The critically acclaimed PBS series that weaves mystery with real historical events returns with four stories set in September and October 1940. Winner of the Audience Award at the British Academy of Film and Television Ar... more »ts in 2003, the series stars Michael Kitchen (Proof of Life) as quietly enigmatic detective Christopher Foyle whose territory on the south coast of England is rocked by the chaos and danger of World War II. Also starring Anthony Howell, Honeysuckle Weeks, Julian Ovenden, and featuring Nicholas Farrell, Alan Howard, Corin Redgrave, and Amanda Root.
Fifty Ships--Foyle's determined investigation of a body on a deserted beach puts at risk the donation of American Aid and the crucial start of Lend-Lease in the war.
Among the Few--Pilots and their girlfriends live fast and die young in a story of greed and passion where Foyle finds appearances are deceptive.
War Games--Divided loyalties lead to revenge and murder when a businessman puts profits before principles in a secret pact with the Nazis.
The Funk Hole--Foyle finds himself accused of a serious offense, which complicates his hunt for a ruthless murderer at a sinister hotel. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE an exclusive interview with Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks, production notes, cast filmographies, and photo gallery.
"Brilliantly explores the moral gray areas of war"?San Francisco Chronicle
"For mystery fans, Foyle is a must-see" ?The Houston Chronicle
"I'd previously rated Series 1 of FOYLE'S WAR at four stars. I'm happy to report, after finishing the Series 2 discs, that the ongoing British telly miniseries has graduated to five stars. It's superb, and I'm desolate that I must wait until 2005 for the release of Series 3 that's airing now in the UK. (Of course, if I move to England ... Nah, the wife would never go for it.)
Michael Kitchen is Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, who's been ordered to remain at his post as homicide investigator for Hastings and its environs; he'd much rather be doing his bit for King and Empire fighting the Nazis across the Channel. Indeed, his son Andrew (Julian Ovenden) is a flying officer with the RAF. The two other series regulars are Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks), the army's Auxiliary Territorial Service enlistee assigned as his driver, and Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), Foyle's assistant inspector returned to home front duty after being wounded during the disastrous British invasion of Norway.
The delight to be found in the four episodes of Series 2 is the underlying complexity of each plot, the tip of which is a murder being investigated by Foyle and Milner. Yet, even as the layers of the onion are peeled away, the viewer is still surprised at the intricacy of the solution, most of which is unraveled in the depths of Foyle's mind and revealed to the audience at the end, and which has ramifications that ripple far beyond the simple presence of a local corpse.
As in Series 1, the storylines of 2 encompass so much more than a tawdry homicide or two: homosexuality in the RAF, collaboration between British Big Business and the Nazis, black market commerce in luxury food and petrol, and skullduggery by Franklin Roosevelt's personal emissary sent to negotiate the Lend Lease.
My personal favorite episode is number four, "Funk Hole", wherein Foyle is relieved of his duties after being reported as having expressed seditious and defeatist statements while cowering in a London air raid shelter during a Luftwaffe bombing attack. The labyrinthine explanation for that was totally unexpected. Moreover, it looks like Sam and Andrew are to be an "item" - surely to be continued in Series 3. Indeed, at one point when Sam accompanies Andrew to a showing of "Gone With the Wind", we see her out of uniform, dressed in civvies, and with a smashing hairdo. Blimey, what a bird!
FOYLE'S WAR is sumptuously fleshed out with period costumes, automobiles, hairstyles, and commercial brand names. This is first class, period entertainment. Would that American TV was so good. "
Dianne Foster | USA | 08/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Contraband smuggling, rationing gas and food, theft of rations in short supply, hiding out in a country club settings to avoid the brunt of the air raids in London, sabotage, spying, revenge, desertion from the front, murder, suicide, a son in `harms way', Detective Superintendent Foyle faces it all in this second set of four stories from the FOYLE'S WAR series starring Michael Kitchen. The first set of stories was so fabulous I bought the second set sight unseen before Masterpiece Theater presented them on it's regular Sunday night program and I'd do it again. My hope is that there will be third and fourth sets in the series, which seems feasible as the war year is 1940 in film #4, and because, excepting the PRIME SUSPECT series with Jane Tennyson, these are the best mysteries to come along in a while. If the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had been marketing works like these from the gitgo, perhaps we would have a regular Mystery Theater series instead of the hit or miss proposition we have now. I hate it when organizations such as A&E get credit for the fine work the BBC-PBS partnership produced over the years, though A&E has managed to produce a few shows of it's own and get others onto DVD. BBC may go it alone (but like A&E with far too many commercials, hint, hint). Guess there are still folks out there who don't realize how these "non-commercial" broadcast stations are funded.
You may discover terrible facts watching this series. These days, we Americans and British wage war without personal sacrifice (gasoline rationing? What's that?) Those under 50 can't remember what sacrifice was like in the 1940s. For example, how many thousands if not millions of people died in the London blitz? Do you know millions of dogs and cats were "put down" because there was not enough food for humans let alone pets? The authorities sprayed horse meat not fit for human consumption green, so that folks would not think you were feeding your dog human food.
I love this series. This may be war, but in between the horrible scenes, lie shots so wonderful and realistic of a bygone world I frequently wish I could transport myself into -- world that existed in Britain before Hitler blew it all to bits."
Foyle just gets better
phantomfan | Ohio, USA | 07/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I awaited Series 2 on pins and needles, and putting it mildly I was not disappointed. What began as a well-conceived, complex war/mystery/drama series has evolved into a masterpiece. You could search the entire history of the Academy Awards and never find more gripping performances or solid screenwriting. And with Masterpiece Theater (Series 1) and now Mystery!, DCS Foyle is poised to become almost as popular in the US as he is in his native Britain.
Each episode is brilliantly written, with many plots and sub-plots that end up tying together as expertly as a Celtic Maze. Although in three cases out of four the identity of the murderer is not difficult to guess (and one is blatantly obvious), the fun, as always, is trying to unravel why.
On top of top-notch mystery plots, you have the moral complexity of a world at war, when right and wrong are not so easily catagorized into neat little boxes. DCS Foyle, with all his moral uprightness, finds himself in each episode faced with dilemmas that - thank God - most of us will never face. And he faces them with integrity and equanimity that is almost non-existent in today's world. Kudos to Anthony Horowitz.
Fifty Ships is one of the two best episodes in the lot, primarily due to a magnificent performance by guest actor Henry Goodman. You simply can't take your eyes off him, and I have never seen a more convincing American performance from a British actor. He absoluately nailed that Chicago accent, when most Americans aren't even aware that there is one. To call this episode anti-American is simply foolishness. It is a scrupulously accurate PERIOD drama, told from an exclusively English perspective. Yes, the American in this episode is characterized as brutish, brash, and evil, but why not? The worst villians of this series are English; just watch the episode War Games if you want proof. To imagine that Mr. Horowitz had any kind of anti-American agenda is practically libelous.
Fans of Sam (and who isn't?) will especially enjoy Among the Few, in which she gets to prove her mettle by going undercover at a fuel depot to spy out the criminals who are stealing fuel. Foyle's son Andrew loses a bit of his paragon-like perfection, which is to the series' credit. The resolution is a little disappointing, but the rest more than makes up for it.
War Games is perhaps the most morally complex episode of the lot, and although it is not hard to guess whodunit, working out who's a good guy and who's a bad guy and why makes this one the most thought-provoking. Stellar performance by Alan Howard.
The Funk Hole is my favorite episode of Series 2, and the best mystery of the four. Another stellar performance by Nicholas Farrell.
The acting (Michael Kitchen defies superlatives), score, direction, and stunning scenery are magnificent - worthy of anything that is being made for the big or small screen on either side of the Atlantic.
The four regulars - Foyle, Milner, Sam, and Andrew - are perfectly consistent, and evolving, as people do in life. Milner especially is coming into his own after a reluctant start, and becoming a first-rate detective. If there are some unresolved issues between him and his wife, it is not a flaw in the series - merely a promise that more is to come. And a blossoming friendship between Andrew and Sam will be interesting (to say the least) to follow. Series 3 cannot come soon enough!
The DVDs are superb quality, crystal-clear pictures and 16:9 compatible. An interview with Anthony Howell (Milner) and Honeysuckle Weeks (Sam) is entertaining fluff, and the brief production notes about each episode are truly interesting.
It doesn't get any better than this."
Foyle's back and better than ever!
phantomfan | 07/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Previous followers will again be captivated by the new adventures of DSC Foyle with his loyal driver Sam Stewart, and faithful sergent Paul Milner. Fans of Foyle's War will be well rewarded for the long awaited continuation of the ITV murder mystery series. (Thank God I already bought my set on ebay two weeks ago) The series again is set against the sleepy town of Hastings in the beginining of WW II and retains the rustic charm and suspense that made the first series a sucess! These four episodes are from a slightly more personal perspective at the lives of the characters while supporting the main plots. The plots are highly orginal and still keep you guessing till the end. A must have for anyone who loves good drama! Just a Note: Series 3 of the series wrapped up filming at the end of June 2004. It will be aired sometime in the autumn reportedly in October or November 2004. This is a series that can never cease to entertin and keep you on the edge of your seat!"
Intelligent Mystery Series
James R. Hunter | Sao Paulo, Brazil | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw 2 episodes of Foyle's War, Set 1, while travelling in the UK. I became a fan in almost no time at all. In this second series, everything continues in full force with little apparent "sophmore slump". All four episodes of this series provide us with intelligent characters whom we can care about, plots that lay out mysteries that are worth pondering over, and a perspective on the history of Britain during the Second World War. Of the four episodes in this series, Fifty Ships and War Games, stand out for the importance of the issues they raise and the quality of their scripts. Fifty Ships mixes a murder with the importance of bringing the Americans into the War. War Games deals with two murders that result profiteering and collaboration with the Germans. They provide drama and show how complex sentiments were in the UK even during the War. While they stand out, the other two episodes-Among the Few and The Funk Hole-provide involving mysteries to understand and solve. The acting of the principals, Michael Kitchen, Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks is first rate."