History meets mystery in this award-winning PBS series, with four all-new feature-length episodes set at the height of World War II. Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa) returns as the laconic Christopher Foyle, detective chief... more » superintendent in the English town of Hastings. War has torn the social fabric of this once-quiet coastal community, and Foyle?s investigations explore the violence and opportunism that the conflict has fostered on the home front. Also starring Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks, and featuring Kenneth Colley, Dermot Crowley, Liz Fraser, Philip Jackson, Michael Jayston, Corey Johnson, Jonah Lotan, and Roy Marsden. THE MYSTERIES: INVASION?As the first American GIs arrive to build an airbase near Hastings, the murder of a barmaid further strains already-tense relations between the locals and the Yanks. BAD BLOOD?A top-secret experiment in biological warfare goes horribly wrong, complicating a murder investigation and threatening the life of Foyle?s faithful driver, Sam. BLEAK MIDWINTER?The death of a young munitions worker and the murder of Paul Milner?s wife seem linked, and Foyle strives to clear his sergeant from suspicion. CASUALTIES OF WAR?While investigating gambling and sabotage, Foyle takes in his troubled goddaughter and her severely traumatized son, who refuses to speak. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE making-of documentary, production notes, the historical truth behind each episode, and cast filmographies.« less
"Upon watching the last thrilling episode, in which Foyle confronts the insurmountable stumbling blocks of wartime necessity headlong by tendering his resignation----After all, the Ruhr dams must be busted!----I had to go online to make sure that a new season was coming up. I have become addicted to this low-key but absorbing, instructive, and endlessly entertaining mystery series. And there are still about three years of World War II to go.
As this series continues, the leading characters, Chief Inspector Foyle (Michael Kitchen) and Samantha (Honeysuckle Weeks), become ever more engaging. The settings of Hastings and the Sussex countryside become ever more picturesque. Moreover, as the mysteries become ever more intriguing, the narrative of Britain during the Blitz----the people's hardships, their gallantry, and in many cases their victimization by unscrupulous profiteers----becomes indelibly compelling. The series would make an excellent teaching tool in a history class, since it not only presents a fascinating account of the war but it also gives a realistic depiction of the toll that war takes on the civilian population. This splendid BBC series puts a human face both on casualties and survivors, whom the modern media tend to dismiss with the callous and meaningless catchphrase, "collateral damage."
Whew! I can now rest easy. There will indeed be another season of "Foyle's War" in 2008."
Douglas H. Haden | Ridgecrest, CA United States | 06/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From Michael Kitchen to Honeysuckle Weeks to the plots to the scenes, this is as flawless a series of movies as I can remember. Classy, poignant at times, funny.
Conveys the WWII period in England in depth without detracting from the plot. Despite the quality of backstory and the depth of the primary characters, these episodes remain mysteries. Amidst the background of war in England in the forties, Foyle hunts what some might see as petty murders or "just thieves". It reminds me of Night of the Generals, showing the single-mindedness and bulldog grip a police officer can have even though the world around him seems to be crumbling.
An expensive, quality piece of storytelling and movie making.
I have the series-to-date and eagerly wait for more. "
Michael Kitchen triumphs again as detective chief superinten
"Michael Kitchen triumphs again as detective chief "superintendent Christopher Foyle. He often identifies himself, however, rather more charmingly: "My name is Foyle. I'm a police officer." No badge is shown or papers presented while so introducing himself. Such would be superfluous though as Kitchen's Foyle, in mannerisms, demeanor, as well as the way his carries himself, makes it rather apparent that he is in law enforcement. And to boot, all this takes place in the early days of the 4th decade of the 20th century, "in the beautiful southern English countryside amid the disorder and danger of World War II"(to quote the packaging).
As in all Foyle episodes a murder takes place and Kitchen methodically goes about solving it. He has a sergeant for assistance as well as an actress side-kick (whose most unusual name in real life is Honeysuckle Weeks) who plays an army soldier seconded to drive for Foyle, who is without a license to do so. Like in many detective dramas the who did it is rather less important than the drama getting to that point. Actually, these hour and forty minute long Foyle episodes often go by for me without my giving much serious contemplation toward the solution Foyle seeks. Ever play chess and really focus on 3, 4, 5, 6 possible moves in advance and then play a casual game of chess just for fun? That's how I personally watch Foyle's War. I'm not too interested in guessing then second guessing again & again who I think is the murderer. (I do do that often with David Suchet's Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie mystery dramas, but alas, do too much guessing wrong there, however.
The episodes: "Invasion" March 1942: The US Army Corps of Engineers arrives in Hastings to build an aerodrome and Foyle needs to calm a local farmer whose land has been requisitioned by the government. In this episode we also are treated to a guest appearance by Philip Jackson; aka Chief Inspector Jap from Agatha Cristie's Poirot series, although he's but a pub owner herein. And we also get a major development in the Sam Stewart/Andrew Foyle relationship.
"Bad Blood" A lone aircraft drops a bomb over farmland. Nearby sheep start dying, then a farmers wife, and Sam falls ill.
"Bleak Midwinter" December 1942: DCS Foyle investigates the death of Grace Phillips who died in what appears to be an accident in a munitions factory.
"Casualties of War" March 1943: Foyle receives a visit from his goddaughter, who he has not seen for 10 years, and her young son who is shell shocked from when his school was bombed.
Watching Foyle is also very much a period drama, as I've said, giving one a feel for wartime England, the country lanes, the occasional military vehicle and soldier(s), authentic clothes, hats, people on missions greater than themselves passing through the lens. My advice thus is not to overly focus on actively trying to solve these tough-to-crack mysteries to better revel in the actual performances herein. Notwithstanding the "Columbo" series being a totally different style of show, Foyle's War shares a number of similarities with Peter Falk's famed detective: the who-did-it is not the most interesting part of the show, but watching the very deliberate and understated detective go about his job. I particularly relish Columbo's speech manners and the way he draws things out as if they were salt water taffy as he hems and haws, pauses, retreats, etc. Michael Kitchen's Foyle, albeit in his own unique way, is entertaining just to watch as well. He is a man of few words, but very communicative with his demeanor, facial expressions, and the like. A hostile possible suspect verbally lambasts Foyle in one episode, for instance, while Foyle looks into this man's eyes watching him vent. When the man finishes, Foyle begins to pass the man on his way out. The man comes after Foyle trying to add a coda to his venting and when doing so attempts to grab hold of Foyle's arm. Foyle simply continues on his way and half over his shoulder, simply says to a uniformed officer behind him, "arrest this man." In another episode a person asks how Foyle knew something that would be hard to know and came to the conclusion that he did. To which Foyle responds, a picture in his hand, and a knowing expression on his expressive face: "I found this in her diary. I found the diary under her pillow." Maybe I'm just a glutton for language precisely employed, language--bereft of unneeded words---delivered with style. Cheers"
The War at Home: Fighting Criminals & Politics During World
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 07/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Foyle's War" Series 4 takes us once again to see World War II from the homefront, the homefront being the town of Hastings on England's southern coast. Perspicacious and taciturn Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) does his best to maintain justice for both civilians and military in a time of war and powerful politics. He is aided by Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), whose soldiering was cut short by injury, and by his adventurous young MTC driver Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks). Again, PBS chose to air shortened 85-minute versions of these episodes. Unfortunate, since the substance of daily life in a nation at war is in the details. You'll find the full 100-minute versions on the DVDs. The "Series 4" DVDs technically comprise Series 4 and 5, for a total of 4 episodes.
These four episodes take place March 1942-March 1943. The mysteries revolve around events or circumstances that were reality for many British at home while their men fought abroad: GIs arrive in England as the US enters the War in Europe, experiments with biological warfare, resentment and lower pay for women doing dangerous jobs at a munitions factory, touchy international politics hamper efforts to contain saboteurs. I rate Series 4 slightly lower than previous series, because these episodes felt more contrived. The stories seem far-fetched, and DCS Foyle exhibits less depth than he used to. There are an awful lot of top secret facilities in Hastings and its environs and too many coincidences. A little carelessness too: Streptomycin was not discovered until 1943, but they're using it in Hastings in 1942. Nevertheless, "Foyle's War" is undeniably entertaining.
In "Invasion", American military aka "Doughboys" arrive to construct an airfield on Hawthorn Cross, a property belonging David Barrett (Keith Barron). The American Captain Kieffer (Jay Benedict) asks DCS Foyle to help quell the hostility between his men and cantankerous Mr. Barrett, whose farm they are paving over, and to give the GIs some guidance on British culture. Sgt. Milner investigates a house fire in which a drunk man died, leading him to wonder where the man could have gotten so much liquor. A pub proprietor and his ambitious barmaid Susan Davies (Zoe Tapper) are running an illegal distillery. Just as the trail leads to her, Susan is found dead, strangled at dance hosted by the Americans, where she had come to see her boyfriend, Private Jimmy Taylor (Peter Youngblood Hills).
"Bad Blood" finds Sam dating a smitten American "GI Joe" and a nearby military installation conducting experiments in biological warfare. An infected sheep falls off a lorry near Foxhall Farm. Edith Ashford (Caroline Martin), former flame of Sgt. Milner's, implores him to help her brother Martin (Tim Delap), a conscientious objector who has been accused of murdering naval hero Tom Jenkins (Anthony Flanagan). Martin refuses to defend himself, but even Tom's friends swear that Martin is innocent. Meanwhile, the widow of the dead man, Elsie (Claire Cox), falls seriously ill with a respiratory ailment and black sores on her skin. Shortly afterward, Sam develops the same symptoms. All trails lead to Foxhall farm, where Elsie and Martin worked, and where Sam recently cut herself.
Grace Phillips (Kate Ambler) is killed on the job at a munitions factory when she accidentally drops a fuse for a high explosive shell in "Bleak Midwinter". It appears to be a tragic accident, and Foyle is occupied investigating a restaurateur selling contraband turkeys, until Grace's co-worker voices her suspicions that Grace was troubled by something serious and had come to work very ill. Grace's unstable boyfriend Harry (Gavin Brocker) is up to some mischievous enterprise. Sgt. Milner's estranged wife Jane (Mali Harries) is back in town after 2 ½ years and wants to rekindle her relationship with a reluctant Milner, who has found love elsewhere. When Jane is found bludgeoned to death, Paul Milner becomes the prime suspect.
"Casualties of War" refers not to injured persons but to the ideals of justice that are sacrificed to the cause during wartime. Two wayward young men, Frank and Terry Morgan (Gerard Kearns & Harry Eden) are discovered breaking into a palatial home and blackmailed into being saboteurs. Foyle's goddaughter Lydia Nicholson (Kate Fleetwood) shows up on his doorstep, supposedly to give her young son James a change of scenery, as he has not spoken since his school was bombed. The new Assistant Commission Parkins (Michael Jayston) insists that Foyle crack down on an organized gambling ring, but Foyle is busy with the sabotage. When Michael Richards (Kevin Doyle), a man with heavy gambling debts, is murdered, the trail leads to the research facility where his wife Evelyn (Abigail Cruttenden) works on the secret development of spinning bombs intended for German dams."
Beyond Excellent - if that's possible
Terry Weiss | Corvallis, OR U.S.A. | 07/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is outstanding. This is not to be missed by anyone who appreciates excellent acting, superb writing, perfect period settings and clothes. Michael Kitchen is easily one of the best of the British actors working now - which means one of the best in the world. His subtle, nuanced work is completely believable - never misses a beat. The supporting cast is easily equal. Honeysuckle is adorable - one of the most unique women on the air - and we think she might be the most attractive on either side of the Atlantic. We also like the entire casting set up - people look like PEOPLE - not anorexic 22 year olds who we are supposed to believe are department heads and bosses. The guys in charge are middle aged - this, despite Hollywood's fond delusions - is really how it is.
The Foyle's War series has a more serious intent as well as mystery and entertainment - although it more than fulfills this goal. It also examines different aspects of the war as it was lived by the English. Not glamorized, or shined up, but the way it was. Again, the people look like people look, so you aren't trying to overcome disbelief from the getgo - so you are pulled right into the time and place and situations. Absolutely top notch. I wish I could give it 10 stars out of a possible 5!"