However, the crime was compounded by the sentence. Instead of attempted murder he got sent to prison for drunk driving. Perhaps justice has finally caught up with him.

6/10

This is nearly a very good episode with lots of clues and suspects and last-minute alibis and non-alibis and intrigue but the final section is fumbled through thin writing, inadequate acting from Jenny Seagrove and obvious dramatic nonsense (for example, why does Hathaway go steaming to the swimming pool?). Kevin Whately is better here than before as he is largely not called on to display deep-seated emotion but he keeps oddly hurling words at people during interrogations and his eureka moment is, as ever, highly unconvincing. I do not think Lewis is a eureka cop and that has been a principle mistake of the producers. Lewis isn’t Morse, he isn’t maverick, he isn’t a great thinker nor should he gain inspiration from the arts. He should be methodical, meticulous and display finely-honed powers of observation. But he doesn’t.

This Lewis episode contains adult dialogue, mild swear words and strong melee violence, blade violence.

Links

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.

6/10

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.

Links

Lewis 3.01 Allegory of Love (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
Selina Cadell: Professor Rutherford
Anastasia Hille: Ginny Harris
Cara Horgan: Alice Wishart
Adrian Lukis: Jem Wishart
Art Malik: Professor Hamid Jassim
Tom Mison: Dorian Crane
James Fox: Professor Norman Deering
Writer (inspired By The Original Novels By) Inspector Morse: Colin Dexter
Writer (Original Story): David Pirie
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen Churchett
Producer: Chris Burt
Director: Bill Anderson

Lewis 3.01 Allegory of Love (2009)

Lewis investigates the murder of a beautiful Czech immigrant who was killed using a sixteenth-century mirror. Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Innocent encourages Lewis is move on in his personal life by introducing him to a friend of hers.

6/10

One thing Kevin Whately really should steer clear of is emoting or trying to look attentive as he finds it very difficult to be convincing. Instead he looks like he’s forgotten his lines. He’s much better when smiling and I wish he’d do more of it in this show. This is a merely solid episode which is rescued by some gleefully barmy murders: one girl has her throat opened by a mirror that has been smashed over her head (in a nod to Alice Through The Looking Glass) while a man has a giant "sword of truth" run through his heart. The emotional delivery of the killer during the climax works much better than anticipated or, indeed, scripted and a slightly begrudging above-average rating is the reward.

This Lewis episode contains adult dialogue and brief violence, strong gory and unpleasant scenes.

Links

Inspector Morse 4.04 Masonic Mysteries (1990, TV) – 8/10

John Thaw: Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately: Detective Sergeant Lewis
Diane Fletcher: Marion Brookes
Richard Kane: Chief Insp. Bottomley
Ian McDiarmid: Hugo de Vries
Iain Cuthbertson: McNutt
James Grout: Chief Supt. Strange
Writer: Julian Mitchell
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Colin Dexter
Producer: David Lascelles
Director: Daniel Boyle

Inspector Morse 4.04 Masonic Mysteries (1990)

When Morse is framed for the murder of an attractive female chorister, he is sure that it is the work of a con-man he put away a dozen years ago. The problem is that the con man, Hugo de Vries, died while in prison in Sweden.

8/10

Great fun as Morse goes head-to-head with a master criminal played with glee by the Emperor himself, Ian McDiarmid. This contains one of Morse’s nicest moments when, after ranting delusionally thanks to smoke inhalation, he comes to his senses, apologizes to those around him and says: “Where’s Lewis? I want Lewis.” Aaah. Also, particularly entertaining is Morse trying to convince Lewis to go and see The Magic Flute with his wife. “It’s like a panto. … It’s got a dragon in it. … You can record Eastenders.” Classic stuff.

This Inspector Morse episode contains mild gore, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Continue reading “Inspector Morse 4.04 Masonic Mysteries (1990, TV) – 8/10”

Inspector Morse 4.03 Driven to Distraction (1990, TV) – 8/10

John Thaw: Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately: Detective Sgt. Lewis
Patrick Malahide: Jeremy Boynton
David Ryall: Derek Whittaker
Christopher Fulford: Tim Ablett
Mary Jo Randle: Detective Sergeant Maitland
James Grout: Chief Superintendent Strange
Writer: Anthony Minghella
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Colin Dexter
Producer: David Lascelles
Director: Sandy Johnson

Inspector Morse 4.03 Driven to Distraction (1990)

Morse comes up against the work of a serial killer whose victims appear to have nothing in common except the manner of their death.

8/10

Top Morse action with spectacular obsession and grumpiness against worthy adversary Patrick Malahide. It’s a bit silly at times with ominous killer’s footsteps and a daft climax but they’re instantly forgotten thanks to a great scene afterward with a shaken Morse being unable to take his hands off a steering wheel. There’s also a great “body of pathologists” gag and every scene with James Grout is a delight. Remarkably, when the titles were redone to give all the series a consistent appearance on DVD the copywriter mistakenly put the characters’ creator as Alan, not Colin, Dexter!

This Inspector Morse episode contains mild adult dialogue and references to illegal production of marijuana and gory and unpleasant scenes, extreme peril involving petrol, knife violence.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Inspector Morse 3.04 Secret of Bay 5B (1989, TV) – 7/10

John Thaw: Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately: Detective Sergeant Lewis
Amanda Hillwood: Doctor Grayling Russell
Mel Martin: Rosemary Henderson
Marion Bailey: Fran Pierce
Andrew Wilde: Edward Manley
Philip McGough: Brian Pierce
Writer (Screenplay): Alma Cullen
Writer (Original Idea): Colin Dexter
Producer: Chris Burt
Director: Jim Goddard

Inspector Morse 3.04 Secret of Bay 5B (1989)

Sergeant Lewis with a murdered body in a car in a parking bay (5B) in a car park interrupts Morse’s pleasant evening of the quick step with Dr. Russell.

7/10

Thoroughly solid episode with a nice development of the unlikely romance between Morse and Dr. Russell and also boasting a delightfully smug conclusion with the car keys.

This Inspector Morse episode contains adult dialogue and subject matter of prostitution and unpleasant and gory scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.