Series 4 of the British TV drama Inspector Lewis begins this evening on PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! In my household, that ranks as outstanding news. Although I never became a great fan of Inspector Morse, the 1987-2000 mystery from which this show was spun off (a fact probably due to my having discovered Morse so late in its run), I’ve been charmed by Lewis since its first episode.
That attraction could be traced to the unlikely pairing of sometimes grumpy Robert “Robbie” Lewis (Kevin Whately) with younger, more intellectual Detective Sergeant (Laurence Fox). Or it might have to do with the cinematography that makes best use of Oxford, England’s imposing architecture and stately public and private grounds. My attraction to Lewis certainly has to do, as well, with the show’s romantic theme and incidental music, composed by Barrington Pheloung (who also worked on Morse). But whatever the diagnosis of my attraction to this series, I have no wish to be cured of it.
Tonight’s episode, titled “Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things” and previewed in the video above, will begin at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Its plot is described this way on the PBS Web site:
Luminary graduates from Oxford’s last surviving all-female college are on campus to honor beloved professor Diana Ellerby (Juliet Stevenson, Place of Execution). There is the confident lingerie CEO, the provocative newspaper columnist--and then there’s the passive-aggressive Poppy Toynton. Poppy never quite blossomed intellectually like her peers. When Poppy is found dead on the stairs, her seething rage against her fellow graduates exposed, Lewis and Hathaway step into the esteemed circle of women to investigate. But Lewis is haunted by memories of 15-year-old Chloe Brooks, attacked at the college 10 years earlier. Lewis’ work on that case [was] interrupted by the death of his wife; now his deepening obsession with it threatens to derail the Toynton investigation. Is it unresolved grief or detective’s intuition? Lewis and Hathaway get a dizzying education in the scandals and secrets of Lady Matilda’s College, as well as a lesson or two in feminism, as they untangle a new case and bring a far off one back into terrifying focus.There are still three more 90-minute episodes of Inspector Lewis to be broadcast on Sunday nights this fall: “Wild Justice” (September 18); “The Mind Has Mountains” (September 25); and “The Gift of Promise” (October 9). I would wish for more, but will try to be satisfied until this series’ presumed return in 2012.