“Foyle’s War” is a British detective drama TV series set in World War II and looks at the uneasy morality that war creates. Written by Anthony Horowitz and starring Michael Kitchen as Detective Superintendent Christopher Foyle, this series maintains a believable fictional reality and deftly manages to be politically correct while remaining true to the period.
Begun in 2002, the series revolves around Christopher Foyle, a widower living in Hastings (Sussex, England). Foyle is a long time widower. He is quiet and observant and unfailingly honest. Despite his work ethic, he will never rise to a higher station because he doesn’t play the political game well and often into conflict against higher-ranking officials and aristocratic personages around town and in the military and secret services. Foyle pushes calmly, but insistently for justice.
In this time of revisionist history in everything from fairy tales to historical dramas, “Foyle’s War” sensitively looks at the rise of women in the workplace, the questions of race and loyalty and the heavy burden of war in terms of post traumatic stress disorder. War is a time of opportunity and opportunists, creating foxholes for fugitives to hide in if they know the right people and have something war-worthy to barter with.
In Foyle’s world, not all of the English are good and even he and his friends at times are shown to be at fault. Foyle refuses to drive and therefore requires a driver. A male driver can’t be spared and so he gets a female one, Samantha “Sam” Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks). Two characters remind us of the on-going war: former co-worker, Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell) returns for war minus one leg and and without a job and Foyle’s only child, Andrew Foyle (Julian Ovenden), who becomes a fighter pilot during the series.
Like the Italian series “Detective De Luca,” the production builds up an impressive atmosphere of a bygone era with a touch of nostalgia. “De Luca” is more stylish and much darker in a film noir sense but it also lacks a touch of humor. Horowitz uses Sam to supply much of the humor, from how she is at first underestimated by Foyle to her healthy appreciation for the foods she misses. You might wish to see more of Ovenden as Andrew, but that’s a minor quibble.
Series One which covers May through August 1940 through Series Seven (June through August 1945) are available on Netflix for instant streaming. Series Eight will be broadcast in England this summer beginning in July (2013) with only three new episodes.