Foyle’s War

Michael Kitchen as DCS Christopher Foyle on PBS MasterpieceSmartly written and from a completely fresh perspective, I highly recommend the TV series, Foyle’s War.

I enjoy watching who-done-its: The Killing, Sherlock, Inspector Lewis, Inspector Morse, the Masterpiece Mystery series, The Closer, Major Crimes, and the Hinterland.

While each of the afore-mentioned series is really good, Foyle’s War brings something tangibly better to this genre. Anthony Horowitz1 is brilliant! The period in which the series is set brings a unique set of circumstances in which to explore human nature in the worst of times. The end of the series, which is post WWII, explores the circumstances of the Cold War.

As I wasn’t living during this period of history, I found the exploration of the complex issues of wide-spread deprivation, graft, and the reintegration of the servicemen back into society after the war (along with women’s refusal to leave their newfound place in the workforce and the independence this gave them leading to the women’s liberation movement) intriguing, to name but a few. I juxtapose this against having just watched Codebreaker, a documentary about the incredibly brilliant Alan Turin, before watching Foyle’s War2.

I also especially appreciated the character of the main character: Mr. Foyle. His was a mysterious and acutely focused persona. The actor, Michael Kitchen, has a very interesting face—one perfectly suited for such a an intense character. The character seems to only barely hold his disdain for insipid, meaningless flap and dishonesty as well as the slow pace at which others process what is important in check because his moral compass requires him to do so. I have know such men and have always found them brilliant, insightful, but without exception somewhat tortured souls.

I also appreciated that the audience likes all of the main characters even though the audience is not given what we want from them in the progression of their lives. Additionally, there are many, many side stories that are never told. I frequently found myself demanding to know more about this situation, that situation, and what happened when Mr. Foyle left for the USA and returned some extended time later held in some disrepute by the FBI. So much mystery. So much left for the viewer to write for him/herself. (Or Anthony Horowitz may be so inclined to treat us to more in the form of a spin-off series!)

Netflix kept recommending I watch Foyle’s War, but the title did nothing for me. I would have eventually watched it, I suppose. But Steve mentioned it to a group of his college friends who heartily recommended it. I’m glad their recommendation pushed me into watching Foyle’s War sooner rather than later. Apparently another season, out of the 8 already produced, is scheduled for 2015!

Tim Likes!

Alan, who is universally credited with the invention of the computer, broke the Nazi code during WWII which is credited with being a pivotal moment in the course of the war. He was forcibly chemically castrated by the British “justice system” because, in England at that time, being gay was a crime. He was tried and convicted as a result of his reporting his grandfather’s watch stolen. He was victimized by the very thing (the Nazi practice of human torture: chemical castration, in this case) from which he had spent his genius freeing the world. And to add the highest form of insult to this barbarous savagery, he was forced to agree to it or be sent to prison.

  1. the writer 

  2. See the “aside” below.