Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lewis - series seven episode one a review

Here is a review I received on Lewis today, thought you might like to read it.

The Telegraph
Daisy Bowie-Sell reviews the first episode of the final series of ITV1's spin-off from detective drama Inspector Morse.

When Lewis first aired in 2006, 11 million watched the pilot, eager to see if the series could fill the void left by the long-running Inspector Morse. Making Robbie Lewis, once Morse’s Sergeant, into an Inspector was a gamble: there was an intriguing balance met by pairing John Thaw’s curmudgeonly, borderline alcoholic Morse with Kevin Whately’s clueless, straight-down-the-line, Lewis. Laurence Fox as Sergeant Hathaway - sidekick to Lewis now Lewis was no longer sidekick to Morse - added some spice, but having Lewis in charge was never going to be as fun as when Morse was in the driving seat.

Though the programme has never quite matched the thrills of Morse, it has been a constant audience-puller over its six series – with 7-8 million regularly tuning in. But now, after playing the character since 1987, Whately has finally had enough. There have been rumours over the last year that both he and Fox were getting itchy feet, and ITV have now announced this series will be Lewis’s last.

As if preparing for a slow fade (sudden burn out would never be Lewis’s style), each two-hour storyline in the seventh series has been spread across two single one hour slots (shown a week apart), where in the past they would have been broadcast in one evening. This removes one of the joys of the programme – one hour is too short to disappear into one of those improbable, inexplicable storylines. It barely allows you to get a hold on who the characters are, let alone guess whodunnit.

But the plot in this first episode was as delightfully bizarre as the best of Lewis. Dodgy Oxford students feature – specifically the victim, a man who, unbeknown to his wife, had been moonlighting as a psychic, duping the recently bereaved into thinking he could talk to their loved ones.

There were oddballs-a-dozen, including the wonderfully enigmatic Justine Skinner, played by Beatie Edney. Skinner once poisoned her next door neighbour’s cats with the same drug used to kill the victim and, therefore, is a suspect. Sanjeev Bhaskar appeared towards the end as assisted dying campaigner Kanan Dutta, who advised Lewis on the murder, and although he featured very little in this episode, it's likely there will be more from him and his gloomy wife in the second episode.

There was also mention of a government conspiracy, plenty of red-herrings and a shock cliffhanger to whet the appetite. This was classic Lewis, let down by the frustrating decision to keep us waiting seven days for the follow up.

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