I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve watched all of the current series of Lewis. There’s much to recommend it – a fine cast, the warm architecture of Oxford, some witty dialogue (at times), and the legacy of Inspector Morse always lurking in the background in a faintly comforting way. There is one problem though, and it’s a big one: the plots are ludicrous!
I know it’s Sunday night drama, and that means nice scenery and a reassuring murder or two, but each episode seems to have an average of four deaths, and every time the action centres on another college. Don’t they have any crime in Oxford that isn’t university related? Imagine the media coverage that would follow the events of any typical week in the life of Lewis, let alone the twenty odd (and I mean odd) murders per series. Yet they seem to operate without any press coverage whatsoever, shrugging off another set of bizarre and disturbing crimes with a cheery pint and a matey quip.
I do quite like Lewis (Kevin Whately), and Sergeant Hathaway (Laurence Fox) is an interesting character whose police gimmick (they always have a gimmick) is that he’s clever, having studied theology at Cambridge. The relationship between the two is affectionate, and one of the strengths of the series. I do wonder, though, how they always manage to solve these crimes completely on their own. In other police dramas, there are teams of detectives working on each case, with technical support, a geeky computer whizz kid, and a shouty superior officer. None of that in Oxford. You get Lewis and Hathaway, Lewis’ love interest, the pleasant pathologist Dr Hobson (Clare Holman), and the excellent Rebecca Front as Lewis’ boss (they never seem to reveal her rank) but who seems to run the department with the air of a benign head of sixth form – never any shouting, swearing or venturing more than five feet from her office. Continue reading