Combining uncompromising historical accuracy with compelling mysteries, this acclaimed PBS series continues with three feature-length episodes. Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa) stars as DCS Christopher Foyle, investigating ... more »wartime crimes in an English coastal town. With the end of World War II slowly but inevitably approaching, Foyle and his fellow citizens learn the price of victory and face a peace that will transform their lives in unexpected ways. Also starring Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks, and featuring Nicholas Day, Malcolm Sinclair, Nicholas Woodeson, Duncan Bell, Julian Ovenden, Mark Bazeley, Julian Wadham, and Phyllida Law. THE MYSTERIES: PLAN OF ATTACK?With the Hastings police force suffering attrition and low morale, Foyle comes out of retirement to probe the mysterious death of a cartographer from the Air Ministry office. BROKEN SOULS?The murder of an ambitious young doctor at the local psychiatric clinic produces no shortage of suspects among the staff and patients, many of whom still experience the war?s horrors. ALL CLEAR?With final victory expected any day, Hastings looks ahead to a radically different post-war life. But the end comes too soon for two men?one a murder victim, the other an apparent suicide. DVD SEPCIAL FEATURES INCLUDE making-of documentary, cast member reflections, notes on a real-life Foyle, and cast filmographies.« less
"British television has certainly never been at a loss for quality entertainment. With a little care and sensitivity, the average American television viewer can assemble a superb DVD collection by concentrating on some of the splendid British programs exported to America over the years. Shows like Pride and Prejudice, Upstairs Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited and Civilization are just some of exemplary British programs that transcend the notion of mere entertainment. Occasionally, however, there are lesser-known television shows, as splendid as any of the more famous ones, that merit inclusion on that more exalted list but are excluded simply because they haven't had the proper exposure or because they are nominally considered representative of a genre, such as a mystery program. Foyle's War is illustrative of the latter reason for being excluded from the list of the finest British television.
Foyle's War is set in the English coastal town of Hastings, with its historical connotations, and covers what is generally considered by the British themselves as the second most glorious period in English history (following that glorious era of the destruction of the Spanish Armada under Elizabeth I in 1588), when England, essentially alone, withstood the Nazi onslaught of 1939-1940. Starring Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, through whose perceptive eyes private tragedy mirrors general calamity, and human passions function as a microcosm of the universal futility and immorality of war, what is nominally a mystery series becomes so much more. Each episode is really an epiphany of human frailty, and each of the dilemmas that Foyle faces becomes one more element in the elusive explanation for human self-destructiveness. The show's writer/creator Anthony Horowitz considers no ambition unattainable. The cast is uniformly excellent, with subtlety the most significant aspect of their acting technique. This splendid ensemble is never less than superb.
When the fourth season ended, there was some question as to whether the series had ended as well. Thankfully, here we have a fifth season with three new feature length episodes. The show is as brilliant as ever, for as the war begins to wind down, the secret dimensions of the troubled human psyche remain unchanged. It remains Foyle's task to shed light on the elusive human soul, regardless of how often he must remain aloof from the 'glamorous' history occuring all around him. His frustration is one of the ironies of these programs. Although Foyle regards his achievements as of little consequence to the war effort, they actually have a universal impact. In fact, they transcend the merely temporal and we, the audience, know that well. What Foyle achieves over the course of this superb series is an explanation for human frailty, a look at those hidden recesses that represent human weakness. He illuminates our private turmoil and secret fears from which spring all public crises. Foyle's War attempts to discover the roots of war. That it largely succeeds will be its ultimate testament. If you have never seen this show, you may be surprised by its scope, which is so much greater than merely a mystery program. Superlatives all around. Most strongly recommended.
All Good Things Must Come to an End
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 07/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Foyle's War, Set 5" is now being released to coincide with its Public Broadcasting Service television debut. It is the last of a British historical drama/police procedural series, created and largely authored by Anthony Horowitz (Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Definitive Collection; Midsomer Murders Set 12, for which he deserves our unstinting praise and thanks. It's been just superb, as each episode has combined a mystery, most of them reasonably strong; and solid history, insights into the little-known problems and domestic scandals of the British homeland during the years of World War II. This set of three all new feature-length episodes brings the story to 1945, as the war finally winds down, and Foyle and his team do their best to prepare for uncertain futures. And, thank goodness, the set has been closed captioned.
Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa;Reckless) has played the title character, police detective Foyle, with distinction since its premier on PBS in February, 2003. It has been Foyle's burden, although he would have much preferred to be more actively involved in the war effort, to investigate civilian crimes in the small, historic English seaside town of Hastings; a town obviously directly in the German line of fire. Kitchen has been quoted as saying he could see no future for a series to be entitled "Foyle's Peace:" thus, the series comes to an end.
Kitchen has received strong support from Anthony Howell (Shadowlands) as detective Paul Milner, and Honeysuckle Weeks (Falling) as his driver Samantha Stewart. Julian Ovenden (Cashmere Mafia - The Complete Series) has played Foyle's son. The three, approximately 100 minute episodes are:
Episode 1, "Plan of Attack." set in April, 1944. Milner's unyielding investigation of a transportation fraud has far-reaching consequences. They are most noticeable at a nearby, secret mapping facility; and an ecumenical religious conference, held at Hastings, that is considering the historical question of the morality of the continued Allied bombing of Germany. Featuring Michael Jayston (Nicholas and Alexandra); this is an estimable episode.
Episode 2,"Broken Souls," set in October 1944. At a nearby psychiatric clinic treating troubled soldiers, a doctor's murder turns up a satisfying amount of skullduggery among patients and staff. It also complicates Foyle's friendship with Dr. Josef Novak, the Polish Jewish refugee who heads the clinic; illuminates the situation at homeland German prisoner of war camps, and considers the problems of soldiers returning home after years away. It features Phyllida Law (The Winter Guest; and Graham Crowden (Waiting for God - Season 1). Some may find this episode slow, but I found it very emotionally fulfilling.
Episode 3,"All Clear," set in May, 1945, as all Britain waits for formal announcement of war's end. Foyle is pressured into joining a high-level local committee to keep public order during the celebration to come. But that end comes too soon for two men; the one, a victim of a stabbing, the other, apparently a suicide. As has sometimes happened during this series, the villain is rather overt from the beginning. Still, a shameful, covered up wartime incident is exposed, and the problems of returning soldiers are considered, as are the problems of everyone wondering what they'll do in peacetime.
All good things must come to an end. Still, this series has been highly acclaimed and popular, on PBS and DVD. If you've been a loyal viewer, you might want to get your order in. "
Michael Kitchen - Awesome
P. Newton | PAYSON, AZ USA | 06/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There aren't enough words in the English language to describe the excellence of this series. I haven't seen this set yet, can't wait to, but if it's half as good as the other Foyles War, it'll be over the top. Michael Kitchen is fascinating to watch, the stories are interesting and intertwining, and the other characters add dimension.
While it's set during WWII, the stories are personal ones and frequently have little to do with the war itself. If you haven't seen Foyles War yet, do yourself a favor and get started. It's nice to have seen all the episodes from the beginning, but it's not necessary, so don't feel you've missed too much to start it now."
A Last Tour of Duty....
D. S. Thurlow | Alaska | 07/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Kitchen returns for one final tour of duty as Inspector Christopher Foyle in 2007's "Foyle's War V." This three-episode set captures the essentials of an excellent mystery series set in the small town of Hastings in Southern England during the Second World War. Foyle is again assisted by Anthony Howell as Police Sergeant Paul Milner and Honeysuckle Weeks as "Sam" Stewart, Foyle's driver.
In the opening episode, "Plan of Attack", Foyle is dictating what promise to be very dry memoirs at Sam's painfully slow typing rate. Foyle's successor in Hastings is murdered while investigating the apparent suicide of a military photointerpreter who had issues with the targeting of German cities. Foyle is coaxed out of retirement to solve the complex mystery with its rogue gallery of suspects in and out of uniform. The presence of a conference of anti-war clerics in Hastings is a complicating factor.
A second episode, "Broken Souls", deals with the complex drama created by veterans returning from combat with significant psychological injury, in some cases confronted by unwelcome changes at home. The murder of a German POW touches the lives of a maimed returning British POW, a refugee Polish psychologist, and another British veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.
A final episode, "All Clear", deals with the end of the war and the consequences brought home to a number of people in Hastings. Wanted and unwanted pregnancies, survivor's guilt, and human greed are still a recipe for murder. This last episode nicely wraps the larger story arcs of the series in a way that fans should appreciate.
"Foyle's War" offers complex, multi-layered murder mysteries set in an authentic atmosphere of wartime. It deals unflinchingly with the underside of a homefront strugling to maintain order in the midst of world war. The understated Foyle is relentless in his pursuit of truth and justice, in the process making no concessions to the circumstances of wartime. This final set is very highly recommended to fans of the series."
Truly Outstanding Series
Richard L. Noel | topeka, ks | 07/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Foyle's War has proven to be a top notch television series of the highest order. It most definitley compares with other the great British mystery series. I can't think of anything on American television currently that even remotely comes close to the quality of this serial. This series is most defintely worth an investment of your time and money."